Thursday, September 28, 2006

Alienated in Toronto, AKA: What I did on my Summer Vacation

Photo of Allan and Jillo in the Toronto subway by Mark Forest

My ears are still a little tender from the descent into Vancouver yesterday. I went straight from the airport to the Okee Wonton house on Granville for wonton soup and the number 2 special, my regular. (Those who don’t know the Okee Wonton House: it’s the best cheap Chinese restaurant in Vancouver. The d├ęcor and location leave a lot to be desired – it’s in the heart of the porn strip approaching the bridge and the colours are faded and bleak, making it look a bit run down, a bit dirty – but the food is terrific). I’d missed Vancouver, was glad to be back; whatever the greater cultural opportunities that Toronto affords, however much I liked the people I met there, Toronto seemed flat and grey and faded – sort of like the Okee, except the food wasn’t as good.

Things began with a phenomenal glitch. Airport security in Toronto notified us that there were problems with the security check out of Vancouver and that it was necessary to screen us all again before we were allowed to go into the city or catch connecting flights. I only had a couple of hours before the Jandek show started and was a little anxious, not knowing how long it would take to make it downtown. I milled around chatting with other passengers about what the security concern might have been, but I'm since convinced that they were just checking up on Vancouver to see if security here had done a decent job; they searched everyone’s luggage and confiscated anything that had been missed. The fellow behind me in line to get his bag searched joked, “just wait til you see the things that you forgot you have in there!” Passengers queued up and meekly submitted to the harsh scrutiny of the men (and a few women) in uniform, who removed them of the possessions that they shouldn’t have had with them in the first place. Gels and liquids, primarily – one woman appeared to lose some expensive makeup – but also sharp objects. A photographer just ahead of me was made to account for a small screwdriver he had packed with his camera kit, the security guard holding it up as an accusation as he stammered his innocent intent. The feisty fellow behind me, as I was being patted down, said to one of the harangued-looking security guards, “Does this mean that if Air Canada hasn’t done its job and I was on the plane with dangerous objects, I can sue them for having put me in danger?” He was regarded with a humourless stare. This guy seemed a bit of a shit disturber; he’d rolled his eyes at the wait, and indeed at the very concept of having to submit to a security check on disembarking from a domestic flight. “What are they doing, clearing us for the city of Toronto?”

The woman to actually go through my carryon was brown and small and pleasant. She struck no authoritarian postures, for which I was most grateful – the bullying manner of some of these folks can get under my skin. I was busy apologizing in advance for a tiny tube of Liquid Paper I’d packed unwittingly when she discovered the thing that I had REALLY forgotten was in there: a jackknife with a three inch blade, bought for a camping trip last year and almost never used. I imagined myself, as she flipped open the blade, being stripped naked in a tiled room and forced to bend and spread for someone with a flashlight. “Oh my God, I completely forgot that was in there!” I think I must have started sweating on the spot. She told me it was all right, that it was Vancouver’s fault for not having found it, then went off to see her supervisors. Men. They gave me dirty looks, but when they found out I was just going to Toronto, they cleared me, without even taking my name (tho’ there was discussion of it).

They kept the knife, though. I didn’t ask for it back.

