Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 164

Akelamalu says Well the cakes look beautiful, can't wait to see the celebration photos. :)

Janet says Now I want cake! Looking forward to the pics and commentary tomorrow, Julia :)

Nikita Banerjee says Yummy cakes and my best wishes to Michelle!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 167 - Defining Moment #3

Danika Dinsmore inspired this poem when I read her post about creating defining moments to develop your characters.

This 3:15 poem takes a look at Richolf, the falconer from my serialized fiction which appears on Saturdays.

Defining Moment #3

the sound of the slap
the wildness unleashed behind her mask
the lips he wouldn't kiss for some time yet

Like every man
He'd heard the tales
Of beholding a maid
And feeling thunderstruck

When he heard the crack
Of her hand upon the boy's face
His head snapped to follow the sound

He crept through the trees
Silent hunter's feet
Keeping his secret

There she was
Tall and broad as a dragon
In her fury

The youth curled low
Hands protecting his head
As her blows pelted like coals

He waited
Till her hand ceased the striking
And latched onto the boy's collar instead

He waited
Till the blade-edge bite of her voice
Finally reduced the boy to tears

He watched
As the fire never dimmed from her eyes
Merely spread from her gaze, from her hand

Till she wrapped the crying youth
In her arms
Till his sweat and tears stained her breast

He never stirred
From that tangle of branches
Which shielded and held him

She never knew
Till much later
So many days and nights it took

But he'd fallen for her
The moment he'd heard that slap
In the echoing wood

She never knew that he would gladly
Have taken the blows
Just to feel her hand upon him

That the sight of her parted lips
As she spoke the words
That drew the tears

Had robbed his legs of strength
He could have fallen to his knees
Before her wrath

He was glad he waited
A hunter has patience, after all
Her lips were so much sweeter

When they finally parted
For his sighs
And all her heat was for him

The boy had not known
What to do with such a storm
So why provoke it?

But he could ride this hurricane
He loved how it felt
To have limbs snap off, rooftops torn off

© Julia Smith, Aug. 26, 2010

How to participate in the 3:15 Experiment

Starting on the night of July 31/Aug. 1, set your alarm for 3:15 am, wake up, write a poem in the midst of your sleepiness and go back to sleep. Repeat each night for the month of August.

Visit the originators of the project for more information:

Danika Dinsmore

Gwendolyn Alley

For more poetry, Ride the Poetry Train!

Detail from Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses by John William Waterhouse

Art Predator says Cool 3:15 poem Julia!

Naquillity says Would this woman you speak of be Ingerith?

Gautami Tripathy says Beautiful poetry!

Summer Stock Sunday - 29

My vintage look at summer for Summer Stock Sunday, hosted by Robin at Around the Island.

Yesterday and this afternoon, my sister is the guest of honor at two bridal showers - one hosted by our family, one hosted by her new family-in-law-to-be.

In the timeless ways of summer celebrations, another bridal shower was held for my mom in the summer of 1962 by her landlady, Mrs. Crete. Mom was rooming with her, while her family resettled themselves from a recent ping-pong move from Michigan to Canada and back to Michigan.

Here in this shot is the bride-to-be, my mom Paulette, and behind her on the left is her mom, Juliette, with her mother-in-law-to-be, Viola on the right. The two moms held a second shower in their daughter's honor in absentia, as Mom was already posted with my dad overseas during his three-year US Army service. They sent all of Mom's shower gifts through the army posting delivery to Europe.

I'll be posting pix of my sister's two showers this week for Thursday Thirteen, if you'd like to drop by.

Nessa says It was nice that so many people took care of your mom.

Naquillity says What great friends your mother had. Lovely picture. And congrats to your sister on her two bridal showers. May she always be happy.

Robin says As someone who lives far across the world from the rest of her family I can really appreciate this - friends really do become surrogate relatives when you're away from home. Congratulations to your sister!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weekend Writer's Retreat - 22

Here's the latest installment of Scorpius' boyhood back story.

Scorpius is a character from my dark fantasy work in progress. For the first twelve scenes I've posted for the Weekend Writer's Retreat, we've followed him as a seven-year-old, when he outgrew the nursery where he'd been brought up with the other children of the blood.

But when no one from his family came to claim him, Scorpius was released to serve a falcon master as an apprentice.

We rejoin him at age ten.

