This and That

So, how do I get myself back into regular blogging? It’s not that I don’t have any topics… in fact, my backlog of ideas is so long that I don’t even know where to start! Overwhelmed by choice! (A bit of a longer post today to hopefully get me back into the rhythm.) But really, it’s been a tough year.

business-idea-534228_640Too Much Busyness

Things got more hectic exactly one year ago today, when my new boss started with very big plans for growing the organization, in size, in reach, and in reputation. And even though I’ve divested myself of one of my four main areas of responsibility, the transition hasn’t fully happened yet and, regardless, new tasks have been added to fill up the non-existent free time. So, the 60 to 80 hour weeks seem to be continuing. (We had a 3-day weekend for Canada Day and I worked all three days.)

square-peg-855294_640Add to that the stress of my younger son’s last year of high school, a year in which he decided to take on more than a full course load because he was interested in the extra subjects, and it’s surprising I even have energy to breathe. He worked really hard, though, and I stressed and nagged really hard too and (drum roll…) — he made it through! As my older son said, “Well, Mum, you’ve graduated yet again!” For his next adventure, my younger son has been accepted to study audio engineering and  music production at a school that seems like a good fit for him and he’s really excited. No more trying to push that square peg (him) into a round hole (school system).

no-money-2070384_640Getting home one night when half the family was already asleep, I folded my older son’s laundry. I texted him the next day to ask if he’d noticed that the laundry fairy had folded his clothes. His response: “I did… I knew it couldn’t be you cause you don’t seem to live here anymore.” And of course it was in the midst of all this craziness that my husband decided it would be a good time for us to invest in a rental property. (???) Not able to take on any more stress, I just took a cursory read of the papers and signed my life away. Now we are debt-burdened landlords. (Can we actually afford this with the school fees coming up? No idea. He got to me when my resistance was very low. Time for some severe budgeting.)

So, what else has been happening?

Behind Blue Eyes

This week I went to a facilitated networking event that turned out to be pretty useless, unfortunately. I thought it might help me get more comfortable with networking, as my boss wants me out there meeting with politicians and bureaucrats. I’m pretty comfortable nowadays speaking at the front of the room where I really am just playing a role, but I don’t really like schmoozing. I like the wine that often goes with it, but not the schmoozing.

eyes-149670_640Anyway, the only exercises he did with us were the really uncomfortable ones where you stare into someone’s eyes without talking for a minute or two. It’s supposed to teach you that you won’t actually be attacked by wild animals if you interact with someone you don’t know. (I never actually thought that I would be.) I was paired off with this amazingly good looking blond guy during the second try at this. As the leader stretched the exercise to a full five minutes (which is a really long time in that situation), I had the not-too-painful experience of gazing into gorgeous blue eyes above chiseled features, a good six inches above my eye level. Had a bit of a Swedish look — or is that just because I am listening to the audiobook of A Nearly Normal Family by Swedish author M. T. Edvardsson?

At the end, he asked us to imagine we were the hero of a movie and what we would say the other person. I imagined that I would probably say, “♫Anyway, the thing is… what I really mean: Yours are the sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen.♫” (Can you tell I’ve seen Rocketman recently?) On the other hand, given how much younger the guy was than me, I imagined that his line might be, “Mum?” Sigh.

Something Is A-Foot

The next morning, I went to a cyber-security seminar to learn more about some of my beefed up responsibilities. I arrived just as the speaker was starting and looked around for a vacant seat at one of the tables. Most of them had bums in seats or a bag seemingly reserving them. I finally spotted one across the room and scooted behind a woman to put my coffee cup in front of the empty seat.

playmobil-451203_640“I had my foot on that,” she said indignantly as the woman beside her glared at me. She had discretely hidden her foot under the table cloth, but really, who does that? Someone else moved their bag to offer me a seat across the table and I sat down, stealing glances at the meanies on the other side. To her credit, at the break, the foot lady did come over and say, “I’m sorry. I think maybe I was rude earlier.” Um, yeah. Oh well.

The venue was an old world sort of place, and there was a view from the window with a similar juxtaposing of new and old as in the one I captured in Toronto. Plus this cool Salvador Dali sculpture was situated nearby. (Wow! I just found out that it was worth $2.8 million and should have had a golden egg on the stomach, but the egg was stolen last weekend!)


Oh and by the way, even with the warmer weather, the rats seem to have been nibbling at the wires in my and my son’s cars again. (Why don’t they ever do this to my husband’s car?) The neighbour had told me that their cat has brought home 7 rat trophies in the last couple of months, so I had hoped we’d seen the last of them for a while. But there are droppings under the hood, my various dashboard lights have come on again, I suddenly have poor acceleration (just like before) and my son had to replace the battery in his only three-year-old car. Did I mention the weird sound that I had heard in the alleyway behind the house on several nights? I thought it was branches scratching on metal in the wind or something, but then I heard a recording of rat sounds and knew what it was I had heard. Freaky.

End of the Day

Finally, I took a drive tonight and saw this beautiful sunset over the mountains.

Sunset on Canada Day

Off to bed now. Another busy week coming up. (Scenery shots are mine. Other illustrations are from Pixabay.)


