Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Day in my City

It was a good start to the day yesterday, one that I am happy to share with Sundays in my City.  Many thanks to Claudya for hosting that fine meme.  

Black Jack and I enjoyed our 10-minute-trip via the False Creek Ferry to Granville Island and we both loved our meet-up with Maria, the creator of Penelope Puddle and the author, as well, of two thought-provoking and colourful blogs that highlight life on the West Coast and that you can access from this link.  Maria and I discovered each other through our blogs but our friendship continues beyond.  Here, Black Jack happily settles in the crook of Maria's elbow for a photo to record the moment. 
We stopped by the children's book store before parting.  It is hard to avoid the "kid in a candy store" cliché in describing Maria's enthusiasm for children's literature.  Her eyes shine and she moves from one book to the next with pure delight ringing in her voice.  Every meet-up should only be such a fun one :)
The book store is in The Kids' Market.  Everything is designed to attract children's eyes but the colours and floating lights..
and fanciful characters catch my imagination too.
Home again, the Jazz Festival was just getting into full swing.  How can I describe the noise?  From within our apartment, and with the doors and windows closed, the best analogy to the assault on our ears that I can think of is a very long (12 concerts across from our apartment, each about an hour and a half in length) and penetrating thunder clap that repeats relentlessly, entering one's mind and body to obliterate all other stimuli.  Bill and I left the apartment, yearning for the peace and pleasure of some time at Harrison Galleries.  The truck with "Bad Breath isn't Sexy" greeted us ominously as we walked out the door.  "Deafness isn't sexy either,"  was my unspoken response. 
Ironically, there had been a heavy rainstorm during the performance that hadn't included thunder :)  Happily, the flowers appreciated the rain and seemed oblivious to the noise.  Wildlife, on the other hand, was conspicuously absent.    
We worked really hard on a crossword while sipping our lattés at Harrison's.  Though we couldn't complete it, we were happy with the words we managed to find and Bill discovered a few more answers later that evening with some help from a crossword solving web site.  All in all, a great way to expand our brains.  Almost home, and determined to find something positive in the jazz festival, we stopped at The Roundhouse to hear a group called Sick Boss.  Cole Schmidt (guitarist and leader) Peggy Lee (cello), Tyson Naylor (accordion), James Meger (bass), Dan Gaucher (drums), and Jeremy Page (clarinet) were really, really good.  Yes, you did read that right.  I suspect that could be said about all of the musicians at the festival, but I loved this group's collective array of technical and musical skills.
Dan on the drums and Jeremy on the clarinet played with a refinement that was (or should have been) pure pleasure.
One doesn't expect to hear accordion in a jazz ensemble, but Tyson brought unique sensitivity to many of the more mellow sections of the music, and dazzled at other times with his impressive technique.
It was fun to play with the angles of the Roundhouse windows behind the musicians,
and there was a delightful moment when I caught these expressions of pure pleasure on the faces of Dan, Peggy and Cole. 
Another "positive" along with the fact that this performance was free, was that no one minded Black Jack's presence.  
She is fortunately not bothered by volume, and was perfectly happy to sit in the front row on Bill's knee, though I worried for her hearing and covered her ears much of the time.  We survived a warm-up that included an excellent vocalist (didn't get her name) and one song after that, before succumbing halfway through the third song to ringing ears and a headache. Please, can someone explain to me why fine musicians are willing to sacrifice their ears, their most precious of all gifts?  The volume level inflicted pain.  This is not an exaggeration.  Even with the napkins Bill and I stuffed into our ears, we were in physical pain.  Please explain to me how this is music, and please explain to me why audience members seem to think this is cool.  I don't, and never will, get it.
 During supper in our apartment, we could hear the group in the photo below.  The festival schedule tells me they are led by David Ward.  We thought we were hearing a female vocalist and since the bass was this time a support rather than the dominant sound, found that we could open the apartment doors and quite enjoy the sound.  It was loud, but the vocalist came through well, and we liked the melodies.  Yay!  After supper we headed out for our walk.  I wanted to get a picture to record that all was not negative after all.  I discovered the soloist to be male.  He is apparently well-known for his stunning falsetto voice.  That was great, but once more, I do not exaggerate in describing acute physical pain as I neared the stage.  I could only think about the people in front of me.  They seemed to have no ear protection at all.  Nor did the musicians.  Are Bill and I alone in finding this volume painful?
 I have never..
 taken photos..
 so quickly.
I ran (and my knees are not designed for running) from the stage as quickly as I could to Bill who was waiting with Black Jack at the side of the venue.  We estimated the time it took to get those photos at under a minute.  My ears rang for a half hour after that.  In looking at the photo below, I can't help but wonder if the musicians were in pain as well.  I do apologize for this rant and promise that it is over now.  Thank you for listening :)
 Bill and I continued our walk away from the festival and along False Creek.
 We noticed the nuts on this tree for the first time.  I continue to marvel that new sights..
 appear along familiar routes on pretty much a daily basis.  We weren't certain what sort of nut we were seeing.  Hazel Nuts, possibly?
 One orange bloom was impossible to pass by..
 but other than that, the sky and the light (there was only one crow in this spot normally populated by a large number of geese)..
intrigued us most.  We also noticed the off-kilter building that we normally  view from the other side of the water.  For some reason, it seemed to lean much more from this side.
 We turned back, still admiring the light..
 and the reflections.
We both admit to feeling a certain mystique about Harley-Davidsons, in spite of the fact that they also assault the ear-scape more often than not.  This one in front of the Urban Fare grocery store was my last photo of the day.  Yellow?  Really? Perhaps that signifies a new, quieter version of Harley.  I'd love that.  It is my theory that one day, writers of history will marvel at the volume levels 19th and 20th century humans accepted as acceptable.  (I'm hoping that no longer qualifies as a rant but is just an observation.)  Happy Sunday, everyone.  May you find some good music and some good loving in your day.  For life in cities around the world, perhaps you will find some time to check out Sundays in my City.


