Category Archives: Music

Reid’s first novel now available at McNally Robinson


With gratitude and love I dedicate this book to my parents, Helen and Bruce Dickie, whose gifts I used every day of my life, and to Linda, who lit my way.

Available now at McNally Robinson

Moments away from puberty, young Jim Crawford begins to discover how his newly effervescent maleness gives fresh meaning and expression to manhood in his family, friendships, community and beyond. Set in a small Canadian prairie town just as the tumultuous social and cultural changes of the 1960s begin, Play the Jukebox is a character-driven story entwining bright wholesome and dark pathological expressions of masculinity. As his own unique gifts reveal themselves, Jim learns the heights and depths to which men will go to defend family and future and how shared experience creates diverse forms of camaraderie between men and women.

Jim’s life revolves around pop music and records. The 45 – the little record with the big hole – is king; radio disc jockeys, record players and jukeboxes spin the seven-inch discs constantly. He discovers intimate links between hit songs and his own development as he travels from town to town changing the records in jukeboxes with Percy Peel, a mystery media mogul who leaves lasting impressions on Jim. As they did for millions of 1960s youth, The Beatles play a defining role as one of Jim’s change agents.

McNally Robinson: If you are coming into one of our stores, we suggest that you confirm that the book you want is in stock by emailing the location nearest you: Grant Park, Saskatoon, or by phoning the location nearest you.


Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Fiction, Friendship, grief, Hope, Humour, Love, Manitoba, Manitoba Heritage, Movies, Music, Prairie People, PRAIRIES, Radio, shaman, shamanism, Spirit, Winnipeg, Wisdom

Prairie Wind Music Festival, Cypress River, MB


Reid Dickie

Hey cowpunks and fervid folkies! The fourth annual Prairie Wind Music Festival happens on Saturday, June 6 in Cypress River out on Highway #2 about an hour and a half from Winnipeg. The day has elements of a country fair as well as great music with a country rock and folk bent. Here’s this year’s line-up.

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm  Laura Enns

1:30 pm – 2:15 pm  Micah Erenberg

2:30 pm – 3:45 pm Songwriter’s Circle hosted by Marcel Desilets

4:00 pm -4:45 pm Greg Arcade

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm The Perpetrators

6:45 pm – 7:30 pm Joe Nolan

7:45 pm – 8:30 pm  To be announced  (The Dead South are no longer available)

8:45 pm – 9:30 pm Kacy & Clayton

9:45 pm – 10:45 pm  The Reverend Rambler, bona fide one-man band (above)

11:00 pm – end Bad Country

The day costs $40 and free camping is available on site. More info is on their website

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Filed under Festivals, Music

Stephen Harper Hates Me. Does He Hate You, Too?

Blues for Canada by Cathy Cook

Click pic


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Filed under Canada Strong and Free, Hope, Music, Politics, Spirit

Another Woman – Flash Fiction

Reid Dickie

She wasn’t just another woman.

Skyway, Speedway, Bayway, Skytrain, Gotrain, Bullettrain. I rode them all. I’ve seen women on them all, millions of women.

She wasn’t just another woman.

She was golden.

She exuded some kind of chemical that glommed itself to every man and every woman in her presence. A chemical transformation followed that created a little furnished room in everyone’s mind where she could live. She’s there right now.

Like Cleopatra, she wore a golden headband in the shape of her assassin. She proceeded through the world fully aware of the end of her story.

On the other side of town a boy was waiting.

He took a drag on his Pall Mall, ballooned smoke out his mouth, sucked it back in, exhaled dragon exhaust.

“Fuck it.”

His boot extinguished the butt in the dirt.

From a passing car, Eagles sang, “This old world still looks the same, another frame.”

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Filed under Fiction, Music

Koz and The Beatles

 CKRC chartscan0002

Reid Dickie

Still in the hit parade mode, CKRC was CKY’s rival for the young at heart market in Winnipeg as their weekly chart states. CKRC used the image of the singing beaver in boater hat and striped jacket a la barbershoppers, for several years.

CKRC KOZscan0001

This chart for the week of September 3, 1965 features a picture of CKRC Good Guy Boyd Kozak and the four winners of the contest to see The Beatles in Toronto August 17, 1965. Although I didn’t know Boyd, actually Borys, when we were both DJs, in recent years we’ve become coffee buddies. He did a wonderful voiceover for A Town With Water from my series The Lonesomes. You can still hear his golden tones on the air. Boyd does morning news at QX104 and Fab 94.

I sent Boyd the picture from the chart. He commented, “Thanks Reid..wonderful memories, those three days. This was my second trip, having done same, a year before for the Beatles first trip to Canada.”

Here’s the rest of that week’s chart along with the DJs of the day. Click to enlarge

CKRC CHARTscan0001

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Filed under 1960s, Music, Radio, Winnipeg

Revolvers – New Fiction

Reid Dickie

I love taking long baths.

Alone in the house, I decided on a bath. I made all the preparations, climbed in while filling – my favourite part – and gathered around me a hot soothing broth that would be my world for now.

I’m not a fussy bather. We’ve had large old claw-footed monsters with sloping backs that compliment the curve of my spine perfectly. Now we have a dated blue-coloured metal tub under a shower. Small and narrow, it’s a tub nonetheless. I lit a candle; pulled the shower curtain to create a tiny room and floated off into a warm watery reverie. My kind of evening.

Not two minutes into the soup, I heard a dull thud from downstairs at the back of our two-story house. Then another. I had locked the front door and knew the back was secure as well. A louder, longer thud came followed by the sound of the heavy patio door sliding open. I sat up in the tub and listened intensely. I heard stealthy footfalls and a mutter. Break-in.

As quietly as possible, I stood up in the tub and slid past the curtain. I dried my feet on the floor towel and wrapped the bath towel around my waist. I could hear the sound of brittle plastic clacking. They were after my CDs.


I cracked the bathroom door. The clacking grew louder.

With no phone on this floor I wondered what could become a quick weapon. Nothing came to mind. The heaviest thing on the floor was LPs. Why not, I thought.

I deeked into the nine by nine, grabbed a handful of LPs from the top shelf and carried them to the table at the head of the stairs. My towel fell off and I kicked it to the side. Naked I carried two more handfuls of LPs to the table. I had almost fifty LPs at the ready. The clacking continued the whole time. Just then, the cat came chatting down the hall toward me to investigate the commotion. I grabbed her, put her in the bathroom out of harm’s way and closed the door. The snapping of the door made the plastic clacking stop.

I heard someone say, “You get the rest. Hurry.”

Holding a stack of LPs, I peered over the railing. I saw someone step onto the first landing, looking up. He glanced away and I dropped the LPs. They mostly missed him but the corners grazed his cheek and disoriented him a bit.

“You son of a bitch,” he said coming up the stairs.

I grabbed a bigger handful of LPs and lifted them above my head. I saw a flash of metal in his hand. He was looking up at me; head tilted back swearing when I dropped them. Bull’s eye! The flat side of the records slammed into his upturned forehead. His head went back, I heard a snap and he tumbled backward down the seven steps he’d climbed amid a shower of LPs. Some of the vinyl escaped from the sleeves in mid air. He landed in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, limbs all akimbo, littered with LPs. A snub nose lay next to him.

