Category Archives: Uncategorized

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July In Vancouver

Category : Uncategorized

The weather for the most part, is, and has been fantastic, and for the tourist, Vancouver is in full hustle and bustle, which means music is in full swing. There’s lots of live music to watch and listen to, but lately, as a full time performer/artist, I’m finding that many larger chains, or established venues, are wanting quality and consistency. As I’m performing 5 nights a week (or more), I miss many shows, but I’m aware of a few acquaintances around the city that are consistently good with their musical presentations and they seem to be working all the time. If your S*** is together, it’s a matter of getting out there to pound the pavement.

While I’m on the subject of pavement pounding – specifically at locations around Vancouver, I came across Bruce Allen’s Facebook rant page today, and couldn’t agree more about his statements regarding Vancouvers Lower Eastside. For those of you unfamiliar with BA, he is a management guru for many artists including Bryan Adams, Michael Bublè, and many more. Specifically, what his vocal blog contributes to (the way I see it) talks about the success or failures of his surroundings by calling things the way he sees it, in the hopes of change, for whatever the subject. Today’s statement talked about former Toronto Raptor basketball player Danny Green having his car broken into, and his bags stolen. That being said and done, the underlying context was given to the area he was visiting: “The Worst Street In North America” as stated by Green on CTV news.

Moving forward, the personal point and connection that I’ll bring to light if you’re visiting Vancouver: I don’t pound pavement within a 5 block radius of Main and Hastings. To me, this area is unsafe, and to be clear, I would not walk around that area at any time of day. This ghetto-like area spills over into the downtown core through Gastown, east towards Commercial Drive, and north towards Main/Broadway sometimes. The People of this Ghetto wonder the streets while not paying attention to traffic laws, set up tarps, use or are hooked on serious drugs (google any article using the words drugs/opioids/overdose/Vancouver), people sleep on the streets, or yell and fight with each other, there’s garbage everywhere, and, I could go on. One related article states that this is a “recent” problem. Untrue. I grew up in Vancouver, and I’ve always thought the area was in a sad and unclean state. Over the years, the area has expanded, the dependant population has grown, and the city has failed with all attempts to clean up the area. I recently went to Tinseltown which is a Movie theatre and small shopping mall in the area. From that experience, I won’t go back as I wasn’t comfortable leaving my vehicle. Although nothing happened, I have now deemed the area a complete write-off, and will not travel through or go to that area for any reason. Quarantined.

There are a few venues that I used to play at when I was starting out on my musical journey, but most have closed or moved on. The Town Pump was always a crowd pleaser in the 80’s and 90’s (ok, I used to sneak in when I was underage), but now, I won’t even travel over to the Lamplighter in historical Gastown, for fear of dealing with the Ghettofolk. By the way, I hear that The Cambie is shutting its doors? So, I won’t be performing on the eastside anytime soon. If you’re a tourist, I recommend staying away from the area, especially if you’re walking. If you’re looking for some decent music venues, the outer-lying city areas are plentiful, and Vancouver does have its water and mountains for those of you looking for something to do.

Hey Vancouver City, I have a question: What are you going to do about this growing Ghetto? As far as I can see, there isn’t a carpet big enough for it to be swept under, and what you’ve been doing apparently doesn’t work.

Standing by for at least 25 years.


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House Concerts / Events

Category : Uncategorized

Summer is here, and outdoor events are Happening! Some are in your own backyard – and isn’t good music/entertainment always on the list of things to entertain your guests with? Every event has a different context, and getting yours just right takes a lot of planning. The size of the grounds or backyard makes a difference, and proper staging, equipment, and lighting can really add to the warmth, tone, and excitement of the evening.

Setting up a lot of equipment can be daunting if it’s a large event, and I’ve performed at many large outdoor events, with construction taking all day….

If this is your context, I have many connections in the industry, and can guide you to the right people.

That being what it is, if you have the intention of holding a more intimate event for around 100 people, and are looking for a package rate – including a small stage, lighting, and live music, send me an email. I’ve performed at many weddings, anniversaries, and events where the budget couldn’t hold a band or large production, yet the context of live music was a priority, That being said, if you are having an event to “have an event”, I’ll be happy to set the tone with a combination of original music and my version of your favorite cover songs. I bring along a decent size PA, small tent, stage, and lights to make your evening memorable.

