Dean Ford, Singer on Marmalade’s ‘Reflections,’ Is Dead at 72

After quick fame thanks to a big international hit and tours with the Who and others, Mr. Ford confronted the challenge of alcoholism.
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Would Everybody Please Stop?: Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas (Unabridged) – Jenny Allen

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Would Everybody Please Stop?: Reflections on Life and Other Bad Ideas (Unabridged)

Jenny Allen

Genre: Comedy

Price: $ 19.95

Publish Date: June 6, 2017

© ℗ © 2017 Macmillan Audio

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Divorced at 29: Reflections on a Marriage That Wasn’t

Saying ‘I do’ in my 20s was not one of my brightest moments.

It probably ranks down there with drinking OJ after brushing your teeth and/or eating Whataburger at 2 a.m. with a stomach full of alcohol. All occurrences, while widely varied, end with the same sour face.

I attended college at a private university in the south, where women were applauded for getting engaged before the end of their senior year, and expected to become mothers by their mid-20s. While I do not blame society for my poor decisions, I cannot help but acknowledge that my environment certainly encouraged me to place a greater importance on marriage at a young age, rather than on a career.

There are women far smarter than I who did not fall into the trap, and I applaud them. I, on the other hand, felt driven by a ticking clock. My timeline was etched in stone, and damn if it would be altered in any way.

Oh, to be young and foolish. Post-divorce me winces at the determination of my younger self; a girl blinded by others’ expectations of her and oblivious to what she truly wanted.

And that’s the thing: I believe that very few women (and men) genuinely know what they want and need in a partner until they have the opportunity to experience the antithesis. My marriage served as the antithesis of what I needed in a spouse — we could not communicate our way out of a cardboard box, sadly, and did not see eye to eye on…basically anything.

We met in our late teens, during a time when emotions ran high and rational conversations were non-existent. In retrospect, he and I were the poster children of opposites attracting — a relationship that began as a relatively harmonious yin and yang, but slowly evolved into a gasoline and matchstick situation. Sporadic grumbling became the norm, and at the end, our differences resulted in days of resentful silence.

Those around us chalked up our bickering to youth (“he will grow out of it, she will mature”), but as the days and years progressed, it became harder to write off our warring dynamic. I, like many other twenty-something divorcees, experienced an internalized tennis match during every fight. Do our issues stem from immaturity or incompatibility? Is this a phase, or permanent? Is irrational, childish behavior pushing us to fight like this, or are our personalities forever ill-matched?

All questions that I asked myself on what seemed like a never ending loop. All questions that I wish I could have answered far sooner.

Ultimately, it took the better part of 10 years to realize that we were simply not right for each other. A decade lost to unnecessary wars over grocery lists, dirty socks, and whose car took up more room in the garage. Yelling. Finger pointing. Rinse and repeat.

So while it would be easy to look back with ample remorse and bitterness, as I am further removed from signing my name on the divorce papers, I find myself grateful. For the opportunity to learn (albeit the hard way) and grow into someone who embraces her independence.

22-year-old me was terrified of that word.

30-year-old me loves who she is because of it.

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Who’s Your Daddy? Reflections of a Humbled Son on Thelonious Monk’s 98th Birthday

My life began with one perplexing question: Who is daddy?

Let me explain. From my earliest recollections, adults, when first meeting me, would invariably ask the question, “Do you know who your father is?” The query came from musicians and fans alike. I didn’t really understand the question at first, because the answer seemed so obvious. My father was my daddy. Of course, they would follow up with statements like, “You know he’s a genius,” which really meant nothing to a five- or ten-year-old. They would add proclamations like, “He changed the music,” and/or “His music will be here for the next 300 years.” That also meant absolutely nothing to me. However, though I couldn’t imagine 300 years, I could imagine one. So when told he would be a bigger name in 50 years, that did seem like a long, long time from then, so I chalked it up to nonsense, in my own toddling way. It seemed to me that in fifty years, I would be an old man — and surely dad would’ve been forgotten by then.

In my early teen years, having by then seen a lot of major artists come and disappear into obscurity, I was convinced these proclamations from ardent fans were pure hyperbole. But at fifteen, I began my love affair with drums. My understanding and views of music changed, and I clearly realized dad was a true badass. But so were his buddies Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, and, of course, Max Roach (my teacher), and many others. I was clear on the huge influence of artists like Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker, and the impact they made on western music. I figured dad was definitely in the crowd, but I also noticed that even those greatest of artisans pretty much said the same things about my dad.

thelonious monk

The author’s father, mother (Nellie Monk) and sister (Boo Boo). (Photo published in Time Magazine, Feb. 1964)

Now you must understand that to me, Thelonious Sphere Monk was just daddy. He took me and my sister, Boo Boo [nickname], everywhere, and taught me how to treat girls, spin tops and change my sister’s diapers, among many other things — he did all of that Mr. Mom stuff. I can’t recall even one time in my life when I ever called him Thelonious, or Monk, or pop, or anything other than daddy. I was far more focused on getting a chance to play with him, than who he was to the world.