I heard the accomplice say, “Nicky? Nicky? You okay?” in a semi-loud whisper. I saw a hand reach toward Nicky and give him a shake. I heard “Holy shit!” and the thump of a bag being dropped followed by the sound of a bumpy inelegant escape.

I leaned on the banister for support, my heart racing, breathing deep.

A few minutes later, I called the police.

I’d broken his neck. Killed him.

He was packing. Lucky for me. Self-defense. No charges.

Turns out Nicky was wanted for two gruesome home invasions. He’d bust down the door of one old man and gave him a heart attack. The other was an elderly woman in a wheelchair.

Police caught the accomplice twenty minutes later. His wallet had fallen out onto my living room floor.

My CDs and LPs were kept as evidence but I got the whole works back about three months later. There were twelve LPs in the first drop, weighing 8 lbs, twenty-one in the second, weighing 15 lbs. 33 records in all, 23 lbs total. All the heroic LPs involved are listed below. A few sustained injuries, noted with ^. There was one fatality, noted with ~.

The accomplice told police Nicky’s favourite song was “Stairway to Heaven.” Led Zeppelin IV was one of the LPs that killed him.

Everything is a circle.


Breakfast at Tiffany’s SDTK – Henry Mancini

Movies – Holger Czukay^

Fisherman’s Blues – Waterboys

Sea of Dreams – Nelson Riddle

Ptah the El Daoud – Alice Coltrane^

The Notorious Byrd Brothers – Byrds

All Aglow Again – Peggy Lee

Closing Time – Tom Waits

Greatest Hits – Wilson Pickett

No Pussyfooting – Fripp & Eno

Soldier of Love – Arthur Alexander

First – Jackson Browne^


IV – Led Zeppelin

West Meets East – Menuhin/Shankar

Silk Road – Kitaro^

Lonesome Echo – Jackie Gleason

Dear Friends – Firesign Theatre

Heartbeat – John Mills-Cockell

Relax With – Reveen

Rock Billy Boogie – Robert Gordon

The Red Bird Story – Various Artists

Time Out – Dave Brubeck Quartet^

Matching Tie & Handkerchief – Monty Python

The Golden Era – Bob Wills & his Texas Playboys

In Person Friday & Saturday Nights – Miles Davis

Ring-A-Ding – Frank Sinatra^

Floating into the Night – Julee Cruise

Rhythm of Resistance, Music of Black South Africa – Various Artists

Revolver – The Beatles~

Live Stiffs – Various Artists

Unrequited – Loudon Wainwright III

Music from a Sparking Planet – Esquivel^

Hawaii Goes A Go-Go – Martin Denny


Filed under Fiction, Idiots, Music

The Last CKY Hit Parade


Reid Dickie

Every week for at least five and a half years, CKY Radio, Canada’s Friendly Giant, published a hit parade that listed the Top 50 pop songs and Top 20 western songs in Winnipeg. The 50,000 watt station devoted a few hours a day to, what was then called, western music, country music’s uncle. The CKY hit parade was a colourful single fold sheet distributed free at record stores in Winnipeg and round the province to a degree.

The weekly chart was distilled using a formula that combined local record sales and listener requests and resulting in the hit parade. Post-1963 issues featured pictures of the disc jockeys.

The last CKY Hit Parade was published on February 27, 1966. The Beatles are #1.



I’m not sure when CKY started publishing a hit parade. The earliest one I have is for the week of September 9, 1961.


Listen to CKY go off the air forever on January 21, 2004.

If you liked this stuff, check out some of my other nostalgic Winnipeg memories like Eaton’s Beatle Bar, Inside the Mind of a 15 Year Old Beatlemaniac, CKY wants a town named after it, my radio career, the Beatles come to Winnipeg, even some fake nostalgia.

I have pages about Winnipeg’s grand old schools, some heritage houses, churches and Manitoba heritage from around the province.

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Filed under 1960s, Music, Radio, Winnipeg

Inside the Mind of a 15-Year-Old Beatlemaniac

REID ages 14 to 17 1963 to 1967

Reid Dickie

That would be me (1964 school picture above).

To establish my credibility as a Beatlemaniac I offer as evidence this envelop from 1965.

Ringo Dickie0001

In the summer of 1964, to appeal to the newly-defined generation who were becoming eager, horny teenagers, CBC-TV ran a summer music series called Let’s Go. Produced in Vancouver, the show featured a variety of good local musicians. In the fall it was added to the CBC CHADschedule as a daily after-school show called Music Hop. The novelty was the half-hour show came from a different city every day: Monday from Vancouver, Tuesday Winnipeg, Wednesday Toronto, Thursday Montreal and Friday Halifax. A house band and other local musicians performed hits of the day along with some original material. The Guess Who were the Winnipeg house band here, the host was Chad Allen (above).

In the fall of 1964 Let’s Go from Vancouver (the west coast show kept the original series name) ran a Flip Your Wig contest. Beatlemania was still growing daily so the audience was asked to draw a Beatles wig on a famous person, add a caption and send it in. Being a little overachiever, I thought why stop at just one picture, why not make a book!  Thus was born, perhaps rendered would be better, My Sick Beatle Book. In this case, please use the Mad Magazine definition of sick.

I clipped 20 pictures from the newspaper, added crude Beatles wigs with a thick black felt marker, pasted them in a twenty page booklet I made, thought up witty (for a 15-year-old) captions for each picture and submitted it.

I bound the book with a glue that still holds it firmly together 50 years later easily surviving the scanning process. I jotted the captions in pen dispatching with Elvis immediately and giving the centre spread to the Dave Clark Five since they were The Beatles main “rivals” at the time. The rest are assorted politicians, sports figures and so on. This is from the time when the politically-correct nanny state was newly under construction. My captions and picture choice reflect the era.

Since The Beatles and their fans were the brunt of continuous jokes from adults, my book had a bit of a revenge aspect. Beatlizing these old people was very satisfying for me, doubly CBC REDso when, despite the crudeness of the book, the judges saw my intent and were amused.

Imagine my delight when Red Robinson (right) announced I’d won the contest and would receive a complete Beatles library. Happy prairie boy! A few days later I received the package via Air Mail. There were, in fact, five albums, not four as the transfer slip says: Beatlemania: With the Beatles, Twist & Shout, Long Tall Sally, Hard Day’s Night and Something New along with ten Beatles 45s.

In 1964 Capitol Records played catch-up with the British releases which began in early 1963. The North American permutations of Beatles albums haphazardly chopped up the track lists, added a B-side or two resulting in “new” Beatles product. Six albums, including The Beatles Story, were released here in 1964.

With slight embarrassment for my 15-year-old self, I offer, in its entirety, My Sick Beatle Book followed by the letter and the transfer slip from CBC. Some pictures are at odd angles. I’m still not much of a book designer.














Thank you and good night.


