There’s a song from the 80s by the Canadian band The Pursuit of Happiness called I’m an Adult now. There’s one line in that song that I can particularly relate to “I can’t take too much loud music
I mean I like to play it, but I sure don’t like the racket…” That’s exactly how I feel! I almost never listen to music anymore. When I work in the studio I listen to podcasts and lately, audio books. On very rare occasions I put some music on and sing along. I’m not a singer, as anyone who’s heard my alter ego Stan Dickie sing, but I still like to do it. And as Stan, at least, I can kind of get away with it? But that doesn’t matter in the privacy of my studio, there I’m a rock star. Or Something…

So yeah, I don’t listen to music very often, but, like the song says, I still like to play it. In my younger days I played lead guitar in bands. None that you would have ever heard of, but I did it nonetheless (full disclosure: they didn’t let me sing!).  In fact, one of those bands is planning to get back together and play some gigs just for the helluvit. I’m excited about it. It should be fun, and it’s gotten me playing along with music instead of singing, which is probably for the best.

As I was saying last week, pop culture has been a major force for me in my life and that’s been the case right from the beginning. The fact that I can draw or paint at all has as much to do with pop culture as it does with ‘fine art’. I can remember being six years old and trying to draw Snoopy and Charlie Brown. From that moment, I think there was a germ of an idea that I could one day do something like that too. But I mostly dropped the idea till I was a little older and Bloom Country, The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes came along. The Big Three brought that idea back again for me and after I knew my musical career wasn’t really going to be a career at all, I decided to focus on that. I’ve mentioned before that I eventually realized that I didn’t like to draw the same characters over and over again so I never got as good as that as I could have, but some of it is pretty funny, and I do have somewhat of a knack for it. I can also draw a line directly from that to what I’m doing now, so I’m glad it’s something I pursued, even if I realized it wasn’t for me. And who knows, maybe I’ll update Gorilla in the Midst again one of these days!

Of course music and comic strips are not the only aspects of pop culture that have piqued my interest. Right from around the time I thought I might be a cartoonist, I also had the idea that maybe I could be an actor. Have a look at the Stan Dickie project and you’ll realize that I’m definitely a ham. Acting is not something that I ever pursued, but I know it’s something I would have enjoyed. I’ll never know if I really have a knack for that either, but I like to think I’d be an okay actor.

What about stand-up comedy? I’ve talked for years about how much I’d like to try it. Just to see if I can do it. I’ve written my six minutes a few times (the amount one needs for a first time at an an open mic), but never actually performed any of them. When I was living in Ottawa, I did sign up for an open mic once, but I didn’t get a spot. They just happened to be full up that week. After that I chickened out. Having said all this, I have made people laugh in public as Stan Dickie, so I’ve kinda sorta fulfilled that—hmmm, what do I call it—fantasy?

You Want a Toe, He Can Get You a Toe, 11″ x 14″, oil on canvas, 2020.

Anyway, I was planning to write about the pop culture that I connect to such as my favourite movies, TV shows, music etc. But writing off the top of my head, I didn’t go in that direction this week. So here’s a pop culture inspired painting. I don’t necessarily have a connection to every pop culture subject I paint, but I’ll just say: I love this movie!