105 thoughts on “This and That

  1. Sue,
    Always love your posts so as I told Esther am always happy and smiling when you post.
    Busyness: I feel we are all red in those green pegs at some time in our life. No one is perfect thank goodness! We all just struggle to get one foot in front of the other. Congrats on your younger son’s achievements. Ouch that your older son is so observant. You are VALUABLE at work and that goes a long way!
    Something is A Foot: all I can say is why are people mean? At least in your case she acknowledged that she was rude so I am glad for you. Mum’s the word on more.
    Rats: can you get someone to fumigate? I’m not for killing any animal but when they start to nest in your car that is potentially dangerous no?
    End of Day: just a beautiful eye you have. I love how you always end on a happy note.
    Big hugs to you and perhaps the income could fund London for Uncle Vanya? Just a thought!
    Behind Blue Eyes: I love the parallel between stare at blond guy and the audio ANNF-do you like it so far?
    This is out of order so I am sorry! A bit early here on the East Coast sweetness!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I am so glad that high school is over! My older son is observant but he’s intending to be funny … nice to know I’m missed too.
      Can’t really fumigate for the rays — they just live in the neighbourhood, like the raccoons and the coyotes. They say coyote urine will warn them off. It’s expensive though.
      That sunset was beautiful! Glad I was able to capture it.
      My problem with a trip to London is that I have to juggle family stuff too. I doubt I’d get buy-in for the idea.
      I do really like ANNF. It’s so interesting hearing the same events from three different viewpoints.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. your rat trouble is going to make Stranger Things 3 particularly uncomfortable for you, I think 😉 (I’ve heard pet rats make sounds before but if I heard that outside it would freak me out!)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lots of things happening and no time to blog – I sometimes think that that is a good sign, and maybe better than having enough time to blog every day (and waste hours on the internet). It means you are busy doing important things. Congratulations to your son’s graduation – and to being accepted for his new course. Sounds interesting.
    Those people at the cyber seminar sounded incredibly rude. How can anyone actually say something like that – not wanting to give up the chair because they have a foot on it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think maybe she had a sprained ankle or something. It was actually the evil stare of the woman next to her that kind of upset me.
      I envy you being able to do daily posts! But I guess we all go through times when life takes over. My son’s new school is really cool — comfy couches and hands on with recording gear and 10 students per class.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, but then she could have told you why she had her foot on the chair. In any case, I can imagine how awful it must have felt.
        Well, those daily posts can become a chore when you don’t know what to write about…

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  4. “Commencement is not the end: it’s only the beginning” or as the Germans say, “Jedem Ende wohnt ein Anfang inne” — where do you think you’ll go with your high school diploma? (congratulations to your son, by the way, and of course).

    I’m not sure why it would be useful to practice looking someone in the eye for 5 minutes straight. I think it’s generally a good idea to show people (at times, demonstratively) that you’re paying attention. but I feel no need to engage in territorial contests over who can stare the longest. (sounds very macho to me)

    I think this is a very good start on returning to blogging and I look forward to more. (Now I have to go see the Rocketman early show. My habit is cheaper that way.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I am so glad it’s done and that he now has that diploma. Onward to something he really is excited about!

      The eye thing is something I’ve done before. It’s not meant to be a stare-down, more like connecting through the eyes in silence. You can’t help but giggle a bit. But it was definitely not what I was hoping for. I’m not sure how you can do a networking workshop without addressing introversion and the tendency for some of us to just stand back and observe. I don’t think it’s necessarily fear, so much as an inability to find a role to play or a technique to use to make the conversation flow. And maybe a lack of desire to do so as well.

      Thanks for the kind words (and sorry for the late reply). I loved Rocketman, by the way. I wish I could see it again in the theatre, but looks like that won’t happen. Instead, I’ve been binge-listening to old Elton John albums and watching old interviews.


      • I personally think the US (at least) is hurtling toward a big reckoning on the introversion issue. I was in an advising workshop a few years ago that had a session about this issue — something like 3/4 of the advisors at that institution identified as introverts and yet all the instruction about advising really assumes (and recommends) that the advisor is/be an extrovert. I think this is nuts — the first thing an academic advisor has to do is listen extremely well (including for the things that aren’t being said explicitly) and probably we should all be cultivating both sides of our personalities for use at the right time. I think introverts are good networkers, too — just not in the aggressive way that extroverts can be.

        Rocketman: I’m relieved that you loved it. It’s impossible for me to express totally (yet anyway) what that film has meant to me this last month or so. I’m embarrassed to say how many times I’ve seen it. Even though my charity money has been going to CARA Pro Bono for months (a project that helps get undocumented migrants out of family detention), I diverted it this month to the Elton John AIDS foundation.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I definitely use both sides at work. People are always surprised when I say I’m an introvert, because they see me in my professional role at meetings or public speaking. But it’s very different than one-on-one chit chat even with purpose. I could see that introversion could be useful in a counselling role, with quiet presence.

          Those both sound like great causes. I wish I could see the movie multiple times. I’m sure I will when it’s available through streaming. After seeing Richard Madden in Rocketman, I watched Bodyguard on Netflix. It’s really gripping and he is really amazing — totally unlike his character in Rocketman.

          Liked by 2 people

          • There’s so much confusion about introversion. I am not shy or even all that reserved; I am introverted. They’re not incompatible.

            I feel like there’s a major imperative to end the current situation at the US border (which is simply an exacerbated version of stuff that’s been happening for years). CARA Pro Bono got my vote because a former student worked there and asked me to donate (she’s moved on to the American Immigration Council). I wish I had more income to share with them.

