Tuesday, December 29, 2009


It seems that many blogospherical people are making "Best of the Decade" Lists or are, at least, reflecting. Guess I best reflect as well. No "Best Of Music Books Film Etcetera" for me. That. my dear, is so played out and borrrring. This is Robert Dayton's Blogspot. This time it's personal and self-indulgent. Hey, maybe it'll cause you to make your own list. No Best Of for me, either, just significant events, I don't want to fall privy to hierarchical thinking either, let time sort it all out. This list is a good way to get my back, to not to sell myself short, I've done a lot, maybe that's the problem: the world ain't caught up yet, ha. I don't want to get too nostalgic but maybe this 'where I been' will help with the 'where I'm going.' And feel comfortable with 'where I am' but not too comfortable (stay hungry). I've never gotten stuck on the good old days. Ever since I was a boy buying my comic books in the store and a fella in line told me how I better enjoy my life as 'school was the best years of his life.' This scared me. Looking back, I just feel sorry for that guy. There's a lot of people like that.

(pic by Clancy Dennehy)

(done in no chronological order)

-My Dad died, he wasn't my Birth Dad but he was my Dad and though he wasn't talkative, he loved me and had a sense of humour. Went back home to see him a few times thinking it would be the last time, I could have gone a few more. I do my best to make sure to be there for my Mom.

-My brother Perry got married. I have three brothers, no sisters, he may be the only one to get married. And it was while I was there that I saw my Father's grave for the first time five years after he died.

-My cat Flo died. Tumours on the tongue. She was always there for me meowing and sleeping on my chest. A calico cutie.

-I fell in love three times.

-Me and the third love moved to Toronto. Never lived outside of BC before.

-That love moved back to Vancouver. I am still dealing with this and do not have proper perspective. UPDATE:I know as of twenty minutes ago that it is truly over and I best move on, I'm so fucked up and scared at this moment.

-Became disillusioned and feel that I am of no fixed address. I have no home.

-Met a lot of very interesting people at home (ha ha) and abroad in many walks of life, became friends with some. Maintained and treasured many very longterm friendships. Patched some up and made amends with some for mistakes made. And collaborated with some very wonderful and talented people!

-Had dalliances and relations with a LOT of women. I don't regret it but sometimes I was out of line, insecurity and fear of being able to be monogamous played a part. The last half of the decade featured more serious relationships, strengthened by what follows next.

-I stopped drinking. This helped me to get some self-respect and health back as well as to not doing things I'd feel horribly guilty for. Hopefully slowed down self-sabotage as well. I also started eating better, and living in nicer homes (ie. I moved out of an illegal bsmnt suite, a box really, when it flooded and destroyed some rare records).

-Always paid rent on time even when things looked scary.

-Became less judgmental. Thank God, it helped with my bitterness and to see people as people on their own terms.

-Starred in a movie called "Male Fantasy", a part which I think was written for me. It played a lot of festivals, was well regarded and is now out on DVD. It led to getting a great agent and lots of weird commercials and some TV spots.

-Acted in a Manson movie in a role that was written with me in mind. A small role but supported me for a while in Toronto. Now if I could just get an agent here. Movie goes into wide release in a few months.

-Recorded 9 albums.
Released six albums on our own and did well considering!
Four were with Canned Hamm: one was song-and-dance catchy funny synth pop; one was a tribute to that with Destroyer, Mark, New Pornographers and Rodney Graham, Frenzal Rhomb, Neil Hamburger, Bobby Conn, Nardwuar, and more; one was total glossy dance-pop; one was an X mas album; and Big Hamm is a musical genius ready to always look forward and not rest on his legendary laurels.
Two were with July Fourth Toilet: the first was warm charming bent psych pop, the second was hard driving psychedelic biker boogie and eerie soundscapes and ballads that my brother Frank played incredible guitar on with very very talented long-ti,e musical collaborators that are more open-minded than most.
Unreleased albums but should be released and I wish I had the resources and/or finances to make it happen: Points Gray, this may've been started late 90s, formerly called AIDS (way pre-AIDS Wolf), with Dan Bejar and Julian Lawrence, we wanted to do acid downer folk as no one was doing psych-folk at the time, when people started doing psych-folk we were way too damaged melodramatic vanity pressing sounding, ie. not watered down like most of that revival crap and we were individualistic, it did inspire Dan for his This Night album with Destroyer so it had some good effect indirectly and Steve Balogh did a limited CDR release. Hallmark, my melodramatic romantic glitter rock band, I wanted to move beyond the overtly funny but as normal as I was trying to be it still came out odd, recorded at JCDC so it sounds great, interesting dynamic of folks, I really want it to come out, I know at least a couple of us want to tour it. WET DIRT: hard rock Toronto damaged 4 piece band , recorded at 6 Nassau, currently in rough mix stage.

