Tom Harrison

This is a blog post that I didn’t think I’d be writing.

On December 27, my friend Tom Harrison passed away at the age of 70. We were friends for more than 40 years – a number which astounded me when I calculated it. We met in the late 1970s when he was the music writer for The Province newspaper and I was the music writer for The Vancouver Sun, but it honestly doesn’t feel like that long ago.

I knew who Tom was long before I actually met him. Any music lover in Vancouver in the 1970s knew who Tom was, from his writing in the Georgia Straight weekly paper and also from the pioneering music video show Soundproof that he co-hosted on cable TV. But a lot of people didn’t know that Continue reading

“Song Book” now available as an e-book

My book Song Book has just been released in e-book format.

You can buy the Kindle version on Amazon. There is also a preview of the book that you don’t need Kindle to view – just click on “Look Inside” at the top of the image of the book cover.

You can buy the Nook version at Barnes and Noble, and the Kobo version at Indigo. Both of those sites also have free previews.

You can buy Song Book in all other e-book formats (e.g.  Apple Books, Google Play, PDF) at Smashwords.

Kate Bush’s ‘Lily’

Photographer Gitte Morten has started a blog titled One Kiss In Apple Blossom. It features women who are Kate Bush fans describing their favourite Kate song, and Gitte’s photographic response to them and the song.

Being a major Kate Bush fan, as soon as I heard this idea, I was all over it. However, Gitte lives in Somerset, England, and I am in British Columbia, Canada. Being about 4500 miles away made a photo session a bit of a challenge. But thanks to FaceTime and Gitte’s willingness to experiment with photographing a computer screen, she made it happen – and it was a great deal of fun. Here are the results, and my thoughts on Kate’s song “Lily”.

Fiona: Lily (1993)

After the Dark: Teddy Vann & Akim’s ‘Santa Claus Is A Black Man’

[originally appeared in Shindig! issue #86]

The late ‘60s and early ‘70s were a time of social unrest in the United States, and black Americans were a major part of the uprisings against systemic discrimination and inequality. While many black activists were challenging the societal norms that perpetuated racial oppression, they were also reclaiming pride in their own heritage – and producer and songwriter Teddy Vann was one of those activists. His ’73 single ‘Santa Claus Is A Black Man’, featuring his five-year-old daughter Akim, has been rightly described as “merging African-American empowerment with the spirit of the holiday”.

Vann was astoundingly prolific and multi-talented; although largely self-educated, he was Continue reading