Filed under 1960s, Humour, Music

Achieving Geezerhood – Reid’s 2014 Year-End Review


Reid Dickie


Somehow life managed to transport me to age 65 this year placing me firmly in the category of senior citizen. Of course, I resist that as much as possible while still getting the geezer discounts and pensions that accrue to me. Turns out, for me, 65 is the new 45. I originally told friends 65 is the new 40 then I started comparing myself to some 40-year-olds I know and realized I needed to adjust my figures.

It’s become obvious from The Long View that there are at least two kinds of age: the number of years I’m around which is relevant to the system as my part of the herd, and age as a state of awareness which is relevant to me as an individual and the growth I accomplish in this life. Both need to be honoured.

The Distance

The Mighty Avenger accompanied/enabled me on my 14,000 kms of summer travel, alas, for the final time. Dodge has decided to discontinue making Avengers so my moving persona will be overhauled next year when it comes time for Mother Enterprise to birth me a new vehicle. I will miss the Avenger. Over the past five summers I’ve driven ten different Avengers, all basically the same. Sitting in the car was as familiar as sitting in my living room. The performance was consistent car to car, year to year, as was the service I received at Enterprise.

Personal Creative

My large video project The Lonesomes: 16 Prairie Stories wound up on YouTube afterSnapshot 1 (23-05-2013 5-59 PM) many unsuccessful attempts at getting it into film festivals. YouTube has the individual stories plus the entire work. Along with the sixteen short videos, I posted the script and the backstory for each story on my blog. This was the year I went after free wild samples big time, downloading hours of free images and sounds from sites like and This provided the basic content for a few dozen short videos which I call absurd found art.  One example I’m especially fond of is called The Curve. I downloaded a short black and white video clip of a curve in a road and added the muffled sound of people walking. I decribed ten spontaneous stories of events that happened at this curve. The parameters of the descriptions were easy: each had to contain a number. I combined  the stories with the video and an hour later had my piece. It needed an intro. The images of the red curtain rising and falling is perfectly absurd. Click the picture below to watch The Curve. It’s 3:45 long. Snapshot 1 (22-12-2014 1-46 PM) Incorporating found material I created four short videos using my flash fiction stories as narratives. Click the pics to watch. Snapshot 1 (22-12-2014 10-40 PM)        Itinerary Item  1:35     Snapshot 1 (29-03-2014 9-28 PM)    Grass of the Apocalypse   1:17     Snapshot 2 (22-05-2014 6-55 PM)    I Am Aspen Smoke  4:38     Snapshot 1 (22-12-2014 10-54 PM)    God is At Home/Atomic Prayer  4:53     Along with my found art and other video documentations this year, I have been compelled by The Muse to write my coming-of-age in a small town in the 1960s novel, now almost complete. The working title is Some Stuff. My hometown provides the physical layout for the town in the story. None of the characters, including mine, bears much resemblance to anyone in particular. Instead the characters are composites of aspects and traits I’ve noticed over my life. I’ve never embarked on a project this intense or complex. It requires me to spend five to eight hours a day writing. Backed up with a solid outline, the thing starts to write itself after awhile. Characters become overly familiar and take on a life of their own. I see them at the coffee shop or grocery store. A couple of characters have suggested their own destiny to me, some quibble about a line of dialogue I have written for them, other characters will join in the debate. It’s a long conversation that goes on in my head which I empty out daily, spattering it across the pages. No matter how good or bad a character is, I am responsible for every one of them; they live and die by my key strokes. Despite that, I find the characters sometimes use me as their conduit to get the words on the page. I just type what they tell me to.


Criddle/Vane house

CRIDDLE HOUSE 001 Over the past five years I’ve devoted an enormous amount of energy and time studying the Criddle/Vane family and their incredible story of survival as pioneers on the Canadian plains. Their reasonably intact homestead has been a constant source of inspiration as I followed their story with the intent of it becoming a screenplay one day. Regular readers of this blog know the homestead is a favourite haunt of mine. FLOOD JULY 2 to 4 2014 pics 002I visited the homestead on Monday, June 23 with my cousin Vonda who had never been there before. The house had recently been boarded up (above) so no access inside was available. I’ve felt for some time this would be an excellent idea, at least to protect it somehow. Two days later on Wednesday June 25 arsonists burned the 120 year old Criddle/Vane house to the ground. The crime remains unsolved. The sign on the left is located about three miles south of the turn-off to the Criddle/Vane homestead. Although the house is gone, documentation of it exists in several ways. One of them is my 3:55 video tour of both floors of the interior of the house which I shot in 2013. I haven’t returned to the homestead this year. I can’t really bring myself to see it without the eight-bedroom house towering over the remains of the family’s history, the enormous amount of wood the place required and the glories and tragedies the house contained. It makes me angry that more protection wasn’t given to the place; the threats to it were real and obvious. Another effect of the loss has been a dulling of my interest in heritage. Over the years my endeavors have been quite scatter-gun all over the province, dabbling in this and that. Moving past that I decided to focus my heritage energies on one location and try to make a difference there.


Deciding where to focus my energy and intent was quite easy. I just picked the place with the best heritage stuff outside of Winnipeg – Carberry. I’d helped promote the first Carberry Heritage Festival in 2013 by writing a media release for them and documenting the festival. In 2014 I was much more involved in the festival, attending planning meetings and promoting the event. A family emergency prevented me from attending the 2014 festival but it was deemed a success by organizers and the next festival is August 7 and 8, 2015. Check out the festival website. It wasn’t just the heritage buildings and unique history that attracted me to Carberry, it was and still is the people. I’ve met some of the nicest, most sincere people of my life in Carberry. When I go there I am reminded of growing up in Shoal Lake – the leisurely pace of life, the friendliness of people even to strangers, the lack of most of the crappy things about urban life and the sound and vibration of trains going through town. Carberry heritage people are very appreciative of my contributions. In addition to building the festival website, this year I also wrote and designed a walking tour book of Carberry that features 45 heritage places. I’m still working on some design features for the book but hope to have it available for the summer of 2015. Possibly the Carberry town council will help fund the book then the local heritage organizations can sell it as a fund raiser. I’ll keep you posted.

Winnipeg’s Grand Old Schools

One of my heritage interests has always been Winnipeg’s grand old schools, the ones built in the first half of the 20th century. Over a decade ago I did a freelance series for the Winnipeg Free Press on the schools, even writing and designing a book on the subject that no one wanted to publish. This year I updated the school features and posted them on my EARL GREY 1Schools page. Earl Grey School (left) was my alma mater for the series which I explain in the article. The other schools already posted are Isbister/Adult Education Centre, Ecole Provencher, Luxton, La Verendrye and Laura Secord. I am posting them in chronological order by the year they were built. I expect to post six to eight school features a year. In addition to the old schools that still stand, I feature ten schools that have been demolished with pictures and descriptions. Along with posts on Winnipeg schools, the Schools page has articles on many rural schools, architect J. B. Mitchell, spiral fire escapes, live-in custodian suites in schools, William Sisler, the first junior high school and much more. I had a teacher mom and I have posted her Grade 11 exams from 1930 along with the rules of conduct teachers of the era were expected to follow. Coming soon is a feature on some of the teaching materials Mom used in the 1930s when she taught in rural Manitoba.

