Tag Archives: blues

Connecting to your inner gruntle


I am feeling distinctly disgruntled and I seriously need some gruntling.

You know that feeling where you start to have hope, just a wee bit, that something in your life might develop into something interesting…

and then it doesn’t?

Or you start looking out for new opportunities and fun…

And can’t find them? Or they seem askew somehow?

Or you do all you can to be charming and lovely and kind and caring and supportive…

and it’s taken as due, no special thanks required? (Not referring to you, TC, if you are reading this)

Well, that leads to disgruntlement, in my experience.  Displeased, peevish, sulky.

So I need gruntlement when that happens – a good laugh with friends, support from my gal pals, a good book, a better writing session, a hangout with creativity in some way.

Usually, that’s all it takes for me to become gruntled again. Tomorrow I’m off exploring an island I’ve never seen before.

I sense gruntlement ahead. Picnic-logo-FINAL

Loving music and dance

Tomorrow afternoon, I’m heading out to go dancing. There’s a restaurant in Halifax, My Father’s Moustache, that has a house band. Every Saturday, they play three hours of blues and dancing music. I’ve been once before, and was astonished to find that I could still dance, despite my MS, and that I loved it so very much. I’d forgotten the simple joy of moving to the music.

Halifax is a wonderful place for live music at no to low cost. Everywhere you go, music follows – coffee shops, bars, house concerts, big concerts, street music, church concerts. The music here runs from folk to out there alternative; different places specialize in different music, but it’s quite democratic. Depending on the day, the music can vary even in the same place.

I love it here, and the music scene is one of the reasons why. I mean, I’m over 50, and afraid of dances where i might have to give CPR since everyone is over 90. This dancing tomorrow is good good music and the place is filled with people of all ages, having a great time.

It’s also a bit of a singles hangout. People watching is half the fun. Some of the attendees are scented and dressed to the nines, and there are a few gentlemen who swim sharklike through the crowd, looking for unattended fishies. The fishies are also swimming, looking for sharks. The last time I went I swear one guy was wearing Brilliantine in his hair – it shone almost as brightly as his alligator shoes. Rad, Dad!

Add all this to the fact this place serves delicious fish and chips, and man, I’m in heaven.

Tomorrow, I’m going with a moustachioed man and two good friends. I can’t wait to feel the floor beneath my feet, the music in my veins.

Why is it they call it the blues?

It should really be the greys. Blue is a pretty colour. Grey is, well, grey. Like black, but without the enthusiasm.  Or white, but in a slovenly way.

Although, truth be told, both colours get  a unfairly rough go.  Today, for example, outside my window, fog is rolling by.  It’s grey. Again. Day 15 or more. Minute by minute, the colour changes as the fog swirls, lifts, re-descends. Normally, it would be beautiful. Today, it is merely tedious. But still charming in its own right. I feel enclosed in wool swaddling today – my visual field outside the window is only a few feet at times, and it makes me feel cozy. If a bit damp around the edges. Watching it lighten bit by bit as the day burns off the fog is exciting, like unwrapping a present.  Will we see blue sky today?

But grey is never invigorating.  Not like blue – sky blue or royal blue or even navy blue, teal or indigo or baby blue. Van Gogh’s blues shout from his paintings, Monet’s whisper seductively, Maude Lewis’ sing happily. It seems too varied a colour to be associated with depression. Yet it is.

And blues music is just too much fun to be depressing – the beat throbbing onwards, the growly sax, the gravelly voices and hearty tones. It’s hard to listen to it and be depressed.

People with depression often speak of how the world bleaches out. Colours become muted, like my view through the fog. A friend of mine who suffered for years with intractable depression finally received a novel treatment, involving direct brain stimulation.  She was finally able to surface, and her comment was that suddenly, the greys had receded and, as in the Wizard of Oz, she had stepped into a Technicolor world again.

So, as we here in the Maritimes look forward to another  weekend of greys, perhaps it’s time to get on with some blues – groove with sunshiny and bluesy music, paint with colours and  play. And tap our heels together and wish for the sun.

My ol’ friend the blues…

Hafta tell you, the blues came on today and they were hearty. I don’t know whether it’s the thought of my ex getting married in a couple of weeks (which fills me with an odd kind of despair and anger that he is good with this marriage thing whereas I remain afraid of commitment and fight it at every turn), or whether it is something to do with the general aimlessness of my life, but the songs from the blues just seem right, right about now. I love Long John Baldry, Matt Anderson, old-time blues, new time blues.

There’s even a new all blues station in Ottawa now – DAWG FM, and it’s so up my alley  tonight, I should be indigo, seeping into the world around me like spilled ink.

What is it about old-time blues songs that calls to the heart so much?  Is it the low repetitive base line, the growling sax, the droolingly slide-y harmonica, the low down and dirty percussion, the alcohol-fueled voices, gruff with whiskey and cigars? Perhaps it’s the way the music makes one’s hips swivel about, pulling here and there to the beat. Or maybe it’s the words – “I went to sleep on the wrong side of the bed….I put my feet where there oughta be my head…” Who hasn’t felt this way?

What way? Deep, slow, head down, face turned away from the sun, heart thickening in your chest, a sluggish lump in the stomach.  Life is dark, grey-blue, like just before a thunderstorm, but without the thrill of electricity in the air. Legs lift slowly, pulling up through the mud, arms hang, useless, by your sides.  Tired, the brain refuses to spot joy, even as it peeps around the corner.

I even went to church today, hoping for an enlivening bout of information, community, song. Instead we were on some endless treadmill of Pachelbel’s Canon in D – done on piano, glass harmonica, electric guitar, and even in the sermon.  Now I know the Canon has its graces but the last time I listened to it so intensely, I was wearing headphones to concentrate on my breathing during my LONG labour for my daughter.  I was cramping up in the pew by the time it was over, and feeling distinctly un-churchy thoughts. And the glass harmonica? Shrieking like a violin, without the soft graces – shudderingly like when that annoying uncle insists on playing the wine glasses at dinner.  My not-quite awake brain went and hid itself in a corner, far from the light and noise.

Several cups of coffee later, I met a friend for a long and fast walk through to a local beach.  We talked, laughed, stretched our legs, breathed the air.  And I could walk, which was a blessing. We spent the afternoon together and when he left, I was cheered. There’s something about good conversation that keeps the blues away.

I called another friend, a kindred spirit from far away – we talked and laughed and I gained perspective. Friends. Life blood.

But they’re all gone now, and here I sit, listening to the blues, my heart vibrating with their rhythms…