            Madden was really interesting in that role. I’m not sure I’d ever seen him before in anything (I don’t watch GoT). He seems a lot better looking than the real John Reid but to occupy the persona believably apart from that. Maybe I’ll watch Bodyguard sometime; I do have Netflix now even though I never use it. I thought Bell was good also (although he doesn’t seem much like Bernie Taupin in reality). I don’t think there was a single disappointment / miscasting in the film even though some roles seem filled in ways that intentionally underline that the film is “a true fantasy” as opposed to historical truth.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, that’s true. My husband is a complete extrovert, needing noise and activity, which is tough for the other three of us in the house. He can also just relax and read, though, so we should be fine on our vacation. (Although he keeps talking to me as I reply!) My older son is planning to revel in the solitude while we’re away.

              It’s great you’ve found a good organization like that to support. People should be treated like people regardless of where they are from or how they arrived.

              I’d never watched Richard Madden before (except glimpses of the good-looking Robb in GoT while my older son watched it). While watching Rocketman, I kept thinking Madden was “impossibly good-looking”, and maybe that’s how Elton John would have seen the more sophisticated and worldly Reid. (Madden is really good in Bodyguard. So different — another drama school trained actor who totally loses himself in the role.) I read that Bell as a child played the lead in Billy Elliot, one of my favourite movies. (I didn’t like the production I saw of the musical as much, even though the music was written by Elton John.) I’m glad they chose to do Rocketman as fantasy — that way a lot of it is more about how events affected Elton John, rather than a strict retelling (subject to dispute). I really liked the choice of songs, too, which weren’t in chronological order but instead matched the impact of the events.


              • I think we’re getting to the point that people who don’t do something to influence the situation at the US southern border are putting themselves at severe moral risk. All I can do is call my representatives and donate to helpers, unfortunately.

                I think every actor in that film is better looking than the people they’re playing (Taran Egerton is a basically goodlooking individual who uglifies himself with CGI teeth and an increasingly bizarre series of wigs, but he can’t really hide that he is much better looking than EJ). Even the actor playing Dick James is better looking than the real Dick James. But I have to say that when I saw pictures of the real Reid, I was like, THIS is the guy who beats people up on behalf of his client? Madden’s almost cruel appearance definitely conveys that kind of aggression. I think the only thing I remember seeing Bell in was The Eagle (which was okay but suffered from the guy who played the lead — I forget his name).

                re: fantasy — I think it very much has the effect of conveying that it’s EJ’s psychogram from the past, which is cool, but I also suspect some of it has to do with avoiding litigation, and overall with compressing the story into a more compelling unit and flow. I also loved the technique of using the songs emotionally rather than chronologically (that scene where Dick James says “Daniel” is depressing and EJ plays two more songs about sad songs is brilliant). It has the added effect of conveying just how wide the appeal of these songs is; it’s easy for any listener to find his/her own association with them. And some of them are used really brilliantly (Taupin singing the first verse of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” is one example). I just wish they hadn’t left out two of my favorites (“Someone Saved My Life Tonight” and “Sacrifice”).

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                • Agreed, but people get wrapped up in their own stuff, I guess. Not enough people get involved and some don’t agree that something should change, of course. We’ve got an election coming up in the fall, and I’m really hoping that the right wing party doesn’t get back in. We’ve made a lot of progress in bringing in refugees since Trudeau was elected and it would be too bad for that to stop.

                  Yeah, the Rocketman actors are all pretty good looking. But somehow Taron Egerton really pulled it off. The make-up, hair, and costumes were important, but the acting made me think I was actually watching Elton John. He did a great job with the songs, too.

                  I looked up John Reid on line and he’s still around, but quiet. He doesn’t come off very well in the movie, although I’ve read some stuff that it’s not necessarily true — again, you’re right, if it’s fantasy it’s hard to come back at them and sue them.

                  That’s so weird — I could have sworn that “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” was in it when they left the landlady’s house – but of course it wasn’t. Too bad. I don’t know “Sacrifice”. I guess I had stopped listening by then. I was really happy that there were 3 songs from Honky Chateau, which is probably my favourite album after Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Hearing “Amoreena” and “Hercules” really made me happy.

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                  • I just think the fact of human rights violations (children in cages, people drinking from toilets, adults held for over a month without being given an opportunity to shower, people starving, a chickenpox epidemic starting — all of which info comes from the government’s own reporting of the situation) is getting too momentous to overlook. As for US citizens who know, but don’t think it needs to change: they have already made themselves morally culpable and continue to do so every day that the situation persists.

                    I did believe that Egerton was EJ but mainly because of his mannerisms and facial expressions, I agree, less so because of how he actually looked in the film, which I found distracting at times (wigs, uch). EJ has very coarse features (like his father) and I can believe from older pictures that people teased him about how he looked; there’s something delicate about Egerton’s face that doesn’t really accommodate that but does make him a more appealing picture of the rock star. I saw it again this afternoon and I was turning over the question in my mind the question of the earring. On Egerton it looks decorative but on EJ it looks strikingly incongruous. Egerton is really pretty in that “Honky Cat” production number in a way that it’s hard for me to imagine EJ ever having been.