Favourite Spots

Besides Carberry and the nearby Camp Hughes, two of my favourite spots this year have been Beaudry Park and Alexander Ridge Park. Beaudry is a small provincial park on the bend of the Assiniboine with some hiking trails and picnic areas. It sports a bit of original tall grass prairie. Situated just west of Headingley, the park is perfect for an afternoon’s relaxation to bask in the sun or sit in the shade and work on some details of my novel. alex 2Alexander Ridge Park (left) is halfway up the escarpment just west of Miami, Manitoba. The view of the vast lake bed below is spectacular making the 75 minute drive from Winnipeg well worth it. This year the park added a new lookout tower and a washroom. I spent many long hours working out details of the book at the park. I took a couple of old buddies to enjoy the view. Afterward a drive up onto the top of the escarpment wending my way back to the city.



I have a short list of artists of all stripes with whom I will gladly go wherever they want to take me. Musically Tom Waits is on my list, cinematically Federico Fellini and fully completely Dali. Obviously I have tendencies toward the surreal. I miss Fellini’s fantastic visions and not having a new Fellini film to look forward to. To remedy that I seek out filmmakers with similar artistic motives and motifs finding two this year. I have already posted about The Color of Pomegranates (1968), a surrealistic telling of thecolor pomogranates life of Armenian poet Sayat Nova by Russian director Sergei Parajanov. Released the year before Fellini’s Satyricon, the film creates similar trance-like imagery. The image on the right is from the film. This year I discovered a more recent film The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza, 2013) that celebrates Rome as enthusiastically and humourously as Fellini’s portrait of the great 3city in Roma (1972). Well-known and well-loved writer Jep Gambardella, handsomely portrayed by Toni Servillo (left), has just turned 65 and attends party after party in his honour between which he reminisces about his life in Rome and his love affairs while interviewing a parade of odd characters for a book. Director Paolo Sorrentino, who also wrote the screenplay, often goes full homage to Fellini as in the early scene with the nun on a ladder half obscured by a lemon tree followed by a murmuration of black birds across a chem trail. At the 37 minute point there is a scene in a hallway of two men grieving for the same dead woman that is breath-taking! Modern Rome and Old Rome mesh in delightful ways: Jep’s apartment looks out onto thegreat 1 Colosseum and a performance artist does her bizarre act at the ancient Roman aqueduct. Jep’s friend Stefano has a case that contains the keys to Rome’s most beautiful buildings so we accompany them on a long nighttime jaunt through empty museums, palaces, promenades and incredibly ornate rooms, filmed with a definite shout-out to Fellini’s brothel scene in Satyricon. The sources of humour in The Great Beauty are the same as Fellini’s: bureaucracy, politicians, sexuality, religion. Jep interviews a 104-year- great 4old saint (her feet don’t touch the floor) whose minder says the most outrageous things about her. At Jep’s dinner party in the saint’s honour, a flock of flamingos show up on his balcony (above) followed by the saint’s odd reaction. The Great Beauty won the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film in 2014. If you like witnessing unlikely things you’ve never seen before, The Great Beauty provides two hours and twenty minutes of it, every moment striking and unusual. It’s not for everyone but it could be for you. Netflix has it in Italian with English subtitles. Watch the trailer. Other new movies I enjoyed included St. Vincent, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Guardians of the Galaxy (yes, I admit it!), Gone Girl, On the Road and The Hobbit. I’ve just come from seeing The Hobbit in 3-D D-Box. D-Box is where the seat moves and rumbles coordinated with the screen action. It added four bucks to my ticket price but nothing to the movie, immediately becoming more distracting than enhancing. The only time D-Box gave me a convincing sensation of the action was when people rode horses. The Hobbit was terrific fun. Martin Freeman has the perfect Hobbit face. birdmanTwo movies I especially enjoyed mastered very specific cinematic techniques to tell their well-written stories. Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) has Michael Keaton (left) as a washed-up movie superhero trying to make a credible comeback on Broadway. Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and the rest of the cast are marvelous as is the script. The entire movie appears to be one long take, i.e. one uninterrupted shot with no editing. Credit and, hopefully, some awards should go to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki for the seamlessness of the movie. The stylish technique created a floating sensation for me that lasted the whole film. If you missed its first run, see it during its Oscar run in theatres. Birdman trailer. Locke takes place entirely inside a car at night and the only actor we see is the driver. That might sound tedious but write a well-oiled script that uses modern telephone technology in a new and inventive fashion to tell the story then hire one of today’s best, thoughlocke 1 somewhat unknown, actors and the result is riveting entertainment. British writer/director Steven Knight (he created TV show Who Wants to be a Millionaire?) is responsible for the story and the vision and actor Tom Hardy (above) is the driver. The car never stops so the film unfolds virtually in real time. Hardy says near the beginning he’s ninety minutes away from London and he arrives almost exactly ninety minutes later. Considering he has only his chest and above to act with as he talks to various people on his hands-free car phone, Hardy easily overcomes the limitation and makes the role utterly convincing. During the shoot, Hardy caught a head cold which is incorporated into the drive as one more way his life is unraveling. Tom Hardy is under-appreciated even though he’s been in Inception, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Lawless (amazing role) and The Dark Knight Rises. Next summer he is Mad Max. Maybe then he’ll get the recognition his talent merits. Watch Locke trailer.

TV Series

sherlock-holmes-450794Thanks to Netflix I watched the British TV series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character and Martin Freeman as Watson (left). This is Sherlock for the 21st century and it’s a hoot with three seasons done and a fourth on the way. Its fun trailer. A fascinating series called Rectify with Aden Young as a newly released prisoner returning to his hometown has two seasons under its belt and returns in the spring. Netflix also has Lie To Me, one of the last series Linda and I watched together. Tim Roth reads facial expressions and body language to determine who’s lying and who isn’t. Educational and fun.


National Public Radio in the U.S. produced a 12-part podcast called Serial that revisits a real 15 year old murder by interviewing all the principals and seeking out new information on the case. Beautifully written and voiced by Sarah Koenig with very high production values I highly recommend it. Serial is available here.baseballs 2


Late in the year I discovered a German throwback band called the Baseballs (right) who capture the genre’s brash fun. Their original songs are often pastiches of numerous hits from the 1950s and 60s. They also rockabilly up some modern songs. On the player below hear the Baseballs jumped up versions of Leona Lewis’s Bleeding Love, Alicia Keys’ No One and Robbie Williams’ Angels.

Blog Life

2014 at was a very good year with almost 80,000 views from 160 countries. I created 132 posts during the year and uploaded 679 pictures to my blog. This year-end review will be my 1010th post. Here’s how my blogging life went month by month.


EARL GREY 1I started the old schools series with Earl Grey School (left) in all its glory. I posted an article from elsewhere on ways to rebel in the Matrix and added an absurd cut-up video called What He Rebels Against.


Though I eliminated my Fiction page because WordPress is a crappy forum for almost everything now, I posted a short fiction called Bad Men Who Love Jesus. I profiled Isbister School now the Adult Education Centre and offered a feature on the 1948 Reavis Report on the future of schools and education in Winnipeg.