My first real clue about how admired my father was as a musical innovator came on the occasion of my mother’s birthday. My dad decided the family should go see Duke Ellington and his orchestra at the Rainbow Grill in the Waldorf Astoria. When we entered the packed supper club, the band was wailing. With the colorful lighting, it all looked magical. And a magical moment it was. Without hesitation, Duke Ellington stopped his orchestra abruptly, went to the microphone and said “Ladies and gentlemen, the baddest left-hand in the history of our music (obviously alluding to Thelonious’ harmonic innovations) just came in — Thelonious Monk.” There was a huge roar, and I knew this was special stuff. This was Duke Ellington talking, the Duke — the greatest jazzman I knew.

Soon after that, in the summer of my nineteenth year on earth, it happened. It was 1969, the year of my enlightenment. I was still living with my parents, and practicing my drums seven or eight hours a day. I was dedicated, focused and broke.

thelonious monk

Thelonious Monk performing with Art Blakey (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns/Getty)

When my dad was home from touring, he would lay his head on his headboard resting against a wall that was, maybe, eight inches thick, with me practicing right on the other side. From the day I started practicing, until I was twenty years old, he never said a word about my playing, but that’s another whole story.

I was in my own world. There were no listening restrictions in the Monk household, so I was listening to dad, Duke, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Supremes, and Frank Sinatra — everything, no limits. Then along came the music industry’s move from Hi-Fi to stereo. I wanted a stereo, and decided to build one myself. I went to Lafayette Electronics in downtown Manhattan and purchased parts to build a speaker, though I was not fully familiar with the needs of a stereo system, I purchased parts for only one speaker — a profoundly knuckle-headed move. However, on that hot summer day, I chose to build that one speaker, despite my technical mistake. Once it was completed, I needed to test it, but had a dilemma. It was big, 15 inches, plus a huge wooden cabinet. I wanted to go big. I was afraid to play a loud pop record, like my new Sly and the Family Stone album or something from a Motown group, but I wanted something I could turn up so I could hear this new speaker but not blow it up. So I decided on a quiet, smaller sounding group — a trio record by my father. I can clearly remember lying down with my ear to the speaker and pressing the button for the automatic changer to drop the record. It was a recording that featured Art Blakey on drums and the great bassist, Oscar Pettiford, filling out the trio. They were playing my father’s composition, “Work.” I had never heard it before. It is one of his most difficult improvisational vehicles. I could easily hear it, but it was so difficult and different that I was amazed. I was savvy enough to tell it was special, extremely special.

It was so special, I couldn’t stop playing the melody over and over for the next hour, and the melody was only about a minute long. I was stunned at the genius of his rhythm, his harmonics and his precision. It all came together for me that hot summer afternoon. Right then, I realized that the guy resting in the room next to me, and listening to my practicing, was, in fact, a timeless genius named Thelonious Monk, the man that changed the music — the man everyone had been talking about all my life. My dad was Thelonious Monk. And that was my name too. And it was humbling.

thelonious monk

My life changed just like the music. He’d done it to me too. That fifty-year thing was clearly conservative, since I’m now 65, and I see the 300-year thing is truly possible, if Beethoven and Mozart are any indicators. I got scared, but I got proud, and have been so ever since.

I could have been born on a hilltop in another country with nothing, but instead, I was born to Thelonious and Nellie, and given a wonderful heritage. How lucky was I. God bless you daddy. I know exactly who you are, and I will always love you! Happy Birthday!

Thelonious Sphere Monk, III (T.S. Monk) is an internationally acclaimed jazz drummer, bandleader, vocalist and arts educator. The son and musical heir to his father, the legendary jazz composer and pianist Thelonious Monk. He is the co-founder and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and he also heads the Thelonious Monk Estate. Contact him at Thelonious.s.monk@aol.com.

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The Color Clear – Reflections

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The Color Clear

Reflections

Genre: Metal

Price: $ 9.99

Release Date: September 18, 2015

© ℗ 2015 Entertainment One U.S., LP

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Reflections – Carly Simon’s Greatest Hits – Carly Simon

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Reflections – Carly Simon’s Greatest Hits

Carly Simon

Genre: Pop

Price: $ 5.99

Release Date: May 1, 2004

© ℗ This compilation (C) 2004 BMG Strategic Marketing, a unit of BMG Music & Warner Strategic Marketing, a Division of Warner Music Group.