An incident that took place at the falconer's cottage three years ago has political repercussions that now haunt Scorpius and his master, Richolf.

You can follow the progress of this story arc by clicking on the Works in Progress link just under the blog header.

Scene 22

He should have thought it strange about the dog.

Scorpius rose from the pallet, his master’s soiled bandages in his hands, just as the dog picked up its head expectantly to gaze at the door. Bleary from looking after Richolf and the falcons and the dog on his own, he didn’t question the lack of barking or the slight tail wag as the door to the cottage swung open.

A woman swept inside, her strangled cry at the sight of the falconer reducing Scorpius to a stranger in his own home. She collected herself enough to ask, “Are you Scorpius?” Her stricken expression made her calm question surreal.

Looking back at his master, who lay in a half-sleep, tunic spread wide to allow for new dressings, Scorpius bowed to her and nodded.

“May I?” she asked, indicating the pallet. He nodded again and stepped aside.

She moved gracefully across the rough cottage floor, kneeling in a billow of skirt to take Richolf’s face gently in both of her hands. She couldn’t stop the tears then. His master’s eyes opened to focus upon her face.

With surprising strength, Richolf grabbed her to him, both of them crying and kissing and laughing all at once. Scorpius had never felt the desire to be elsewhere so intensely.

Dropping the bandages in the basin, he signaled the dog to follow and the two slunk out into the morning. He should see to the birds, but he was so tired. He’d just take a moment.

Settling himself in the shade of a tree, he nestled in the soft grass, the dog curling beside him. When he woke the sun was past the midday position.

Getting groggily to his feet, Scorpius lurched toward the cottage, not sure at first what he’d been doing sleeping outside. As he neared the cottage door, the memory of her cry and their kisses quickened his pulse.

The dog barged past him as he paused on the threshold. His master and the woman both sat at the table. The smell of food filled the cottage, and a dish of it sat waiting for him.

“Come,” Richolf said, gesturing. “I’d like you to meet someone.”

Scorpius closed the door and slid onto his chair, too shy suddenly to gaze into her face which now shone with joy.

“Scorpius, this is Ingerith.”

All he could do was nod, staring instead at the feast she’d somehow conjured up while he slept.

“She tells me you’ve taken very good care of my wounds,” Richolf said.

Scorpius glanced up then, to see her gazing at him with gratitude. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. There had been many beauties come to the nursery to fetch their sons and daughters. But she was the first gently-bred woman to ever look him in the face, the first to see him.

A shiver of delight ran over his skin.

© Julia Smith, 2010

Travis Cody says This made me smile. There has been so much tension, and now suddenly a bit of gentleness. This segment is well-timed.

Janet says This is a wonderful scene after so much tension and turmoil for Scorpius! And I'm thinking, perhaps his first crush?

Ann Pino says I'm glad to see Richolf is better, but it seems there's a new mystery now. I can't wait to learn more about Ingerith.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 on Friday - Set 29

Travis at Trav's Thoughts invites everyone to lay down a short set of music that takes their fancies for his 5 on Friday meme.

To continue on with my admiration for all things Richard Armitage, here are five songs I discovered on You Tube by watching various Richard fanvids.

Of course, as a graduate of film school, I should be shocked and appalled at fanvids - but I love them. The people who make them are using music and footage that in no way belong to them. However, in my not-humble opinion, these fanvids end up working as free publicity, so I look at it as a win-win situation. Discovering musicians and films through these fanvids have led directly to my buying their CD's and DVD's.

Besides which, I get a real charge out of seeing what regular folk manage to come up with, using their home editing programs. The fanvids become mini character studies which I find irresistable.

Keep in mind that these videos all contain spoilers.

1 - When You're Falling - Peter Gabriel with Afro Celt Sound System

Cause when you’re falling
I can’t tell which way is down
And when you’re screaming
Somehow I don't hear a sound

And when you're seeing things
Then your feet don’t touch the ground
Cause when you're falling
I can't tell which way is down

- Emmerson / Lionaird / McNally / Russell

2 - Lies - The Pierces

I can't tell you how many times I've cried
Over you, my baby
I've had one too many sleepless nights
Over you, my baby

While you're out there getting high
One more night for me to cry
Can you look me in the eye
Cross your heart and hope to die