                    re: Reid — I have been looking for a month now and I haven’t found any evidence that any reporter’s successfully contacted him about the film or that he’s even had the opportunity to say “no comment.” There’s a ton of stuff that’s wrong there, though. Reid and EJ knew each other in London before the LA breakthrough; Reid was the head of a Motown division in England; they did have their first sexual encounter in LA while EJ was there the first time, where Reid went to his gigs, but they didn’t have any pause afterwards (“Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart” is 1976, I think). Reid and EJ moved in together practically as soon as EJ got back to London. Reid did not really want to manage EJ but was pressured into it by EJ and at the time it happened, Dick James had been serving as EJ’s manager and had been urging him to get separate management (so the scene in the film about Dick James’ disgruntlement at being forced out is dead wrong, and in general DJ was much more supportive of EJ than the film indicates, indeed all through his early career until EJ founded Rocket Records. Reid as EJ’s manager did eventually take DJ to court later on, but it was over a question of whether royalties were calculated correctly and whether EJ’s foreign rights agreements were illegally exploitative. It seems that EJ was much more willing as time wore on to consider that DJ had been exploitative). By all the accounts I’ve read, EJ and Reid split as romantic partners pretty amicably and they continued their management arrangement for a long time after that without problems. IRL Reid was generally known to be belligerent and there’s no information about whether he was physically abusive to EJ although he certainly hit other people on EJ’s behalf; however, I have no problem believing the way the film draws their relationship in other respects (EJ was the pursuer and Reid was the withholder and eventually Reid was more interested in the business than the relationship). At the same time IRL Reid definitely took his job as manager very seriously and pursued Elton’s desires and interests aggressively. IRL Reid preserved his relationship with EJ’s family after the breakup (the film hints at this when EJ’s mother tells him he needs to have “John” get the money together). The RL open reason for the EJ / Reid split was that a hacker found some information in the late 1990s that Reid might have been cheating EJ in his accounting and a lawsuit found for EJ. However, by that time EJ was together with David Furnish IRL (who is an executive producer of this film) and one gets the sense that he did a lot of emotional and financial cleaning of house on EJ’s behalf. The reason that seems to be given in the RL press for EJ’s estrangement from his mother was that she preserved her relationship with Reid after EJ asked her to end it; she was also quoted as hating Furnish.

                    The only thing that I would think would be really worth litigating about in the film’s account of Reid would e the scene where he hits EJ. But that scene is really obviously fabricated in the sense that there’s no way that happened before the Royal Benefit Concert and there’s plenty of evidence that it didn’t and it’s unlikely that EJ would have had that particular conversation with his mother on that particular day, etc., etc., i.e., so much about it is just plain wrong that the writers could definitely claim artistic license.

                    Someone Saved My Life Tonight — that’s where the song would have belonged — but the movie completely wrote Long John Baldry out of the story. Sacrifice would have been in the 80s, I’m sure; I was a teenager at least by then.

                    Can you tell I really got into this? I will shut up now. LOL.


                    • Yes, I agree with you on the human rights issues and the need to do something.

                      Lol on the lengthy comment! You’ve certainly done your research – and I would expect nothing less! I also did a bit of internet surfing after seeing the movie. There is a quote in an article on by Reid saying, “I was his first boyfriend, and we lived together as lovers for five years. He was my first great love and I was his. I went on to become his manager of 25 years.” And also, ‘“I’m fond of Elton and proud of the work we did together,” Reid was quoted as saying in the Scottish Daily Record. “One day I’ll bump into him and there may be hugs and kisses. Or maybe not.”’ So, seems like he saw things differently. But probably the later court battle about finances coloured Elton John’s view of things if he felt he had been betrayed. So, it makes sense as fantasy about an emotional journey, but definitely has lots of historical inaccuracies and distortion of the timeline.

                      I also watched an old Elton John interview on Phil Donahue, which I found really interesting in terms of what he presented to the public about drug use (not) when pressed by the interviewer, the reason for the outlandish glasses, and just seeing his personality (and weird laugh :)). Part 1: Part 2:

                      And another more recent one (2012) he talked about the fact that his father never came to see him perform. What kind of a parent does that? Very sad.

                      That’s strange, isn’t it, that Long John Baldry was left out? I guess they could include only so much.

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                    • Yeah, this is the first piece of art that’s touched me this deeply since North & South (and possible Armitage’s Crucible, which is clouded by the fact that I really dislike that play). The Scottish Daily Record interview quoted in that article is 21 years old now.

                      I loved that Phil Donahue interview, too (well, I really liked Phil Donahue at the time; he was a real staple in our household although I don’t remember ever having seen that interview before). But he’s really still in full addict phase at that point. (One of the things I appreciate about this film is that it doesn’t at all hide the way his problems with additions made him act impossibly toward people who really had his interests at heart. The film is also a really strong portrait of the way an addict sucks people into particular roles.)

                      As far as EJ’s father not ever seeing him perform, it’s not true. There’s at least one instance of it that is multiply documented. In fact he came with his second wife and iirc they paid for their own tickets and they were invited backstage afterwards. It takes up about half a page of discussion in the Norman bio (as Norman seems truly puzzled about the stories that EJ told about his father and second wife). In the film, the portrait of his father is equally historically incorrect to that of Reid. Yes, his father left them (and was also engaged in adultery at the time); but he paid all the costs of the divorce, arranged his working life to have regular visits with EJ throughout his adolescence; paid child / spousal support as directed; and even set up a charge account at a retailer so EJ could have stylish clothes (when he had four small boys to support as well). He also never told anyone at his work that he was EJ’s father so as far as that scene with signing the record to “Arthur,” it may have been wholly fabricated. There are plenty of indications EJ had good relations with his father’s second family for many years — including time spent there on school holidays and correspondence afterwards.

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                    • I didn’t realize the interview was that old — but that would be before the court case I guess.

