Greetings From T.O.

All I really really want our love to do
Is to bring out the best in me and in you too

We’re running on empty.

You see we didn’t get to bed until 3:30.

Oh, we had a fine time with Jake and Lisa at Omi, eating a million dollars worth of sushi while listening to everyone from Bob Marley to Nina Simone.  But when we got to the King Edward, after midnight, after a flight into the snow from Los Angeles, there was no heat.  And the lack of heat and the travel and the sake combusted, emotions flared, we got deeply into it as Felice lay in the tub trying to warm up.

Relationships are hard.  They don’t teach you that in the movies, certainly not in school.  If my ex had learned this lesson we’d still be married.  But perseverance is no longer an admirable attribute, the seventies ethic still reigns, if it doesn’t feel good, jump ship, search, try to find someplace where it does.

And there’s a time to move on.  But usually endless searching does not deliver the answer.  Usually, it’s about staying in place, trying to unravel the mystery.

I’d like to tell you we did this.  But there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

The best relationships are equal.  If both people aren’t playing, aren’t revealing themselves, aren’t at risk, then what you’ve got is an attachment at best.  But to let one’s self out.  In a culture of winners.  It’s just too tough.

Oh, I’m not talking about the culture of recovery.  Wherein you break down and lay yourself bare.  Rather, I’m referring to playing, warts and all.  Trying to forge ahead, but not denying your deficits.

You don’t do this in business.

You do this in art.  In art, we reveal our emotions.  And the artists serve as inspiration to the community, informing the populace, arousing people’s feelings.

Oh, there’s power in today’s beat-driven music.  It will set you free.  The tracks and a bottle of Cuervo…you’ll let go.  But that music doesn’t speak to your heart.

Joni Mitchell’s music speaks to your heart.

Maybe someone laid out their truth in tunes prior to Joni, but no one I know.  Prior to her, tunes were oblique, they were riddled with platitudes, there was no personal truth.  Joni was always about personal truth.

We’re in Toronto for Joni Mitchell’s induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall Of Fame.  Actually, I’m supposed to be downstairs at the inductee dinner right now.  But I’m not ready to go.  I’m unsettled.

And when one is unsettled, music salves the wound, gets one through.

That’s what the labels don’t understand.  There IS NO competition for the entertainment dollar.  Because music is not entertainment, when done right, it’s life itself.  Joni Mitchell’s music is life itself.

I am on a lonely road and I am traveling
Traveling, traveling, traveling
Looking for something, what can it be

Today at lunch, Ezrin told me there’s nothing worse than being lonely.  It’s the scourge of humanity.  That’s why social networking burgeoned on the Web, people want to connect.  That connection is not present on television.  Nor in the movies.  But you can get it in music.  I got it to such an extent that I needed to be in this business.  I needed to be closer.  I needed to be here all the time.

It’s been a hard road.  It’s just about as hard to make it in the music business, and STAY in the music business, as it is to make it as an act.  But we persevere.  Because we believe.  Because the music touched us.

At Chapters this afternoon, over hot chocolate, Jake said that playing cards with his high school buddies someone remarked that he was the only one who lived his dream.  That he always wanted to be in the music business.  And ultimately succeeded.

Jake may be a judge on "Canadian Idol" today, but he started out as a lighting designer for a Top Forty band.  He had to endure a parting of the ways with the Tragically Hip.  How does one cope with the ups and downs?

By listening to music.

They say that Patti Smith belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because of all the people she influenced.  Fuck influence.  What do you MEAN to me, how do you AFFECT ME?  Do I still listen to your music?

Joni Mitchell’s music sounds as fresh today as it did the day it was cut.  Probably because it didn’t sound like anything else, she didn’t follow any trends, rather she blazed her own path.

Do you know how hard it is to blaze your own path?  Do you know how hard it is to delve into the darkness?  It would have been easier to keep the issues between Felice and myself under the rug, let them lay dormant.  But that’s not how Joni would do it.  And I don’t believe in the Bible, but the songwriters, the musicians.  All I know about relationships I learned in songs.

Joni famously sang:

We don’t need no piece of paper
From the city hall
Keeping us tied and true

Marriage is an institution.  Relationships are a bundle of emotions, connections, joys and defeats.  It’s like riding a bucking bronco.

Not that anybody tells you that.  I learned that listening to the tunes.

It was so beautiful landing in the snow.

But it took us the better part of an hour to get to the gate, there being utter gridlock at the airport, what with all the de-icing.

Jake had a great theory about EMI.  That Paul McCartney should buy it and then sell off everything but the Beatles catalog.

Ezrin is an encyclopedia.  Of not only music, but business.  Very few have talent in the studio and the boardroom.

I want to have fun, I want to shine like the sun

And now it’s time to go downstairs.  Hang with Barbara and Michael.  Talk business.  Laugh.  People…that’s where the fun is.  And I’m going to shake off my malaise and play.

And the reason I can shake off my mood is because of what’s pouring into my ears.

I try to do it like Joni says:

I want to be the one that you want to see
I want to knit you a sweater
Want to write you a love letter
I want to make you feel better
I want to make you feel free
I want to make you feel free

Consider this a love letter.  That’s trying to make you feel better.  Make you feel like you’re not alone.  That you may be the only one in your house, but there’s someone who feels what you do, who’s just as fucked up as you.  And that’s me.

And I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t listen to all those Joni Mitchell records.

I wanted to be more than a name on the door on the thirty-third floor.  I NEEDED to be more than that.  My life had to have meaning.  I know you’re searching for meaning too.

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.