- Greenawalt / Allison and Catherine Pierce

3 - Shame on the Soul - Speck Mountain

Weight of all your reason
A harder hand you'll find
Ooo I know
Lord it's cold
On this empty plane of mine

Shame on me
On me
Lord I know
Shame on me
Oh lord I know

- Speck Mountain

4 - Make Me Wanna Die - The Pretty Reckless

Taste me
Drink my soul
Show me all the things
That I shouldn't know
When there's a new moon on the rise

I had everything
Opportunities for eternity
And I could belong to the night
Your eyes
Your eyes
I can see in your eyes
Your eyes

You make me wanna die

- Khandwala / Momsen / Phillips

5 - Almost Lover - A Fine Frenzy

Goodbye my almost lover
Goodbye my hopeless dream
I'm trying not to think about you
Can't you just let me be?

So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
Should have known you'd
Bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do

- Alison Sudol

Jamie says It is a good set when you can't decide your favorite in the "never heard before" songs.

Mike Golch says I enjoyed these. I like that you are part of the on Friday meme.

VA Bookworm 87 says Guy is such a terrible person, but Richard Armitage [inadvertently] made him into a super hot bad boy! I love fan vids :D I watch a lot of North & South vids!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 173 - 13 Ways to Admire Richard Armitage

1 - This week's Thursday Thirteen is a celebration of Richard Armitage's birthday, which rolled around last Sunday.

Like many, many people I first discovered this actor when I settled in to watch North & South, a BBC miniseries set in Victorian northern England. If you have not seen it yet - walk, don't run to your nearest movie provider and do yourself a HUGE favor.

2 - From there I went on to gobble up three seasons of BBC's Robin Hood.

His portrayal of extremely gray character Guy of Gisborne took me places I'd never thought I'd go. He somehow made a self-absorbed, opportunistic brute into a tragic, redeemable soul.

3 - These two preceding roles did not prepare me for his charming turn in the 2006 Christmas Day double episode of The Vicar of Dibley.

His character arrived to end the series by sweeping Dawn French - and all the other Dawn French's out there - off our collective feet.

4 - Because I knew he would be joining the cast of Spooks (MI-5 in North America) my husband and I decided to catch up on the previous six seasons first.

Not only did that bring me two marvellous predecessors to Richard's character of Lucas North (Matthew Macfadyen's Tom Quinn and Rupert Penry-Jones' Adam Carter) but it made Richard's ultimate arrival exceedingly bittersweet.

5 - His latest action/adventure/spy game role is in a series based on the novels of Chris Ryan, a former member of the British Special Forces.

Strike Back aired in the UK in May of this year, and has been released on DVD and Blu-ray. International broadcast is to be announced. My amazing hubby has already delivered this series to me for our viewing pleasure. Thumbs up from both of us.

6 - As many of you know, Richard is the model for my dark fantasy character Scorpius. He is front and center in my mind as Scorpius' story reveals itself to me. I find it easier to cast actors as my characters. Then I 'download' the actor's mannerisms, physical appearance and voice into my mind, and simply run that program when I'm writing about that character.

7 - And I have a ninth season of Spooks in which to lose myself.

Praise be!

"This year is very much about identity," Armitage admits. "Because they're turning Lucas inside out, so he's not who we thought he was – which was kind of a surprise to me as well. It's almost like what you've seen so far is only part of the picture." - guardian.co.uk

8 - In response to the assertion that he has become many a writer's muse, Richard says:

"Much as I would love to take credit for ‘launching writing careers’ the credit is Elizabeth Gaskell’s" (for her creation of the character of John Thornton in North & South.) - Vulpes Libris

9 - What would Richard's dream role be?

"A series about Richard III," he says. "That's something I really want to do. A prequel to The Tudors. That's what I dream of doing." - tv.com

10 - In the meantime, no rest for the wicked:

A second series of Strike Back has been ordered by Sky 1, which will keep Richard busy as soon as season 9 of Spooks wraps up.

11 - In between military training and the filming of waterboarding scenes for all his various spy roles, Richard has racked up an impressive array of voiceover credits. Among many projects are the three Georgette Heyer audiobooks he's narrated - The Convenient Marriage, Sylvester and Venetia.

