Springing Forward again....

SPRING! Well, we're getting there anyway. I know I should have included a colourful photo of blossoms but I took this shot a few days ago riding my bike by Kits Beach so - ever the realist - here's spring as of the beginning of April. As inevitable as it is,when it fully arrives it still feels like a miracle. Even more for you in the east, I'm sure.

I have always been smitten by the silhouette of trees against the sky. Although it has been proven to me over and over again that it is virtually impossible to capture the stunning beauty of nature and reproduce the breathtaking sensation that inspires me to pull out my camera in the first place, I keep trying. The contrast of the branches particularly sends me - this pattern that is reproduced in the leaves, in the roots, and in our veins.

For those of you who have been lured onto my mailing list at a concert with promises of infrequent missives, you can now testify - I didn't lie to you. My last one was sent with Season's Greetings. So, you have nothing to fear! For those who have with me for awhile, I shall repeat the apology you receive with every letter that it took so long!

Life always always feels relentlessly packed. I'm not complaining, mind you. It's virtually all related to keeping the wheels of a life in music turning, so I could never whine about that. It's just hard to get to all that wakes me far too early and keeps me up far too late.

In the bigger world, as we all know to the point of exhaustion, the circus of American Chaos continues to render us incredulous and disheartened. But I'll leave it to the likes of Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Samantha Bee, to provide the smart biting humour that is so critical to our sanity. You really don't need to hear any more analysis or ranting from me, but lest I appear to be the proverbial ostrich I figure it bears acknowledgment for its roll in harshing our buzz.

But part of my delay in writing was feeling I couldn't do so without wrestling my confused thoughts on the New Feminist Movement 2.0 into something I can articulate. Sometimes I think our views are formed solely by our personal experiences and how we were raised. But then why couldn't I raise my hand in solidarity when "me too" started being cried out? I have some serious cred in that department. But something about it all made me very uncomfortable.

Let's start at the roots. I was the youngest of three siblings, so at 10 years old when our father died of cancer, I was probably the most impacted of the three by being raised by our headstrong mother. Up to that point she was a “homemaker” as was the moniker in the 50’s and 60’s, but she felt strongly that her husband’s career was a result of their teamwork. After he died, she took it upon herself to learn all she could about investing in the stock market and set about turning his small life insurance policy into her sustaining income until she died at 88. She lived well, and put 2 of her kids, and 3 of her grandchildren through University. She travelled, played duplicate bridge, sewed her own elegant dresses and suits, returned to playing tennis in her 70’s and bought her first computer at 75 so she could move her stock trading online. If anything around the house needed fixing, she did it herself. She definitely modeled fierce determination and independence for me. Hey,
I have power tools and I know how to use them! Occasionally as I struggle to install, build, repair, or carry something well beyond my limits I question if I’ve taken it too far. But I am very grateful for that foundation.

There has been a lot of talk about sexual harassment in the music business which is as rife with it as any other business. Personally, I’ve never experienced it as an artist, and have never felt I was at any disadvantage being female, or expected to have anything more than my skills open doors for me. But exposing the underbelly of rampant abuse of power is long overdue.

What about most public face of the music business in North America - the Grammys? To me, they represented a blatant paradox. I don’t think women can expect to have it both ways, and hey - I grew up in San Francisco in the 60’s with free love and rock and roll, so I assure you, I am NOT conservative. But there they were, rife with "Me too" spirit one minute and female artists bending over shaking their barely covered tits and asses and grabbing their crotches in simulated orgasms the next. You can’t behave like a sex object and then feel incensed when you’re treated like one. That’s likely going to get me in a lot of trouble but I had to say it. Respect starts with self respect. And both women and men have a lot of work to do. Remember “consciousness raising”? Its time for a comeback!

And I can't make that observation without expressing how impressed I was with the Junos. That was one classy telecast and I felt very proud to be a Canadian recording artist.

I’m glad to see things calming down a bit. For a time the hysteria of exposing the exploiters and long overdue consequences seemed to cause a dangerous pendulum swing that knocked due process right off the table. Any woman who had a bad date or a famous boyfriend who’d been a jerk, could state anonymously that they were abused and recklessly destroy a hard earned career out of vengeance. That’s wrong – and dangerous.

I don’t think women need to be given a leg up or a pat on the head. They need to be the best person for the job, be hired, and obviously be paid the same salary as their male counterparts. (Are we still talking about this?) And most importantly, we need to raise our daughters to BE the best person for the job - and walk through the door believing that – not waiting for it to be opened.
Denise Donlon shared an interesting statistic at a panel at the Junos: Men apply for a job if they feel they have 60% of the qualifications. Women only apply if they feel they have 100%. Far more men ask for raises and promotions than women. We have some work to do.

Okay - sorry to go on. Swan diving off my soap box now! I just had to get that off my chest - my modestly covered chest.

Time to get back to work!

Happy Trails out there my friend!


Julia GraffComment