-Toured all over North America a lot as well as Australia in Canned Hamm. Many tours were with Neil Hamburger. One with Bobby Conn. One tour to Montreal was due to Musique Plus popularity for a music video. On one tour Tim and Eric opened with their videos in Philadelphia. One tour in Eastern Canada in the winter almost broke us up. We worked hard and mostly did it ourselves (peers did pitch in and help and support, of course), we were frustrated that it could never break through to the next level , we got a lot of media attention considering that. Is it that we were too funny for music and too musical for comedy or that we reside in Canada? We are still ready and standing by.

-With July Fourth Toilet no two shows were the same and musical styles fluctuated as did personas, see the theme running through my life: CREATIVE RISKS IN EXPRESSION. too many people are too scared to fall flat on their faces, I've done it and I've even been scared to leave the house afterwards but it has to be done to move forward. Sometimes I was tempted to quit completely but that's a confidence thing (and I'm gaining it back dammit).

-Co-created and co-edited a free unique Vancouver monthly newspaper called The Drippy Gazette. It lasted one year but it was then that I knew that what I do (and what many of my peers do) is not of marginal taste or value (many of these peers are getting quite successful). The public loved it, great feedback. But we just couldn't get to that next level, we couldn't get a backer, there was a glass ceiling. It has always been hard to get it to a wider audience and distribution and make some money. I hate being DIY and I notice that time and time again what I do can really reach people but it's the money-holders that never care. Through this newspaper, Julian got a Xeric Grant (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle money) to do a comic book and Lester got a job designing crazy tee shirts for Bang On after I convinced them to buy an ad and to have Lester design it. As well, some of Tommy's restaurant review columns for Drippy ran in the Nog-a-Dod book.

-Wrote a regular column for a free weekly Vancouver paper. Though I wrote it for free, I had carte blanche to take creative risks and reach a lot of readers. When they took my carte blanche away and the editor started treating me poorly, I left- I was writing for free, I didn't need the grief and, besides, writing for free takes work away from other writers as it undervalues them and makes backers think content can be free even though they run ads. Yes, the column gave me a certain cache and an opportunity to say something (creative nonfiction/experimental fiction/music/art/film/comics) and get me girls and guest lists but it also allowed my ego to run rampant and did not really lead to any serious writing opportunities whatsoever- was this because of location or because weeklies are disposable flotsam?

-wrote for numerous other magazines (Roctober, Cinema Sewer) and had some stuff in a cool book on Neglected records. Helped write an unreleased but filmed script and wrote a couple myself, will write more.

-Had art in magazines and Cinema Sewer books and Nog a Dod book. Numerous posters. Was/am in many group art shows. A solo show or two, one at Luckys. In a couple two man art shows with Jean-Paul Langlois. Constantly looking to expand my boundaries technically and otherwise.

-Made a series of self-help booklets.

-Did a lot of hosting as various personas and myself for variety shows that I put on. Also have done plenty of solo performances and story telling/comedy/improv. Lots of DJing as well.

-Started a small company for viral videos. Was careful in finding a tech collaborator but not careful enough as my collaborator fucked it up and essentially fucked over our first client and it was on my shoulders as they trusted me. This made me feel sick to my stomach and I had to walk away from the company.

-Walked away from a couple horrible day jobs that were ruining my quality of life. I've had some pretty awful jobs that required checking my self-respect at the door. I do not regret, however, working on the Downtown East Side, it was a worthy experience! The last few months though were truly awful as I had to work alone and no one should work alone on the DTES: the stress aged me- the age washed away when the job ended, luckily.

-Took training in acting and singing and typing to improve my passions.

-Had sinus surgery to improve my quality of life. Deviated septum. Not a nose job!

-Had the underside of my tongue cut to help with my vocal delivery. I enunciate better now.

-On allergy shots for better clarity of mind, quality of life, and vocal delivery.

-Trying to get out of self (this list isn't helping) and to listen more.

I'm sure there's more. Tell me about your decade.



Julian said...

Great list Robert, but I was under the impression that the decade doesn't actually finish 'til the end of 2010.

Robert Dayton, Junior said...

That's what I thought as well. I was literally going, "Stupid media! It doesn't end until next year!" until I started counting on all my toes, "2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, that's ten years!"

Julian said...

But there never was a year zero. The first millennium began in the year 1AD (or CE as it is now being called). This means the second millennium began in the year 1001AD and the third millennium began on January 1st 2001AD. Therefore the first decade of this third millennium ends in 2010.

Mimi la twisteuse said...

What an amazing list! You should be proud of yourself, you've accomplished so much! Both on an artistic and personal level.

2010 will be great for you, Robert!


Robert Dayton, Junior said...

Bless ya, Mimi, bless ya, may your year be a doozy!
I won't kid myself, this holiday season has been quiet and revelatory, it sucked, Thank gawwwd for friends!
I did come to a valuable conclusion: fuck hope.