Friday, April 28, 2017


Images: Michael J. Bayly.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

NOTE: Today's Quote of the Day is an excerpt from the April 25 eulogy by Étienne Cardiles [left] for his husband Xavier Jugelé [below], who was killed last week on Paris' famed Champs-Elysees by Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old Frenchman, in an attack claimed by ISIS.

I suffer without hatred. I borrow this formula from Antoine Leiris [whose wife, Hélène Muyal-Leiris, was killed in the Bataclan theatre massacre on November 13, 2015] whose immense wisdom in the face of pain I have admired so much that I read and re-read his lines a few months ago. It is a lesson in life that has made me grow so much that it protects me today.

When the first messages were published informing Parisians that a serious event was taking place on the Champs-Elysees and a policeman had lost his life, a small voice told me that it was you, and I recalled this generous and healing formula: “You will not have my hatred.”

This hatred, Xavier, I do not have because it does not resemble you, because it does not correspond to anything that made your heat beat, or what made you a gendarme, then a guardian of peace. Because the general interest, the service of others and the protection of all were part of your education and your convictions, and that tolerance, dialogue and temperance were your best weapons.

– Étienne Cardiles
April 25, 2017

Postscript: Sadly, not all gay French men value the qualities of "tolerance, dialogue and temperance" embodied and articulated by Xavier Jugelé and Étienne Cardiles. This BBC article, for instance, examines the rise in support within the French LGBT community for the far right Front National (FN) party led by Marine Le Pen. It's a political party known for its homophobia, racism and anti-semitism. And yet as the BBC article notes, of the 3,200 gay French men that the dating app Hornet surveyed, one in five said they would be giving Marine Le Pen their vote in this weekend's French presidential election.

See also the previous Wild Reed post:
In the Wake of the Paris Attacks, Saying 'No' to War, Racism and Islamophobia

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Signs of the Times

Although I didn't participate in last Saturday's March for Science in St. Paul, I definitely support what it was (and continues to be) all about.

And what exactly is it about? Well, the march's organizers describe it as "the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments." What's not to support about that?

Saturday's march in St. Paul drew 10,000 people and was, as Liz Sawyer writes in the Star Tribune, "the largest Minnesota arm of a global effort to champion independent research and scientific fact at a time when many people feel that both are under attack by those seeking political gain."

More about the "political gain" bit at the end of this post. First, though, here are some of the more creative (and humorous) signs that folks around the country and the world brought along to the March for Science. These images, all found online, are accompanied by an excerpt from the march's Mission Statement.

The March for Science is a celebration of science. It's not only about scientists and politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world. Nevertheless, the march has generated a great deal of conversation around whether or not scientists should involve themselves in politics. In the face of an alarming trend toward discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery, we might ask instead: can we afford not to speak out in its defense?

People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world. New policies threaten to further restrict scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings. We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely. Staying silent is a luxury that we can no longer afford. We must stand together and support science.

The application of science to policy is not a partisan issue. Anti-science agendas and policies have been advanced by politicians on both sides of the aisle, and they harm everyone — without exception. Science should neither serve special interests nor be rejected based on personal convictions. At its core, science is a tool for seeking answers. It can and should influence policy and guide our long-term decision-making.

The March for Science champions and defends science and scientific integrity, but it is a small step in the process toward encouraging the application of science in policy. We understand that the most effective way to protect science is to encourage the public to value and invest in it.


Why target President Donald Trump? Well, I'll let Tod Perry from the website Good explain.

Since taking office in January, some people have felt President Trump has been a bit hostile to the science community. His administration has put policies in place that silence federal agencies from publicly discussing climate change and has proposed massive budget cuts to the National Institute of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Energy. The President himself has voiced anti-scientific views by calling climate change a “Chinese hoax” and has supported the anti-vaxxer movement in the past.

To combat this systemic rejection of the scientific process, tens of thousands of people in over 600 cities on seven continents across the globe came together last Saturday at the March for Science.