12 - "I think I've perfected my serious face," Richard says. "I can do 'confused and angry' or 'utter panic'. If I could do 'humorous' that would give me three faces to pull." - Reader's Digest

13 - "I have fun with the baddies," says Richard. "Because I can really delve into my naughty side." - Radio Times

VA Bookworm 87 says How incredibly ironic! The original post that drew me to your blog ages ago was your "Thursday Thirteen - 61 - 13 Truly Marvellous Things About Richard Armitage"! And here I am again reading about how awesome he is :) You're the only person I know who obsesses about him the way I do! lol

Nikita Banerjee says He is hot!

Joanna D'Angelo says Julia - I do believe you have made my day! Also - you should make RA a regular feature. Like RA Day or something. ;)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 163

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Poetry Train Monday - 166 - You Reached Out

Les McKeown Week wraps up here at A Piece of My Mind with this poem written a week ago for the 3:15 Experiment.

How to participate in the 3:15 Experiment

Starting on the night of July 31/Aug. 1, set your alarm for 3:15 am, wake up, write a poem in the midst of your sleepiness and go back to sleep. Repeat each night for the month of August.

Visit the originators of the project for more information:

Danika Dinsmore

Gwendolyn Alley

For more poetry, Ride the Poetry Train!

You Reached Out

When I first read about
Your ordeal
I felt as though
My girlhood joy
Had contributed to your
Thirty years of torment

At first
When I gazed once again
Upon your face
From those old photos
When I realized
What had happened
I looked down
I saw blood on my hands

I wish all of those
Girlish hearts
Had been enough to shield you
But I'm grateful
That one woman's heart
Was your haven
That your son
Helped you to see
That boys should be cherished

You spoke against your attacker
But no one would listen
How could a boy
Ward off a predator
Who'd built such a web of terror
Who carved misery
Into so many psyches

You grabbed your own life back
From the chasm's edge
I know that's why
My girlish heart
Thrilled to you
When you gazed into the camera
And reached out

Reached out

Somewhere inside me
I knew that pain lurked
Somewhere inside you
But I also recognized
The courage
You have shown
Have always shown
In the face of it all

© Julia Smith, Aug. 15, 2010

Danika Dinsmore says This is a 3:15 poem? It's far too cohesive! lol.

Akelamalu says Wonderful poem Julia, I like it very much.

Toni says I didn't know. :( And I too was a huge fan.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Stock Sunday - 28

My vintage look at summer for Summer Stock Sunday, hosted by Robin at Around the Island.

Just got off the phone with my nearly-all-my-life friend, Mary, seen below with me eating drippy watermelon forty years ago. We're making plans to meet when my husband and I head for Toronto over Christmas.

This is an old Polaroid shot, so what looks like a burning ember on Mary's shirt is just the chemical fixatives deteriorating somewhat on the photograph.

Have you had your drippy watermelon yet this summer? If not, there's still time.

Weekend Writer's Retreat - 21

Here's the latest installment of Scorpius' boyhood back story.

Scorpius is a character from my dark fantasy work in progress. For the first twelve scenes I've posted for the Weekend Writer's Retreat, we've followed him as a seven-year-old, when he outgrew the nursery where he'd been brought up with the other children of the blood.

But when no one from his family came to claim him, Scorpius was released to serve a falcon master as an apprentice.

We rejoin him at age ten.

An incident that took place at the falconer's cottage three years ago has political repercussions that now haunt Scorpius and his master, Richolf.

You can follow the progress of this story arc by clicking on the Works in Progress link just under the blog header.

Scene 21

The babies’ crying filled his head, pushing him out from under the covers faster than he’d normally arise. Scorpius walked sleepily over to where Nurse and her maids dressed the little ones for their visit with their families, set to collect them today.

Once upon a time, he’d supposed, he’d had a little suit to receive visitors. But the years came and went, and no one ever came for Scorpius. Instead he helped Nurse to occupy the babies while they waited, making sure their lace collars and shiny buttons were not messed with spit-up.

A pair of elegant parents swept in and scooped up their darling, and Scorpius watched the little family leave with a horrible longing twisting in his chest. The feeling grew and grew until suddenly he was awake and lying on the pallet he’d dragged onto the kitchen floor so his master could heal upon it.

Richolf jerked and twitched on the bed, coated in sweat. Scorpius barely had time to scoot out of the way before his master bolted awake, Richolf’s disturbing scream raising the hairs all over Scorpius’ body.

