Bloggedy Blog Blog Blog

After my glory days 

After my glory days of playing on the streets of Boston and  Cambridge for 2 million people in ten years, not to mention the gigs we got when people saw the crowd around us, I would hang on my lunch hour with a street performer.  

I guess I was pushy, but he would not let me play along.I would say I could big out the mandolin, I would not need an amp for the voice and mando. Plenty loud enough, and this is when I still was in my prime, but between bands and working a fancy market doing everything: deliveries, catering, personal shopping, operations, banking, training….. 

All the while my mando wanted to get in there and play against his solid guitar playing. We saw each other a lot and it was heartbreaking that it did not lead to the magical way my bands sprung up from meetings on the sidewalks.

You know I love you 

"Today at work, my third customer was buying 14 oranges. I asked for her store card but as she searched for it I rang them in and they showed as full price until the card scanned.
This led to some very silly dialogue and she started kidding me about something.

I can't remember how I called her on it, but she replied, "Come on, you know I love you".

I stared at her smiling at me, beautiful, thirty something and well healed (tasteful).

I said, "Yeah, right. Run along now with your oranges. I have been handed quite a different platter".

Off she went with a glow.

It was a good hair day, I dunno."

New Squirrel 

When I worked at Briggs and Briggs Music in Harvard Sq. we would sometimes look out and observe the world. 

Directly across was Harvard Yard and specifically, The Widener Library. They allowed deliveries through the gate and there was a guard station. 

I believe, if my memory serves me right, two old men from Scotland worked the guard booth. I am sure of one. We would watch as he would get the Harvard Yard squirrels to climb up his pant leg and go into his pocket for peanuts. 

One day a squirrel climbed up and went in the pocket. Suddenly the old man jumped and let out a loud, pained shout. We were beside ourselves, laughing. 

A few weeks later the old guard was at our display window, obviously looking at a short wave radio. 

He came in and came to my counter right by the doors. 

"Looking for a new squirrel", I asked. 

"New squirrel", the old guard questioned loudly in his brogue.

Elvis Costello Fans 

I over the years have bought a number of CDs by Elvis Costello. 

Working at the famous Harvard Sq. Music store, Briggs and Briggs I got the employee discount. 

Two of my co-workers in the record department were opera guys. My other co-worker and I liked Elvis C. and we got laughed at. 

They were the types who got the freebie passes to operas, oratorios and the like and I remember them talking about the night before when they heard and met the great Swedish soprano, Anne Sophie Von Otter. She could do no wrong. 

Well, we would get booklets from the record companies of the new releases and what do you know? Anne Sophie Von Otter had a new one, a song cycle written by guess who? That’s right, Elvis Costello. 

Revenge is sweet.

Some Reality Original tracks story  

My song, "Some reality was written in 1975 and recorded ten years later. 

For years the cassette mix was my only source. I would wonder where the original 4 track reel of tape was. 

I guessed it was on the same tape as another tune from the era, both songs featuring  Anne Marie Hodges on harmony vocals, I did not have a reel to reel 4 track machine, so decades went by. 

 I happened to befriend  my buddy Guy and he had a 4 track machine. Trouble was it took 7.5 " reels and my tape was on  a 15" reel, PLUS it ran at 7.5 inches per second and my tape was recorded at 15 ips. 

I talked to Guy about the issues. We had taken small reels of tape of mine (2 tracks) and transferred to digital a number of times. 

Guy came up with a plan. He devised a kind of Lazy Susan to spool the tape from the big reel onto the one half its size and so we had two small reels with all the tape. We did this and that counted as a session. We planned getting together at my place with his tape deck. 

So we met soon and we listened (in the background) 3 1/2 hours of SLOW Bob Comtois, an octave lower than pitch as it was being fed through my interface onto Protools. 

I think I made a batch of really good pulled pork so we had repeat  servings as the tape dragged on. 

We called it a session when all was transferred onto Protools software. I knew there was a way to bring it up to speed with an alga rhythm called Vari-Speed. I just needed to do it the next day with a clear mind. 

I pondered a while the next morning and with a few clicks, Eureka! It played at pitch and correct tempo. 

I released it as a single. It's a beautiful song.


I was so tired last night. Got to bed early and the fireworks in town woke me.

So, I opened the blinds and there they were, obscured somewhat by the leaves in the trees. I pointed them out to Max and he saw two and wanted out, but I lay down sideways on the bed and had a reassuring hand on my feline co-pilot as I watched them go above the treeline.

store sing along 

I had a line at the register.

I said, "Here's something new. It's a store sing along. I'll start. Row , row , row your boat..."

A customer sang, "Gently down the stream".

"Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily", sang a third person and then someone walking from the back, "Life is but a dream".

Solar glare 

One morning I woke and knew I was out of coffee. Okay, off to the 1369 Coffee Shop in Inman Sq., Cambridge. I got mine to go and headed back to my digs.

Heading up Cambridge St was difficult. The solar glare made me blind, save for the bright yellow that blasted my eyes. I had to cross the street, guessing where the crosswalk was.

Suddenly I realized my right foot was moving quickly out in front of me there on the street. Before I could think, I was on the ground. 

I saw better from that perspective. 

I had stepped into an upside down hub cap which sent my right foot skating.

Valerie Allain and I 

I was working a Saturday at Harvard Sq.'s Briggs and Briggs Music.
It was busy. CD's were relatively new.My manager asked me to get the tribal CDs by me (Pygmies of the Ituri Forest), I reached for them on a low shelf and turned around to have a woman's face inches away from mine. Her blue eyes were all I saw. Suddenly, I said, "You're Valerie Allain" (an actress who was on a PBS TV show that taught French as the main characters went on a fun vacation). I had a wicked crush on her and my housemates and GF would kid me.
She was pretty impressed I recognized her and imagine recognizing her from such close range!


Fortune Cookie 

Fortune Cookie

I certainly saw a lot of her, even though she had left me several months before. She soon discovered that the visiting professor she had left me for was a " major disappointment ".
As the most hellacious, brutal winter pushed hard against the force of flowers, I was constantly barraged with her needy visits on my lunch hour.
" I don’t know what I’m doing", she would say, soaking the front of my shirt with tears. Worse than our sleepless bouts of the past- keeping each other awake, finally falling into nightmarish slumber- were my futile attempts to get this evil, controlling man out of her life.
She all the while would go out to dinner and a movie with me weekly (my treat), although sometimes the evenings would be marred by a sudden appearance of a woman from one of her many support groups (ALANON, Narcotics Anonymous, Incest Survivors, Rape Survivors, etc.) or by a jealous fit of mine. But everyone was jealous for her time- all of the desperate victims she would be obliged to talk out of suicide each day, for hours on the phone. Dinners would be accompanied by her blow by blow accounts of the reactions of her fellow survivors to the things that I, and my unworthy opponent, had said the week before.
Urgent phone calls were regularly made while I was at work, beckoning me to her nearby apartment. She thought she was going to break up with him for sure this time. She was afraid her epilepsy would reoccur.
Spring rounded the bend and yet once again I was at her place talking about her imminent return to me.
"Come on", I said defensively- and humorously, "What about my winsome smile; you know you love my winsome smile" (this is back when I still had a smile). My point was made, exhaustion tickling the funny bone.
Later that week we were having dinner at our regular Chinese restaurant. The check came with fortune cookies. We ceremoniously opened them. She read hers- I don’t recall what it said.
My fortune cookie read, " Your winsome smile will gain you favor".

 © 2001 bob comtois

Bloggedy, Blog, Blog, Blog