Ecole Provencher was the next old school feature. This month my large video work The Snapshot 9 (06-02-2012 1-55 PM)Lonesomes: 16 Prairie Stories (right) was posted on my blog and also on my YouTube channel. You can read the scripts and backstory here and watch the video here. I posted on movies about the Beats made in the 21st century.


We had spring flooding in Manitoba this year that caused Spruce Woods Park to be closed for a while. I did three on-site reports. The next old school is Luxton in Winnipeg’s North End. I documented the ten years of my radio career with pictures and charts in a post called Read Reid Radio.


I reported on my first Spirit Sands hike of the year, my train trip to Dauphin and the awakening of the garter snakes at Narcisse in a post called Snakes Without Ladders. I re-reported on Kevin Richardson and the lions shot with a GoPro camera. An amazing story!


I reported on my visit to the Criddle/Vane homestead discovering the house had been sealed off (left). Two daysCRIDDLE HOUSE 001 later the house was burned to the ground by arsonists. I posted a short fiction piece called Watching the River Flow, a life-changing conversation between a husband and wife


More flooding at Spruce Woods Park with on-the-spot video and pictures. The Cooks Creek Medieval Festival was held this year and I have a full report plus video. I helped promote the Carberry Heritage Festival this year and posted often about it.


A major attraction at the Medieval Festival was the Prairie Caravan Tribal Belly Dancers. ISnapshot 4 (17-08-2014 12-46 PM) offer some background on the troupe and video (right) of one of their festival dances. The heritage festival in Carberry was a success prompting a third year. Check out the Carberry Heritage Festival website for the latest information. More short fiction What Ever Happened To the Squareaway ChildrenGrindel, Cheyenne, Colloquia.


An offshoot of my rooting around for found footage online I created a daily short video series called The Good Old Days which started last month and accounted for the rest of my posts this month. See two samples: Five-horse, one man swather and stooker :55 and Cigarettes, Oh Boy 1:18


I celebrated John Cleese’s birthday, offered a new short video called Tesla As a Boy. I did a CKY JUNE 64scan0002feature on a 1960s radio contest where CKY (left) tried to get a town to change its name to Seekaywye. I report on Marshall McLuhan’s 1977 visit to Brandon. La Verendrye School is next in the schools series and a new found video Guitar Concerto.


I posted the feature on Birtle Indian Residential School which I shot in June when my  friend Mark and I went for a drive in western Manitoba. I created two more found videos – Just This and Oasis in Space which uses the sound poetry of Kurt Schwitters as its audio. I found some TV commercials Federico Fellini produced in the late 1960s including one for Campari. Five versions of one song – The Chokin’ Kind – rounded out the month.


I kicked off the month with a feature on Winnipeg 1910 to 1919 which tied into Laura Secord School. I found some lovely old calendar art from the 1920s which got me curious about calendar art in general. On the 124th anniversary of his death I posted two shortFAM MOM TEACH0009 fictions about Sitting Bull with an added bit of film this year. Then I started the 12 Days of Christmas – a daily look at one of Carberry’s wonderful heritage buildings. The series was very popular. Party hats (right) from the 1930s was a timely post. Over the Christmas holidays, due to hundreds of Facebook links, my post on the Vickers Viscount airplane in Garland from 2013 generated thousands of views giving my blog its best day ever and second best month ever.


I’ll give the last picture and the last word to my namesake Ezra Reid Scholl who’s just turned two. The little guy enriches my life beyond measure. I revel in watching him grow and change and learn. Among the many things Ezra has taught me so far is there is no better reason to make a silly fool of yourself if it makes a two-year-old laugh. This picture is Ezra at 17 months. Below that is a one-minute video mash-up I did of Ezra being extra cute. Click the pic. Happy New Year!

March 2014 v

Snapshot 1 (02-10-2014 9-53 PM)


Filed under Architecture, Art, Blog Life, Carberry, Education, Flood, Heritage Buildings, Heritage Festival, Momentous Day, Museum, Music, Schools, The Lonesomes, Year-End Review 2014

“The Chokin’ Kind” Times Five – Unintentionally Topical?

 Reid Dickie

Harlan Howard once defined country music as “three chords and the truth.”

chokin 7Howard (left) was one of Nashville’s most prolific and preeminent songwriters spanning the late 1950s to the late 1990s. He wrote dozens of hit songs, fifteen of which charted in 1961 alone. Among his best known songs are I Fall to Pieces, Heartaches by the Number, Busted, Pick Me Up on Your Way Down, Streets of Baltimore, Tiger by the Tail and one of the greatest crossover songs ever, The Chokin’ Kind.

Two verses, a thoughtful change up, another verse and a reiterating coda tell the story of the singer’s realization that the partner wants more than love, they want utter control of the singer’s life, frighteningly so. The partner will go to any lengths to achieve this but the singer is gone. In the final verse the singer advises the partner to change for their own sake and that of future relationships. The coda reaffirms the fear and the untenable nature of the relationship.

The line that opens the second verse, “You can kill a man with a bottle of poison or a knife…” is often misheard as being “..a Bible or poison or a knife.”

Several of Howard’s songs crossed over into other genres but it was The Chokin’ Kind that scored biggest. I picked it to feature not just because it’s a fantastic song but it’s been covered in very distinct fashion by these five artists. I inserted audio players so you can hear the full versions of each. You’ll find the players under the album covers.

Originally a hit for Waylon Jennings, The Chokin’ Kind reached #8 in the U.S. and #4 in Canada on the country music charts in 1967. The song appeared on his 1968 album Hangin’ On which reached #9 on the U. S. country chart.

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Joe Simon recorded a gorgeous soulful version of The Chokin’ Kind that became the song’s best known version and biggest chart success. It stayed at #1 on the U.S. R & B charts for three weeks in the spring of 1969, selling over a million copies. On the U.S. Pop charts it reached #13 and #17 in Canada. Though he had two other #1 songs, this would be Joe’s biggest hit.

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Allen Toussaint, New Orleans singer, producer and songwriter (Working in a Coal Mine, Southern Nights, Mother-In-Law, Ride Your Pony) added his delta spice to the song on his 1971 album Toussaint.

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Extraordinary master of a 1953 Fender Telecaster (nicknamed Nancy), Roy Buchanan brought his hypnotic style to the song. At the outset it’s almost an arena rock epic but Roy switches into a funky mode retaining the song’s subtleties. Roy included it on his 1986 album Dancing on the Edge. That’s not Nancy in the picture.

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She sounds black and southern but she is blond and British. Joss Stone wails her marvelous rendition of The Chokin’ Kind on her 2003 release The Soul Sessions. The album was a huge hit in Britain, selling over a million copies and going platinum, a feat it also achieved in the U.S. and Canada.

