Sometimes inspiration can come to people in the strangest places and on Saturday it happened to me. I was stuck in a traffic Delay in town and thought to myself”self, this could be a long wait, maybe you should do something to spice this wait up” And so I have come up with some ideas on how we the citizens of Cambridge can make the Inevitable summer traffic delays in the city more palatable.
You could pretend that you are in a rock band and start head banging to the music you are listening to, this usually is good until you realize too late that you are listening to Neil Diamond’s “I am I said”, not really a head banging tune, but you get the idea on that one.
Next time you are stuck in traffic in Preston or anywhere in Cambridge you can get out of your car and encourage others to do the same and start a flash mob, just make sure someone has a copy of “YMCA” on their iPod and you will be good to go.
You can provide entertainment for others stuck in traffic by exiting your vehicle and performing some street mime, everyone loves a free show.
I think I am going to keep some snacks in a picnic basket in my trunk and the next delay I will set up a little picnic on the hood of my car and invite the others to join me, thereby making some new friends and having a little conversation at the same time.
If you like to have a little fun with people and you have a car where the back seat folds down you could unlock your trunk, fold the back seat down and then crawl out of the trunk yelling and screaming “I’m Free”
I think to get out of your car, running up to another and touching it then yell Tag Your it would certainly break the tension of the moment.
If you are not into participation games there are some that you can do by yourself while waiting, like perhaps practicing your accents, go from german to Russian and so on and so on, after all, you never know when it will come in handy.
You can freak people out by waving to the car next to you and ask how grandma’s doing, See how they react.
Along the same lines as a flash mob, you could try to get everyone to honk their horns and co-ordinate it as a song, perhaps try “Kung Fu Fighting” to start.
You could find out what other people are listening to on their car stereos and start singing along real loud, watch their expression while you are doing this.
And of course, if the delay is long enough, just take a goddamn nap!
I hope I have giving all of you some ideas, so happy idling everyone!
Certain Songs from my past always seem to bring memories with them and this is just one of those stories.
Moon River is a song that may not immediately bring the past back to many people but it is one of those crooner songs that I always seem to remember at the weirdest times and for the last month or so I have been singing it, but don’t worry, I have only been singing it to myself and to my wife so you readers are not in danger of having an ear worm installed. Why do I even remember this song you may be asking yourself, well the answer lies in Bala Ontario and the summer road trips with my siblings and my parents to my Mom’s Sisters cottage in Bala to visit our cousins which also happens to have a river called the Moon River. Now, my Dad loved the crooners and one of his favorites was Andy Williams and boy did he ever like him, Andys records would play on a Saturday night at our house and Moon River was one of his favorites and in the mid 1960’s he would be humming it as we entered Bala and he would make sure we stopped at the Bala Falls to see the river before heading on to Uncle Ted and Aunt Theresa’s cottage, along of course with a stop at Don’s Bakery for a fresh Chelsea Bun or two. But this is not where the story ends or the reason that I suddenly am singing Moon River, with both my Aunt and Uncle departing this world I was informed by my cousin Mary ( Damn, there is another song memory) that the cottage that was a summer get away as a child has been sold, a place where I first heard Black Sabbath and discovered Pink Floyd, and is now just a remembrance of the joys of youth, just stories and memories now, damn good memories that will never be forgotten but life goes on and every time I hear Andy Williams singing Moon River I can think of those carefree joyous summer nights in the ’60s and ’70’s on Lake Muskoka, look at the sky and say thanks for the memory’s Aunt Theresa and Uncle Ted.
