July 17th @ Free Times Café

A few years ago our washer stopped washing, or maybe it was the dryer that stopped drying. In any event there was a laundry issue at the house. When machines like washers or dryers stop working the thing to do is call the appliance repairperson (I am stating this position in a gender-neutral fashion although I have only known appliance repairmen; I hope that, if nothing else, this choice of words is aspirational).

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June 19th @ Free Times Café

We are regularly told that we are all unique. We are like snowflakes in that no human being is exactly the same as another (and how do we know that about snowflakes anyway, wouldn’t they melt when you got them to the lab?). The exceptions of course are identical twins or triplets or quadruplets etc., who are exactly the same and are therefore great subjects for medical testing and horror films.

But is that really true; is there no one who looks just like us? When I was in university there was a guy that I saw occasionally at a pub and he looked just like me, and he held his beer just the way I did and he slouched against the wall holding his beer just like I did. The Germans have a word for this – doppelgänger – meaning someone who isn’t a twin but looks just like you (and so since we have words for this too why are we using a German word anyway, especially one with that annoying umlaut over the ‘a.’)

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May 15th @ Free Times Café

I read this week that Cineplex, the company whose business model is selling overpriced pails of popcorn, had a very successful last quarter. The success was due to increased attendance for animated films aimed at kids and films with live actors based on cartoons aimed at teenagers and adults. Among the films that helped propel Cineplex to its dizzying heights was Batman vs Superman.

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April 17th @ Free Times Café

It’s interesting how music is so often associated with significant events in our lives. Being in a band, I get the pleasure of sometimes providing the music for those events. At Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room we’re pleased to play at holiday parties (either secular or religious), divorces, wakes, circumcisions, bar or bat mitzvahs and sweet sixteens (although I’m not really sure what adolescent would pick us as the band to play at their major life event) and of course, weddings.

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March 20th @ Free Times Café

I don’t know about you (a pretty safe bet since I send this little missive to lots of folks so there is a good chance that I don’t know about you, although I might, depending on who are you, because some of you I know a lot about). O.K., this isn’t going well at all. I’m think I’m going to start again without any reference to you other than to acknowledge that you are reading this (and probably regretting it). So let us (well not us, me) restart.

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February 21st @ Free Times Café

So there’s this type of liquor that is popular in the Middle East called arak (no, that’s not how the country got its name). It has a liquorice flavour and I’m not particularly fond of it. On the other hand, it’s not like I’m terrified of it. But apparently not only are some people terrified by the drink but there is even a name for the terror people have of that drink – arachnophobia.

Wait a minute, I have to check something.

OK, turns out I was wrong about that; arachnophobia has something to do with spiders apparently. Speaking about fears of other living creatures, did you know that there are people who are afraid of an imaginary rabbit used to sell cereal? Really. People who have this fear have what is referred to as triskaidekaphobia.

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January 17th @ Free Times Café

This band started as a lark filling in on Scottish covers for our first Burns gig at the Free Times Café in 2004. When we play for you this January 25th we will be entering our 13th year together. Who knew? Sometimes small doors open up into big Living Rooms

And we cannot have a monthly gig (or two) without a monthly rant containing, not incidentally, a monthly slag at bagpipes … I say be kind as it seems to amuse him. But he does seem to approaching, if not fully in, the O/C camp and is thinly disguising a deep love of The Noble Instrument, notwithstanding protestations.

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December 20th @ Free Times Café

A while ago I was looking for something to watch on TV (not for me really, but rather to keep in touch with the world around me so I would be better prepared to write these little blurbs – yes I care too much – it’s been said before). Anyway, on the listings page I saw a show called Bass Masters. Now, being a musician, or at least someone who hangs out with musicians, I was intrigued. Would the show profile pioneering rock bass players like John Entwistle or Jack Bruce; perhaps the funk masters like James Jamerson or Bootsy Collins; maybe jazzers like Charlie Mingus orJaco Pastorius. I was intrigued.

Imagine my disappointment then when I watched the show only to discover that it wasn’t about bass players but rather about people who fish for bass (damn homonyms, no wonder English is so tricky). Yes, this was an entire show about people fishing, and not just fishing, but specifically fishing for bass. And this wasn’t some one-off show, no way – this was the last show in the series for the year. That’s right, an entire season of watching people fish for bass – be still my heart.

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November 15th @ Free Times Café

I do not think it will come as a surprise to many folks to learn that playing the mandolin and singing with Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room is not my full time job. Being one of the ten members of this wonderful musical ensemble, while bringing audiences much joy, does not do quite as well in terms of bringing in the cash. As a result, I do require a day job (and saying I require a day job implies that said day job somehow supplements the income I make from the band which may be stretching the income earning ability of the band to a large degree).

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