Having narrowly averted a cavity search, I was, within the hour, sitting at the Centre of Gravity – a very cool space where vaudeville was once performed and, I gather, circus acts sometimes rehearse even now. I passed around a few copies of the Nerve Magazine with my Jandek article in it to interested patrons near me (promoter Gary Topp gave a copy on to the Man Himself) and got ready for the show to start. The talk – which I heard more than once – was that Jandek had flown in the previous Tuesday and had written all the lyrics for the show since; during the performance, I could see his notebook, with blocks of prose in that distinctive Corwood handwriting, broken up where the music was to stop. The man himself was emaciated – there is apparently discussion that he may be ill on the Jandek mailing list – but gave a surprisingly focused performance, with the whole evening being themed around meditations on identity; it had a very Samuel Beckett feeling to it, which author Danen Jobe also remarked on the next night at his reading, to my delight (Jobe says that some of Jandek’s other recent releases are much the same, including Glasgow Monday and the Newcastle show). Live, the Man from Corwood appears to be developing an interest in producing cohesive, hour-plus works of art that cannot be easily broken up into “songs," however often the players stop during a performance. Unfortunately, I napped a bit during the first half-hour, recovering from my flight, and it took me a bit of time to get used to the somewhat simple and surprisingly pretty music that Jandek made on the Korg synths (the bottom tier of which sounded like it was used for New Age music, maybe Ambient 12: Music for Corwood Industries, while the top sounded rather like a church organ) – but by the end of the night, the swirling sounds had captured me – I was particularly impressed with the rhythm section of Rob Clutton and Nick Fraser. The blue gels contributed to producing a spacy, undersea synaesthetic trance.

It was Jandek’s lyrics that really caught my attention, though. At one point he cried “Dissolve your identity! Destroy yourself and live,” and it seemed to riff in fascinating ways off the whole mystery of who Jandek IS. Continued lyrical meditations on the I-he-you of Jandek’s interior realm made it clear that the focus was meant to be a bit broader than that, though. To adopt Corwood's mode of speaking, “he” is a constant disappointment, and “I” spend all “my” time trying to bring him under control, to make "him" obey "my" vision of who "I" am – celebrating those odd moments when "I" win and wondering why having to struggle is so necessary. (“Why can’t I just kill him?” Jandek says at one point; Jobe would make the point the next night that to see all this as being depressing and suicidal misses the point, which is far more philosophical and not without humour. Gary Topp’s tale of Jandek sneaking up on him while seeming to call him on his cell phone would confirm that the man from Corwood – whom both Topp and Jobe have dealt with at length – is actually quite playful, while also being a “gentleman,” a word both Topp and Jobe used). The struggle between "I" and "he" sometimes tilted the other way, though; while at the end of one song, "I" am victorious and “he” is destroyed, bent to “my” will, at the end of a subsequent number, “I” decided that “he” is too strong and must just be assented to, that true freedom lies in doing what “he” wants... A bit of Freudian language becomes inevitable in understanding things; Jandek’s "I" (the “perfection of thought,” as Corwood put it) is the superego, which, as Slavoj Zizek points out in The Perverts Guide to Cinema, playing Thursday at the VIFF, is both authoritarian and capricious – our inner voice, our guide, the voice which berates us and insults us as well as telling us what is right and wrong). "He," meanwhile, is the ego, the stubborn fact of our emotional drives and programs. “You,” under this reading, seemed to vascillate between being the loved one, the Other, and God... (At one point "he" runs back to "me" away from "you;" at another point, "I" and "you" encounter each other directly, without "his" interference, and there is rapture). Through all these heavy thoughts, Jandek’s other eye wanders about and captures particular details of setting – the glass in the French doors, the trees on the street where the introspector walks -- details which don't exactly ground the work in the concrete but at least tether it to the planet. Though a few people in the packed venue (250 people capacity, maybe) snuck out before the end, most of us stayed and were amply rewarded. The Man from Corwood did not so much as glance at the audience, not once, even when we were applauding at the end.