I’m always happy to throw you a suggestion or two. Your success is my success, so send me an email with any questions you have if you’re thinking about adding a small live music production to your event.


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The Journey Home

Category : Uncategorized

After a quick Java stop, I caught a morning plane from Gatwick Airport Wednesday March 7th. On the journey home, I reflect about attempting to take in a few of Englands colourful cities and long deep history over the past two weeks. Although this was a near impossible task, the whole experience was amazing, and was made to be VERY EASY with exceptionally amazing friends, Mark and Shelley.

Amazing hospitality, Food, Java, and guide information for in-and-around the Brighton area (and the rest of England!)

They showed me the local ropes, and had perfect advice on how to get around and what to see.

Through their kindness, I’ve made new friends and acquaintances, which helped to make this vacation the best travel experience I’ve ever had.

You two are the best! Ever!

 

Saying goodbye to these awesome people was a challenge, but hey, I’ve written a song about “No Good-byes” on my first album and can be heard here: (track 10) Spirit – All The Pieces 

And who knows, I’ll probably go back! 😁

Once on board the plane, the local weather was poor for pictures, but once over Canada I settled in and managed to take a few, which prove once again that the the earth is still round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Balands in Alberta looked stunning in a blanket of snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Landing safely back in Vancouver, I can now let the cat out of the bag! I have stolen and brought back 3 days of sunshine from Brighton England…..

 

 

 

 

….to Vancouver and the surrounding areas, and it will commence on Thursday afternoon after a good nights rest before performing at the Curve Lounge inside the River Rock Casino Hotel Resort. Thursday 5pm – 9pm.

People of Vancouver, you’re welcome.

😉

 

 

 

 


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Liverpool to London to Brighton

Category : Uncategorized

After a super windy night from Storm Freya, I woke up to sunshine this morning…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sefton park was amazing for a stroll most mornings, right after a quick home made Java in the lobby of the hotel. I took a few more snaps inside the hotel while waiting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way to my next stop, this had to be done too…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walked from start to finish of Penny Lane. After that, I hopped in a cab and passed by an amazing structure: The Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, in Merseyside Liverpool. It took 5 years to complete this unique structure in 1967. There are thousands of small glass pieces at the top cylindrical portion which let in a multitude of colours of light (especially when the sun is shining).

Also, the Concrete structure outside is the Bell Tower, which is set far enough away from the main building so the loud ringing doesn’t break the windows!!! I turned around and took a picture of the steps leading toward the city street and buildings below. Once again, I could take pictures of Liverpool’s historical buildings for days, as there are many, but it was cool to check out something newer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that, Folks, is the conclusion to my visit to Liverpool. Once again, in regards to learning about history of the area, there is so much more to see and experience there.

Boarding the Virgin Fast Train back to Brighton thru London, my MAP made me aware of a Canuck near Stafford! 😂😂😂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didnt see him/her, but took in the awesome sunshine and countryside.

It rained off-and-on when I got to London, so I cut the sight-seeing short. I managed to get a shot of the amazing St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, but it started coming down in buckets! The building has a more recent history compared to many of the area’s 1000 year old structures, with completion and official opening in 1876.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That said, I wanted an up-close pic of the Shard and the “Cheese Grater” buildings, so snapped a couple from the train.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One more day to go.

And dont forget to check out my music….I’ll be wrapping up the second album when I get back, over the next couple of weeks. Likes, shares, and comments are welcome at this FACEBOOK LINK.

Be good people!

 

 


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Liverpool and The Beatles

Category : Uncategorized

Liverpool.

Here are the first 4 evening pictures, when I arrived on Friday night, a few hours after checking in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m never expecting all the old structures, castles, and workmanship. Everywhere I go. Canada just doesn’t have the age. There is an old history all around this adventure. Hundreds of years. Allyways are roads, not defined as allyways, and most of these small brick roads have clubs up and down, with a big party atmosphere most nights.