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Filed under 1960s, Music

Mid-Century Winnipeg – The Cave Supper Club

Wpg Earle Hill & His cavemen at Cave Club 1937

Taken in 1937 in Winnipeg’s Cave Supper Club (likely located where Giant Tiger is at Donald and Ellice), Earle Hill and his Cave Men are about to entertain the evening crowd. There were also Cave Supper Clubs in Vancouver and Edmonton (it was a chain). Stalactites and huge mushrooms were prominent motifs in all of them.

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Filed under 1930s, Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Music, Winnipeg

For the Blood Moon

 “There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.” – George Carlin

The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress

Written by Jimmy Webb

Sung by Sam Robson

Click pic

samThe sky is made of stone.

Want to get healed? Sam sings How Great Thou Art 

Check out Sam Robson’s YouTube channel

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Filed under Music, Natural Places, shamanism, Truth

Beyond the Blue Horizon The Good Old Days Part 13

Snapshot 1 (09-09-2014 11-06 PM)

Click the pic to have the Three Suns entertain you from 1942

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Filed under Guff, Humour, Music

I Met Him on a Sunday The Good Old Days Part 10

Snapshot 1 (04-09-2014 12-40 AM)

 They’re balloons! Really! Click the pic if you don’t believe me.

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Filed under 1950s, Humour, Music

Shirty Upclues

Heidi Ho Blubbers and Blabbers,

It’s your old pale ale pal Shirty with an upclue for you.

Two consecutive #1 hits have made Tapioca Hot Tub the new darlings of the Fidgety Set, especially boys 11 and 12 which is due largely to the stackability of Mauve Mavis, the band’s sumptuous grip and hover player. Says MM about her special demographic, “Rotate your hands, babies.”

Sheila, the ever-honest, gravity-defying music reviewer, has proven to the world that the energy and power of promotion pays off big time and can make even the least stand out amid the musical squalor of the 21st century!

Meaning that The Taps hold down #1 again on the Brain Failure Top Ten with their ditty Calypso Mind Control. Click the pic below to hear Sheila review all the Top Ten. Snapshot 1 (17-06-2014 7-49 PM) Some say it was the tune’s gruesome video that propelled it to the top slot. I contend that my promotional stunt of having the band live in a tent on top of a cell phone tower for a week decided the tune’s happy fate. It received international news coverage.

The downside, I guess, is the band were all fried with complete collapse of brain functions and a spate of radiation poisoning symptoms. The silver lining is their condition has not affected their musical abilities and they all said they had the best cell reception ever that week.

My success with THT has garnered me a new gig. I am now the Canadian Market Seepage Party Planner for a brand new beer called Idaho Strong Arm brewed by Burpage Brewery in Squinch, Idaho. The hook with Idaho Strong Arm is you can use it as a deodorant, too.

They want everybody to get hammered on their beer real soon so I’m inviting everyone who reads this to attend an Idaho Strong Arm party. Free beers for hours and hours. The bash is at the Come If You Can Party Rooms in the new Shifting Shoulders Motor Hotel in Squash Squander Heights Condomartmall at Levi and Levon. Some highlights of the party that may linger with you for days afterwards include:

  •  a dip in the clothing-optional pool for a swim with Gary, the mutant chlorine dolphin;
  • the exotic and adventurous buffet from Jimmy Crack Corn where you can taste their stacked venison, swallow dropping and zebra cheese panini. You won’t find that at Tim Horton’s!
  • sway to the mellow tones of our strolling musicians:
  • Arden, the deaf accordionist;
  • the Slinky Sisters who are “as musical as Tourettes gets,”
  • Thragund Stlyth who is blonde, Belgian, 16 and plays the sitar like a mofo;
  • the climax of the evening is the world premiere performance of a new stage play by Edgy Ernst Angster called The Haunted Dresses: A Wardrobe in Search of a Cast. Empty costumes reveal their inner longings and outer shortfalls. Special appearances by Cotton Wrinkles, a self-ironing shirt, as The Uncreaseable; and a gay army boot named Loose Laces as The Anti-Uncreaseable. New cutting edge Empathetic Fabric Technology EFT makes it all possible.
  • plus, there’s bound to be a few strange things at the party, too.

Hope you can fit it in.

I found clown footprints around my roses!!

Colour between the lines,


Read Shirty’s next email

Read Shirty’s previous email.


Filed under Guff, Humour, Music

Read Reid Radio

CKY chartscan0001

Reid Dickie

When I was twelve years old I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a disc jockey on the radio. That was my dream job, I told my parents.

As a kid growing up in a small prairie town three hours away from YORK 002any big city, my best escape was listening to the radio. Transistor radios came out in the late 1950s. I got my first one for my birthday in 1961. It was a six transistor York, made in Japan for the New York Transistor Company on Fifth Avenue, NYC. My York had a gold metal front with perforated metal speaker, black and cream coloured hard plastic case hiding its guts and a heavy 9-volt battery. (Factoid: 9-YORK 001volt batteries were invented to power transistor radios.) It was encased in a “genuine leather” case with YORK embossed in gold on the front.

As you can see (above, right) I still have the radio. It no longer turns on or off. It’s gone to radio limbo.

That little York became my constant companion filling my life with an ever-changing but comfortable soundtrack of pop music given extra depth and excitement by the on-air antics of the personable guys who spun the discs. That’s who I wanted to be.

Disc jockeys like Daryl B(urlingham), Jimmy Darin, Mark Parr, Peter Jackson PJ the DJ, Chuck Dann, Porky Charbonneau, Dennis Dino Corrie at CKY, Canada’s Friendly Giant originating in a little room on Winnipeg’s Main Street, came pounding across the prairie riding 50,000 clear watts. Here’s their chart from the week I turned 16. Click to enlarge. CKRCscan0003CKRCscan0004















CKRC, Winnipeg’s other less powerful pop station whose signal strength varied out in my little town, still managed to leave an indelible impression with DJs like Boyd Kozak, Jim Paulson, Don Slade, Bob Washington, Doc Steen, Ron Legge. Here is their chart from the week I turned 12 and got my York radio. Click to enlarge. CKRCscan0001               CKRCscan0002














Near dusk when radio stations changed their signal patterns, WLS, 50,000 clear watts from Chicago came booming in. DJs like John Records Landecker, Dick Biondi, Larry Lujack, Chuck Knapp had incomparable pipes (voices) and songs never sounded better than on WLS_1964-12-18_1WLS. The massive wattage carrying the signal buoyed even the most banal pop ditty to powerful new heights. And WLS made great songs sound even greater. I was never sure how that mystical condition was achieved but I knew I wanted to be part of it, to ride those invisible waves crashing onto transistor beaches and young hearts across the continent. It was a big dream for a little kid.

All the hits, all the time! John Records Landecker’s motto was, “Records is my middle name.” That’s how I felt about records and pop music in general starting in 1960. This feeling increased by quantum leaps in 1964 when The Beatles et al were released to North America. I encouraged the local radio/TV repair shop in the little town to carry CKY’s weekly hit parade charts and I amassed a fine collection that I referred to often for this post. I loved poring over the charts, tracing the arcs of my favourite songs, what song debuted the highest, all the permutations and changes I could wring out of fifty pop songs.

