Driving around Vancouver, 2019

A pretty girl behind the bar stabs toothpicks into olives
miniature pincushions stuck with arrows
straight from cupid through my heart
sliding down a slippery slope that’s painfully familiar
booze kicks in, I let it, as a start to wax poetic
chipping bits of rubble into art
pretend I’m leonard cohen, finest wordsmith ever known
though I’ve never been a buddhist, lived in ashrams as a nudist
or slept with rebecca de mornay
as a bassman plays …

Flashback to the 60s, people living in the cities
you got beatniks crossed with hippies
sporting horizontal stripes and small goatees
play a jazzy, minor chord, learn to smoke, renounce the lord
go acoustic, lose the amp and ooze
just like a lava lamp
and all around while people stare, none of us will even care
we’re too busy smoking, and fondling, our lengthy ponytails
and the beatniks go snap
while a bassman plays …

It was a different time, a different place
sideburns creeping down the face
a time of turtlenecks and black berets
when old fashioned was in fact a drink
served with cherries what I think
fruit with olives on the bar-top, lemon rinds and pretzels
as the pretty girl who serves them up with toothpick cupid arrows
pierces every heart that comes along
and the bassman plays …


“This was a hybrid of adlib and writing,” recalls Bill. “It’s what I call our ‘peanut butter-and-chocolate’ moment – when Michael shared his bassline in a frigid, uninsulated garage studio one winter morning in 2018, to which I said, “Well I got these words that need a home,” … and the bassman plays was born. My first read-through sounded like William Shatner auditioning for a one man play, then we found our groove, the process wonderfully organic.”

and the bassman plays is on Bill’s album Studio 6

Stereo Story #532

Author, poet, songwriter Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of Gone Viking: A Travel Saga and Allan’s Wishes. His Indie Folk CD is Studio 6. Bill’s work is published in North America, Europe and Asia. When not trekking the globe, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, having a laugh with friends.