That being said, today I ventured out to the largest cathedral (religious building) in Britain.

To justify its size, it looked equally as big as Devils Tower in Wyoming. I added a pic from my trip to Wyoming last year. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The architecture was amazing around the outside. I was blown away!

And then I went inside!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So vast!!!!

I took video of the practicing choir. The sound and resonance was unbelievable. If you’d like to view and listen, then it’s back to my Facebook page. Click HERE

And now we move into this century. As I mentioned, I’m staying at a boutique hotel which was the family home of Stuart Sutcliffe, known (at the time) as one of the original Beatles. He is even known for coining the name “Beatles” with John Lennon, as they were childhood friends. Here’s a few pics, a report card, and some artwork from inside the hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuart Sutcliffe, “mutually” left the Beatles before their success, was engaged to Astrid Kirchherr and died from a brain haemorrhage at the age of 22 in Germany.

And since we are on the subject of the Beatles….

I decided to hit the Beatles exhibition called “The Beatles Story”. £15 to get in (a little over 20 Canadian bucks). With a headset and about an hour, one can scoot thru and get more of their original story. Born in the 40’s, the Liverpudlian Group grew up during the war and in the post war society. Liverpool saw little bombing raids from Germany, but mostly, the port city was not getting enough supplies due to the German Uboats sinking about 60% – 70% of the supply ships.

All that being what it was, a number of drinking and social clubs became popular. Rock and Roll Music became popular. Here are some pictures from “The Beatles Story”.

One room had a mock-up of a studio using authentic instruments. I’d love to play the Rickenbacker (closest to the front)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving through the museum, there were picture I hadn’t seen before, and some specific information about their individuality. Especially regarding Brian Epstein being their 2nd Manager, and coming to the United States and Canada.

Jumping ahead a few years of their timeline, I think my favourite display room was the John Lennon Piano “White” room, as seen here.

 

 

 

 

 

When I left the exhibit, I decided to tour around the city to check out more history and buildings. In doing so, I came across “Canadian Boulevard”, and a number of old buildings. One historical building is said to be the first building to have electricity (the round one).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The picture above with the buildings on either side was the street to the home of Brian Epstein. I could start taking pictures and naming all the buildings and structures, but I’d need a few months and this blog would be much much longer.

Many people in the 1800’s and 1900’s wanted to get to “the new world” (Canada, USA, Australia, etc) and Liverpool was the port to do so. Part of my ancestry is from (close) to this neighbourhood, and, being a musician, it was in my blood to visit.

I return to Brighton via fast train tomorrow, but I might make a stop on the way.

Cheers all, and thanks for joining me on this  continuous adventure.

 

 


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Abby Road, War Museum, Then Liverpool

Category : Uncategorized

Another early start today, catching the circle line, transferring to the Bakerloo line north. A point of interest for those of you who have never been to London: Get an “Oyster Card” for transit. They cost £5 deposit for the card itself and are loadable and maxed out each day at about £10. If you have a card, transit is even cheaper when you use it. I thought about renting a small vehicle, but after the first half day, I’m so glad I didn’t waste my time.

So, hopped off the train at the “Maida Vale” station, and walked for about 10 minutes to Abby Road Recording Studios! The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and many other successful bands did much of their album recording here. In addition, one of the most iconic Beatles photographs was taken here for their appropriately named album “Abby Road”. Several shots were taken by John Lennon’s photographer friend Iain Macmillan, with ideas from a sketch that a Paul McCartney made. Here is the album cover shot.

And here and here are other shots from that same day August 8th, 1969.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess they chose the right one….

Here’s a few that I took March 1st, 2019. The studio building is positioned on the right, just passed the crosswalk. I thought the statue at the corner was interesting, and I took a few different perspectives. There’s also a low wall and gate at the front. The graffiti definitely adds character, and they must think so too, as they haven’t cleaned off the many “signatures” from fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving onward..