“Moon River, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heartbreaker
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way”
Rise my little ones Rise! City Council’s revenge will come back to haunt them. Their slow silent attack on my home has been thwarted and I will put my revenge plan into action. This morning the Formicidae(ants for those who don’t use Wikipedia) that rose from the sink and the wall in my home that they sent in response will be turned against them. I will slowly train them, feed them and then set them on their way back to destroy what they hold dear. I will train them to infiltrate City Hall and act as security until the time comes to devour my enemy’s( that might take a while). I will train them to attack the construction workers when construction season starts going up, they will crawl all over the workers causing fits galore. They will learn how to turn off fire hydrants and foil their attempts at running Cambridge out of water. I will set my ants into every restaurant that would not hire me and ruin their kitchens, I will teach them to battle the bees and Armageddon will happen in Riverside park. They will be trained to sniff out the crack dens in this city thereby improving the quality of life. They will be trained to fix the roof of the Preston Arena thereby thwarting their plans to silence our children’s good times.They will learn to destroy the roundabouts and force the planners to leave things alone. And when all this is done My army of Ants and I will be ready to take on the Mayors Flying monkeys and Rule this City with an Iron Fist, City of Cambridge, You will bow before me…aw crap, here comes My wife with the Ant Killer, son of a bitch, another great plan to rule the world down the drain. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.
Almost everyone today carries their music pre-programmed on a cell phone or some device that they carry with them, heck even I do. Some Folks subscribe to a pay music service like Spotify or apple music and that renders the good old Am radio stations obsolete and has turned them into hollow shells of what they once were. The days of CFTR, and CHUM-AM blasting out the latest hit by The Guess Who are long gone and have been replaced by All News and All sports stations where the host’s blabber on and most of the time yell over each other just to be heard. Gone are the great DJ’s of the past, names like Jim Brady, Red Knight, Mike Cooper, “Jungle” Jay Nelson, Tom Rivers and Duke Roberts. The There was the I Listen to CHUM” promotion, in which DJs would dial phone numbers at random and award $1,000 to anyone who answered the phone with that phrase, and of course as teenagers we all waited for the CHUM music chart to be released to find out which song hit #1 that week. The old tinny sounding transistor radios that we carried in those days would only solicit laughter from my grandchildren today and most likely the music coming out of them as well because Am radio played top 40 songs that in most cases didn’t have much of a message and clocked in at under 3 minutes. Songs by Jim Gold and the Gallery, Stampeders, Chicago and Ray Stevens were not FM staples but on AM radio they were the best. In 1974 the top songs being played were by Three Dog Night, The Stylistics and 5 Man Electrical Band meanwhile over on the new and booming FM stations we were listening to Zeppelin, Cooper, and the Stones and in retrospect I guess we were part of the reason for the decline on the AM radio station as FM and AM started to battle for the musical soul of the teenagers of Ontario and when our favourite AM stations decided to start playing Disco, well the end was in sight. While the AM radio station has survived the sounds coming out of it they are not what was hitting the airwaves back in 1974 and even though FM has tried to carry on the tradition of what we used to listen to it is just not the same but like everything else times change and we move on not just in our music choices but in many areas of life and while we still listen to the oldies we just do it with a modern touch. And if Vinyl can come back then perhaps we can dream about AM radio, but for now, I will just be happy to go for a drive in my car and listen to the Cassette player in my car, after all, I may be the last person in Hespeler to have one. Happy listening everyone.
Whether you like it or hate it the fact is that the skyline in Downtown Hespeler is indeed changing and the view I knew as a young man is not the view that exists now, but back in the early ’70s we had the same argument about the Colonnade and we all seemed to eventually move on. But it is different and I present to you 2 pictures of the skyline that no longer exists.
Thank you to those that have sent me notes about my site and to those that have stopped me on the street to inquire if I plan to continue writing on Hespeler and the memories that I have. Well, after taking this break I have decided to return to writing and also concentrate on my photography and will combine them both here on the Relic. However sometimes you have only so many memories that are actually entertaining, and while I still have a few more I intend to take this site and make it a catchall site, music, movies, photos and other thoughts that come to mind. Hope that you will continue to read and let me know what you think. Once again thank you and remember in the words of Al Stewart “Well I’m not the kind to live in the past
The years run too short and the days too fast
The things you lean on are the things that don’t last
Well it’s just now and then my line gets cast into these
There’s something back here that you left behind
Oh time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight Photo taken by Frank Kenkel Courtesy of Brian Kenkel
A photo I took of The Old Hespeler Furniture company building in Hespeler
I always wanted to be somebody, but maybe I should have been more specific
“Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation, the other eight don’t matter”–Henry Miller
Last night I dreamed I had insomnia
“The problem with the world is that everyone is always a few drinks behind me”–Humphrey Bogart
Murphy was a freaking optimist
My wife and I like to have hallway sex-we pass each other in the hall and tell each other to f### off
How come you can kill a deer and put its head on a wall but you are not allowed to keep one as a pet?
