Thursday, 30 December 2021


The Greek Alphabet

Classical antiquity

Is mostly Greek to me

I was not an Alpha dog

Just another working cog

Phi Beta Krappa

A photo of Frank Zappa

And Chi goes with Sox

Chicago baseball talk

Oh Epsilon Epsilon

William Faulkner read you wrong

His was not the Tau of Pooh

Piglet Tigger and little Rhoo

Good gosh Omicron

On the heels of Delta’s dawn

Hell I wasn’t ready

For a virus so unsteady

Curses on this life of Pi

Gamma rays make me cry

I can’t cope one more Iota

Pour me another vodka soda

Upsilon and down the hatch

Got my third Moderna batch

A must avoid this social stigma

Though the letter I sought was Sigma

Alas now what can I do

Sans a muse for Nu and Mu

Although maybe La(m)bda

Could sound like La Bamba

Letters Theta and Eta

Rhyme with crumbly feta

And what about Xi and Psi

Do they Scrabble qualify 

But Catherine Zeta-Jones

Michael Douglas moans

I now so dread Omega

Like a song by Suzanne Vega                   

meGeoff has been your most unreliable, unbalanced and inaccurate alternative source of painfully poor poetry since 2013. But my novella Of Course You Did is the Platonic ideal of that particular literary form, honest. Visit to find your preferred format and retailer. 

Thursday, 23 December 2021


“Two of Us”

The Beatles have been top of mind of late. The corporate entity which has lived on since the group’s desultory dissolution in 1970 has always been canny. Get Back and its reanimation of Let It Be follows other select album anniversary reissues, new compilations, Anthology, the stereo, mono and Capitol box sets, Love and of course the excitement surrounding the band’s calculated and staggered debut on compact disc way back in eighties. Elvis Presley Enterprises can’t compete.

When I was a boy I assumed A Hard Day’s Night and Help! were documentaries. I couldn’t have told you what a documentary was back in the mid-sixties, but all movies seemed to be made in one take, without scripts, sets nor editing; any scene on celluloid rang true to my unsophisticated eyes and ears. They were just moving Kodak photographs; I possessed no disbelief to suspend.

My mother’s elder sister was a remarkable woman. As a teenager Auntie Mag believed her destiny lay in a convent. She instead found her calling as a Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson; from time to time she modelled the latest fashions in photo shoots for her ad agency’s clients. In her spare time she studied piano and painted. One of her works, a still life of yellow tulips, hangs in the Crooked 9 – not because Auntie Mag painted it but because it’s a remarkable work of art. Hipper than my mother, Auntie Mag took me to the cinema to see Yellow Submarine upon its release. She loved the Beatles; she could appreciate how the Fab Four were “lifting latches,” opening doors. Following the movie I was treated to a delightful discourse on the nature of design, the film’s usage of primary colours and its fluid animation technique, so very different from the classic Bugs Bunny and crude Saturday morning Beatles cartoons I was used to watching. All a bit beyond my grasp at the time but the information filtered through over the years and consequently has never been forgotten. The established world need not be so established in its ways.

“Two of us wearing raincoats/standing solo in the sun.” The Beatles breakup was staggering news. Perhaps my first experience with grief – an ill-fated family cat aside. I thought they were four best friends, the way I was best friends with a couple of boys who lived on my street. The tomboy sisters who lived on the corner were devastated. I’ve still no idea how they managed to stretch their weekly allowances to stay current with the initial spate of solo releases.

The fourth Beatles feature film was Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s Let It Be. My Auntie did not take me to see that one although she’d no issues with me, then aged ten, seeing Little Big Man. No, Let It Be was something else. Let It Be was midnight repertory showings and the realization that some sort of life beyond high school wasn’t so fantastically distant. Old enough to buy cigarettes, and probably a six-pack – provided the corner shop owner wasn’t too fussy about selling beer to spotty kids.

My high school was situated on a university campus in Montreal’s West End. Depending on my mother’s marital status, school was either three or two bus rides away. Friends lived in neighbourhoods other than mine. My city was opening up. Cinema V was on Sherbrooke Street West in Notre-Dame de Grace. It faced NDG Park, a big, green and heavily treed recreational space about the size of two city blocks. There was plenty of cover, the lighting didn’t much illuminate the paths and benches. We’d gather there well in advance of show time to hang out, hoping to catch a buzz. Teendom did not come with a user’s manual. People dated, but I don’t know that any particular couple ever went out alone on a weekend night, the gang was omnipresent.

