“Alison Smith-Welsh-Linda Seccaspina, I thought you ‘d like this. I bought it at a Sally Ann’s a few years ago. I loved your store, and remember buying black nail polish , glow in the dark condoms, and Betsy Johnson dresses there”.
Linda says–In 1997 I began to see my clothing at vintage fairs and knew it was getting time to pack it in LOLOL
A Hello and Goodbye Hawaiian Short Story
In 1976 vintage clothing was finally coming into its own and I had many a customer that wanted vintage and silk Hawaiian shirts. Sad to say Canada was not the mecca of procuring vintage clothing in large quantities so I was told the only place to go was New York City to a used clothing processing plant.
Very few of these processing plants exist today with the quality they once had. Now these recycling places pick up public used clothing and it is sent to one of the largest used clothing retailers and after a certain amount of time they are re-baled sent out to third world countries. In the 70’s I could buy a 500 pound bale of Grade AA clothing at 2 cents a pound now it’s a 20,000 and 40,000 lbs. minimum bale at usually 39 – 50 cents a pound depending on the grade you want.
Looking for these places in those days was looking for a needle in a haystack. because of health codes. I was told to go to a certain address on 122nd street but they failed to tell me it was across the bridge in Flushing NY and not in the center of Harlem where I stood in a phone booth trying to find out the companies location.
An hour later found us in this huge warehouse with back loaders piling clothing into a compressor to contain it into bales. We were asked what grade we wanted and within 30 minutes they had a forklift put it on top of our station wagon. I don’t know if you have ever driven hundreds of miles in a car with a 500 pound bale on top of your car but let’s just say the ceiling was caving in.
When we got to the US/ Canadian border at Ogdensburg, N. Y we were instructed to pull over to one of their storage areas. Thinking that they would give it a quick look and tell us to go on our way we were shocked when we were told that the bale had to be opened, checked and to come back in a few days.
When we returned the now uncompressed bale looked like an explosion of clothing and it was three times the size after it was baled. We had to make three return trips from Ottawa to the border to get all that clothing back to my store where it was piled in a small room until it reached the ceiling. After that, thousands of pieces were picked over and ironed. That was my first and very last attempt to bring vintage shirts to Canada. It was a quick ‘hello’ and ‘good bye’ endeavor never to be attempted again. My heart has great admiration for vintage clothing dealers.:)
Every second or third Friday night for a number of years CHEZ-FM DJ Brian Murphy could be found in my store Flash Cadilac talking to me for hours. I will never understand how we became friends, as we were different as night and day. But there he was sitting on a stool next to my cash register, and we always had hours to chat about stuff. Both of us had a love of music, but no one knew more about music than Murph. I loved to tease him about his love affair with Dire Straits, and he would in turn constantly mention my extremely bad taste in music. But sometimes he would admit that some pop music wasn’t all that bad. I wonder what he would have thought of BTS. Murph, I’m going to ask you that when I hopefully got up into rock and roll heaven, unless Hell is Gothic, and well, you know, I might enjoy that.
Brian was never there to shop, and seldom took interest in my customers (even the sexy ones) unless they mentioned music. I always had a Diet Coke or two for him, as he got thirsty discussing life, and sometimes he overwhelmed me with his knowledge. You could never have a 15 minute conversation with the music genius–his musical thoughts came in volumes. He would talk endlessly about his record collection in his basement which was floor to ceiling, as well as covering the stairways and hallways. Brian, you would be happy to know (in later life) I married one of “your tribe” who had 7000 records to get rid of in Berkeley, California to move here to Canada. I know you would have told him what was more important in life LOL.
After Brian was let go amid the big CHEZ-FM shuffle I wondered what he was up to when I no longer saw him anymore. When I read his obituary I was devastated and angry at myself for not reaching out to him and hoped to God his frog collection would be taken care of. He will always be the Sultan of Swing to me and so much more.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I wonder what Brian would have to say about a particular genre of music I’m playing. When he died CHEZ-FM posted the following on their website:
“Heaven has just welcomed its new music director.”
If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane.
I would walk right up to Heaven
And bring you back again.