After the show, I trekked down the street, on the advice of a fellow gig attendee, to Toronto’s little India. Everything seemed flat, old, and dirty – three adjectives that seem to apply to almost every urban space in Toronto, save the skyscrapers and such -- and the ethnic mix was noticeably different off the bat; their little India is huge compared to ours, and if the number of Halal restaurants offering beef on the menu is any indication, the dominant religion is Islam, not Hinduism or Sikhisim or such. I ended up having butter chicken at the Lahore King Kabab Halal Restaurant at 1386 Gerrard. It was nothin’ special but it was food! Everyone else in the place was from India. Everyone else on the street was from India. No one seemed to be annoyed by my pestering questions (directions, can I use the phone here, etc) and by the end of the evening, after figuring out the rudiments of the subway and bus system, I was crashed safely in the spare room of Jillo of the Nomeanswhatever discussion forum. Jill and Mark proved excellent, gracious hosts and gave me a base from which to come and go, for which I am most grateful! (Jillo, named for her youthful enthusiasm for Jello Biafra, also hooked me up with rides for the Waterloo and Hamilton Nomeansno shows, introduced me to Ali G’s character Borat, and let me use her computer... Tho’ I wasn’t impressed with the urban environment, I ended up – largely because of Jill and Mark and Jill’s friends -- getting the impression that Torontonians as a rule are unpretentious, down-to-earth, and likable people, lacking any of the snooty cliquishness of Vancouverites and nowhere near as socially challenged. Things seem simpler there, less cluttered with crazy bullshit and affectations; in a city of so many people, it couldn't be any other way.

Monday AM, before Jill or Mark awoke, I was off on my next adventure, catching a subway into town and hopping one of the odd little trolleycars, the mechanical jerkiness of which reminds me for all the world of bumper cars at the PNE. It tooled up Spadina towards Queen and I discovered myself in the midst of Chinatown. I immediately hopped off to see if I could find a Chinese bootleg DVD retailer, to see if any of the Japanese titles available differed markedly from the ones I can find locally. Some offered DVDs at very low prices – 12 for $20 was the best rate I found, tho’ they had the fewest interesting films. I ended up buying 15 films and taking home, I think, 6. Junk, Kichiku Dai Enkai, and Ley Lines were all PAL formatted, useless to me with my primitive technology; the Kurosawa’s I bought had terrible subtitles; and tho’ I was fascinated by Seijun Suzuki’s Pistol Opera, the last ten minutes were missing! Such is life for the buyers of bootlegs -- I get used to writing off every third purchase. Keepers included Miike’s City of Lost Souls and Dead or Alive: Final; Suzuki’s Princess Raccoon; Howl’s Moving Castle; Sonatine; and a Hanzo the Razor instalment, The Snare). I also found a pretty good Jamaican restaurant, the Ackee Tree, on Spadina near Queen (note: the goat roti, tasty as it may be, comes with big chunks of bone in it). It wasn’t a very eventful day – I meditated at the Allan Gardens for awhile, got the feel of the place, and found out the location and hours for a couple of places I intended to come back to. Ugly urban scape or not, there was lots that I wanted to do in the city before it was time to see Nomeansno.

The highlight of Monday night was hearing Mr. Jobe, of Arkansas, read to us from his fictive biography of Jandek; taking particular issue with Irwin Chusid's somewhat brainlessly hyperbolic claim that Jandek has no antecedents, Jobe places the man from Corwood in the tradition of great bluesmen of yore, giving him a suitable backstory which Corwood rather indirectly contributed to by correspondence, occasionally nudging the author (away from claiming the influence of one blind blues musician towards another, for instance -- Blind Willie Johnson apparently plays a role in Jandek's musical past). Alas, copies of the book were still in Glasgow, waiting to be shipped; they can be had online here. It was also fun looking about the bookstore, Circus Books, also on Gerrard, closer to Cabbagetown; there were some cool Ralph Steadman's that I had yet to encounter and I bought a copy of Ingmar Bergman's Images, which I had been looking for for awhile. The owner, who I chatted with, tells me that he's only been open for 9 months, so he couldn't really say if there's been a downturn in the used book business in To. in recent years (there certainly has been in Vancouver). He directed me to a good chicken shawarma dinner, tho'.