At the time (and sometimes still do), I thought the Beatles were much cooler after they ditched their band uniforms and costumes. In retrospect, I believe letting themselves go as a unified visual entity manifested their inability to take care of band business as a unit following the sudden death of their manager and confidante Brian Epstein in the summer of 1967. “You and me chasing paper/getting nowhere.”

Let It Be was a downer. But it was never boring. Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same was boring and Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii was really boring; the pot and hash didn’t work. To see the Beatles as themselves instead of acting as Beatles in a Richard Lester film was amazing. The Savile Row rooftop finale is still mind blowing, exhilarating, that penultimate party drink before one too many. Nobody, not me friends, not my Auntie, would ever see them perform together again. That is a shame because had there been a will there would’ve been a way, but the two principals were “Sunday driving/not arriving” and that was obvious to them as “Writing letters/on my wall.”

The Beatles recorded and released about ten hours of music. With Get Back, director Peter Jackson distilled some 50 hours of footage captured by Lindsay-Hogg down to eight. While he certainly emphasizes the tedium of creativity and studio work, Get Back is never boring. And Jackson tells a different story from Let It Be - although George still comes across from their dysfunctional universe as overly sensitive and a tad precious.

“Two of Us” to me was never a nostalgic day tripping ditty about aimless motoring, P.G. Wodehouse, those warm and fuzzy years before the Hun invaded France. It’s always been about John and Paul. There’s a wonderful sequence in Get Back when they run through the song in Goon Show voices, perhaps inspired by a visit from Peter Sellers. When it comes time to really get down to it, the childhood friends lock eyes and wavelengths. John and Paul sing in harmony as well as the Everly Brothers ever did and to each other like Sonny and Cher dueting on “I Got You Babe.”

“You and I have memories/longer than the road that stretches out ahead.” And there it is: from the bus shelter in the Penny Lane roundabout, the Star Club, Shea Stadium and Sgt. Pepper, they’ve done it all and the future, for whatever reasons, many reasons, proffers no promise. Fans and viewers like me are again left with heartaches, those 1970 pangs revisited, albeit restored, remastered and reissued. Bittersweet memories refreshed.                   


meGeoff has been your most unreliable, unbalanced and inaccurate alternative source of memory and musical musings since 2013. My novella Of Course You Did is widely available. Visit to find your preferred format and retailer. It costs a heck of a lot less than Sir Paul’s new book

Friday, 10 December 2021


Hey Joe

Our collective human consciousness vibrates throughout the atmosphere in mysterious ways. You need to have your antenna up; you need to be tuned in. My latest bout with synchronicity has been mildly alarming as it concerns camels – and not the cigarettes. God help me, sometimes the cosmic switch is best left in the OFF position.

In 1973 Top 40 radio listeners had the misfortune of being constantly exposed to the cringingly wretched “Midnight at the Oasis.” Maria Muldaur is still a well regarded folk and blues singer and so her biggest hit still sounds anomalous, a career asterisk unlike say, Paul Anka’s execrable “(You’re) Having My Baby” from the same year, that ditty a fresh turd atop an already stinking pile.

“Midnight at the Oasis” is a sort of Middle Eastern erotic fantasy: Rudy Vallee as the sultan maybe, Scheherazade with a hippie hash pipe, more Justin Trudeau’s prep school Aladdin than Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks. Regardless, the fistful of sand in the Vaseline jar is undeniable. I’ve heard “Midnight at the Oasis” twice on the radio this past week. Me being meGeoff, I’ve been wandering around the Crooked 9 warbling my own lyric, “Midnight at the oasis, bring your camel to bed…”

Who knew things could get more bestial? Thursday morning’s newspaper carried an Associated Press story, datelined Dubai, United Arab Emirates stating that dozens of camels had been disqualified from a Saudi Arabian camel beauty contest. The busted cheater creatures had been injected with Botox and hormones, and had been subjected to other cosmetic alterations including facelifts.