The Brian Murphy Fund *Application and donation links found below* A Sub Fund of the Education Foundation of Ottawa and An Endowment Fund within the Community Foundation of Ottawa This award is in memory of Brian Murphy, host of CHEZ 106 “The Source” “Blues 106,” “Jazz 106” and other programs. He was known as one of Ottawa’s most original people. Brian will be remembered for his encyclopedic knowledge of musi
Please leave comments so I can them all here for permanent doucmentation… thanks
This is Artcetera, speaking from the home of Brian Murphy, host of CHEZ’S The Source, Blues 106 and Jazz 106 programs on Sunday nights. The shows reflect Murphy’s eclectic tastes in music, a subject for which he is wildly enthusiastic. He’s also a champion talker. Let’s listen in.) Now I’m going to get myself in real serious trouble with what one friend calls the jazz ayatol-lahs, and another friend calls the jazz weasels. Because really what jazz is, even though it has become in a sense an art form ta-dah ta-dah, is pop music. MOZART WROTE POP MUSIC, or adapted pop music. And nothing makes me angrier than the jazz ayatollahs or the jazz weasels, or the BLUES ayatollas or the BLUES weasels, people who are so structured in their musical taste.
. . . I’ve always gotten from certain people in the Ottawa jazz scene the ayatollahs, the weasels the feeling that they really can’t take me seriously when it comes to jazz. Why? Because I like rock and roll. (It’s me again. We’re talking to Murphy because May 24 is his 50th birthday, and CHEZ is dedicating the day to his music, and also holding a birthday party for him at the Penguin. The radio station is broadcasting from his house that day, and they’ve asked him to pick 125 to 150 rock songs, and they will make up the playlist for the station that day.) I just took a page for every letter and as songs came into my mind I started going through them … So you got a list that starts A’s: Allman Brothers, Ramblin Man and Animals, House of the Rising Sun. B’s: The Band, The Weight, The Beach Boys, Good Vibrations, here’s a tough one, Beatles, I’ve got two, Am The Walrus and In My Life. And I’ve got Bonzo Dog in here, which will probably come out, and this particular song means a lot to me: Urban Spaceman . . . (Music magazines spill on the floors of Brian Murphy’s house.
There’s barely room on the kitchen table for the breakfast he eats at 4 p.m. he doesn’t go to sleep until 8 or 9 a.m. He collects things in the shape of frogs, and frogs spill along the shelves of his living room in ceramic and plastic and wood. A frog quilt spills off his bed. CDs spill out on top of the thou sands of albums kept in the boxes in his basement. Books spill on his desk. Words spill out of Brian Murphy.) First of all, above all, I’m an entertainer. I’ve got to make people feel good. That doesn’t mean that occasionally I can’t stop and make them think about something or make them angry about something that makes me angry. But at the same time as I’m entertaining, I’m kind of teaching. I’m taking all of this lore, all of this knowledge, all of this listening, and sifting them through this particular body and mind, and what comes out is some kind of synthesis of all this stuff. (May 24 is also the 50th birthday of Bob Dylan.
Above Murphy’s basement sanctuary, where he goes to turn on a record and read some science fiction and think about the connections that run through music, above that sanctuary is a sign: ‘The Most Famous Album Never Released: Bob Dylan & The Band The Basement Tapes.’ Basement. Tapes. Connections.) Dylan was the wordsmith. Dylan was the man, the person who opened the words up for everybody. In a sense, Bob Dylan made poetry acceptable to the masses. What a horrible way to have to put it. (Murphy rocks from leg to leg, from subject to subject. He loves music of all kinds, he hates people who put it into pigeonholes, he wants people to understand . . . There are only kinds of music another line I’m going to steal and it’s been attributed to Kurt Weill and it’s also been attributed to Igor Stavinsky there are two kinds of music, good music and bad music.
Take your pick. . to understand something called Sturgeon’s Law, a law that says that 90 per cent of everything is trash. Mur phy’s Corollary puts Brian Murphy that at 95 per cent. So you shouldn’t be surprised … – -J Pop music is banal and all of those things, but! lot of it more than you realize is great music. It can move you. “I’d be surprised if a lot of pop music is bad- ‘ A lot of everything is bad. But when it’s good; -” we just ask Brian Murphy.) . Part of what I try to do is I go through life trying to find these perfect records. To me the ultimate compliment about a piece of music, no matter what its genre, is it makes you feel good to be alive.