The next couple of days revolved around the CBC and the National Film Board. The CBC I wanted to visit to see if I could access their archives and view "In On the Action," a March 2002 Fifth Estate episode dealing with the Squamish Five (AKA Direct Action AKA the Vancouver Five -- I'm habituated to thinking of them by the first name anyone here know of them by. By the way, that last link is to a misleading and poorly-researched little article -- the author spells names wrong and omits various details of the program that don't fit the slant of his story). Relevant to a Subhumans article I'm doing, as background on Gerry Hannah, it featured interviews with Five member Ann Hansen and Terry Chikowski (the security guard most badly injured at the Litton plant). While trying to figure out if the CBC could help me -- which, thanks to archivist Roy Harris, they eventually did -- I spent a fair bit of time up the street, poking about the viewing stations at the NFB, watching chunks of Through a Blue Lens, Shipbreakers, some early Ryan Larkin works, and various other NFB films. It's a pretty cool setup, and a source of definite Toronto-envy, for me -- you can just go in, sit at a terminal, and punch up any of 1000+ films in the archive. I also managed to buy a copy of the NFB documentary on Peter Watkins; a Norman McClaren set also looked pretty tempting, but I had neither the money to spend nor the room in my carryon.

I don't have a whole lot to say about the Art Gallery of Ontario's Andy Warhol exhibition. It seemed a bit of an act of artistic ventriloquism; Warhol's work was a mere sockpuppet for the clammy hand of David Cronenberg, who curated the show and provided a theoretical framework on the handheld audio guides. The exhibition focused mostly on car crashes, electrocutions, celebrity, and voyeurism, with Cronenberg channelling a hefty dose of JG Ballard into the mix, as you might imagine. Empire, Sleep, Blowjob, Kiss, and various reels of Couch -- the most dynamic of all the films by far -- were set up installation-style among huge Warhol silkscreens. Much as I like Cronenberg, when he started speculating about how the electric chair pieces and Empire were actually self-portraits of Warhol, I kind of tuned him out. You have to be in the mood for that sort of thing, and I wanted to go look at the Murray Favro piece upstairs. Being a Nihilist Spasm Band fan, it turns out, does nothing to prepare you for a large replica of a train's diesel engine. It sort of sits there, singular and solid and in a way, a perfect counterpart to Warhol's Empire, down below. Oh, to be a Torontonian, and gifted with the luxury of contemplating such things at length.

Being a busy tourist, I skipped on. I visited Sw pe books (Swipe, that is), run by an old friend of a friend (they both used to work at Pages, where I would later buy Cormac McCarthy's new novel to read on the plane home, apparently a few days before the official release). Wandering the streets I was compelled to notice a much greater sense of social order; Toronto reminded me more of Tokyo than Vancouver, since everyone pretty much minded their own business and stuck to basic rules of etiquette, not getting in each other's face or way, riding the subways together quietly and negotiating crowded spaces with less tension or weirdness than one finds here (fewer people means more room for everyone to act out, or freak out, or just be fuckin' obnoxious, I guess). There were almost no spare changers, no street crazies trying to ensnare you in their madness, no one who smelled like they'd peed their pants every day for a week without bathing, and tho' there was the occasional person passed out in a doorway or staggering drunk, as in Tokyo, they mostly kept to themselves. The loudest people I encountered were some black youth telling a boisterous story about a gimmick they had for meeting women, where one would chuck a Coke can -- empty, I hope -- at a woman's head, and if she got hit, another would run up, apologize, put down his friends for being "ignorant and shit, but they're my people, what can I do?" and then, if she was willing, "get her math" (her phone number). It's always a bit of a strange trip to here ebonics or to hear black people describing each other as "niggas," since that doesn't get seen much in Vancouver... It's a cultural niche I associate more with the US than Canada, really. In fact, the English one hears in To. seems more Americanized in general; there were announcements on the trains warning people to "stand clear da door," for example... You'd figure that being our cultural center they'd talk MORE like Canadians, but 'tweren't so.