If electricity comes from electrons does morality come from morons?
Why is Charlie short for Charles when they both have the same amount of letters?
In France, a cinnamon roll is sometimes called a Nuns Fart
“The urge to save humanity is almost always a front for the urge to rule”–H.L. Mencken
I may not be able to buy happiness but I still want the money
Farfrompoopin–Another word for constipation
Fact: No man has ever been shot and killed by his wife while doing the dishes.
You can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater because then all you will have is a wet critically injured baby.
Everyone has to have a goal in life, mine is to ruin as many people’s dreams as possible
Sex is like being in the army,the closer to discharge you get the better you feel
“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves”–Confucians
And in parting remember the words of my Father; Never trust the dog to watch your food
I knew nothing about John Nitzinger until I hit college in 1976 and worked on the school radio station. This album LIVE BETTER ELECTRICALLY landed in our radio station as a promotional item and after the first listen I was hooked. John Nitzinger may be unknown outside of the United States but he has had a long career in the music business first in the Band BLOODROCK, and a very fine solo career. He has opened for BB King and toured as a member of Alice Cooper’s backup band in 1981.As a member of Carl Palmers band PM he toured Europe but perhaps his greatest success has been as a solo artist and his 3rd album LIVE BETTER ELECTRICALLY saw him at his best delivering the blues-rock and boogie that he incorporated into his songs. This album opened with CONTROL, a song that has a little bit of a Ted Nugent feel while ARE YOU WITH ME has a bit of a James gang Funky disco sound. TELL TEXAS has a bit of an attitude about it while the song VAGABOND veers into the country rock sound of the mid 70’s. While the album may sound a bit dated today it is still an album that should be heard at least once by serious and casual music fans.
|2. Are You with Me|
|3. Live Better Electrically|
|5. Gimme a Wink|
|6. Yellow Dog|
|7. Tell Texas|
|9. No Way Around You|
|10. The Writing on the Wall|
The early part of 1972 was an outstanding time on the radio, there were some songs that are now considered classics hitting the charts, songs like American Pie,Without you,Heart of Gold,Horse with No Name and I’ll take you there but as School ended the music seemed to be a little lame to me as the top songs on the radio included Candy man by Sammy Davis, Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond and First Time ever I saw your face by Roberta Flack, songs that while not bad just did not appeal to me and I turned to the Album Charts to find out what to listen to. And I found the Album of the Summer!
David Bowie was an Artist that I was familiar with but had not got too deep into but in the first week of June he released Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars and when I got my hands on it I played it as often as possible. From start to finish it was something that this 14-year-old had not really heard before, fascinating lyrics, a great beat and as for Bowie, well, who didn’t wonder about what he was. The concept of an Alien trying to save Humanity was so different from what I had listened to that I actually wondered if he knew something we didn’t. From the opening track “Five Years” to the incredible end song”Rock and Roll Suicide” it took me on an imaginary journey that opened up a lot of ideas for me and got my juices flowing to find other material and artists like this. And of Course, the artwork on the album was worth the price alone. Yep, the Summer of ’72 was going to be the beginning of a musical trip that still continues today.
