Recorded summer 2006 at the YMCA in Ottawa!
Seven years have gone by since I wrote and recorded these songs, which I did while living, in emergency shelter, right here, at the YMCA,, in my hometown, Ottawa. Don't ask me how, but I had managed to get my PC, a small Behringer mixer, A Shure SM 58 microphone and, of course, a portable midi controller keyboard. Other than these, I came to be virtually without possession, and, having walked the stteets for days on end, cold, tired, and hungry, encountering the indifference of social workers and so forth, I most certainly came to know exactly what it means to be feeling down in dirty town.
For many, it is very easy to talk about what it's like to be down at the bottom, espeically if they themselves have never been there themselves. I remember, sometime later, the manager of a Coop housing, who came to know my recording, trying to tell me how wrong I was in the song entitled THEY HUIRT You. She declared "look how the sustem has enabled you to be here, living in this affordable community"! She might as well have dded "How dare you and your kind compalin...ingrates that you are"! Well, let me assure you that I did not say what I said in any of these songs because of being ungrateful, and unappreciative, for anything good that one can get from society, especially when it's agencies suddenly do find themselves inclined to 'move' to help. I hate to say this, but say it I wi8ll. No one was willing to move a finger until the media got incvvolved. That's right! Ah, but afterwords, just about everyone was bending over backwards to help, even offering grooming kits, tooth brushes, toe nail clippers. Kinda made me think, hmmm, maybe everyone who is down and out in dirty town should get some media attention. Then, the wheels re going to roll much faster.
The honest truth, though, as I've come to see it, is that charity providers simply go through the motion. Sure, people do get helped, but, for the most part, it's really nothing more than a gesture...and for the recipient, it is definitely "charity that makes you feel so damn small". Sternm faced, stone faced, matrons at the Salvation Army who do not, will not, acknowledge your existance as a human being. Christian charity? Christian good will? Well, when a person falls to the bottom, and finds himself strugging to hold onto self esteem, you know, to fel that he is still a human being, not some mongrel dog who is going to be sheltered in a room full of other, well, mongrels.
What an odd sensation, degraqdation row, you break my spirit daily...you let me fall into anothyer hole, I lose my soul and, of course, I don't wanna be here any more! Who in heck does. Ah, but one is not supposed to be telling it like it is. You sir, yes, you, just be polite, now don't you be an ingrate. Freaking peasants...the royal scam...what the heck do any of them know about anything at all...and biting the hand that feeds them.
You see...it goes like this...when you're down and out in dirty town, you gotta play the role they, the social workers, the charity givers, expect you to play...just look down at your toes, nad maybe, hold your hat in your hand, but for God's sake, please, don't go acting like you're anything other than the dogh, the stray we're taking in temporariliy, and going to feed. Well, in all honesty, even dogs respond more favourably when being fed with love than they would if you just shove the bowl in their faces. Know what I mean?
And thewn there are those who like to exploit the situation of others. Especially if you're a musician who has just recorded a series of songs that, all of a sudden, are about to become an album, albeit, while you wrote them, and re4corded them, the thought never crossed your mind. You were too engrossed in expressing yourself the only way you know how, cos, heck, this is what you've been doing all your life, heck "I want to cry", and, double heck, this is how I do it. "Bryan...do you know what you've got here?" Yeah, I think so, a bunch of songs. "Bryan...this is your BLOD ON THE TRACKDS"! Oh, is it? Well hell, maybe it is. Well, one thing leads to another, and , before you know it, you're being interviewed, and given a full page in The Ottawa Sun, under the heading, "Local (legally blind) Artist Opens Eyes To Homelessness". Is that what I did...really? Do you mean, all those people stepping over the homeless, passing by the lineups at soup kitchens all around this dirty old town could never see and are now seeing much better than before? So, now what...can I say "horray, I've made a difference!" Well, quite frankly, I can't do that. I don't see any changes...no, not one change.
GOD KNOWS YOU'RE IN THE SYSTEM. Nobody gets assitance...no , not really. Oh sure, it may look like you're getting helped, but let's tell the truth...it's just a fucking game that keeps you down...just as down as you have always been, if you've been one of those born with a plastic spoon in his mouth.
But as for the exploiter5s, who seem to be hoping something successful will come about, as a result of the recording you've just done, you will get something like this, if, for instance, you stumble on others in dire straits, on the street, and would like to see if they can be helped get into a shelter "Look Bryan...you don't actually have to get involved!" Oh, really now. My, my, what a stoopid idiot I must be, and need to be reprimanded, heck, as if I don't have a fucking brain to think with, and am, after all, exactly the same as all othersw whose situation is to be exploited, a freaking bum who just happened to do something that the exploiters saw as, egd, who knows, something that might be turned into soem sort of product that could be cpitalised? But, I was invovled...I got involved the moment I found myself joining the ranks of the Royal Scam, most of whom, unfortunately, do seem to have become 'institutionalised' as a result of being down and out in dirty town for too dmn long. It's really a "CATCH TWENTY TWO" situation for most, and yeah, a lot of them really aren't going to climb out of the pit. And yes, sigh, perhaps there are those who probably do deserve to be where they are, who don't seem to mind selling their self esteem, and dignity, to be taken care of...well, sort of...rough, tough, and shabby by choice, more or less. Ah, but this too is just a reflection of society as a whole, cos, if you really weant to know the truth, there are bums at the top too...exploiters who, like leeches, simply thrive on the blod they suck, like leeches, from others, and from society as a whole, but, dear me, you're not supposed to be pointing stuff like that out, are you?
