Repeater: Bird Of Sorrow


Grief came first like an earthquake. Shaking and tossing everything we knew and leaving us shattered. But we did the work you are supposed to when things are broken. We picked up the debris and did our best to put everything back in place

But grief hides and waits. And it came back. First with aftershocks that we walked over and around until the tsunami swept over us and left devastation, despair and a landscape that was unrecognizable. 

We stood in the place we once held sacred and strained our eyes trying to find familiarity. We watched helplessly as bold and dark brushstrokes crisscrossed the painting we wanted to fill with light. But we keep painting anyway, each of us taking turns at the easel. Until finally, finally we stood back and saw the final masterpiece was no less beautiful. 

+ + + + + +

This song helped me. 

It played on repeat while I stood in place.

It played on repeat while I kept painting the landscape of our life together. 

It played on repeat while I loved and loved even when I was scared. 

It plays now and reminds me of sorrow.

It plays now and reminds me of vulnerability.

It plays now and reminds me of us. 

+ + + + + + 

Even if a day feels too long
You feel like you can't wait another one
You're slowly giving up on everything
Love is gonna find you again

Love is gonna find you, you better be ready then

You've been kneeling in the dark for far too long
You've been waiting for that spark, but it hasn't come
Well I'm calling to you, please, get off the floor
A good heart will find you again

A good heart will find you, just be ready then

Tethered to a bird of sorrow
A voice that's buried in the hollow
You've given over to self-deceiving
You're prostrate, bowed, but not believing.
You've squandered more than you could borrow
You've bet your joys on all tomorrows
For the hope of some returning
While everything around you is burning

Come on, we gotta get out, get out of this mess we made
And still for all our talk, we're both so afraid
Will we leave this up to chance, like we do everything?
Love is gonna find us again

Love is gonna find us, we gotta be ready then

Tethered to a bird of sorrow
A voice that's buried in the hollow
You've given over to self-deceiving
Your prostrate bowed would not be leaving
You've squandered more than you could borrow
You've bet your joys on all tomorrows
For the hope of some returning
While everything around you's burning

But I'm not leaving you
I'm not leaving you
I'm not leaving
I'm not leaving, yeah, yeah
I'm not leaving
I'm not leaving, yeah, yeah
I'm hanging on
Hanging on
What's gonna come?
I'm hanging on now
Hanging on, hanging on, hanging on
Hanging on, hanging on, hanging on

With the faithful
With the faithful
I'm hanging on
What's gonna come?
What's gonna come?
Hanging on
Hanging on

~Glen Hansard "Bird of Sorrow"

7 Songs From the 80s: When Angst Was A Good Friend


I was recently asked by a friend — with whom I spent a lot of time in the 80s — to share seven memorable songs from that time. I enjoy any chance to think about music and how it has shaped me. And it would be no surprise to anyone who looked inside my journal from that decade to see these songs are all about longing and angst and heartbreak. I've always felt connected to others by music and knowing others felt the same way was comforting. 

Nothing magical happened to me during those years. I never got the boy, I wasn't popular, I wasn't all that memorable. It was hard then, but I'm glad went through it. I remember those days as a time I was caught between two versions of myself: the nervous observer the outer world saw and the dramatic and bold girl who only made herself known inside the sanctuary of a candy-coloured bedroom. I spent a lot of time on my own, writing the lyrics to songs in my best cursive and folding them over and over on themselves, so I could glue them into that journal. Maybe I thought it was better to let someone else tell my story during that time; it was easier than trying to figure out how to tell it myself. 

In that way, not much has changed. I am still the kind of music fan that identifies with and becomes attached to lyrics and storytelling in songs. I still fall head over heels in love with moody, sad songs and play them on repeat until my family begs me to stop. As for which version of myself I eventually became, I think I landed somewhere in the middle. And I'm glad about that, too.

I've listened to these songs in cars with the windows rolled all the way down, in darkened school gyms during awkward dances, and on repeat through the foam-covered headphones of my Sony Walkman.

In the 80s, I was the same age as my two oldest children are now. Hearing these songs today, I don't feel any regret it wasn't a more spectacular decade for me. I've kept the journal to remind myself it's okay to be confused about who you are, and it's okay to spend time alone figuring it out. I look at it sometimes to remind myself how big my feelings were, when I'm trying to help my kids navigate their own big feelings. And I always feel such a sweet gratitude for these songs when I see those handwritten lyrics.

They knew the words when I didn't and they invited me to sing along.