                      We used to watch Phil Donahue a lot too. Pretty sure I never saw that interview back then. But he seems to be in full denial mode there. I’d be interested to see the Tantrums and Tiaras documentary too. (Why have I never seen these things?)

                      So, I guess even in interviews, EJ is an unreliable narrator! Interesting.


                    • unreliability: I know, right? Part of what has made this film fascinating to me are the way the representations in it differ from reality and then when I try to figure out what really happened, how many further misrepresentations have been made. (He’s not the only one but he is a chief source of them.)

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                    • I do feel differently about this film than about the idea of Bohemian Rhapsody. Freddie isn’t hear to have his take on things represented. Elton John was involved and the essence of the journey from his perspective is there. (Even if we can’t really trust what he says! 😮)


                    • I think essentially Rocketman reflects the story EJ told himself as he was trying to get sober (in its larger features, if not in all its details, with all kinds of factual inaccuracy, and perhaps with the support and editing of David Furnish) and I find that simply fascinating. It’s very twelve-steppy in places, too, and very 90s with the whole inner child theme. I think I’m still in the vacuuming up info / uptake phase on this (it took me seven weeks to get writing about Armitage — and there’s way more EJ content to process in comparison) but I hope I can eventually blog about why. (I am not starting a separate blog, though, it will go on me + richard, too). I’m seeing it twice more tomorrow just in case it leaves town after Wednesday.

                      I only saw BH and once and I don’t have a real clear memory of it other than thinking that there was very little joy in it, and that that made it hard to understand him (who would go through all that if there were not some more pleasure to be gained from it?). I have a similar relationship to Freddie Mercury that I have to Elton John, i.e., I knew who they were at the time, I liked the music, I didn’t own an album at the time but got what I got via Top 40 radio. So speaking in complete ignorance, I agree with the issue you mention (FM didn’t get to sign off on this film), but I also wonder if the fact of FM’s early death also shaped the audiences, i.e., Queen fans were in some ways free to overlook FM’s sexuality because he essentially said he had AIDS and then died immediately. (This reading raises the question of how wider audiences thought about male sexual orientation in the 70s and 80s — topic of next paragraph). So those audiences may not be as comfortable with that particular theme because they weren’t confronted with it over long periods. Whereas the fact that EJ survived the AIDS crisis, and then founded the EJAF and was pretty well out and then civilly partnered and then married and then became a father — he’s taken his fans on a much longer journey. There’s a fair amount of discussion in the biographies about whether his half-outing in 1976 damaged his career (he apparently thinks so), but in any case his fans have had the chance to “recover” from all of that and the film can be more frank because they’ve been taken on that journey with him. Whereas FM’s fans might not have been? I think BH is going to do roughly twice the box office of Rocketman, probably in part because it wasn’t rated R.

                      I’ve had a recurring question in my mind lately about how people thought about gay men in entertainment in the 70s — the age of Liberace, after all, whose gayness and death from AIDS was also apparently such a stunner despite all that flamboyance. My dad is addicted to GSN and he watches reruns of this gameshow called Match Game from the 70s where the task is to match answers with a panel of celebrities. One of the regular celebs is Charles Nelson Reilly — who seems very clearly gay to me. The whole atmosphere seems to be something like: you can be as flamboyant as you want as long as we can joke about it but never refer to what is actually going on. That dynamic seemed to apply to EJ as well — he was very “out there” without any problem for American audiences but when he said he was bisexual — OUCH!

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                    • The lies we tell ourselves and the way we rewrite history to get ourselves through are fascinating. I’ll look forward to reading your posts on EJ and Rocketman. I just found on Audible that EJ is doing an autobiography and will also be narrating. Due out in October. Should be interesting and may have a completely different take on the “truth”!

                      On BH and Freddie and how unhappy with his sexuality the movie made him seem, I read this interesting take from a gay guy which actually solidified my decision not to see the movie.

                      I’m almost 9 years older than you, and EJ and FM and Billy Joel were my big loves back in the ’70’s when I was a teenager. I saw Queen several times in concert, but not EJ or BJ since they weren’t as “cool” with my hard-rocking friends. It wasn’t common knowledge amongst the teenage fans that either EJ or FM were gay. (Although Freddie’s somewhat fluid gender presentation on stage was a big part of his appeal, especially non-threatening for a teenage girl.) And being gay definitely was not anywhere near as accepted as now. I remember I had one friend that told me she was bisexual and it seemed like a really odd statement. I didn’t know anyone at the time who publicly said they were homosexual — and I don’t think that the word “gay” was in use back then. There was no common thought, I believe, that Liberace or Charles Nelson Reilly were gay. That public knowledge would probably have ended their careers.

                      I remember when Freddie died (I was devastated), there was a special on TV and this VJ that we thought of as not too bright was interviewing some of the rock stars there. I remember she asked Robert Plant something like, “Did you know Freddie was gay before he announced he had AIDS?” and he looked at her, flabbergasted. But I think the things that were common knowledge in the music industry really weren’t know by the fans in general.

                      But maybe you’re right. That Freddie never had a chance to come through it all and be accepted and maybe make a difference in the world. EJ has had that chance.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’m #1 on the waiting list for that book at our public library — the advance library record popped up when I was searching for biographies. I think that is actually a website bug but I ruthlessly take advantage of it. Maybe it will get me to buy an audiobook, but … hmmm. We’ll see where the EJ effect is in my life at that point.