The kingdom’s King Abdulaziz Camel Festival is an annual celebration of Bedouin heritage and culture, an affectionate affirmation of the old ways, much like Calgary’s annual Stampede. Its US $66-million prize pot is nothing to spit at. I am not mocking tradition here, but I must be permitted to snicker at the excesses and parallels with the West. It’s human nature to judge and compete: bodybuilders, Miss America contestants, gymnasts and figure skaters. You will find lipstick on a pig at an agricultural fair. Triple Crown contenders get a little something extra in their feedbags. Dogs go to spas and get stupid haircuts. Records, movies, hotels and restaurants are awarded stars.

But Botox for camels? Lips like Jagger. Rubberized, expressionless faces featuring impossibly white teeth. Disturbing anthropomorphism. Kardashian camels.

I reread the article. I put my pop art Who coffee mug down on the countertop, too struck to sip. I re-reread the article. I shook my head and looked to my right. The Crooked 9 is an old school household; it cannot function without the oversized kitchen wall calendar and erasable, magnetic board hung beneath it. I stared at the white rectangle imagining a movie screen. I saw Maria Muldaur bedding down with cigarette mascot Joe Camel. An artificially enhanced narcissist like him, I know the type: the kind of critter who’d place his ashtray on Maria’s belly.           


meGeoff has been your most unreliable, unbalanced and inaccurate alternative source of rational thought in a world teetering on the brink of madness since 2013. My novella Of Course You Did is widely available. Visit to find your preferred format and retailer.

Friday, 3 December 2021


Local Hero

Last August Ann noticed a small item on her Edmonton Journal feed. The paper was set to launch a column on the local literary scene. I made a note of the writer’s name and his e-mail address. Of Course You Did had been available since July. I’d not been comfortable arranging a formal launch, masked inside an enclosed space amid this pandemic. I needed some publicity beyond Facebook.

I dislike doing readings and public speaking in general. I always feel like Big Joe Turner’s love child: shake, prattle and droll. The irony is after nearly 30 years in advertising, self-promotion is anathema. Charlotte Bronte scribbled, “I’m just going to write because I cannot help it.” Whatever messes I’ve made in my life, I’ve always known my creative impulse is pure, I simply hope to be read.

Because I’m too pedantic and persnickety about language to reach out to anyone unless they need a hand, I instead contacted the columnist – following a week’s girding, working up the nerve to steel myself for yet another rejection. His reply was encouraging because I was surprised to receive one: “No promises.” Fair enough.

In mid-September Of Course You Did was the subject of a complimentary albeit brief review in the newspaper’s “Book Marks” column. My novella was described as “twisted time travel” which played out as “a tragedy in three acts.” I thought maybe I could leverage (pardon the ad jargon, the word I really should use is “exploit”) the positive notice with bookshops which are understandably reluctant to stock titles by poor-selling unknowns. I sent out some feelers. With Canada’s largest chain I was up against throw cushions and votive candles; I lost.

Last weekend’s Journal declared Of Course You Did “one of the most memorable books of the year.” My strange little story was “both heartwarming and gut wrenching.” I’d somehow managed to scribble one of the local literary sensations of 2021. I felt good that Saturday morning, something like a slough shark in a rain barrel. I experienced about one fine hour of exquisite egoism. Ann said she wasn’t sure she could stand the company, her domestic proximity to celebrity – a fair comment from a very patient person who read and corrected six drafts. I replied we might have to renovate the house so my head could fit through the door frames; as it was I was trapped in the kitchen. That was just as well because the breakfast dishes needed washing and the food scraps bucket under the sink needed emptying. And anyway, the song on the radio was still a baddie and outside the low, late November weather was still sun-proofed. Besides, those worrisome prostrate dribbles of mine aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

Still, ‘tis the season. I can’t think of a better Christmas gift for a loved one than a slim volume of fiction by an obscure Canadian writer and a regional one at that. Of Course You Did is available in three formats from multiple retailers including Amazon, Apple Books and Barnes & Noble; the book is also available to the trade through the Ingram wholesale distribution company. But, wait! There’s more! Check out          


meGeoff has been your most unreliable, unbalanced and inaccurate alternative source of tentative self-promotion since 2013. My novella Of Course You Did is widely available. Visit to find your preferred format and retailer. Relentless repetition is “frequency” in ad jargon