I didn't keep detailed notes for everything I did -- a lot of poking about, alongside periods of chilling with Jill and Mark, drinking beer, and watching downloaded TV shows. By Wednesday I was ready for another gig to be excited about, and come Thursday, I was on the road to Waterloo, discussing my impressions of the greater social order, the greater American influence, and the relatively less aesthetically appealing landscape with Jill, Boris, and Scarlett. The food was definitely an issue: unless you're eating at an ethnic place, I advise great caution. Vegetarian items on menus are few, and it turns out that "chips" is as likely to mean potato chips as French fries. The pizza I ate at the family-style place we stopped at appeared to be of the frozen-in-a-cardboard-box kind. We had a pretty hard time getting uncurdled cream for our coffees, too. But then again, this was Waterloo; it's a small town, and God knows the food ain't so good in small towns outside Vancouver, either.

I took no notes of the Waterloo Nomeansno show. I did a pizza run for Chedsey, marooned at the merch table for the long drive up from Chicago. I thought the band were in good form; they were better the next two nights, having settled in a bit. I didn't get a whole lot out of Ford Pier's opening set -- it was too 1970s for me, tho' he played well and there were some pretty cool solos. Once NMN got on, I recall liking that Tom sang a couple more songs than usual -- commentary is that he seems more and more like a "full member" of Nomeansno this time out --- and I was delighted when Rob appeared to wink at me from stage, apparently recognizing me from our literary discussions and the interview I did with him (which, we hope, will soon appear in Skyscraper). I was pleased that Tom dropped by the table to see Jill and Scarlett before the show; they both like him a lot and I think he gets a great kick out of it, tho' he's a quirky guy. (I haven't figured him out yet but he seems alternately extremely self-confident and unself-conscious -- when singing "Big Dick" with his shirt off, for instance, or berating assholes in the audience -- and strangely sweet and shy, when showered with the attentions of his fans -- which he is a bit more willing than the brothers Wright to indulge). The set and such is on the rather ungainly Nomeanswhatever board, somewhere or other; things began with the audience somewhat conservatively listening, a few enthusiasts up front bobbing up and down, and it wasn't until after the halfway point -- unfortunately after the band had played "The River," my favourite song -- that a couple of locals decided that things were lame and got some action started in the moshpit (I thanked them afterwards, telling them I had been secretly judging Waterloo, and that they had redeemed it). Tho' as usual I could only participate for a few songs before getting tuckered out (see appendix one, "Too Old to Mosh").

Hamilton in general was more interesting. I'd been told that it was considered to be "the armpit of Ontario," a steelworking town where there were a fair share of rednecks and a number of social problems. Not considered a very classy place. I'd already stared a bit at a guy with a mullet at Waterloo and was most curious to see what Hamilton would be like: turned out to my delight that it reminded me of Vancouver! The druggies were less far gone -- I mistook one spare-changer with a speech impediment for am innocent bum, toothless by happenstance, and forked over some change; I was informed afterwards that that's what a junkie looks like in Ontario... There was less overt looniness, but the overall mood wasn't all that different from getting kinda close to the Downtown Eastside on a weekend. My hosts seemed kind of nervous about being sparechanged and seeing drunk, hostile people stalking the streets; I thought their reactions were kinda cute. (They also were more willing than I to gawk at a piss-drunk blonde girl, dressed like your typical Granville Street bar star, making out with another woman; the two had stumbled downstairs from the bar above the Hamilton venue, called, I shit you not, the Dirty Dog Saloon). Four opening acts that night were a bit much to swallow, tho' it was delightful to see that Vancouver's The Feminists were added to the bill (they just happened to be in the neighbourhood and were added to the roster). They're getting much more confident each time I see them, and their song structures are complex and interesting and original; I suspect they may End Up Somewhere. Hamilton's the Responsibles will probably stay where they are, meanwhile, but they put on a game, if somewhat predictable, show; the high point was their cover of the Damned's "Neat Neat Neat."

I was smokin' a joint in the parking lot during Ford Pier's set, what can I say. The pot was what I've come to think of as below average, but it's hard to judge any town's dope on the basis of one experience. There's bad stuff here, too...