                      This film raises so many questions about history, autobiography, what is true, how we structure our lives, and I think because I am spending so much time with dad (which due to our history is the least suboptimal family constellation we could have arranged) it is really hitting me right now. That point in the film where EJ says “we need to forgive each other” is a curious point. It’s true — and yet he says, “because that’s what I’ve decided we have to do.” How to motivate people who are mired in their own stories and not especially self-aware to move on? How to accept the challenges that their stories present for ours?

                      Thanks for that “open letter” link — v. interesting.

                      I know that gayness wasn’t accepted (and when I was growing up people said “that’s so gay” as a pejorative, in fact my brother still says that) but / and it’s the way in which people process something without noticing it that fascinates me. Are they really suppressing awareness of things or are they pretending not to notice (in the film, EJ’s mother seems to be taking the latter perspective)? [interestingly I just heard an interview from not all that long ago where EJ said “my mother was always supportive about me being gay”] Or is that they don’t have a category for it? I remember my mother commenting to me at some point about our neighbor’s brother — who lived on a farm with another single man — this would have been in the late 80s when the stuff about HIV was coming more clearly into shape — “I don’t know why they have to talk about it, everyone knew about it and it was fine, but now we have to talk about it?” in this tone of outrage. And she was even more heavily involved in Girl Scouts than I was — she was a troop leader and cookie lady, she trained troop leaders, she trained the people who trained the troop leaders — and as far as I can tell GSUSA is a very welcoming place for lesbians. The organization has the policy that they have no policy on sexuality, although in practice they are affirming (accepting everyone who identifies as a girl) so it was just something we did not talk about. I went to scout camp for years and years every summer and the camp director was in an open lesbian relationship and it just wasn’t ever a thing. We scouted along and that was it. Oblivious? it seems obvious now that the hs band teacher was gay when I was in it — but he was from one of the big farming families in the township so he was well known, and he lived in a different school district. I’m sure if it had come out it would have been a problem, but if it was true then and everyone knew, why wasn’t it a problem? People are so strange.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • First on the list! I’ve become such a listener of audiobooks now, that for sure I’d love to listen to him reading his own words.

                      I just finished listening to “A Nearly Normal Family”, which has the father, daughter, and mother all narrating the events from their own points of view. Interesting what they tell themselves about the others’ and their own motivations. Truth is relative, I guess. I hope things are going better with your father.

                      As a teenager, I really was oblivious, I think. But I don’t know about the adults. Maybe, as you say, it just wasn’t talked about. The GSUSA sounds like they had/have the right idea. Vancouver is quite accepting and open to different backgrounds and orientations, I think, but then I work in an organization that really embraces difference.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • ps I liked Billy Joel, too, and indeed more than either EJ or FM. I actually had at least one BJ album, “An Innocent Man” for sure, but possibly an earlier one as well.

                      pps Rocketman has been held over and the # of screens actually increased for next week!


                    • If you ever get a chance to see Billy Joel, it is well worth it. We saw him in New York a few years ago. It was like being invited into his living room to hear him sing some songs with old friends.

                      Maybe you’ve boosted the ticket sales figures! 🙂 (Looks like it’s only still in a very few theatres near my home.)


                    • Tbh, I really don’t like the rock concert atmosphere. (Also plays into my refusal to pay $700 to see EJ.) When my nieces want to go to see a show, they have learned ot tell me they need money for a ticket to see it with a different adult, lol. (well, and now they are pretty much old enough to go on their own.) I know Billy Joel has been playing Madison Square Garden weekly or something for the last few years.

                      I’m a bit surprised that they increased the number of screens because I’ve been in a few showings now where I was the only viewer. I’ve read that box office is down again this summer because there’s almost nothing to see except sequels and horror and animated stuff for kids — so maybe they are continuing it just to have an “adult option” movie in their lineup. I’ve also been in two showings where I recognized people from earlier viewings I’d been too, so I guess I’m not the only person who’s seen it repeatedly. There just hasn’t been a lot TO see: Yesterday doesn’t seem to be doing very well and Late Night left here after two weeks. Just looking at what’s available right now at the closest screen to my house, 8 of 13 offerings are sequels or remakes. (The other 5 are Rocketman, Pillow Talk [!], Yesterday, Midsommar, and a Met Opera rerun of The Barber of Seville). If you figure all those sequels clog up the cinema for a minimum of three weeks, there just isn’t much room for anything else.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Well, monthly I think, but amazing that he can sell it out that frequently. Somehow the vibe was less rock concerty, with the stage revolving in the centre and just the relaxed atmosphere generated by BJ.

                      Pillow Talk? Like the old Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie? Wow. But yeah, lots of sequels it seems. And superheroes are still going strong too. There’s a new Spiderman out.


                    • I saw the last Spiderman (I think) with the nieces — but now A has her driver’s license and can go without her aunt, LOL. But my main reaction when the choices are John Wick 3, Spiderman howevermany, Godzilla 2, Toy Story 4, Secret Life of Pets 2, a remake of Aladdin that looks mildly offensive, etc., etc., is “whatever.” I wasn’t even invested in the initial installments of those things.

                      Fathom Events has this series of old films in conjunction with Turner Classic movies — they rerun them on anniversaries usually, at premium rates. Sometimes it’s worthwhile (e.g., I saw the 80th anniversary showing of Gone with the Wind) but often I’m not that interested in their choices. I’ve seen Pillow Talk at least five times on TV.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Pillow Talk: that is a *very* good point. Although I wouldn’t put it past Hollywood to try.

