MOVEMBER

As you know, this is still Movember, the month that focuses on men’s health.  The symbol, a moustache.  The slogan, “Gro a mo, save a bro.” Draw attention to the need to support research and cures for men’s health issues. 

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Upbeat

It was Kobo Town’s live outdoor performance in Montreal in 2017 that inspired me to compose Upbeat. That July evening was perfect in so many respects. The weather cooperated, the audience was fully engaged, and if you were close to the stage, as I was, the music totally enveloped you and the beat resounded in your chest.

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Milpark Hyperbaric

Imagine being told that one of your legs will have to be amputated because of a wound that won't heal, as can sometimes be the case with diabetes. You then have a series of daily treatments where you lie in a clear acrylic chamber and receive pure oxygen at slightly higher than atmospheric pressure. Afterwards you are told that your wound has healed and your leg will not have to be amputated after all. Can you imagine the relief?

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NOVEMBER 11

Not far from Ypres, Belgium, lies Tyne Cot Cemetery, where more than 11,900 soldiers are buried.  Of these, over 8,000 are unknown.  

My wife and I visited Tyne Cot Cemetery in June of this year, while travelling to some Canadian World War I battle sites in Europe with the organization True Patriot Love.  It was a very moving experience.  On arrival, we were all given a fresh red rose and then we dispersed individually throughout the cemetery.  
 

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FINLANDIA

There was a piano where she lived.  I was in my early 20s and I would pay a visit every now and then and play for her.  She was somewhere between 50 and 60 years older than I, and she had spent her whole working life in Canada, having arrived here as a young girl from Finland.  Despite the time spent in Canada, Finland remained her true home and I knew at some point she wanted to return there. 

I would run through a whole bunch of tunes on the piano, whether or not she knew them, and then at some point I would play the hymn from Finlandia.  If there is a more beautiful national song anywhere in the world, I haven’t run across it.  It is one of the most moving pieces of music I know.  Sibelius knew what he was doing. 

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Whatever Happened to Spare Time?

The make of watch I’m wearing ends with “EX,” but begins with “TIM”, not “ROL.”  The difference in the prefix saved me a bundle of money!  I’ve had this Timex for many years and the light colour is where the silver coating has worn off, but it has never let me down.  Whether or not your watch is reliable, however, don’t you find that time just seems to evaporate these days?  Why is there so little spare time?  Why are we constantly so busy?  I have a few theories.  

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A Friendship Of Note

One of the best music reviews I have ever received was written by Francesco Emmanuel in 2005, when he was with The Muse’s Muse.  His photograph appeared with the review and I remember thinking at the time that it reflected a real decency.  The kind of decency you would one day like to meet in person.  

It turned out that among other things Cesco, as he is also known, was a very accomplished and versatile guitarist and some time later he emailed me to say that if at some point I wanted guitar accompaniment with my music he would be interested.  I immediately called him to discuss possibilities and we talked about what compositions might be suitable.   

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Tell Me If I’m Wrong

It’s fun to let your imagination run loose, to “work backwards” and deduce something just from personal experience, without knowing the facts first hand.  For example, I could say that the makers of some processed foods don’t want you to know what’s in them.  Why would I deduce that?  Because why else would they print the ingredients in a size of font that’s so difficult to read?  

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