There were lots of musicians that signed the Wall of Shame in my store Flash Cadilac, and I think I have a story about each one of them. But the person I remember most and miss was the eccentric but incredibly talented musician Nash the Slash.
In 1978 my friends Bernie and Marion brought me to the now late legendary Black Swan on Rideau Street in Ottawa. I had no idea what I was about to see, but I was promised a real treat. I remember I had on a huge Victorian ruffle style coat with a Snow White collar made out of white PVC. Bernie remarked that I had chosen the right outfit for the concert and I had no clue what he meant until the curtain went up. The whole stage was decorated in white shiny PVC vinyl like my coat and I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation.
All of a sudden a man looking much like The Invisible Man in a white tuxedo and top hat graced the stage. As soon as the first notes of his electric mandolin pierced the air I was hooked and in love with his originality. His name was Nash the Slash and he began as a solo artist in 1975 and then founded the band FM. He plays an electric mandolin and violin but also plays keyboards and the glockenspiel. His music moved me so much I had goosebumps up and down my arms for the whole show.
I wrote him a letter after the concert and asked him if he would visit my store the next time he was in town to sign autographs. Sure enough he had someone contact me that he would indeed grace my store and would like to cut up a side of beef with a chainsaw in my store window. Linda being Linda thought this would be the performance art gig of the century.
Let’s remember James Jeffrey “Jeff” Plewman (March 26, 1948 – May 10, 2014), better known by his stage name Nash the Slash.
11m · Linda, the last newspaper listing I see for the Black Swan (275 Rideau) is May 25, 1979. It became Arnold’s in July of that year, and the last lsting I see for Arnold’s is July 1984. The 1991 layer at GeoOttawa shows a very large excavation at that location. From the Journal, July 11, 1980:
The Wall of Shame — Flash Cadilac Rideau Street Ottawa
Behind the cash register at Flash Cadilac lay the notorious Wall of Shame. There taped to the wall were 100’s of words of wisdom, and autographed photos from the “famous, and not so famous”. What no one knows is the creation of the wall began as a joke.It was a dark Montreal smoke-filled bar on Mountain Street. Idolizing Leonard Cohen, I quoted his poetry to anyone that would listen. It was the 60’s, minds were changing, and I still considered myself part of someone’s, okay, anyone’s, Beat Generation.
Years later, on my way to a Heavy Metal Convention in Los Angeles,to do a remote for CKCU and 54 Rock my friend Andrew Searle and I spotted a few celebrities on board. Cohen himself was on our flight to Los Angeles with his much younger girlfriend Rebecca De Mornay. When the plane landed, we pushed our way to the front to get a glimpse of him. I remember taking his hand while we both stood by the baggage turnstile, and gushed like a smitten teenager. Completely ignoring Christopher Plummer on the other side, I told him about my never ending love for him. He smiled, in that Leonard Cohen sort of way and said softly, “My dear the years have been kind to you”. Leonard then autographed one of my manila envelopes, and when I returned to Ottawa
I cut out his autograph from the envelope and taped it to the wall. I turned, and jokingly said to my staff: “Can you believe that man is dating someone years younger than all of us?”
Now, that’s a damn shame!”And so, “The Wall of Shame” was born. My Nash the Slash autographed album was part of it.
Victoria Lidia IlgacsWorked there as a cocktail waitress from what it open to closure. Made about a 100 bucks on a good night. Sharon Nate, Daughter of the owner of Nate’s delicatessen, managed the place. Saw Heart there as a bar band, Minglewood, Rough Trade, Dominic Troianno, Goddo, Dave Wilcox, The Action, Larkspur, Downchild Nlues Band, Nash the Slash, April Wine, etc. Got punched out by a couple of Satan’s Choice chicks one night. Was eventually shut down when the Choice overtook the place.
