Archive for March, 2010

Published by hhAuthor on 30 Mar 2010

Adapt or die

Brutal, Darwinian. Natural. Around the dinner table last night my family and I discussed life in the 21st century, digital native Junior marveling at how much technology has changed in his 15 years on the planet. An island boy, he doesn’t text yet but understands the appeal of the iPad. Me too. I’m getting tired of lugging my laptop around but it wasn’t so long ago that my iBook provided mobility as compared to my desktop-personal computer. We want it all!

A self-taught code warrior since the age of 14, Josef mentioned there are now laptops available for a few hundred dollars, but right away, Junior dismissed the idea along with their limited capability and RAM. Josef admitted that a USB port and word processing doesn’t cut it these days. People want to text, Tweet, iTune, email, Facebook, GPS, snap photos, shoot video, read the Globe and Mail and Google on the go. They want power, convenience. What’s so great about having a pound of newsprint delivered to your house so you can read one, or two, maybe even three articles, before running out the door? So wasteful, inefficient, messy and involves an errand- hauling it all down to the recycling depot. The other adaptation we’ve all made in this family is watching television on the Internet. We no longer have the patience to sit through network TV and its oppressive and boring commercials.

I’m slowly learning to text, with both thumbs, motivated in part by Continue Reading »

Published by hhAuthor on 25 Mar 2010

“Motoarson” or “Motoarsonist”?

I’m not sure exactly where I’m at with this poem, what it needs, if it’s complete or not. Oh you know the process. I’m leaning toward “Motoarson” as the title but maybe “Motorarsonist” is better. What do you think? Let me know if you have any other suggestions, it’s a work-in-progress.


Distorted in stature
duke of a wilderness family
winced at the price of fuel,
the carcasses in his wake.
Malicious by accident
depending on which room
the grilling took place
by which cop,
the good or the bad.
Benevolently slamming
he braised ugly hams in the sun
daily ate a shit sandwich at the wheel
of the taxi he drove all over the city
and its sidewalks.
Nothing can stop a provocateur,
nothing can stop ignition,
the fires
set at night
to divert shame,
flee scandal.
Detonated plushly
the flames trebled, jumped rank
puddles, lakes, roads, cliffs,
roaring into the ocean
to singe mighty creatures,
giant squid and the blue whale.

Published by hhAuthor on 23 Mar 2010

Health care or semantics? Or should I say “wellness?”

Whichever phrase I use, I will try to say it politely. Have you noticed there isn’t much flaming on Facebook? Enemies, or the merely tedious, are eliminated much the way the feeble are culled from a herd of wildebeest. The annoying and the toxic as well, get Blocked. Booted off, or out. It seems honest opinions are what you scroll through, consort with. How civilized.

The hot topic today is the historic passage of the US health care reform bill. Many fellow Canadians can’t understand why Americans—the majority of Americans according to the Republican party—wouldn’t want universal health care. I was an expatriate residing in the U.S. for many years, understand it and Americans better but still don’t get it either. Is it Canadian or Utopian to expect a civilized, affluent society to be ready, willing and able to care for its sick and, or elderly? Are we not human? Or are we wildebeest?

Born of revolution, many Americans possess a streak of individualism that borders on libertarianism, self-determination to the point of Darwinism, where only the middle class survive and the rich thrive. The United States has instituted Social Security and Medicare and pride themselves on providing their military with only the best health care. Why is it so difficult to ratchet it up another notch and provide insurance to the estimated 32 million other Americans without coverage? Because that constitutes socialism! Unlike Canadians, who—rightly or wrongly, strongly or weakly—depend on their governments to provide not only health care but infrastructure, education and a guaranteed income, many Americans equate universal health care with socialism, which equates with communism so many years after the Cold War. Perhaps it all comes down to semantics.

Oh and apparently the University of Ottawa, and most Canadians, according to its Vice-President  Francois Houle don’t want to hear American and professional talking head Ann Coulter’s opinion unless she’s not only honest, but also polite. He sent her a message basically warning her to watch her mouth. Bad move, which only backfired. Why recognize such a hate-mongering pundit for now she’s threatening to sue-milk it for all it’s worth-but of  course that’s a whole other can o’ worms, or rather, words.