How does the announcement by a 12-year-old that he wants to devote his existence to playing records on the radio go over with his parents? Some amusement at first but I was adamant about this which led to bewilderment then concern. Mom definitely wanted a doctor son to cure all her ills and Dad wanted a hockey player. I had to disappoint them both. They eventually understood. By the time I was sixteen and steadfast in my future career choice, my parents started to come around and say things like, “If you are going to be a radio announcer, we’ll send you to school to be a damn good one.” The universe was unfolding as it should.

Disc jockey was generalized and upgraded into radio announcer by my parents and in the 1960s the best place to learn how to be a good one in Canada was at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in downtown Toronto. The course was called Radio and Television Arts (RTA): three years of hands-on technical training on top quality, modern equipment mixed with psychology, sociology, writing, speech training and even a class in foreign pronunciations. First year was mostly radio, second and third all TV. I’m not photogenic so radio was my only interest in taking RTA. The program sounded interesting to both my parents and I so we started working toward it.

The day came in late August 1968 when I stepped off the train at Union Station in downtown Toronto on my way to Ryerson. The culture shock of moving from a town of 700 people to a city of two million (then) excited and stimulated me. Any fears I had struggled beneath a heavy covering of optimism and hope. It was the Sixties when anything was still possible. Everyone felt that.

Ryerson (now a university) is located one block off Yonge Street’s section called The Strip, at least it was in the late 1960s. Strip clubs, bars, XXX movie theatres, organ grinders with monkeys, chestnut roasters, buskers, Hari Krishnas, hippies and hipsters, the denizens brought throngs downtown every night.

The first year I stayed in Ryerson’s residence across the street from the school. Sam the Record Man and A & A Records were right around the corner on Yonge Street. Ronnie Hawkins’ club The Hawk’s Nest where I saw the Kinks and Parliament/Funkadelic (not on the same bill) was two blocks down. The Rock Pile, a Masonic Temple converted into a Rock & Roll Shrine where I saw Led Zeppelin two days after their first album came out, was a ten minute walk away. On the way you could stop at the Riverboat Coffeehouse in Yorkville and see John Lee Hooker or James Taylor. At the Ryerson folk club The Onion you could watch Bruce Cockburn begin his glorious arc or Leon Redbone perform to a tomato. At Massey Hall I saw The Fugs and Laura Nyro (not on the same bill). I had moved from lonesome howling prairie wind song to the 24-hour thrum and throb of Canada’s pop cultural heart.

My first year was intense and exactly what I needed and wanted to learn about radio, not just as an announcer but as a producer with awareness of potential future career growth. I wasn’t as ambitious as many of the others though I succeeded the first year. That summer I worked at Clear Lake and went back to Ryerson in the fall of 1969 much less enthused.

Culturally Toronto still overwhelmed with the new and the shiny but TV was the main focus that year and, at the time, I hated TV. As a result I developed a kind of accidee, a good old word meaning torpor or sloth, which combined with a yearning to be away from the cold city and back on the prairie. It made for a rough year.

My saving grace came in the form of a radio station. As much as the DJs on CKY, CKRC and WLS had inspired me and the teachers at Ryerson had taught me, CHUM-FM, Toronto’s underground radio station, completed my radio education. CHUM-FM was my post-grad work.

Underground radio was free-form radio, usually on FM, no format, few ads, the announcers played what they wanted usually in long music sequences, lots of brand new music mixed with familiar tunes, unpredictable crazy fun to the highest degree. CHUM-FM was Canada’s premier underground station.

I remember listening to Dave Marsden doing a laidback but amusing persona completely opposite that of his previous role, Dave Mickie on CBC-TV’s noisy Razzle Dazzle. The graveyard shift on CHUM-FM was pritchardfilled by David Pritchard (left) whose delivery, style and choice of music had an enormous effect on me and the radio would later create. Pritchard had a dark and dry delivery that was full of surprises and always made you wonder if he was putting you on. Frank Zappa described his show as “an utter freak out.”

That year I lived alone in an apartment paid for by a classmate as a cover so he could live with his girlfriend elsewhere. The apartment, across the street from Allen Gardens, had at least two inorganic occupants as well. David Pritchard and I became adept at scaring away the night spooks. I saw many sunrises and few classrooms that year.

The summer of 1970 I worked in the little town until I got my first radio job. Dad had a drinking buddy who had a drinking buddy who had a buddy who ran CFAR, the radio station in the mining town of Flin Flon, Manitoba. Connections!

I started at CFAR in October 1970. On my first day station manager Jay Leddy had me run the controls for him early Sunday morning for an hour then stood up and said, “You’re on your own, kid.” No net! It was delightfully terrifying. The first song I played on cfarthe radio, real radio with people listening, was Sunday Morning Coming Down by Johnny Cash. By the end of shift I had settled in, almost comfortable, getting chatty. Ryerson was right! I’d been taught well.

At a little 1,000-watt station like CFAR, whose staff was maybe six people, I got to do everything: play records, prepare and read news and sportscasts, interview people on-air, read the daily stock market closings, answer the phone, write and read ad copy, type logs, sell ads, sweep the floor and even train announcers newer than me. Gary Roberts from Winnipeg was one such guy.

We both cut our teeth at CFAR, became good friends and shared lots of small town fun. Admirably ambitious, Gary, real name Reg Johns, went on to program radio stations in the U.S. and now runs Mass2One Media in Carlsbad, CA. We chatted about a year ago.

I spent ten months at CFAR. In July 1971 I got my second radio gig at CKX-AM in Brandon, an hour from my hometown. Mom was thrilled! She could finally listen to me. Frank Bird, whom I had listened to since childhood, hired me to do the CKX all night show 1:00 to 7:00 a.m. six nights a week. The only music restriction was I had to play country music from 5:00 to 7:00, otherwise I could play whatever I wanted. The music library at CKX was adequate to my needs and the record companies were generous with new releases. I had my own underground radio show for four hours a night. The freedom was delicious! It was heaven!

I was required to rip and read a three-minute newscast at the top of every hour. My time at CKX coincided with Watergate and Richard Nixon’s destiny. As a consequence I honed a passable Nixon impression often using it for the whole newscast. This is a shot of me (below) at 6:00 a.m. in the CKX studio about 1972. REID CKX 1972 Although not a major market, Brandon was a step up in my career. CKX had an FM station that was on auto-program during the day and simulcast AM all night. CKX-FM leaked into Winnipeg somehow, maybe cable TV. I recall several Winnipeg people calling me to say they’d listened to me on CKX.

I did the CKX all-night show for twenty-three months having no ambition to do a day shift. I was happy with my freedom and whatever audience was generated all night. I was getting tired of Brandon though, overly familiar Brandon, the city of my birth was getting real stale at 23.

In July of 1973 I scored my major market job. Duff Roman hired me to do an evening underground radio show from 7:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on CFRW-FM. During the day, FM simulcast CFRW-AM until I took over for the evening. Again free form, no format, run wild. So I did.