Journal interview by Christopher Cobb
Sometimes we tend to forget that , most of -today’s rock superstars started their careers in small bars, light years away from the massive arenas that. most are now associated with. Somewhere in the dim and distant past, bands like the Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd and-hosts of others were swinging their guitars in holes in the wall, struggling to make a living. Public- health regulations wouldn’t allow many of those dives to even open their doors nowadays, but still, there continues to be a need for such places platforms for young bands to work and grow”, from.
For the past couple of- years, Ottawa’s Black Swan has been filling the gap in this city. Bands playing at the former Rideau Street garage, are invariably a cut above those usually found at high school dances, yet not of the stature to be playing big concerts, even as an opening act. The Swan with its capacity of 220, is a place for showcasing upcoming acts.
Some of them die early deaths and others go on to greater things. Either way, they rarely return once the listening public has made its decision. For travelling bands, the old bar is a place of discovery or a stage in development, and for its audience a place to go and check out the new stuff.
Sal Khan, owner of the Black Swan, (Squires and the Commercial Tavern), hasn’t had too many money losing weeks since he opened the bar a couple of years ago. Which proves something. . . . “During the past couple of years, Ottawa audiences have matured considerably,” says Khan. “At one time you could put any band In the club and you’d fill it every night. Now it’s a different story. The audiences now are particular about what they hear and knowledgeable about the music.
Some bands we hire die an early death, but they usually deserve to. Monday nights at the Swan are always free and as such usually the most popular. The success of Tuesday onwards often depends on the reports spread around by the Monday crowd. Khan hires lots of Canadian bands who are on the regional bar circuit. He wants to provide an outlet for Canadian talent but at the same time is concerned about new restrictive immigration laws which are making It difficult for foreign artists of a certain level to get into the country.
“Many club owners are worried about this,” he says. “Immigration officials are tending to consult the musicians unions and automatically the unions are saying that there are Canadians around capable of doing the job. “What these people don’t realize is that you often need a certain number, of foreign artists to keep bars alive for the Canadians to grow in. To deny a foreign artist a work permit just because he or she is a foreigner is nonsense.” Despite awkward Immigration policies, the financial and musicial future of The Black Swan looks bright enough for improvement and expansion: And if Canadian music ever becomes a world force, the dingier, unglamorous establishments like the Swan can probably take a lot of the credit.
In 1978 my brother Dale was manager of the black swan and the squires and the Nozzle. Sal Khans general manager. My brother Donn was manager at the Vendome for a few years. Dale ran the swan and the squires and Nozzle as well as the commercial at one time. Sal Khan owned a few bars. My brother Dwight bought the old wizard pub on bank street and made it the bankbridge arms until he sold it to the barleymow guy. Danny Delahunt
Jamie DunlopSpent too many nights at the Swan in my youth. Nash the Slash, Cornstalk,Songship, Rough Trade, even Heart managed to get mis- booked and had to play a weekend there while their first major hit album was breaking. I know Vicki Ilgacs well and handed over wads of cash to her in return for beer. It always amazes me that at the time you could afford an apartment and go out to these dives a few times a week while working a single job. Good times.
Sue JarvisGreat nights there in my day when Eugene Smith & the Warm-up band played.
Your picture of the hat with the Swan just made me think of this story.
I noticed this picture on my Face Book page, it was put there by my dear friend Linda Seccaspina
Oh my goodness, it did bring back some fond memories, of my gawky teenage years. You know, long legs, skinny hair down, if it was not in French Braids. Anyone who knows me believes me to be somewhat shy, and does not look forward to being the person front and centre. I have been known to walk around the walls rather than just walk right in front and centre. I did not start up conversations but did answer when asked a question. My manners were good, let’s face it I was taught right from wrong by, my parents.
This reminds me of my teenage days, but I was somewhat a gawky teenage kid. Clothes were clean, body and hair sparkled, in fact I did not care if my nose was shiny, as I did not wear make up. What you saw was what you got.
In my early childhood days I was a bit of a tomboy, dressed last to go out anywhere. I usually climbed a tree and tore my good Sunday dress or got it dirty. My mother’s favourite saying to me “WELL YOU CAN’T MAKE A SILK PURSE OUT OF A SOW’S EAR”, it was true.