Related Off-site Links:
At Least 10,000 March for the Love of Science in St. Paul – Liz Sawyer (Star Tribune, April 22, 2017).
Why They March: "Science and Scientists Are Now Under Attack" – Sharon Lerner (The Intercept, April 22, 2017).
Photos from Around the Country Show Just How Massive the March for Science Really Is – Mathew Rodriguez (Mic, April 22, 2017).
Planet Breaches 410 ppm as Back-to-Back Protests Demand Trump Wake Up – Lauren McCauley (Common Dreams, April 24, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Earth Day 2017
"It Is All Connected"
Something to Think About (and Embody)
A Record High
The Paris Climate Talks, Multilateralism, and a "New Approach to Climate Action"
Earth Day 2015
Quote of the Day – September 19, 2014
Photo of the Day – Earth Day 2013
Superstorm Sandy: A 'Wake-Up Call' on Climate Change
Quote of the Day – May 31, 2011
Thomas Berry (1914-2009)
At the Minnesota Capitol, Signs of the Times

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Green Destiny

I am close to the beginning of the earth.
I check the pulse of each flower.
I divine water's wet fate,
the tree's green destiny.

My spirit flows in new directions,
following all matter. . . .
My soul is true as a rock in the road.

I have never seen two spruce trees at war.
Never seen the willow subletting its shade to the earth.
The elms offer their branches to the crows rent-free.

Wherever there is a leaf, I bloom.
The poppy rinses me clean in the bath of Being.
As can the wings of a housefly I also can measure dawn's weight.
Like a vase, I listen to the music growing.
Like fruit in the basket I have a fever to ripen.

Sohrab Sepehri
Excerpted from "Water's Footfall"
as published in The Oasis of Now:
Selected Poems of Sohrab Sepehri

(translated from the Persian by Kazim Ali
and Mohammad Jafar Mahallati)
pp. 20-21

Images: Michael J. Bayly (Minnehaha Creek and its surrounding parkway – Minneapolis, April 2017).

Text: Sohrab Sepehri. (For another excerpt from "Water's Footfall," click here.)

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Spring: "Truly the Season for Joy and Hope"
The Enkindled Spring
Celebrating the Return of Spring
Springtime by the Creek
Spring's Wintry Surprise
Considering Resurrection
Let the Greening Begin . . .
Dreaming of Spring
A Springtime Prayer
In the Footsteps of Spring

Earth Day 2017

Related Off-site Links:
Happy Earth Day! Here Are All the Terrible Things Donald Trump Has Done So Far – Dominique Mosbergen (The Huffington Post, April 21, 2017).
Earth Day Pioneer Calls It a "Day Of Mourning" This Year Thanks to Trump – Michael McLaughlin (The Huffington Post, April 21, 2017).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Standing in Prayer and Solidarity with the Water Protectors of Standing Rock
"It Is All Connected"
Earth Day 2015
Photo of the Day – Earth Day 2013
Boorganna (Part I)
Boorganna (Part II)
Thomas Berry (1914-2009)
"Something Sacred Dwells There"
The End of the World As We Know It . . .
Quote of the Day – September 19, 2014
Michael Morewood on the Divine Presence
Diamond Head
On Sacred Ground
I Caught a Glimpse of a God

Friday, April 21, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dad!

In Australia today my Dad celebrates a rather significant birthday.

Yes, 80 years ago today Dad was born in the rural New South Wales town of Coonabarabran to Aubrey and Isabel Bayly.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I've said it before but it's worth saying again: My brothers and I are very fortunate to have Gordon James Bayly as our father. He is a man of integrity, compassion, and selfless service to others. We experienced and witnessed such qualities growing up in our hometown of Gunnedah, and they're qualities that are still very much part of our father today.

I love you, Dad, and can’t thank you enough for all you continue to be and give to me, my brothers, our family, and so many others whose lives are touched by yours. I'm sorry I can't be with you to celebrate your birthday, but I sure do look forward to seeing you in July.

I last saw my father when I was back in Australia last May. I'm pictured above with him and my mother in the coastal town that they now call home, Port Macquarie.

Left: Dad holding me when I was just a little boy. This photo was taken during a family holiday at The Entrance in the Australian summer of 1966/67.