When I started at CFRW-FM the office and studios were in the Confederation Building on the curve on Main Street. They were cramped and chaotic. A few months later CKY moved their studios to Polo Park. CFRW bought the former CKY studios, which were located in the London Block, a three-storey building at 432 Main Street N. next to the McIntyre Building. All are gone now. CKY master control 1965

Turns out after the move, the studio where I did my show was the same one the CKY DJs I admired so much on my York radio had used (left about 1965). It was a shivery and wonderful completion of a life circle for me.

CFRW-FM was also theREID CFRW 1974 best radio I ever created. I was on-air six nights a week (right) and Ziggy filled in on my night off. I don’t know what became of Ziggy.

The precedent for underground radio in Winnipeg had been set a few years before my arrival by Now Flower on CKY-FM. On-air from 1968 into 1971, Now Flower was created and manned by Jan Thorsteinson and Harold Gershuny who called himself Gersh. It broke the ground for me by creating an audience and a taste for free-form radio that lingered then disappeared briefly to be reincarnated on CFRW-FM. CKY ad

FM radio was relatively unknown in the 1960s, having been used mainly for classical music. Underground radio helped change that. This Advance ad (left) indicates how popular and cool Now Flower was. The late 1960s ad for a Lloyd’s FM/AM radio mentions Now Flower on 92.1 CKY-FM along the bottom of the ad. I spoke with Jan Thorsteinson recently to do some fact-checking of dates for this post. He’s happily retired in rural Manitoba. I’m not sure of Gersh’s whereabouts.

With the benefit of The Long View, I see Now Flower as the opening bracket and my show on CFRW-FM as the closing bracket since it was the last underground radio on a commercial station in Winnipeg. Between us lies the full extent and duration of alternative radio in Winnipeg. Thereafter, university radio stations began filling the gap. CFRW list0001   Click to enlarge             CFRW list0002









As these two diverse lists of albums I played in 1974 and 1975 indicate (above, right), music on underground radio needed to be unabashedly varied because the element of surprise (never knowing what you’re going to hear next) had to be maintained – the less predictable the better.

The first two Bruce Springsteen albums came out in 1973 and I played tracks from both of them every night in Brandon and Winnipeg. CFRW-FM had a very active and demanding audience so I played lots of requests.

Manitoba had a rash of UFO sightings in the 1970s. During self-proclaimed Alien Week, I did a bit where every night at a certain time I would announce the co-ordinates of our transmitting tower and invite any amenable aliens to contact us using our transmitter. Two minutes of silence, dead air, followed. The aliens never took me up on my offer but apparently there were more than a few earthlings glued to the silence.

In the 1970s it was illegal to advertise alcohol before ten o’clock at night (imagine that!). CFRW-FM had a heavy contract with Club Beer which meant I had to play three or four beer commercials an hour. Though humorous and nutty, the ads wore thin fast.

In 1975 CHUM from Toronto purchased CFRW AM & FM and the death knell for underground radio began to sound. CHUM changed the call letters to CHIQ which became Q94-FM and adopted a nauseating ice-water format of banality and conformity.

The irony is that CHUM, whose FM flagship station taught me so much about free-form radio, were the ones to put the kibosh on alternative radio in Winnipeg.

Since I could think and talk at the same time, CHUM kept me on to do a 90-minute afternoon talk show on Q94 called Forum. I interviewed people on the phone and live in the studio, like the 12-year-old evangelist preacher and Mr. Manitoba, adding in interviews from my Toronto counterpart. There was still something unpredictable and free-form about a talk show plus I got to ask weird questions. I enjoyed that greatly. Extra bonus: I loved pissing off the “music director” by playing Tom Waits instead of Elton John during my musical interlude.

Looking back it seems as if the main reason I worked at CFRW was to meet, fall in love with and spend my life with Linda. She was the boss’s Girl Friday, traffic reporter, occasional copywriter and all-around beauty. Though mostly an evening creature at the station, I did appear occasionally during the day after making sure she’d be there. I quit CFRW in early 1977, Linda and I moved in together and we lived a bohemian lifestyle, making art, meeting new people, having fun. Much of that era is documented on the DTC ART page.

My next and final radio gig was at CJUM-FM where I was hired by Brent Mooney as music director for the struggling University of Manitoba station which had come on the air in September 1975 and closed in June 1980. New wave was just underway when I started there in 1978 and we ran with it. With niche tastes serviced while enlightening others, CJUM-FM had even more diversity than underground radio. We played plenty of Winnipeg bands as you can see by the music lists from 1979 (below). CJUM list0001   Click to enlarge           CJUM list0002











Though the 1980s and 90s were dry radio-wise, CJUM-FM returned in 1998. The following year CKUW, at the University of Winnipeg, debuted on air. Both continue to provide high quality accessible radio.

My childhood dream came true. I was a disc jockey for ten years. Then I had the epiphanal moment: when one dream is realized, another begins…


Filed under 1960s, BEAUTY, Music, Radio, Winnipeg

“Hell Broke Luce” – Tom Waits

A startling new video of Hell Broke Luce by Tom Waits, one of my favourite tracks from his Bad As Me CD. Click the pic to watch it. It’s 4:08.

tom hell


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Turn Out – Hot New Video on YouTube

Snapshot 2 (06-04-2013 5-44 PM)

Reid Dickie

In the late 1970s when Linda and I devoted our lives full time to multi-media creations, we recorded a 3-minute audio piece called Turn Out. It consisted of me reading a series of phrases, all of them  permutations of the phrase “When you turn out the light it gets dark very quickly.”

Jump ahead thirty years to the planning stages for the 2010 event commemorating Linda called A Celebration of Light and Linda. I asked my dear friend Chris Scholl to compose some music for an original black-light dance by fire dancers Wild Fire which was part of the Celebration. I gave Chris my 1970s reading of Turn Out to see if he could incorporated it into the show. The result has a relentless beat, driven by the dark and the light abetted by a chorus of coyotes.

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The tune was a great success at the event. Recently I manipulated some of my digital images and gave the tune a visual capability that does admirably in keeping up with the beat.  Now it’s a hot new full-length music video called Turn Out by Morphogen and available for global consumption on YouTube. Share it with all your friends who love to dance!

CAUTION: the video includes several sequences of rapidly flashing lights.

Click any pic and PLAY IT LOUD!

Snapshot 1 (06-04-2013 5-43 PM)


Filed under dicktool co, Music

Having a Party on the TTC

He combined two Toronto street names for his stage name. He fronted one of Canada’s most soulful bands The Philosopher Kings and now he’s back…singing on the subway and promoting his new music. Soul Station Volume 1 – The Songs of Sam Cooke is comprised of Jarvis Church backed by a ten-piece band doing versions of one of pop’s greatest singers. Watch him entertain Toronto subway passengers with his version of one of Sam’s best, Havin’ A Party. Click the pic to start the ride.


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Landfill Harmonic – New Documentary

Violins made of garbage

Dan the Van Man sent me this inspirational teaser for an upcoming full-length documentary about a group of people in a remote village in Paraguay who fashion symphonic instruments out of garbage and perform the classics using them. Click the pic to watch the  3 1/2 minute clip for Landfill Harmonic.

Art-from-garbage is also explored in a documentary called Waste Land. Here is its clip.

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