As for the Nomeansno show, great as it was, it was a painful thing to behold, since Rob had a horrible throat cold that had set in overnight, via Chedsey. (He upbraided the audience at the start of the set, "If I hork up a tonsil, I don't want to see it tomorrow on eBay!"). The band played intensely, but Tom got to do an added couple of songs, including "Small Parts," absent from the Waterloo set. The high points were the few older songs where Rob seemed to actually veer INTO the pain and deliberately RAISE his voice; the readings of "Give me the Push" and "The Tower" were particularly intense. Any of the new songs that actually required Rob to carry a melody -- "Heaven is the Dust Beneath my Shoes," for instance -- sounded ridiculous, and it seemed like Rob, sick and sweaty and fighting it for all he was worth, was having trouble remembering some of the lyrics. He solved the problem the next night at the Horseshoe in Toronto: he came up with new ones: "The other day a bunch of my friends got together and decided to form a political focus group, but they didn't invite me, they said I was too conservative, too reactionary. I was hurt at the time, pissed off, irritated, but then I thought: I don't have anything against liberals... It's just that they're really full of shit!" Somehow, between shows, Rob had completely recovered his voice, and the gig stands up there (alongside last year's Mesa Luna show in Vancouver) as one of the finest Nomeansno performances I've witnessed. John drummed up a fury, Holliston continued to do a bunch of songs (tho' the set was, I believe, absent his reading of "Predators" from the two previous nights), and at one point, Ford Pier jumped onstage to do a Show Business Giants tune ("Sugartown"), which was a treat.

I'd had a somewhat unusual lead up to the Toronto show, however: Tony Conrad had played down the street as part of the X Avant festival, and I was there, along with, I believe, a fellow named Ivants who recognized me (and who I recognized) from the Hamilton night. (Nice to see fellow punks at a highbrow avant-garde gig). The Music Gallery, where the event was held, actually was inside St. George the Martyr's Anglican Church, if you can dig that.

Pleasingly, two of the opening acts had Vancouver connections. Kelly Churko and Ben Wilson had just performed with their Australian counterparts in Telephone at the Western Front in Vancouver the night before. I joked with Kelly about how, given the name of the project, I figured he’d be phoning in his performance, but no. The tables, set up for them, had the usual array of laptops, knobs and levels, and wires – tho’ there was also an acoustic guitar. The music they made was of a quiet, ambient variety, with more than enough interesting texture to hang your attention on. Intense, meditative, beautiful stuff.

Following them was former Vancouverite Christine Duncan and her project, Barnyard Drama (Note: the song samples are much more “pop rock” than what they did live). Christine dressed like a librarian on summer holidays and sang like an acidhead who thought she was a bird. If you'll pardon the innate sexism of the observation, I find her sexy – she reminds me of an old girlfriend of mine – and slightly scary at the same time, like she might just be Too Much to Handle. She’s got fine control of her instrument, tho’, and gibbered and yelped and popped and squeaked and gargled with the passion of a Phil Minton or a Paul Dutton (or a Maggie Nichols or a Lauren Newton, if you’d prefer, tho’ her style seemed more akin to Minton, I thought). She doubtlessly noted me noticing her in the audience (she didn’t stay for the whole Tony Conrad performance!) but I don’t think she remembered chatting with me at the Vox Festival for Vancouver New Music. I didn’t really take notes, tho’ I recall enjoying Bernard Falaise’s guitar (and the performance overall, really).