I wanted to check into the Hotel in Liverpool for around 6pm, so I had time for one more stop, and chose the Imperial War Museum. It was back in town, so I hopped on the Bakerloo South Line, and it took me right there. How convenient!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The entrance to the grounds was amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was nice to be reminded of the Canadian troops that came over to sacrifice their lives during WW2. I took a few pics, but I spent a couple of hours with the historic details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that experience, it was time to grab another Java, and bolt up to Liverpool. This time from Euston Station. It seemed like every station, whether it was a transit line or train line, it had amazing architecture and personality. I was impressed with every step taken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fast Virgin Train was about 2 hours to Liverpool, then a short taxi to the Hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, the surprise I was really looking forward to….

Here’s a picture of the boutique hotel I’m staying at. It was the family home of Stuart Sutcliffe when he was growing up, and was otherwise known as “The Fifth Beatle”. The story is that, as a good friend of John Lennon, he is known as the original bass player in the Beatles, but wasn’t very good, so he “mutually” left the band to pursue his artistic career, and became engaged to photographer Astrid Kirchherr. His teachers thought he was very intuitive and intelligent, but due to serious health complications he died on April 10th 1962 from a Cerebral Haemorrhage in Hamburg Germany. He was 22.

I’m sure there will be interesting stories about the hotel, but here’s the first picture of it upon arrival after the sun dissapeared.

Totally stunning.

 

Until tomorrow.

Sleep tight people!

 

 

 


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Moving Fast Around London!

Category : Uncategorized

  1. Hello people!

Started out bright and early yesterday! First on the list was coffee! Loaded up a huge Americano, and the race was on….

Buckingham Palace: 

Walking up from the Victoria Station Starbucks, here’s a close up of the surrounding exterior wall. Lots of Brick and mortar.

Once I got around to the front entrance, the grand scope of the building came into view…

 

 

 

Here are a few shots from the front architecture, and statues. The detail and workmanship is pretty awesome up close.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, the guards were on patrol. See the video on Facebook. I wasn’t too sure if I could take video of these Dudes….so I snapped a quick pic of some coppers through the open gate…

Really impressive stuff!

If you go back to the map at the top of this blog, the front of the Castle is at the east side.

 

 

 

 

Moving on…

It was a stones throw away to The Churchill War Rooms, so I scooped a big fat cigar and did the tourist thing. (The Map is reversed)

 

 

 

Interesting enough, it was only down one level of stairs. I thought the rooms would be at a lower depth, but the only things lower were a section of the sleeping quarters. I took a few shot of figures portraying different roles, but the mechanical devices, guns, maps and other items were all authentic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldiers sleeping quarters below, and here’s the main meeting room. And let’s not forget about the rationing….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, the entire main space that is open to the public was “small”, compared to the vast tunnels connecting the underground movement. That being said, with the sounds of war in the background, I thought it was a fantastic display and tour to get a taste of the hard times.

Onward and upward, I shuffled over to Westminster Abby.

What a magnificent building! Inside and out. FYI, once inside, hats off!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots to see and discover. If you want a full write up of each, I recommend using Wikipedia. It’s very thorough, and I used it to read up on before I wandered in.

 

After I rolled out from the Abby, I leaped over to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Another magnificent building.

FYI One cannot take pictures inside. Lots of tombs. Amazing sculptures and detailed architecture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By this time, the day was quickly getting on, so I walked across the nearest bridge towards the London Eye (big Ferris Wheel), to view it up close in the daytime…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course…Big Ben under construction…and………the “secret door”

leading out of MI6…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

……from the last few James Bond Movies.

And that concluded the day. Twelve hours of wandering…epic! The weather held out for the most part.

I thought I’d add a shot from the train platform, because it is amazing to look at, and quite vast!

 

 

Tomorrow will be epic too. In the morning, Abby Road Studios, then the National War Museum. After that, I’m really looking to top off my Northward jaunt to Liverpool with a surprise………..I’ll be staying at the hotel that has been converted from being the family home of (the 5th Beatle) Stuart Sutcliffe.

Stay tuned.

Take care..

 


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London Evening

Category : Uncategorized

Hey People!

The next few days will be fast and furious. Arrival in London was fantastic, and directions that were received made getting to several destinations simple. After the swap from Southern Rail to the Tube Train at London Victoria Station, I arrived at “Mansion Station” 5 minutes early. Hopping off the Tube at Mansion Station, these are the first few pics…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then a quick leap across the street and up a few floors to the spactacular view from a buddy’s office. Nice!