Well as all teenagers do, I would go shopping my school pals, I would get a lecture before we took the bus to go to downtown Ottawa and the Department Stores, you know: Ogilvy’s, Friemans, and Astor Chapeaus, it all depended on how much money you had as I was used to going to Woolworth’s and Beamish.
This one day my girlfriends and I were on a tour to find those beautiful blue bloomer gym suits to wear in School. This suited me just fine as it covered up the undies and that is all you needed, and we all looked the same, like an orphan from the streets with this outfit on.
We had managed to find our gym suit and were about to look around. Well. it started in the Charles Ogilvy Store in the Millinery Department. Now one has to just stop and think of a skinny kid about five foot four, at the age of fifteen and weight of about one hundred pounds. Oh dear the legs were skinny, the knees big, just not a fashion Queen.
Plunking hats on long hair with little style, sure did not do anything for the pretty hats, of the latest style, I should have known better as some family members had worked at Ogilvy’s and I was known by some of the sales clerks. Well the pretty bonnets were just too big a temptation and me, as the class clown, thought I should plunk one of these veiled beautiful creations and then go into the act of modelling. Let’s face it teenage girls do not need much to get giggling and laughing, mind you we were entertaining the sales clerks. We were not rough but we sure did not do the hat justice and it was more of a comedy show.
The dear ladies from the Millinery Department, came over and said,” I know you are enjoying your shopping ladies, but this does not look very professional, so I think it would be best be on your way”. I have to say I did not have to be told twice as I did not want stories coming home.
Well after wearing out our welcome at Charles Ogilvy Department Store, we left and spotting the Astor Chapeaus Shop, on Rideau Street we went to try our luck there. The store clerks were not of the same character as Ogilvy’s had been and we were asked to leave immediately.
I do have to say trying on hats continues to entertain me when the mood hits and I have just never outgrown the thoughts of fun– but I still do not give a hat a good showing.
Linda, this hat would definitely, be to my liking. Thank you for the memory but I will not come and borrow it from you as me and hats do not suit and I would ruin your hat image.
I do think my head is too small or maybe the hats were too big.
That’s the hat story, and it was a fun time and I did entertain my friends, and the good souls in the millinery Department at Ogilvy’s and no my parents did not find out.
“I had no interest in owning a strip club. Heck I was barely in Pandora’s Box”-Harvey Glatt
When I opened Flash Cadilac on Rideau Street in the 70s, I had no idea that the general public venturing into my store would call it “weird or strange”. That opening Friday night I thought I was just “a run of the mill store” and had my first sale that was over $50. It was a vintage raccoon coat being sold to a stripper at Pandora’s Box that she bought along with a black feather boa.
I stared at the glimmer of her bright red hair and just envied everything about her. During our conversation she told me stripping was actually a thrill for her and she invited me to watch her dance. When I saw the photo of Pandora’s Box on Lost Ottawa last week it felt like it was yesterday, only the stage was missing one thing.
That photo was missing the giant round ottoman in the centre of the stage where the girls would seductively display their body in different positions. I once sat there uncomfortably while I watched men in loose clothing stare at the women who I now called my friends.
I remember the oversized chairs on each side of the stage where the VIP customer sat for a birds eye view. It was one thing for someone to walk around the store half naked, but to see it all come 360 was a shock for me at first. But, it was at that moment that I realized skimpy lingerie and heels mesmerized both sexes to mass purchasing, and no one was doing it. Because of these gals stripping at Pandora’s I figured out that males might now assume that their wives and girlfriends should wear heels and skimpy wear too, even when they were cleaning up dog poop. Fashionable seduction was born– someone had to do it. So in 1976 my store Flash Cadilac was the first to sell corsets, stockings and garter belts. Within a few days anything I had bought from Coquette Lingerie in Waterloo, Ontario was sold out. And so it began…
Went there in the 50s to watch laters and the serials – batman etc. Also our church, when Pandoras was active had a phone number that was one digit off the Pandora number so our church secretary got a lot of phone calls looking for Pandoras
In 1972 Michael Johnston and Margaret aboud created a burlesque show at this theatre. The stage, the dance filoor, the supper club atmosphere were Europe meets Broadway, meets the revolution and evolution of Ottawa .