He knew enough by now that it only made things worse if he tried to touch his master after one of these nightmares. Hanging back, he waited until Richolf’s wide-eyed gaze found him as he swept the room for his torturers.

“Good morning, sir,” Scorpius said in as normal a tone as he could manage.

Richolf cleared his throat. “Morning,” he said gruffly.

Scorpius rose and set about feeding the dog and preparing their breakfast. His master had not been too interested in eating since returning from being questioned. But how would he ever heal if he had no strength?

Kneeling beside his master, Scorpius held the plate with a plain biscuit and gave Richolf as stern a look as he dared. “You must eat, sir.”

Nodding, the falconer reached for the bread and brought it to his lips. But his hand shook. It may as well have been made of stone, the way his teeth barely ripped a mouthful of it. Scorpius got an idea and gently took the bread back.

Tearing it into little bite-sized pieces, he fed it to his master as though he slipped cookies to the fussing, teething babies back at the nursery where he’d grown up. Or the way they rewarded the falcons with bits of meat when they trained them in the field.

It took a while, but eventually the falconer managed the entire biscuit. It was the most food he’d eaten in a week. Probably longer, if Scorpius included the time his master had spent in the dungeon. His heart eased as he stood and brought the empty plate to the sideboard.

He had to leave him then to attend to the hawks out back. As he cleaned the mews and fed the birds, his mind fixated on the men who’d come here to fetch his master away to hurt him. Whenever he’d waited for the mother and father who’d never showed up for him at the nursery, he’d always assumed they would be good people, his parents. But who was to say his very father wasn’t one of the men who made his master bleed?

As Scorpius rounded the corner of the falconer’s cottage and made his way through the door, he was unprepared for the elation that filled him at the sight of his master sitting up on the pallet and stroking the dog around the ears. There was a time when he’d been certain that only the discovery of his parents’ identities would ever give him such a feeling.

But as he entered the cottage and Richolf’s gaze softened at the sight of him, Scorpius realized he might never want to know who those two people were.

© Julia Smith, 2010

Naquillity says Glad to see Richolf is doing some better now.

Apprentice Writer says Having just returned from a visit to the National Gallery in Ottawa, I'll say I love the use of light and shadow, and color red, in the pieces displayed in your art sidebar. Very beautiful and evocative.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

5 on Friday - Set 28

Travis at Trav's Thoughts invites everyone to lay down a short set of music that takes their fancies for his 5 on Friday meme.

Since this is Les McKeown Week here at A Piece of My Mind, here are five tunes from the Bay City Rollers. In the summer of 1976 I fell hard for the lead singer of this Scottish band. 30 years later I still love his voice and still get swoony when his gaze reaches through the lens to find me.

1 - Saturday Night

Gonna dance with my baby
Till the night is through
On Saturday night, Saturday night
Tell her all the little things
I'm gonna do
On Saturday night, Saturday night

I love her so
I'm gonna let her know

At the good old rock and roll road show
I gotta go
Saturday night, Saturday night
Gonna rock it up
Roll it up
Do it all
Have a ball
Saturday night, Saturday night

- Coulter / Martin

2 - Sweet Virginia

Oh Sweet Virginia
No, you never knew her name
She tried to win ya
But you never played the game

Her name was Jackie Brown
She cried when they told her
Old sweet Virginia town
You know it's not over

- Faulkner / Longmuir / McGlynn / McKeown / Wood

CLICK HERE to watch the video clip

3 - Rock 'n Roll Love Letter

Hey sister poet
Dear brother poet, too
These tears and words I'm makin'
Wanna be with you

'Cause I need to spend my body
I'm a music makin' man
And no peace can release me
Like this amplifier can

This is my rock 'n roll love letter
To you
This is my rock 'n roll love letter
To you
Gonna sign it, gonna seal it,
Gonna mail it away
Gonna mail it today

- Moore

4 - My Lisa

You're the dancer to the song
Without your music
All the words just seem so wrong

And like a picture you keep fading
Your colors running dry
Save the pieces of this life
We put together

Oh can't you see it in my eyes?
Oh won't you save a place for me tonight
Find a space for me
And light this corner of my lonely life

- Egorin / Scutio

5 - Wouldn't You Like It

I've included two versions of this song because the first clip is only a fragment - but I love Leslie's performance in it! The second one is the whole song.