                      I haven’t seen any of the Disney live action films — but I will go to see The Lion King because I taught “Epic of Old Mali” twice in the last academic year, and now I have the Elton John connection.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • There are said to be parallels in the story (and students of mine have remarked on them), but I hadn’t seen the previous version of the film. The most obvious thing is that “the Lion King” was one of Sundiata Keita’s names. So I guess I will find out in a week or so.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Sue, I am eyeing a Billy Joel viewing at MSG in the future. Not this year but hopefully sometime next year. I loved him in 2009 w/ EJ. So down to earth and wickedly funny. So happy you were able to see him!!

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Hmm. I had two screens open — anyway, none of the comments on their relationship from Reid are very recent. The Scottish Daily Record one is 21 years old. I couldn’t figure out if they were pre or post-lawsuit (it happened that year). But afaik Reid has not made any comment on the film itself.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’d love to see that Tantrums and Tiaras doc., too. I have seen a few snippets on YT but I haven’t looked for it assiduously.

                      I did, however, get a recent EJ record (The Diving Board) from the library today. It’s excellent. He really went somewhere as a musician, or rather, he still seems to be developing as a musician.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I haven’t looked too hard either, but it doesn’t seem to be readily available.

                      I should listen to something more recent… although I’m having fun reliving my teenage years, musically at least. He’s coming to town in September, but I guess I’m too late. Resale tickets only and they’re over $450 CAD for the lowest-priced pair! Too rich for my blood.


                    • Yeah — I looked into it, too, he’s playing a rescheduled date in Milwaukee, which would save me having to have a hotel, but the cheapest available (certified presold or whatever — people reselling through the venue website) are over $700. Insane! And that’s for a not very good seat.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Thank you for the videos here, The movie certainly rung a few bells for me. I am very lucky to have two very loving and supportive parents but the self-esteem issues and masking pain in other ways (shopping for me) I certainly could relate to.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • re: Baldry — he’s a sort of forgotten figure now, I suppose. And he’s the real reason for the choice of “John” as a second stage name — not John Lennon. Makes the story more compact, I suppose, without having to add that piece to it, but an unfortunate choice in that Baldry was gay himself which was presumably why he took the time to persuade EJ that he shouldn’t continue with the girlfriend — whose name was not Arabella, anyway, but Linda.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I remember hearing he was a big deal back in the day and he lived for years in Canada, but I really only remember “Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll.”


                    • I’d never heard of him before reading about EJ after seeing the film. There’s a BBC doc on YT called “The Making of Elton John” (I’ve watched 3 parts of it so far) that suggests that the split came because Baldry wrote a pop song that EJ and his then-band didn’t enjoy backing. But then EJ produced the song that you refer to.

                      In the movie, I think the reference to John Lennon in that scene at the record company is supposed to hint at something the film never says outright, which is that Dick James published the Lennon / McCartney songbook.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Oh I saw that that documentary was on YouTube. I should watch it. That makes sense about the John Lennon reference, but still strange that LJB isn’t mentioned at all.


  5. First off, congrats to your son (and you), here’s to a bright future for him!
    Yeah, work sounds extremely busy for you but nice little pay-off there staring into the eyes on an Adonis. 😉 Seriously, though, those weeks sound too long. Are you still looking into other jobs or would you prefer to stay where you are?
    Yikes on the rats but lovely sunset there!
    Good to have you back. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! On to the next stage!
      Yeah, I don’t know what to do about work, except just to keep working at it. I keep hoping it will get better, and maybe it will. The place I work has many really great things about it. I do look around, but I haven’t really seen the right position. We’ll see.
      Funny how a lot of us seem to have just not had enough time to blog. Hopefully, we can both do it a bit more regularly!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. If this question is still of interest — I just found a reference in Tom Doyle’s biography to Reid admitting that he hit EJ — “I’ve given him more than one black eye.” He doesn’t give a source, but it looks to be an article in the London Sun that was quoted in Billboard on July 22, 1978.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I chased down the Billboard article which made it sound like they were arguments about business issues, as opposed to domestic violence (which is how it looks in the movie), but even so, yeah, Reid was obviously the pugnacious type. He also beat up a journalist in New Zealand for using a homophobic slur, in the early 70s. And he once walked into his own office after someone forgot to pick him up at the airport and fired everyone there.

        I also have two sources now reporting that EJ said that the reason for the breakup was Reid’s infidelity. LOL.

        Rocketman left every cinema in easy driving distance this week so I have to fill the gap with something 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Interesting. I don’t think that’s what Reid gave as the reason!

          So what will you fill it with? The Lion King? I’m at a live performance of Shakespeare in Love. Very funny and romantic too. My son is enjoying it. (It’s intermission.)


          • I will probably see The Lion King on a cheap day (it’s getting mixed to mediocre reviews); there’s just nothing else here to see. I will drive to see The Lehmann Trilogy on Thursday and leave dad with my brother overnight. Then there’s a 40th anniversary showing of the Muppet Movie, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will be released this week, too. (I am getting a bit obsessive about the movie schedule). But yeah, mostly I mean filling it with auxiliary reading about EJ. Also, it turned out my library has the disc of Tantrums and Tiaras 🙂

            I’m glad you’re enjoying Shakespeare in Love — it’s not my favorite but it feels like perfect summer fare. I hope the weather is good where you are.