Right: With Dad in Port Macquarie – May 2016.

Above: Dad as a little boy with his parents Aubrey (Aub) and Isabel (Belle). This picture was taken in the early 1940s at “Flodden,” my grandmother’s family farm in the Purlewaugh district of northwestern New South Wales.

Above: Dad as a schoolboy in the 1940s.

Above: Mum and Dad, early in their courtship, in Gunnedah in the mid-1950s.

Above: Mum and Dad pictured at a social event in Gunnedah in the late 1960s.

Above: My brothers and I with Dad and Dad's step-father, Bill Smith, in the early 1970's. It's my younger brother Tim's birthday, and we were at a football carnival in, if I recall correctly, the small country town of Manilla. My older brother, Chris, was clearly playing that day.

Above: With Dad in Sydney, circa 1980.

Above: With Dad in 1990.

Above: Mum and Dad at Heidelberg Castle, Germany - August 23, 2005. For more images and commentary of our 2005 European tour, click here.

Above: Pictured with Dad in Port Macquarie in 2010.

Did you know that Dad is the same age as the Prince Valiant adventure strip? In fact, it was Dad's collection of Prince Valiant "comic" books from the 1950s that first fired my interest in that heroic Viking prince named Valiant!

That same interest compelled me in 2011 to establish a blog dedicated to what's been described as "the finest work ever produced in the comic art medium." And one of my first posts on this blog was the transcript of the interview I did with Dad in January 2010 about his early interest in Prince Valiant. To read this interview, click here.

Above: My brothers and I with our parents – April 2015.

From left: Tim, Mum, Dad, Chris, and me. We're pictured in Melbourne for my eldest nephew's wedding.

For more great photos of Dad and the Bayly family through the years, see the previous Wild Reed posts:
Happy Birthday, Dad (2015)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2014)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2013)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2011)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2010)
Happy Birthday, Dad (2009)
Congratulations, Mum and Dad
Catholic Rainbow (Australian) Parents

See also:
Commemorating My Grandfather, Aub Bayly, and the Loss of the AHS Centaur
Remembering Nanna Smith
A Visit to Gunnedah
Port Macquarie Days
Europe 2005

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Celebrating Dusty

As well as being Easter Sunday, this past Sunday, April 16, was the 78th anniversary of the birth of the late, great British pop/soul vocalist Dusty Springfield (1939-1999).

My interest in and admiration for Dusty is well documented here at The Wild Reed, most notably in Soul Deep, one of my very first posts. Other previous posts worth investigating, especially if you're new to Dusty, are Dusty Springfield: Queer Icon, which features an excerpt from Laurence Cole's book, Dusty Springfield: In the Middle of Nowhere; Celebrating Dusty, my 2013 celebration of Dusty; and Remembering Dusty, my 2009 tribute to Dusty on the tenth anniversary of her death.

And, of course, off-site there's my website dedicated to Dusty, Woman of Repute (currently only accessible through the Internet archive service, The Way Back Machine).

My website's name is derived from Dusty's 1990 album Reputation, and as I explain in Soul Deep, it was this album that introduced me not only to Dusty's music but also to her life and journey – much of which resonated deeply with me. Indeed, my identification with aspects of Dusty's journey played an important role in my coming out as a gay man.

In celebrating the life and music of Dusty at The Wild Reed this year, I share a video of Dusty singing one of her many hits from her '60s heyday, "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself." It's followed by an excerpt from Patricia Juliana Smith's erudite and insightful essay, "'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me': The Camp Masquerades of Dusty Springfield." This essay is from the 1999 anthology, The Queer Sixties, and looks at how Dusty "paradoxically expressed and disguised her own unspeakable queerness through an elaborate camp masquerade that metaphorically and artistically transformed a nice white girl into a black woman and a femme gay man, often simultaneously."

