Category Archives: Opinion/Comment

The 10 Album Challenge: 8 through 10

And now (drum roll please) the final three albums on my 10 Album Challenge. Here are #8 and #9, two great albums by great artists with long and illustrious careers:

– Carlos Santana, Supernatural
– Miles Davis, Kind of Blue

And last but not least, for all the mayhem and energy they unleashed upon the world when things were getting stale:

– The Clash, London Calling.

At some point over the challenge a Facebook friend proposed a bonus track to add to his 10, consistent with the theme of artist/album excellence. I jumped on the idea, and as this is the end of the line for the challenge, what better than “End Of The Line” by The Traveling Wilburys, a bunch of musicians who clearly loved each other’s company. 

The 10 Album Challenge: 5 through 7

I’m back with three more on the 10 Album Challenge. Today’s albums are:

– Joni Mitchell, Blue
– Cowboy Junkies, The Trinity Session
– Oscar Peterson, Night Train

These are great albums by artists in their prime. All Canucks to boot. When I was a kid that was an important thing to us. We lived next to a behemoth and were swamped in their culture. We felt ownership when one of us made it south of the border or got noticed by the rest of the world. 

All three of these artists did that.  Their music stands the test of time. And no one made a keyboard smoke like Oscar Peterson.

That’s seven. Three to go.

The 10 Album Challenge: 1 through 4

My advice? Stay off Facebook.

After answering the 7 Day Book Challenge from one friend there, I was handed the 10 Album Challenge by another, viz: to name 10 albums that “influenced me”; and to tap 10 other people to do the same.

Sheesh. What am I, a Kardashian? Social influencer for the 2020 home-bound? I accepted the challenge, though I’m not doing it daily—I’m doubling up (and more, as with today’s post). Also, I decided not to tag others on social media to name their 10 albums, on the assumption that no one wants to go viral right now: There’s enough of THAT going on already. Besides, my expertise at viral memery is limited to my stay-at-home role in the 2016-18 Person of Letters Global Book Tour, wherein my first novel A Person of Letters went on tour without me and appeared in 100 world locations in 100 weeks. For all that effort, total global awareness of the Tour and the book peaked at 6 (7 if I count a Russian troll). If you’re interested, click on the tab labelled “The Magical APOL Book Tour” on the left of this page. All 100 posts are there, unfortunately in reverse order.

Back to the 10 Album Challenge. I can’t say that many albums influenced me, as in, changed my life—though there are some that struck me and stayed with me for their originality and verve.

Album #1 (in order of presentation, not preference) is in this category: Don McLean’s American Pie, which inspires me with its story-telling, imagery, and convention-busting.  The title song is audacious for its disregard of traditional commercial broadcast practices; it clocked in at eight minutes and thirty-three seconds.

By and large I’m treating the 10 Album Challenge like a 10 Artist Challenge, because it’s the body of work I admire, particularly the following artists for their lyrics, which are always evocative and perfectly honed. Poetry isn’t dead, it’s just sung to music. Albums #2 through #4 are:

Leonard Cohen, I’m Your Man
Bruce Springsteen, Darkness on the Edge of Town
The Tragically Hip, Fully Completely

These are worthy albums among their extensive discographies, but I recommend anything they’ve recorded.

My tally is four. Six to go.

The 7 Day Book Challenge: Day 3

Image may contain: bicycle and text

Day 3 of the 7 Day Book Challenge, wherein I post, without comment or description, 7 books in 7 days.

Ah, but a QUOTE is not a comment or description. So I urge you to consider the timeless wisdom of Groucho Marx:

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.

Inside of your house, though, it’s plenty light, and completely safe to read. My Day 3 book is The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion.

The 7 Day Book Challenge: Day 1


I was recently tagged by a friend on Facebook to participate in the 7 Day Book Challenge. The Challenge involves:

1) posting, without comment, 7 books in 7 days; and
2) nominating one more person each day to do the same.

In these viral times, I’m not doing the viral nomination component. I invite everyone who wants to participate to do so. After all, the world is on lock-down. Where isolating physically. So we’ve all got the time, and it’s not like we have to be anywhere.

Also – hug a writer (metaphorically and safely, of course, from a distance):  read a book, and let the world know!

This is my Day 1. Book 1 is Little Big Man, by Thomas Berger.