Published by hhAuthor on 18 Mar 2010

Gestation leads to frustration

Ah, it’s an artist’s life . . . the only life for me, alas. It appears Roderick (Shoolbraid) and I—AURAL Heather—are stuck. A filmmaker friend said he would help with crucial digital/special effects for our How To Remain video but has disappeared. I said we need to come up with a Plan B, Roddy. Not surprisingly he’s been wrapping his brain around the problem. “It’s old school,” he said of a possible solution. “I think it will work.” Fine by my old school self. Whatever it takes.

Frustrations on another front as well, the Bushwhack front, the book I’m collaborating on with Vancouver photographer Tina Schliessler. We’ve been seeking a publisher for a while and she is starting to second-guess the title and become discouraged. Par for the course Tina. It’s f***ing hard to get published and only getting harder as the medium dies out. Bushwhack is a powerful vision, a provocative book, finding a home for it a huge challenge under any circumstances. We must not weaken. We’ve decided to drum up a videopoem version and a gallery show which should help raise its profile and find a publisher. Ultimately. It took (too many) years to get Three Blocks West of Wonderland published. It sucks but that’s that’s show biz. Long gestation, longer frustration, what we artists are in for.

Published by hhAuthor on 16 Mar 2010

The importance of being aural

I’ve been extremely nostalgic lately, iPod blasting out Wire, X, Pylon, Pointed Sticks, Young Canadians, the Germs, Gun Club, PiL, Patti Smith and Joy Division, sharing their tunes with friends, both old school punks and young champions of the genre. I revel in it as much as I ever did and dammit, it’s timeless.

Life, including recording and performing music, was so much simpler then, hence the nostalgia, even melancholy. Just do it was precisely how we did it. These days it seems there is so much more crap to surmount! Why does it have to be so bloody hard to get together to jam, write, rehearse, record, perform? I miss singing, though singing lyrics—singing the way I used to with my previous bands—is not quite what I do with Roderick Shoolbraid and our AURAL Heather duo. My throat slings (spoken) word along with, and in and out of, melody. I described AURAL Heather in our press release as a sublime fusion of music and poetry and dubbed our material spoken word song. Though our logistics are daunting and AURAL Heather is currently simmering on a back burner—as we work to complete our How To Remain video—our sound, once described as “Lynchian,” keeps right on cooking.

Recently, I found myself getting defensive when a friend complained that Roderick’s guitar drowns out my vocals. I sighed. It’s difficult to explain our aural challenges, that what we’re attempting to pull off is a delicate balancing act. Maybe I sighed so loudly because Continue Reading »

Published by hhAuthor on 12 Mar 2010

THE PROPER TOOL from Three Blocks West of Wonderland

It’s the first poem in the collection; a bit of whimsy, hostility, envy.

The Proper Tool

I’m raring. I’m keen. Keen on the job, keen on green
suede, pea soup green suede. Round mountains
of breast meat. The taste of breadfruit. I’m fond
of blue fin, the Nepali coast. On off days I mourn

road kill, vanishing tooth fairies, yell above the wind
in ironwood trees or run over wild boars. I try to decipher
your posture, sagging down pipe. Was it something I said?
Did I wing a wrench into the works of your Stoly-propelled,

part-time life of letters? Did my leaky duck plump
body mangle your shift,
the entire working class hero period?
You don’t know your Gatsbys
from your Kowalskis, pub-crawling from slumming.

I buy jade, Siberian tiger’s eye. Thyme
infused bath bombs. Glass beads. Silk and suede,
green suede, so much easier to stroke than you.
Go saw yourself in half. Go nail

it in, back against the wall. Paint yourself, or it,
black. Into a corner. Weld your metal. Meld
the two halves of your dark side. Screw yourself.
Gather the loose ones. Punch yourself out.

Published by hhAuthor on 09 Mar 2010

Birthday Girl

Birthday today, March 8. I’m not going to discuss ambivalent feelings—nobody’s getting younger—but rather focus on the lovely greetings I received from so many people around the world, a veritable deluge and then the boys took me out for dinner at Miksa. I got to eat a cheeseburger and more than one French fry.