Secret Treaties is one of those albums that were popular when released in ’74 but was pushed down the line of B.O.C. albums by the release of Agents of Fortune in 1976 and of course, it’s unforgettable song (Don’t Fear) the Reaper. But Secret treaties is in my opinion just as good an album but because the music was a little less commercial sounding it has been neglected over the past 40 years or so and that is sad because many of the songs on this album stand up easily against The Reaper as classics and many are still in the B.O.C’s playlist while on tour. One of the songs, Career of Evil was written by Patti Smith and was the inspiration for one J.K Rowlings books, called Career of Evil under the pen name Robert Galbraith. The album spent 14 weeks on the North American album charts, peaking at No. 53. It was declared gold in 1992, and it is the only Blue Öyster Cult album that does not feature any track with lead vocals by guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser. “Career of Evil”, “Subhuman”,and “Astronomy” are worthy of any heavy metal soundtrack but to me the best song on the album was dominance and submission, which is best described by the man who wrote the lyrics, Sandy Pearlman “In 1963 I was being driven back from a New Year’s Eve party when The Beatles came over the airwaves for the first time. It seemed so revolutionary in terms of consciousness that what is represented was a new factor in mass culture and ’63 was the watershed. The song reflects the parallelism between revolutionary consciousness in the mass and how it affects the individual. The sublimated heat of rock ‘n’ roll, so, long suppressed, and driven underground, was being revealed and no one could stop it.” All in all, it is a great album and one that Rolling Stone magazine in 2002 ranked #47 in the coolest albums of all time. And I agree,now to get classic rock radio to rediscover this gem.
|1.||“Career of Evil”||Patti Smith||Albert Bouchard||Bloom, A Bouchard||3:59|
|2.||“Subhuman”||Sandy Pearlman||Eric Bloom||Bloom||4:39|
|3.||“Dominance and Submission”||Pearlman||Bloom, A. Bouchard||A. Bouchard||5:23|
|4.||“ME 262”||Pearlman||Bloom, Donald Roeser||Bloom||4:48|
|5.||“Cagey Cretins”||Richard Meltzer||A. Bouchard||Bloom, A. Bouchard, Joe Bouchard||3:16|
|6.||“Harvester of Eyes”||Meltzer||Bloom, Roeser||Bloom||4:42|
|7.||“Flaming Telepaths”||Pearlman||Bloom, A. Bouchard, Roeser||Bloom||5:20|
|8.||“Astronomy“||Pearlman||A. Bouchard, J. Bouchard||Bloom||6:28|
I believe the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child” and for the weekend of July 8-10 2016 the Village was Hespeler and the child was the 2016 Hespeler Reunion, an event that has been held only 7 times in the last 110 years. In 1906,1926,1947,1966,1996,2006 and the one we just completed in 2016 brought together those of us that still live in Hespeler and many hundreds, perhaps thousands from around the globe that called Hespeler home at one time or another. They came from Australia, Great Britain, France, the United States and from everywhere in Canada from Newfoundland to British Columbia, and a few brave souls even dared to cross the 401 from Galt and Preston to party with us. It was a weekend of celebrating our heritage and reconnecting with our past, it allowed many to find old friends and perhaps to make new friends, heck, I even spent most of Saturday night drinking with a liberal, and to see up close what changes were going on in this little section of Cambridge. From the opening ceremonies on Friday night that included an oldtimers hockey game, figure and speed skating demonstrations and the homecoming dance to Sunday night’s closing ceremonies and an awesome fireworks display that lit up the Hespeler sky,the weekend proved to be just what this town needed and not even the downpour early Saturday evening could put a damper on the festivities.
The entire town and the businesses within were ready to celebrate, the Hespeler Tennis club provided free tennis for kids, the Fashion History museum and the Hespeler Heritage Museum gave tours of their facilities, the Bars and the Hespeler Legion all put on events to keep people busy and entertained and the Saturday street dance was a great success with many local bands such as Seven Sundays, Tracenine and Blackbridge providing the music and the crowds providing extra entertainment. Another of the traditions is the beard growing contest and once again this time around we had a great selection of beards to choose from. There was the soap box derby for kids to enjoy, food trucks and a midway in Forbes Park for everyone to enjoy. The Reunion parade was a fantastic event that in my opinion was the best parade that I have seen in many a year, and from the looks, on everyone faces, they all thought so as well.