Okay, so now I've got this neat little recording, which also got a decent reiview te folloiwng ywear, in CASHBOX MAGAZINE. Albeit, can't say my fortunes chnged much, and from time to time, I still make my wy to the Union Mission, or the soup kitchen at St. Joseph's, for something to eat, when I find myself faced with one of those months when I just can't help but find myself running short. So, I guess I'm still seeing the bottom of the barrel, but that's okay, cos I do believe I'm doing well in spite of it, and, as a resulty, will probably hve even more to say musically, cos, hey, this is what I do.
As for the guy who calleed me up one night, after reading Earl's article "Hey bud, have I got just the job a blind man can do...answering telpehones...telephone soliciting". Well, ingrate that I am, I did turn the job offer down, indicating that I already hads a job...and no, it hasn't and doesn't pay much really, but, as a musician, songwriter, it is deinitely what I like to do...write songs...and record them.
FEELING DOWN IN DIRTY TOWN
So, yep, here I m again. Saying the same thing...CAN you see the state of mind I'm in...wishinmg I had gotten through today...couldn't find a single word to say tht anytone would really want to hear cos most folk prefer to have their ears tickled. No one likes to think about the unpleasant things going on here, in our world. But who knows, maybe your turn will come some day. I hope to God not. Damn, but I really wouldn't wish any of what I've gone through, over the years, on anyuone.
As for those who keep thinking you gott "suffer for your art", especially if you want to be profuond, boy, have I got news for you. You just don't know what you're talking about. Sure, you're trying to be profound, but you will never ever be profound, cos if you were profound in any way, you'd come to realize what I've come to understand...the suffering in this world is caused because of the indifference of those who just don't care enough to do something to relieve the miseries of others...those who think suffering is cool, cos it kinda gives you stories to tell...tragic tales that just about everyone loves...except for those being blown to bits and pieces for the sake of providing entertaniment for the socially elite who talk so keenly about suffering for the sake of art, but have never gone without a dinner all their lives, never found themselves scraping the bottom of the barrel, hoping to find something still edible at the bottom...and some of you are radio show hosts, sitting there in the comfort of your studio, mouthing into the micropohne, interviewing others, everyone talking as if he actually knows what he's talking about, albeit, every once in awhile, someone does seem to squeeze through who really does know what he'sw talking about.
So now, really, take a look around you, and, maybe, have a good look in the mirror as well, cos, if you look hard enough, you'll see all the zombies who are never going to find a love that is real and true, cos, until you break out of the masquerde, chuck the facades, you will never ever come to know that, even in the poruing rain, the reaqlity is that loneliness, yeah, the lonelienss, all it can do sis make you feel sad and blue...and life is tough enough, you know without having to make it tougher, just for the sake of art.
Eviul is in our world, but it is not our world itself that is evil. We have allowed that to be superimposed over top the reality, the real true reality that is there, has always been there, and always will be there, that we never get to see, or that very few get to see, because we've been told we have to accept, as normal, what others hadve and still are dictating to the rest of us as what normal really is.
So, as we pull on the tether, the others pull the other way, down into dark and gray, where good becomes bad and bad becomes good, until it all comes undone. And yes, like Shepherds of Good Hope, selling us no hope at all, just perpetuating thye same old rotten deal, over and over and over and over again.
And they will tell us that what we need is the rule of law, not the rule of the jungle. Which basically means, for our safety, we all have to accept being put in prisons, and the worst prisons of all are the ones in the mind, where you become your own jailer, believing you have freedom of choice, when, in reality, you do not have much choice at all, unless you happen to be one of the chosen few who sit at the top of the heap pulling the strings of everyone. And, to ber sure, these will never tell you that what you really need is the rule of LOVE, not the rule of LAW. After all, if you have LOVE, you have the greatest lawe of all, and there it is, written right in your heart.
With love in your heart, nothing is impossible. There is no greter force for good than love. If you really love others, you will not be able to be indifferent towards their cares and concerns. With love in your heart, money is no object. When people get together, in the spirit of love, they can accomplish gret things...miracles even. We all must leaqrn to give more than we take, cos if each and every one of us does that, why, guess what, there will not be one person doing without. Everyone would thrive and pprosper, except for the greedy, naturally.
But the real true reality is presently obscured by the evil layer that has been imposed over top...and we will never ever get to see it until that evil layer is lifted. Then, Dirty Town will no longer be Dirty Town, but a beautiful town filled, not only with part people, but happy people, the kind of people who don't need to get high on any substance, because they are getting all they need and desire from life itself.
Ah, but I know what some of you will be thinking...imprcticl...can never be...and we need evil in order to know what good is...and we need misery and suffering so that we can know what happiness is. Yeah, some of you really do not think about what you're saying. What you're saying, really, is that we all need to step in a puile of shit in order to know it stinks. What you're saying is that happiness is not for the having, cos we need to be in suffering, fried, misery and pain in order to know what happiness is, cos, heaven forbid, you won't know what happiness is if you are really truly happy. Why, you won't have anything to compare it with, and, of course, you'll be much to happy to even consider the need to compare it with anything. In short, you justify the evil that has been superimposed on our world, and, as a result, keep it in place.