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The Mentulls – Reflections – Progblues

This is an album that is easy to love, comfortable and familiar in many ways but which still possesses enough originality and complexity to make the listener think. All in, quite a package.
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Bound (Dark Reflections) – Dean Murray

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Bound (Dark Reflections)

Dark Reflections Volume 1

Dean Murray

Genre: Paranormal

Publish Date: January 23, 2014

Publisher: Fir’shan Publishing

Seller: Dean Murray


The only thing worse than having no family at all, is having a family that is out to hurt you. That would all be bad enough for a normal 17-year-old, but it's even worse for Alec Graves. A shape shifter's pack, his family, is the only thing stopping the other preternatural creatures out there from killing them. Alec's pack isn't just neglectful, he's pretty sure that his father wants him dead. Alec is about to be sent to the front lines of a war between his people and everything else that goes bump in the night. His only chance of survival is to convince everyone around him that he's the perfect soldier, but there are lines that Alec won't cross, not for any price. Publisher's Note: Dean Murray's ongoing Reflection Series has been a stunning success with hundreds of thousands of copies in circulation, and a rich, complex world where choices—right or wrong—have real, profound consequences. Unsatisfied with the restrictions imposed on him by writing inside of the conventional series structure, Dean has returned to Sanctuary and the characters so many fans have fallen in love with. Bound is the first in Dean's new Dark Reflections novels, an alternate timeline set in the same world and featuring many of the same characters, but with a profoundly different backstory. Dean finally answers many of the questions that his most dedicated readers have been asking themselves for years. What would have happened if Alec's father hadn't been murdered by the Coun'hij, how would Adri's life have changed if her family hadn't been shattered in a horrific accident? The answers may surprise you, but one thing is for sure; you'll see new sides of familiar faces and when all is said and done, you'll never be able to look at some of them the same. Readers new to Dean Murray's writing can start with Bound in the Dark Reflections Series or Broken in the Reflections Series.

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Broken: A YA Paranormal Romance Novel (Volume 1 of the Reflections Books) – Dean Murray

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Broken: A YA Paranormal Romance Novel (Volume 1 of the Reflections Books)

Reflections, no. 1

Dean Murray

Genre: Paranormal

Publish Date: October 28, 2011

Publisher: Firshan Publishing

Seller: Smashwords


Sometimes love finds you when you aren't looking for it. The accident that forced Adri and her mother to move to a new high school also cost Adri her dad and sister. Adri just wants to blend in and buy herself time to grieve, but two of the most popular, gorgeous guys in school are about to take an inexplicable interest in her. Adri will be forced into a world where the players aren't all human. She will be forced to choose between Brandon and Alec, and this time the wrong choice could get her killed. Publisher's Note: Broken is a YA Paranormal Romance book, and is one possible entry point into the books that make up the Reflections Universe. The Reflections Universe is a series of clean books featuring vampires, shape shifters, werewolves and more, which has been written so that it can be safely enjoyed by both teens and adults. Broken is followed by Torn, and is one of several YA books available from Dean. The Reflections Universe: Some stories are too full of teen shifter romance and heart pounding action to fit into just one series! Dean Murray is the successful author of three clean young adult paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and epic fantasy series which collectively have more than 470,000 copies in circulation.

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Reflections on Surviving Survival

2015-06-14-1434321382-6878979-markolmstead2014yamrus.jpg

@2014 Frank Yamrus
from his ongoing series a “A Sense of a Beginning”
Portraits of Long Term Survivors of HIV

When Frank Yamrus was taking my photo, the bag I’d brought to the shoot with different outfits was left in the corner. “The solid blue shirt will work fine,” he told me. Contrary to my Vanity Fair photo-spread delusions of grandeur, there weren’t going to be a series of different poses all over the studio, as Frank played with wardrobe and lighting. Instead, I sat in the same chair as everyone else, close to the camera, prompted gently to let my facial expressions relax as much as possible.

When Frank agreed to let me write this essay, I asked to take an advance look at some of the other photos. I saw them iPad-sized, one scrolling onto another in perfectly coordinated dimensions. My initial thought was of Portrait Day in elementary school, as each face filled exactly the same space in the frame, against the very same background.

At first, the stylistic consistency between the photos seemed an odd choice to me. For years, many of us had been thought of as “my friend with AIDS,” or “my HIV-positive uncle.” As the crisis subsided, it felt, finally, as if it was no longer the first adjective that came to mind when those we love thought of us. Shouldn’t these portraits, I thought, be an opportunity to celebrate our individuality in spite of our HIV, rather than our sameness because of it?