Sunday was another great day for the reunion and it started off with an open air church service held in victoria park followed by a church-sponsored breakfast and many food trucks including the famous beaver tale truck in the park. Hespeler minor softball put on a home run hitting contest, the Cambridge Cheer Sport Sharks put on a lively demonstration and the oldtimers Softball game brought together many of Hespeler’s best players from the past including the recent Cambridge sports hall of fame inductee Dan Donahue, the boys may be a little slower but damn they can still play the game and the fans in attendance loved them for it. There were bands performing, children playing and laughing and old and new Hespelerites sitting down to a few beers talking about the town and where it has been and where it was heading. And when the Reunion executive said goodbye to the crowds and the fireworks ended it seemed for a moment that no one in the park wanted it to be over, many stayed and had that wistful look on their faces, that look that said 2026 can not come soon enough. And for that one weekend in July 2016 everything was perfect in Hespeler and “The Village had indeed raised a great child”
Not only do I not know the answers lately I am losing track of what the Questions are and that leads me into this little ramble about the great Canadian tradition of the Donut, the fried dough treat that most of us have grown up on and the shops that have been the meeting place to discuss politics, sports and other habits of daily life. We have met in them after a hockey game, treated our kids to them as a reward and see them as a beacon of light on long road trips. But like many institutions in today’s world they are changing, lineups longer than at a service Ontario site, drive-thrus have taken away many opportunities to run into old friends and have changed our snack habits and not for the better. Yes, I miss the old Tim Hortons style coffee shops, the counters where you could sit with your coffee and talk to the gals behind the counter and where the choices were less than they are today. I will admit I do not eat doughnuts like in the years gone by, after all, I have to keep my body in top physical shape( cough cough) but when I do have the craving and I find myself in a Tim Hortons I miss some of the old standby doughnuts, where are the Concord grape, the walnut crunch, and the oldie but goodie the dutchie? It seems that they don’t exist anymore and damn it I want them back, because when I feel a little down those were what I wanted not a Nutella filled dough ball or an oreo cookie made up to look like a doughnut, I mean c’mon Timmies who are you trying to fool? Don’t forget your past after all the dutchie along with the Apple Fritter were your two original offerings so Give us back at least the dutchie, after all, it is as Canadian as Apple Pie is American and Donald Trump would never allow the Apple Pie to be treated this way now would he?
With the 2016 Hespeler Reunion set for July 8-10th excitement for the event is building here in town and the reunion will have many different events going on and one that I was thinking about entering was the beard growing contest. The contest has been a staple of previous reunions and I have a family tie to the event as in 1966 my Uncle Alex entered and while I don’t remember what prize he won I know he won something and was the talk of our family for the rest of the summer.
With that in mind I thought long and hard about growing a beard and trying to live up to my Uncles legacy , but what type of beard should I grow? Should I perhaps try to emulate the Joaquin Phoenix look or perhaps the more aerodynamic Shia LeBeouf look? The Mel Gibson Madness look would be interesting and the light facial hair look of Bradley Cooper would certainly sway the judges I would assume, but could I actually pull that one off? Not likely according to my wife and as she has pointed out she is the one that would have to look at it day after day and deal with the constant billy goat rubs on her neck, so be careful what you grow she told me in no uncertain terms. Part of the problem I had to take into consideration was what my overall appearance would be after the beard was grown, would I be able to wow the judges with the elegance of my beard or would I be the winner of the “most likely to wind up a hobo” award? Everytime I try to grow one my wife seems to think that I resemble a cartoon toad that is up to no good and that is just one of the challenges that I faced when making my decision, a friend of mine who has a beard says that he finds himself checking out other guys beards and occasionally becoming jealous and I do not know how my wife would feel about that. The fact that after just a couple days of not shaving I want to scratch my stubble off by hand certainly doesn’t bode well and would I have to change all my photo ID to include the beard? Drawing one onto my Drivers licence is apparently frowned on I am told. According to proper etiquette the scruffier the beard the sharper the dresser you need to be and anyone who knows me is aware that clothes are not my strong suit, but of course, it all came down to comfort and a time limit, two things that stopped me from joining the contest. After all, it takes me awhile to actually grow facial hair and as a friend of mine observed”Perhaps you should have started at the last reunion, you might have a good one by now” Oh well Uncle Alex can rest peacefully knowing that his title will not be challenged this year.