We'd be alone and we could turn the
Lights down low
Just you and me and we could take it
Nice and slow
Come on, I won't let go

Wouldn't you like it?
Wouldn't you like it?
Let's spend the night together

So come up and see me
Please let me please you
Yes how I wanna love you
So come on now
Wouldn't you like it?

- Faulkner / Wood

Akelamalu says I just knew your 5 would be Bay City Rollers! LOL

Jamie says Oooh I would get all swoony over that as well. :-)

Anna Campbell says Julia, I had to smile when I saw your post! I was swept back to the glories of the mid-70s.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 172 - 13 Things About My Teeny Bopper Crush - Les McKeown

1 - Teen crushes seemed to have become a female right of passage by the early 20th century. With my coming-of-age enfolding in the late 1970's, my new awareness of myself as a hormonal being with nowhere to channel that energy found its outlet in a larger-than-life singer from Edinburgh, Scotland - Leslie McKeown.

2 - My entire world revolved around the next issues of 16 Magazine and Tiger Beat. Every month when the new magazines were due to arrive at the pharmacy, I obsessively dropped in over and over until my heart swelled at the sight of the fresh stack of glossy covers piled on the shelf.

3 - There I could read all about Les' group, the Bay City Rollers.

All of the band hailed from Edinburgh -

L to R: Bassist Alan Longmuir, rhythm guitarist and co-songwriter Woody (Stuart Wood), drummer Derek Longmuir, lead singer Leslie McKeown, and lead guitarist and co-songwriter Eric Faulkner.

4 - Key point of attraction from the get-go:

His Scottish homeland. Ooo, yeah - the accent I can't get enough of, and the highly irreverent attitude common to his countrymen. Perfect sort of guy for me.

5 - This is an album cover I spent hours mooning over. Among the draws for me, seriously, was the lovely red tartan border. It was a photograph of real tartan, and I used to stare at the weave of the fabric as if it were a cherished old friend.

I became enamoured of their Converse hightop sneakers and ended up getting a black pair myself. I also had a few plaid scarves, and I made my own Roller gear, as it was called, by sewing plaid patches over a white shirt which I then proudly wore in public.

6 - I won't even hazard a guess as to how many hours I spent gazing at this picture of him on the back of one of the earlier albums.

I was always partial to this white jacket with the blue trim.

7 - His voice was a big draw for me - there's a specific quality to male Scottish singing voices that really gets to me. It's as if there's a built-in tone of longing in there somewhere.

In the clip below, he gives the teeny boppers something to ponder in Give it to Me Now, which appeared on an early UK album.

8 - Les released a memoir about his time in the whirlwind of Rollermania - Shang-a-lang: Life as an International Pop Idol.

Not surprisingly, it's full of the heightened energy of being a handsome young thing who in no way fought off the attentions of his willing young fans. It also doesn't shy away from his bitter rivalry with lead guitarist Eric Faulkner, or his constant rebellion against manager Tam Paton.

9 - Some recent comments by 40-something fans on You Tube:

OMG Les does not stop driving me crazy........GOOSEBUMPS!!

Les, is well, my Les...sigh...woo hoo...dayum!!

Those bedroom eyes kill me.....go Leslie!!!

Les holds me in the palm of his hand and he has me wrapped around his lil finger

Could watch Les all day

YUMMY HONEY!!! Rock on Les!!!!

Les was one hot piece of........

Les gets better and better, goosebumps ladies, goosebumps on goosebumps here

I can't believe I'm still infatuated with Les all these years later

Paralized & hypnotized by Les' eyes!

I want to slow dance with Leslie. Love the way he moves his body to the music.

OMG I think my heart just stopped.

10 - Leslie's Nov. 12th birthday instantly bonded me to my birthday buddy (mine being the day before.) Thus began my lifelong trend of finding myself attracted to Scorpio males, including uber hottie Gerard Butler (Nov. 13th) and ultimately ending up with my Scorpio husband, Brad.

11 - In the mysterious ways of the heart, my teenage crush on Leslie was a blueprint for my lifelong attraction to the tortured hero.

While I (and millions of others) dreamed of what it would be like if he gave me my first kiss, Leslie was living under the psychological manipulation and physical coercion of their manager, Tam Paton.

"Les McKeown claimed in April of last year that Paton raped him and threatened to kill him if he spoke out about it. He described Paton as a tyrant.