Clearly, if that’s what Frank wanted to do, he could have — his other work is thoroughly eclectic, even unpredictable. So I sought to understand what he was aiming to create. Bearing in mind that the aesthetic he chose for this series could only be intentional, it became clear to me that by making each portrait as consistent as possible, Frank was stripping away all distractions for the viewer. No matter which photo, it is virtually impossible not to focus on the one element that is never the same, even when everything else is: the eyes.

I don’t know if the eyes are truly the window to the soul, or if the particular essence of living with HIV for so long can be captured by any camera. It’s almost as if we’d need to know what we would have looked like in an alternate universe where AIDS had never existed, in which our lives hadn’t been irrevocably translated by it, divided forever into before and after the moment we found out that sex could actually kill us. I’ll never know what you would have seen in the eyes of the “other” me. But I can share some of what I have lived through, some of what you might be seeing in my eyes and in the eyes of many in these portraits.

Seroconverting in the 1980s meant that time assumed a dyslexic quality for me; entire decades were flipped around. In my 20s, I started checking the obituaries before the headlines; in my 30s, I went on disability. For the next two decades or so, I often lived beyond my means, confusing instant gratification with being in the moment. Eventually, surviving meant returning to the workforce in middle age. Now I will almost certainly have to work as long as I physically can. Seems fair enough. Retirement? Been there, done that.

Obviously, many friends got sick and never got better. I learned that there is an art to visiting someone in the hospital, but that no one ever masters the best way to help someone die. I got scarily adept at writing eulogies, wondering as I delivered them if those gathered recognized the same suit I’d worn the last time, and the time before.

Once I was swapping stories with a bunch of “last men standing.” We kept topping each other with numbers of friends and lovers lost. After a pause, I shared a sudden epiphany: “Oh, my God, we’re grief-competing!” We laughed so hard. We had to laugh. There was nothing else left to do. (Loss on that scale is unarguably dreadful, but truth be told, it can also make you feel a little bit important.)

Then, in the late ’90s, I staggered from the desert onto an oasis, fairly sure it was going to end up being a mirage. I dutifully swallowed all the new pills — so many pills! And the side effects — let’s not forget those, even the times I blamed them to get out of doing something instead of owning up to nursing a hangover. I slowly noticed I was hearing terms like “viral load” and “genotype” far more frequently than “PCP” and “Kaposi’s Sarcoma.” When my doctor first pronounced me “undetectable,” I joked that it sounded like the title of a summer blockbuster.

“No,” he smiled. “It means we can barely find HIV in your blood.”
Say what?
“You’re going to live, my friend. AIDS is not going to kill you.”
Oh, I see.
(Pause for effect.)
But what’s the good news?

Clearly, I’d neglected to inform the doctor I could not afford to live. Did he know how much I owed on my credit cards? And then there was that Master’s degree I’d completely forgotten to get. Not to mention perhaps maybe a teensy-tiny crystal meth habit I’d picked up, the one I was able to completely justify because I had a two-year life expectancy and the paperwork to prove it.

Here’s the thing about the future. It’s not real, it’s an idea we have in our head. Survivors like me didn’t even know how much space it took up in our consciousness until it started shrinking, no longer the rapidly expanding universe of anticipation it was before HIV. I know when I confronted the very real prospect of dying young, I deliberately hastened my shift in perspective. It was far less painful to expect the worst and be prepared for it than live in denial and get mugged by reality. I’d seen some friends do that, and they did not go peacefully.

What did Bette Davis say? “Growing old ain’t for sissies.” Well, it ain’t for narcississies either. I dreaded the ego-puncturing years of turning fewer and fewer heads, of remembering when they used to call me “Sir” for a completely different reason. Sure, early death was scary, but calling a truce with it was so much less exhausting than fighting a battle I was sure to lose.

That was a smart strategy for the time, but dammit, it only worked if you actually died. Gradually, I realized I’d have to glue back all those pages I’d ripped from my calendar, crawl back to the ex to whom I’d so dramatically bid adieu years before. Hey, future, remember me? We used to be tight. Made lots of plans back in the day. Well… I was thinking we could let bygones be bygones and give it another whirl. Whad’ya say?

It took me a few years to put a name to this entire syndrome, but I even used it for the title of my Master’s thesis (oh, yeah, I finally remembered to get one of those.) I called it: The Disorientation of Survival. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t grateful for this unexpected turn of events, just that it caught me — most of us, I think — off-guard. Sort of like starring in a play and finding out in the second act that they’ve added a third act, and you’re going to have to learn all the new lines during intermission.

“I’m still here,” is the caption that would fit under each of Frank’s photographs. But in our eyes, you might see a question mark at the end of those words, representing the touch of surprise that we made it. I’m still here? Really?

Really.

“The Longterm Survivor Project” is on view at the SF Camerawork Gallery in San Francisco until July 18th.

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