That’s St. Paul’s Cathedral (see next post), and the tall skinny building is nick-named “The Cheese Grater”.

 

After grabbing a snack, we trekked around town for a few hours, just to get some bearings. The London Eye glows at night, but I’ll be returning for a close up daytime view later…

Most “shops” are small, and we passed by a few cool stands on the Thames River Walkway….like this one…

Then more wandering….  We passed The National Gallery, and into Trafalgar Square – which had a hustle and bustle. Good to know where the High Commission Of Canada was located.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The architecture is amazing everywhere you go. Many old buildings, walkways, statues, monuments, castles….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took the train back to the Chelsea area, and I started planning the day ahead.

Buckingham Palace

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Westminister Abby

Churchill’s War Room

MI6

….not necessarily in that order.

Be good, People.

 


  • 3

Brighton To London

Category : Uncategorized

Rollin on the northbound train today, but here’s a quick summary of the last few days: 

People drive on the wrong side of the road. Cars can be parked both ways on a street. The bakery down the street is amazing. Bought a guitar. Starbucks is just like in Canada, only if you want cream (not milk) it’s called Double Cream. If you just ask for cream, you might get “squirty cream” or “whip cream”. Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd) is having an epic house built right on the beach walkway in Hove (Brighton). The weather has been amazing. I guess Magnum PI now lives is Hove, as his Ferrari was parked on the street this morning. And of course, walking along Brighton Beach everyday is amazing.

My friends are amazing!!! (And amazing cooks!!! OMG!)

And a thanks to all for listening and purchasing my latest original music!! As you can tell, it’s quite a new direction, but one thing is solid – I won’t be writing material that sounds like everything else on the radio these days. I’m not interested in “repeated formula”, which is a challenge to escape from when I need to present the material in any Acoustic Live Looping context.

Next up? I’ll be on a fast train to London to check in on a Pal who just moved here a few months ago. Pics tomorrow.

Be good people!


  • 3

A Castle Near Brighton.

Hey People!

What a fantastic time! I’m overwhelmed with hospitality from friends Mark And Shelley. A few short local trips around the area have proved to be historically amazing, and if you add the sunshine and good company, this trip has been epic so far. Ok, let’s get started…

Bodiam Castle (National Trust)

Originally and historically, Bodiam Castle is a 14th-century moated castle near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, England. It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, with the permission of Richard II, ostensibly to defend the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years’ War.
Friends Mark and Shelley were assisting it’s defence today, free of charge.

Situated on a lower portion of a long slight incline, water would flow downhill to create the moat (click here for moat vid) , then evacuate with a specific irrigation/filter allowance. The technology allows a certain amount of water to support freshwater fish to live! Amazing.

To cross into the Castle, there is a perfectly kept drawbridge under water. The National Trust has created a permanent wooden bridge for public access, but the preservation of the castle itself is intact.

 

 

Here are a few close up pictures: Front entrance with the inscribed ‘coat of arms’ above the entrance. The crest on the right over the main doorway belongs to Prince Charles’ 20-times-removed grandmother….

Also at the entrance, there are several “one way” guard stations. They were specifically created to be dark inside so that one could only see out from within.  There was enough light to walk inside, but when up close, I could get a good visual of most of the entrance.

A few “windows” were situated high for the entrance of natural light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After wondering around a while, I needed to inquire about a building that was strategically situated about 200 metres in front of the Castle. It looked like some sort of bunker building. Well, my thoughts were accurate. It was a machine gun anti-tank bunker used in WW2. I took a couple of pics of Gun Turrets and (what looked like) a type of phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the picture below for a summary of the bunker usage.

 

 

 

 

That was a cool tour. The people in construction of that period had one heck of a job. I’d sure be keen on what the conditions of labour was like for such an epic building. Years? How many people involved? Etc?..

I’ll need to turn to Wiki for more in depth story of this amazing structure.

Tomorrow, I’ll be walking the Brighton Pier before my second performance. Take care all.