While today it seems a truth universally acknowledged that the "Swinging Sixties" was an era of great sexual license that liberated everyone's libido from the restraints of bourgeois morality, the sexual freedom the decade brought forth was primarily for he benefit of hetero sexual males. Although this now mythologized neo-romantic revolution also garnered heterosexual women and, to some lesser extent, gay men more sexual emancipation than they had previously known, in the years before Women's and Gay Liberation, those who were neither male nor straight remained at best nonentities and at worst monsters, particularly in the masculinist and generally homophobia world of rock music. One of the great pop culture icons of the British Mod music and fashion scene was, nevertheless, a lesbian, though few of her fans – many of them sexual outlaws themselves – were completely aware of Dusty Springfield's "bent" sexuality.

Through a metamorphosis stranger than most fiction, Mary O'Brien – a proper, middle-class, British Catholic girl of Irish descent, who was somewhat unsocialized and seemingly destined for a career as a librarian – became the flamboyant Dusty Springfield, the idol of a cultural movement that, ironically, had little to do with her own existence. In the fantastic Mod ethos of swinging London, however, one generally could be almost anything, no matter how extreme or incongruous, except oneself – particularly if one's own true self were queer. As a result, Dusty Springfield paradoxically expressed and disguised her own unspeakable queerness through an elaborate camp masquerade that metaphorically and artistically transformed a nice white girl into a black woman and a femme gay man, often simultaneously. In doing so, this individual, who had placed herself outside mainstream British society, subverted fixed ideas of identity by assuming the personae of two oppressed and excluded groups. Thus, consciously or otherwise, Dusty Springfield blurred the distinction of race, gender, and sexuality just as she did those between life and art and those between reality and artifice.

. . . In January 1964, a seemingly new and unknown voice became a frequent presence on American airwaves. "I Only Want to Be With You" was among the flood of recordings released in the United States in the first wave of the so-called British Invasion spearheaded by the Beatles; it was, in fact, the first recording of this period by a British artist other than the Beatles to reach the American Top Twenty. This was not, however, Dusty's first American musical success.

Two years earlier, as a member of the Springfields [right], her brother's traditional folk/country combo, she enjoyed a Top Twenty hit with "Silver Threads and Golden Needles," which showcases her distinctive voice in a brief solo passage. Despite the Springfields' high visibility and popularity in Great Britain, they remained, after this isolated success, nameless and faceless to American audiences and were therefore virtually forgotten by 1964. Consequently, the greater part of the audience who acclaimed "I Only Want to Be With You" quite understandably failed to make the connection.

Unfamiliar, then, with the identity and appearance of the androgynously named singer, American listeners formed various misconceptions about her nationality, her race, and even her sex. The initial impression of Martha Reeves, lead singer of the 1960s Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas, is typical: "When I heard her on the radio, I just assumed she was American and black. Motown signed up nearly all the best talent at that time, and I remember being a little surprised to find she was with a different label – and I was absolutely astounded when I finally saw her on TV."

Springfield's name and husky timbre, however, led some less astute listeners to imagine that the tenorish female voice that made her first hit so compelling was that of a young – and probably black – man. Lloyd Thaxton, host of a popular Los Angeles television teen music program in the early 1960s, awkwardly confessed to her on the air that he had expected his guest, whom he had not seen before the show, to be male. As gauche as this statement may now seem, his error was not completely unreasonable. Recordings by black male rhythm-and-blues singers who had adapted the high tenor voice of gospel music to a secular format – and who frequently bore non-gender specific names (e.g., Smokey Robinson, Frankie Lymon, Garnet Mimms, Jewel Akens) – were relatively common during the late fifties and early sixties.

Springfield's fascination with America soul music and identification with black female singers provided the foundation not only for her vocal disguise but also for the visual masquerade that eventually made her a role model for British drag queens. Publicity photos of the Springfields taken before her metamorphosis show a red-haired Dusty in high-collared, full-skirted gingham dresses embellished with starchy cravats and voluminous petticoats, a countrified version of the quintessential nice (i.e., repressed, artificial, and asexual) white "lady" of the Cold War era. While visiting the United States with the Springfields in 1962, she discovered the various black girl groups then popular and eventually adopted not only their vocal styles but also their fashion sensibilities. The high beehive hairstyles, heavy mascara, and false eyelashes favored by the Ronettes, the Crystals, and the Marvelettes soon became Dusty's own trademark – and a sign of her complete break, in late 1963, with the Springfields and what she later called "that happy, breezy music" with which she "[wasn't] at all comfortable."