I’ve been working on my novel, The Town Slut’s Daughter, actually writing the damn thing so long now it’s celebrating birthdays too. I’m going to make one more serious stab at it, revise it and in the process decide if I’m cut out to be a novelist. I’ve worked in many genres but perhaps I should stick to verse. I cannot recall whether some scenes are based on actual incidents or if I’ve fictionalized them. Like being at the Smilin’ Buddha with her mother. I can’t remember if my mom came to see me play or not. I think she did. I’d ask my surviving sister but we’re estranged. I think that comes out in the story or maybe that should go in another book. Or poem. I have to decide. After all this time I’m still trying to figure this stuff out. Pretty sad.

Preparing to attend the aforementioned Live Video Retrospective and screening Lenore Herb/Doreen Gray’s footage of a Rock Against Prisons benefit from 1979 which includes AKA, Rabid, Female Hands, Devices, Subhumans and my first band, the all-girl Zellots. Bill Scherk is making swag which is what the Double H image is about. It’s a fundraiser so I’m going to donate some Heather Haley merch. See you there perhaps? It should be interesting. I’m bringing a bodyguard.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010
7:00pm – 11:55pm
Little Mountain Gallery
195 east 26th Ave
Vancouver, BC

Here’s Bill’s description: On March 9th, the social forces will be mounting an assault on the staid and the bland. From a Punk Rock Swap Meet to a Celebrity Auction, from an ‘umplugged’ stage to a Grand Slam Poetry Karaoke by some of the big stars of 1979, we are getting the Old Gang Together. We review the fabulous footage by doreen grey from the seminal 1979 gig and plan out the 2010 resurgence of the Vancouver Explosion.

Come on out and celebrate Vancouver’s living heritage with those who made it happen: Rabid, Female Hands, Devices, Zellots, Tunnel Canary, AKA, Subhumans. Special appearances. Door Prizes. Live Webcast and Kissing Booth. Fishnet stockings. Oodles of prime shwag and fixins. Your every 1979 Punk nightmare come beautifully true.

Published by hhAuthor on 04 Mar 2010

In mourning this lovely morning, missing my dearly departed

There are so many things I cannot say in this blog, nor in polite company, which is why I write poetry and keep a journal, sometimes on paper, sometimes on my MacBook. Tonight, I set out to write a poem about my beloved friend Peter (Haskell). It’s been two years since he died and that’s about how long it takes for me to assimilate anything but especially death. Even more difficult to assimilate is how he died. A violent death, his family and friends believing he was murdered, the LAPD and the DA’s office calling it self-defense and in any case, tragic would be an understatement. In fact there are no words and I felt frustrated all night, trying to convey not just how I felt about Peter but how to authentically portray him.

Coincidentally, or perhaps not, I had expressed my condolences to the family of our mutual friend Jhim Pattison who died last summer. I managed to contact his sister Marsha at last, to tell her how much he meant to me, that it was a privilege to be his friend, which naturally made me think of Byron and Peter, so intertwined were our lives. I had sent along a Continue Reading »

Published by hhAuthor on 01 Mar 2010

Hangover City-Fractured Old School-Shmorgs guitarist Peter Draper

The party’s over. Here we sit, post-Olympics, talk of legacy raging as the provincial government returns to the capital for further belt tightening, dickering with The Budget. It was a glorious party and I, to my surprise, swept up. Well, I had to watch the hockey, it’s in my DNA, being a Béliveau.  I do regret missing the revelry downtown after the Team Canada victory last night. It was an incredible game, with an astonishing sudden death goal by the Kid, Sidney Crosby, decidedly a once-in-a-lifetime event. No next time. Boo hoo. I once passed up a free ticket to see Nirvana, to attend the premiere of Tombstone. Gawd. How can I admit such a thing? My only excuse, I’m a serious film buff and by that point, had witnessed enough wasted, wailing rockers for two lifetimes.  “A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.” – Orson Welles. Hmm, I can’t remember who directed Tombstone, and see, I’m not even going to bother to Google it, but he, or she, was no poet. Oh, I have another excuse for screwing up; I just remembered I was pregnant, hormone-addled. I mean, more than usual.

Some people are smugly saying things like oh where are those pesky protesters now? Well, when I was at W2 for the Real Vancouver Writers Series last week we walked by the Continue Reading »