And then came Tony Conrad. He pulled a sheet across the front of the stage at a slight angle; it was backlit with soft colours and blown by a fan for a rippling effect, and he (on violin), along with cellist Anne Bourne, played behind it, their shadows looming above us on the sheet, their actual performances unseen. (I chatted with him afterwards and he mumbled that the “doubling effect” was very important, but he didn’t make clear why; he was putting away gear as he spoke and tended to talk in odd directions). The music looped and loped and droned and seemed rich and varied and deeply nuanced, tho’ no doubt the artists were sticking very close to playing the same intensely restricted series of notes; the effect of drone music is far greater, far more complex than its minimal means would suggest. The performance – which lasted about an hour – saw me in varied states of consciousness, intensely watching the shadow play, focusing on the music, drifting, allowing my own thoughts to burble up, losing myself in them, falling asleep, waking up, attempting to meditate, focusing only on the overones for awhile, then the violin, then the cello, then deciding to watch the shadow play again and letting the sound wash over me. I asked Mr. Conrad if he’d consider coming to Vancouver and told him he should contact Vancouver New Music, if so; I’m sure there’s an audience here for him. He seemed enthusiastic, but said he’d particularly like to go by train...

I decided to be an autograph hound with him. I have the oddest collection of signed stuff. I almost never ask the “rock stars,” the big names, for their signature; tho’ I have hung out with and/or interviewed Nomeansno, Nels Cline, A Silver Mount Zion, and others, I didn’t pester a one of ‘em to sign anything. No, it’s people like Otomo Yoshihide and John Oswald that I bug (tho’ Oswald refused to sign the Plunderphonics box I held up for him, offering amusingly obscurantist reasons for not signing it, tho’ there may be a legal story there...). In a way, it was a shame not to meditate longer on the Tony Conrad show, but it was off to the Horseshoe (a venue I quite liked) for the final Nomeansno show that I saw – the perfect climax to the week.

And then the trek to the airport, being very very careful not to pack any sharp objects (tho’ the Liquid Paper made it through again).

Not much else to add. It costs over $25 to go up the CN Tower: fuck it. Lake Ontario was about as pretty as the Fraser River, if you get my meaning (tho’ there were some large orange butterflies in the park nearby that were pleasant to watch). There are, as you would expect, many good antiquarian book dealers (Abelard Books wanted $1200 for a copy of Cormac McCarthy’s Outer Dark, with a scribbled inscription from a previous owner, no less; I had thought bookdealers here were being unrealistic asking $850!). The Fox and Firkin pub on John Street, I think, is a pleasant place to stop for a Guinness. Rotate This were probably the best of the music shops I explored. A week was long enough: I felt like I got the idea, and I now feel like I have Toronto out of my system and don’t need to go back (unless someone offers me money to be there. Anyone?)

Thanks again to Jill and Mark and Boris and Scarlet for playing host to me, tho'! I have a pretty small space, but will reciprocate to th' best of my ability if you ever make it out this way!

Appendix One: Too Old To Mosh

I went to see a punk rock show
I really love ol’ Nomeansno
I’m glad these guys are still alive
I saw them back in ‘85
And when they play my favourite song
I know the words, I sing along
I sometimes forget how old I am
So stop me if I start to slam

It’s come to this
I’ve gotten soft
Got a pain in my chest
And the sweat’s dripping off
I’ve lost my breath
My shoe’s come off
My gosh:
Too old to mosh
Too old to mosh
Too old to mosh

The kids today just don’t know how
It’s all just too violent now
But how I seem to long for it
That self-transcendence in the pit
Then someone flies into my shoulder
There’s no respect for someone older
Now I know just what I’ll do
I’ll show these kids a thing or two


Now I’m lying on my back
I think I’ve had a heart attack
I should have done more warmup stretches
My back is stiff, my side’s in stitches
My neck is sore, my breath disturbed
The kids continue unpreturbed
Next time I know what’s best for me
A balcony seat is where I’ll be



ubikuitous said...

Are you going to sell me the Cormac McCarthy when you finish reading it?

PS you're a really funny guy! (funny ha ha that is -- maybe not 'ha ha' as well... ;))

Allan MacInnis said...

Heh... I think I know who this is! Nah, I'm gonna keep this one, it's pretty good!

Actually, I re-bought the last one I sold you, too (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN), and re-read it on the plane to Toronto...! Cormac in, Cormac out.