He said: 'I almost feel guilty for being so happy but I can't imagine a man nor beast who will be mourning the passing of Tam Paton.

'I hate him. I'm glad he's dead. I was just a young boy. I was only 18, 19 when he raped me.' "
- Catherine Salmond, scotsman.com

To deal with the emotional fall-out of the rape, Leslie developed drug and alcohol problems which he addressed at a rehab clinic. While in treatment, he was finally able to face up to what had happened, which includes the wholesale theft of the band's millions in earnings. A 30-year legal battle against Paton and Arista Records have yet to see any money return to the five musicians who made the music and performed around the world.

Leslie was not the only Roller to be sexually assaulted by Paton. During his reign of terror, two suicides were attempted by other band members.

12 - Leslie today with his family:

Wife Peko, Les and their son Jubei

"My doctor said I wouldn't live to see Christmas [several years ago.] I didn't care. I walked out of her surgery and I went straight to the nearest pub for a drink.

"When I went home, I sat down with my wife and son and saw a little opening for the human being to come out in me again."

Les was thrown a lifeline from a most unlikely source. He was invited to appear on Rehab, a Living TV reality show where a group of celebrities received treatment at a clinic in California.

"I still don't know how I had the strength to reach out and grasp that last opportunity to get fixed.

"I thought, 'the show's producers want some clown for a bit of car crash TV'. In between moments of total clarity and being absolutely pissed I agreed to take part.

"I said to myself, 'I don't care what they film - if this place can fix me that's what I should focus on'. It was live or die."
- Billy Sloan, Sunday Mail

To say I admire Leslie McKeown today is putting it mildly.

It's very, very difficult to name one's sexual attacker when the predator used threats of physical harm - yet, eventually Leslie did so. Go, Les!

In an era of revolving-door rehab stays before troubled celebrities manage to settle in for any real help, Leslie took one stay and put himself through the wringer so that it would remain one stay. He took the offer of getting his seriously-derailed life back on track, and treated it with the respect it deserved.

Bye Bye Malibu

Les McKeown | MySpace Video

13 - Thanks for taking this stroll down memory lane with me. You know, the more things change, the more they stay the same:

Apparently I can't resist lead singers who like to wear striped pants.

Les McKeown 1970's - Eugene Hutz, Present day

Join me tomorrow for 5 on Friday, where I'll be featuring five rockin' tunes by the Fab Lads in Plaid.

Travis Cody says I remember these guys. Most of the girls I knew had crushes on one or several. At any school dance, we could count on hearing the song Dedication at least twice.

Joanna D'Angelo says OMG! I loved the Bay City Rollers! I remember being at a party at my cousin's house and Saturday Night came on - the first time I heard it (I was a wee lass) and we just danced and danced!

Julianne MacLean says Hey cuz - great post about Les. Oh, how I remember every detail of those album covers, and I knew every word of Give it to Me Now, which is something else, considerining it's been about 30 years since we listened to it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 162

Julianne MacLean says Looking forward to Leslie McKeown Week, cuz!

Angela Guillaume says Love this picture! It's the most amazing thing to look back at these moments.

Janet says OMG - I love Bay City Rollers! Looking forward to the week, Julia :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Through the Opera Glasses - 67 - Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

While most of my fellow romance writers are preparing to see Eat Pray Love, I have already seen the film for which I couldn't wait - Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World!

Directed by Edgar Wright - whose previous films Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are two of my favorites - Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World combines the zany logic of geek gamers with a classic quest tale. In order to win the girl of his dreams, Scott must first battle her Seven Evil Exes.

Starring Michael Cera - he of the exquisite deadpan delivery - as Scott Pilgrim

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as his dream girl, Ramona Flowers

Ellen Wong as his fake high school girlfriend, a rebound relationship that turns into a stalking thing

Brandon Routh as one of the Evil Exes - here dueling Scott for bass supremacy

Jason Schwartzman as The G Man, the indie record label executive Scott's band tries to impress

Major appeal for my husband and me: the story is set in Toronto, Brad's hometown and the city I love and miss every day. Loads of west end locations are featured, including the steps leading up to Casa Loma, Honest Ed's, Lee's Palace, Pizza Pizza and TTC buses.

Linda says Amanda talked me into taking her to see this one the other night. Honestly? It was a lot of fun to watch and I'm glad she talked me into it!