  1. Your City is beautiful fun and vibrant, looks like a lot of fun was had!
    Also - as I know how much you love dogs, you might like to read the latest post on my blog, it's about how my dog helped me when I had a seizure, dogs are so amazing and special!
    Have a good week :)


  2. the skies and reflections are so beautiful! you need to invest in some ear plugs, for sure!

  3. As someone who works in the field of children's literature, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your post and photos! Coincidently, I just finished writing a post about "creating a reader". Reading your words about a friend who is as passionate as myself about this topic, was so validating and enjoyable. Lovely Sunday post and reading. Thank you.

  4. Carol, I feel someone comforted to know I am not the only one who thinks volume can negate the beauty, talent and skill of a musical performance. I have walked away from many such events.

    As for the other parts of your post - I can so identify with the 'kid in a candy store' feeling of the children's literature section of bookstores. Now that's an artistic endeavor I can fully appreciate!

  5. Sounds like a GREAT day.
    Black Jack looks very wise and smart.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos.

  6. I agree that much of modern music is much too loud. We experienced the horror of a local music festival at St Anne's academy, a block and a half away a few weeks ago. We could hear the music clearly with windows and doors shut. An official told Barrie that the sound was being monitored and was in the safe decibel range. HMMMMM! I should do some research in this area. Phyllis

  7. I just met a young girl, under 30, who has tinnitus because she was partying, listening music too loud. Now she needs to have ear plugs if she thinks it will get too noisy.
    Music is not about volume but talent.
    Thanks for sharing beautiful shots from your city!

  8. BJ looks so content in Penelope's arms. We love to read and that book store looks very appealing. (and quiet) The sky shots are spectacular!
    Music at outdoor concerts is too loud. Sound is monitored in an effort to ensure that decibel levels fall within legal limits, but technical compliance has little to do with safety or comfort. I used to have to monitor sound emanating from a club. With all doors and windows closed, sound levels on the opposite side of a lake could exceed legal limits. Imagine the damage caused to those standing (vibrating?) in front of the amps!

  9. I sure did enjoy all those books as well as my visit with you and Black Jack who was caught looking (contemplative?) at the crook in my elbow. It was so nice to have a face-to-face chat with you on a day that was not too hot or too cold in such a bountiful and beautiful setting!

    I think there are lots of people walking around nowadays with ringing of the ears from music and movies that play much too loud.

  10. I feel you on the physical pain that comes from too loud music. I was once at a concert and I am not kidding you that aside from my ears hurting my chest was in pain. It was too much and made it impossible to enjoy the actual music.