            Liked by 1 person

            • We had a good time last night. Unfortunately, I ended up with a migraine and had to go to bed right after — maybe the 2nd glass of wine wasn’t such a good idea. 🙂

              Let me know how Tantrums and Tiaras is! The excerpts I’ve seen look fascinating. I hope to one day have time to see movies again. Sigh. Being back at work sucks.


              • So, I’ve seen it now and it is really interesting (as much for what it doesn’t say as for what it does say, e.g., there’s nothing in it about Bernie Taupin or Princess Diana). I would recommend looking for the disc, as there are some interesting “deleted scenes,” but also a version of the original documentary with EJ and Furnish watching / commenting on it. I’m glad I made the effort.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I’ll have to see if my library has it. Weird that Taupin isn’t mentioned as he really was an essential ingredient. I watched a short, low-key documentary from a Swedish concert EJ did early in his career — 1971. The band was just a three-piece of piano, bass, and drums and not the flamboyant, polished performer we’re used to. Interesting from that point of view. He notes that he’s only had one hit, Your Song. I also found it amusing that he is playing his heart out and the audience is just sedately clapping after most songs. Different time and place.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Indeed — fascinating. I think it also highlights so many of the things that make him hard to grasp (beyond the superficial). On the one hand, he absolutely needed (and I suspect, needs) the appreciation from the audience. (It’s really hard for me to believe he will actually stop touring, even though he insists he will.) On the other he’s clearly bothered on some level by the need for show or the need to be observed as such. He’s really talented and knows it on some level but also doesn’t quite believe it’s true.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • A mass of contradictions, but as you say, so talented. My library doesn’t have the DVD, but I think I’ve found it on the internet to stream. Funny that they don’t sell it anymore. I imaging there is a lot of interest since the movie.

                      Liked by 1 person

              • oh, and also worth noting — the commented version of the film is from 13 years later (so the doc is 1995 and the commentary is 2008). In that interval, EJ had become estranged from his mother, Bob Halliday (his personal assistant) and John Reid, all of whom are included in the documentary.

                Liked by 1 person

                  • They don’t say a lot in those sections (beyond “a lot has changed since then”) but it’s interesting to me that they laugh when Haillday appears, and there are some observations about his mother that are not unkind. So I got the sense that EJ’s separation from these people was ambivalent. I think the main thing I took away from the commentary is that EJ is as lovable as he is demanding, and that Furnish must be an unendingly affectionate / understanding partner.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • True, although EJ has said that Furnish had his own life / fortune previous to and apart from him, which has made the relationship a lot easier.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yes, although he had a position in advertising before they got together. His film producing etc was only after they got together. He’s done well in his own right, I think. (Looking him up now, I didn’t realize he grew up not too far from where I grew up in a Toronto suburb. Apparently he and Mike Myers went to the same high school.)


                    • But it wasn’t an entry level position — he was a director of a major advertising firm when they met. So if they broke up for some reason he wouldn’t be living the celebrity lifestyle anymore, I assume, but he would be far from penniless.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • yeah — you’d have to wonder how they’d met otherwise as they wouldn’t have run in the same circles. Apparently they were at a dinner party hosted by John — a mutual friend having been asked to rustle up some sober people to bolster EJ’s social life. Furnish didn’t want to go, but it was infatuation at first sight — kind of a romantic story, really, of the kind I don’t really subscribe to, lol.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Being attracted to someone at first site certainly happens… but to keep things going takes ongoing commitment. I was reading that they send each other handwritten notes every Saturday, which is the anniversary of the day they met. Apparently they’ve done this throughout their lives together. I guess it keeps the relationship alive.


                    • I assume you know what they say about makeup sex. I’m just not that romantic. To me a romantic gesture is getting out of bed early and warming up the car for me when it’s 10 below outside. Or listening to me complain about the same stupid situation for the twentieth time. I’m not opposed to notes and flowers and such, but I have other priorities.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Lol. But after 32 years….
                      I know what you mean, though, about romantic gestures. I really love that my husband does most of the house work and at least half of the cooking! That is really what I need.


                    • There’s another benefit to sharing cleaning, which is that the sharers tend to be more careful about making messes in the first place.

                      (Right now I’m trying to ignore the fact that dad is always telling me that we have to be careful not to make too much mess because the cleaner will have to clean it up. “Who do you think did that before?” I asked him this time he said. “I dunno,” he said. Enraging.)

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • True. I’m so glad you were able to get the cleaner going. It’s funny how sometimes when you introduce a stranger into the mix, best behaviour might come into play. I guess it says that he’s comfortable with you and sure of your commitment, but a bit of a show might have to be put on for a stranger. But yes, enraging, I’m sure.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I am too — it does help a lot. Dad no longer does his own laundry, so I don’t have to be worried about him breaking the washer and dryer, and floors and bathrooms are pretty clean now, so no more fighting about how lazy I am. So far, however, he’s refused to do anything with the senior helper, so I’m still running all the errands, and his latest thing is that he suddenly refuses to recycle anything so I have to pick through the trash every day and hide the recyclables in my car trunk. It’s still not really working the way it’s supposed to and the term is ten days away, but I’m trying not to worry about it.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Wow. Just realized I never replied to this… I’m seriously losing it. Anyway, I’m glad you seem to be on a road that will help you to retain your sanity. Hopefully he opens up to the idea of the senior helper running errands, especially once the term starts. I guess it’s Monday? I hope your return to work for the fall goes smoothly, especially on the home front.

                      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: What if you just got the wrong parent bzw. kid? | Me + Richard Armitage

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