Above: Dusty with the Ronettes in 1964.

. . . Within two years of her liberation from the restrictive pseudo-femininity to which she was subject as the lady singer of the Springfields, she was, ironically, compelled to assume the role of an "unnatural woman" once again, only now in a more elaborate and glitzy mode. In doing so, she took as her role models the most unnatural "women" of all. By 1966, Dusty Springfield impersonations had become standard fare for British drag queens – while Dusty, in turn, impersonated them: [Dusty biographer Lucy] O'Brien notes that "her own image was becoming more outrageous and difficult to control. She took tips from male drag queens, learning what kind of mascara lasted longest, and how to apply the heavy eye shadow. 'Basically, I'm a drag queen myself!" she said later." Springfield learned far more from drag queens then mere cosmetology. To succeed in gaining a wider audience while retaining her earlier following, and to blur the distinction between reality and projected fantasy, she assumed the drag queen's epistemology of camp, a philosophy best articulated by none less than Oscar Wilde: "We should treat all the trivial things of like very seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality." In this manner, the marginality of the lesbian became a joke the outsider herself controlled.

– Patricia Juliana Smith
Excerpted from "'You Don't Have to Say You Love Me':
The Camp Masquerades of Dusty Springfield"
in The Queer Sixties
pp. 105-113

Here she comes
Here she comes
Ribbons flying from her half-forgotten hair
Look at her run
See what the world and love have done
See all her faces
See all her faces

Look in my eyes
That she is me
I can't disguise
See all her faces
Ah, ha, see all her faces

– From Dusty Springfield's 1970 recording
of Jim Lacey and Jeff Alexander Ryan's "See All Her Faces"
(released on the album of the same name in 1972)

Above: Dusty at around the time of the recording of her two Atlantic Records albums Dusty in Memphis (1969) and A Brand New Me (1970) The former is widely considered her masterpiece.

Above: A promotional photo for Dusty's third (and final) album with the U.S.-based Atlantic Records label. The album, which had the working title of Faithful, was recorded in the early part of 1971 but shelved shortly thereafter. It was eventually released as Faithful in 2015, forty-four years after its planned release was shelved. (For a review of Faithful, click here.)

Above: Dusty performing in 1971.

Above: A promotional shot for Dusty's 1978 album, It Begins Again.

Above: A beautiful portrait of Dusty which was incorporated into the artwork of her 1979 album, Living Without Your Love.

Above: Dusty performing at London's Royal Albert Hall in 1984 as part of Anne Murray's CBS-TV special, Sounds of London. (For a video footage of Dusty's contribution to this broadcast, click here. For Anne Murray's recollections of Dusty, click here.)

Above: Dusty in 1989, two years after her international smash hit with the Pet Shop Boys, "What Have I Done to Deserve This," and a year before the release of her acclaimed Reputation album.

Above: A portrait of Dusty used to promote what would be her last album, 1995's A Very Fine Love. Dusty died four years later of breast cancer. For more about this album and to view the video of Dusty's last single release, "Roll Away," see the previous Wild Reed post, Time and the River.

For more of Dusty at The Wild Reed, see:
Soul Deep
Celebrating Dusty (2013)
Dusty Springfield: Queer Icon
Remembering Dusty
Remembering Dusty – 11 Years On
Remembering Dusty – 14 Years On
Classic Dusty
Classic Dusty II
Classic Dusty III
Classic Dusty IV
Classic Dusty V
Something In Your Eyes
The Other "Born This Way"
Heat Wave
No Stranger Am I
Time and the River
Remembering a Great Soul Singer
A Song and Challenge for 2012
The Sound of Two Decades Colliding
Dusty Springfield: "Wasn't Born to Follow"

Related Off-site Links:
Woman of Repute – My (archived) website dedicated to the life and music of Dusty Springfield.
Let's Talk Dusty
The Definitive Dusty Springfield Collection
Portraying Dusty on Stage and in Film – Annie Randall (Oxford University Press Blog, April 16, 2013).