CARS: Who's Gonna Drive You Home? (1984)

BILLY VERA & THE BEATERS: At This Moment (1981)

HEART: Alone (1987)

DEPECHE MODE: Somebody (1984)

BANGLES: Eternal Flame (1989)

PETER GABRIEL: Don't Give Up (1986)

KATE BUSH: This Woman's Work (1989)




They're just like us, really.

Focusing on what matters.

Supporting one another in the pursuit of ambition, or perhaps giving each other the push to follow passion.

The difference between us and them is in the performance.

They play it out on a stage, while we try our best in the anonymity of a crowd.

Last night, Brody Dalle (formerly of the Distillers and Spinnerette) joined Josh Homme, frontman of the ever-evolving Queens of the Stone Age, to play for a crowd of revved up super fans at Budweiser Gardens in my hometown of London, Ontario—where people work hard and play harder.

Married since 2007, and parents of two young kids, Dalle and Homme are touring to promote their newest albums (Diploid Love and Like Clockwork, respectively) and spend some much-needed time together.

When we decided to find something outside of being parents, that filled us up, that helped us see one another the way we used to, that gave us time together—it was music that held the answer. 


And though we don't always share the same level of appreciation for each artist we see, we do appreciate being part of the other's experience. It's been a metaphor for marriage—at least for us—to be able to let the other shine, to know that any shadow cast by that glow isn't darkness, but instead a quiet place to stand. 

As the crowd of revellers found their seats and filled the floor space in front of Dalle (who has been compared to Courtney Love), she set the tone for a high energy show with her no frills brand of punk rock. She shone and then with a flirty You're gonna get your asses kicked, she slid into the shadows.

Dalle wasn't kidding. After watching roadies uncover red-clad gear and a red stage floor in keeping with the new album's artwork, the crowd was plunged into darkness as we waited for Queens of the Stone Age to begin.

A grid of brightly-lit squares illuminated the stage and provided a digital countdown from 59 seconds. It sounded like we were in a jumbo jet with the windows rolled down, and the sound made the stadium seats rumble and vibrate as though we were hurtling down a runway. No one paid attention to the stay in your seats during take-off rule though. Everyone was on their feet before the clock read zero, and that is where they stayed for the rest of the show.


The band opened with Keep Your Eyes Peeled from the new album on a smoke-filled, backlit stage that made Homme look even more formidable than his 6' 5" height makes him. Even though we were in an arena-setting, the vocals and instrumentals were crisp and as close to flawless as they could be for that kind of venue. Homme's voice (despite being under the weather) filled the space and—allow me to get all girly here for a moment—made my insides knock against my rib cage and my spine go loose like a length of rope waiting to be coiled.


Rock should be heavy enough for the boys

and sweet enough for the girls.

That way everyone's happy

and it's more of a party

~  Josh Homme (2000) 


Along with long-time guitarist and percussionist, Troy Van Leeuwen, and Michael Schuman on bass guitar, Dean Fertita on keyboards and recent addition Jon Theodore on drums, the band seemed to put any ego aside and create an atmosphere that welcomed everyone to join the party. 

The lighting provided an added ambiance and lent itself well to the melodic and rhythmic sounds inherent to the band and their über-talented instrumentalists. They weaved back and forth from old to new songs—though the enthusiasm of the crowd proved all of their songs are being played on repeat. 

Stand out numbers and crowd-pleasers were: If I Had a Tail, Smooth Sailing, and Lost Art of Keeping a Secret, while mellow numbers like The Vampyre of Time and Memory showcased the phenomenal back up vocals of the band members, as well as Homme's versatility as a musician (he played keyboard and guitar).  

With high praise for their previous albums behind them, Homme was quoted as saying it didn't affect the way he viewed their newest album—which includes high-profile collaborations from Trent Reznor, Jake Shears, Alex Turner, James Lavelle, Brody Dalle, Dave Grohl, Elton John (who told Homme he needed a real "queen" on the album) and former band drummer, Joey Castillo.


The only pressure is

(making sure that)

it won't be the same as the one before

~ Homme


After their encore performance of A Song For the Dead, which included a phenomenal drum solo by Theodore, JB turned to me and said, 

That's the next song I'm going to teach [our 10-year-old drummer son] to play.

And so I was reminded that we're just like them, really.

Focusing only on what matters. 


Our deepest gratitude to Budweiser Gardens #BGReviewer program for choosing me to review this unforgettable show.

Your venue and staff were welcoming and generous.

We look forward to coming back.





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