Hundreds of stories and momentous memories took place in the location, that changed names and focus many times.
U2 the Irish group played there and only had a few cover tunes. Bono and the edge loved this Ottawa land mark. Thanks for the picture. Ox
this was ROTHMANS Furniture is the 60s. anyone else remember that ?,Then it becomes Pandora s Box Burlesque club in the 70s but the mayor made in difficult on the sex type operations in Ottawa causing them to disappear one by one. Toronto s Young St got the same civic treatment after the sad “shoe shine boy” murder Aug 77 .
1914 — Imperial Theatre, called “Canada’s Theatre Beautiful,” opens at 323 Bank St.
1930s — Theatre is site of Sunday services of the Metropolitan Tabernacle while congregation awaits completion of what will become Metropolitan Bible Church nearby.
1956 — Cinema closes.
1970, circa — Discotheque operates in former theatre.
1970s — Building is acquired by Dino Antonakos.
1971 — Canada’s first-all nude burlesque house, Pandora’s Box, takes over disco space and operates until late 1970s. Another strip club, Fanny’s Cabaret, would later operate in lower level before relocating to ByWard Market.
1978 — Barrymore’s reopens as discotheque.
1979 — Disco is dead. Club becomes venue for live music.
2008 — New operators are George Syriannis and Vince Simeone. Syriannis later becomes sole proprietor.
2014 — Building turns 100. Petition seeks restoration of facade.
The Naked Truth– a Personal Opinion
How many strippers have you known in your life? Because I met quite a few who shopped at my store for lingerie; I can tell you, very few of them got into stripping because they were on drugs or drinking too much. If anyone walked through my front door with stilettos and bare legs at lunchtime in the dead of winter; I knew it was a gal from the Bare Fax in the market looking for work clothes and accessories.
Their consensus always was: it’s a good gig if you can get hired at an upscale club or are a traveling headliner. Otherwise, it’s a stressful, difficult job, mainly because of dealing with drunks, owners, and wandering hands. The problem with stripping or escorting in my opinion is that you are selling something very intimate.
To some it was a job that was part time, and a big improvement over a full time, low-paying one that included the phrase, “do you want fries with that.” Some customers asked me why any girl would be desperate enough to do this job. Personally, I think the question should be, why are so many guys so desperate to pay to look at a body?
I think our culture treats strippers badly even though there is such demand for them *because* we demand them. We’re a badly sex-negative culture, so when we go to fulfill our sexual (bad) needs, and we can easily hate the people providing that fulfillment.
The main reason so many people have a hard time treating sex-workers as people is that for most people sex-workers are a fantasy indulgence. Their services are employed to live out a fantasy, but to treat them as humans is to admit that they have their own personalities, rights, etc. So why do people demonize strippers and sex workers? Because they’re out there, because they don’t show the layers of self-deception, because they didn’t follow the example of the ‘Venerable Prudes’.
Author Camille Paglia once said strippers are proof of personal power, particularly for women. Feminists went berserk. Despite this, many of the dancers I personally knew enjoyed the opportunities they were presented with when stripping for money. Some women enjoyed the dancing, some enjoyed the communication with customers, some enjoyed the freedoms. Just as in any other job, we all have our own reasons. In the end, our job description entails consistent/ near-constant physical activity, sales & customer service skills, and the ability to ooze charisma (sexual or otherwise). It can be very difficult, and it is not for everyone.
I understand many people will not not feel as I do, and I think that’s okay. Everyone has different morals and beliefs which dictate how they view the world. But honestly, no dancer nor escort needs your approval. Regardless of people’s puritanically-steeped biases, stripping and other adult entertainment work is WORK. I thank each and every one of them for the friendship and support they showed me and my stores.
Kindi Dickinson ( Kindi Dickinson is also the model in the black one) at DISCO VIVA!!!
Flash Cadillac swimwear 1979–1980s– I cut and we made so many of these its crazy.. I can remember the pattern numbers.. Black one and I see a yellow one was B34 Leopard wrap was B2 and there 3 more in that group shot but my memory has lapsed-