Summer 2006 - Part 2: Lost Me bag on the Way to Perth
Got picked up by Cam and Suzy and Baby Sal in the
Camry. The same one they told me they were pregnant in
Coffee and blueberries from Kensington Market and off
we go to The Festival.
Did puppet shows for the baby in the backseat arrived
a l'heure to discover my bag was not in the trunk. Now
this kept happening on the last hootenanny tour. By
the end I became a forced Buddhist:
I had nothing and was one with everyone.
Aw crap. My show gown. At my suggestion, we were all
supposed to wear black or white. Jenny said I could
wear her wedding gown because she had an extra dress
for Suzy. Her wedding gown was a black cocktail halter
dress that had been making the rounds so now it was my
turn. It's one of those magical dresses that looks
good on everyone. Thank God.
They'd given us a trailer and a two hour slot on the
main stage and snacks and all was well. Sewed the
glitter musical note bedazzles on the right lapel of
everyone's outfits. They look snazzy but also double
as our homing devices to the mother ship if we get
separated and find ourselves trapped too long on other
It was a civic festival in the middle of town held in
a park by the river. Very cute. All G-rated material
would be required.
The organizer was named Carolyn. She was long tall and
blonde and we kept saying each others names over and
over again because it was so fun.
She told us that last year the trailer we were
standing in was ahem "broken in" by a "star" and a
"townie". I turned to Jenny who lived a few miles down
the road and said "You're from here AND you're a
star!" And without missing a beat she said, "Yeah I
could just lock myself in here and jerk off!"
Ah those former child stars are quick studies.
I took a look at the stage and spied two bubble
machines. I grabbed a techie and asked if there was
anyway they could be hooked up in time for our last
song. He got on the radio and activated a whole swarm
I said, "Now don't get to eager and turn it on before
the last song. I know how you men get!", still scarred
from a certain incident in Calgary involving pyro.
So at the end of a beautiful sober sunlit family
oriented set, the crew hit the machines for the last
waltz and children rushed the stage and danced in the
bubbles. Kind of touching, even for a Grinch like me.
Then dinner and a late night bar show in town.
Everyone was so nice to us. We are an exhausting group
to have to serve if you're a bartender, but the staff
were all smiles the whole night. Maybe it's because
they were all young and beautiful but it was such a
nice vibe. The people all crammed in and we got to do
the night time r-rated after dark adult show where we
get to be our real selves. Someone must have stayed
sober and drove us home to Jenny's. Can't remember
now. Oh yeah. Mellie. Luther's girlfriend. I offered
but when I saw how fancy her car was I panicked and
became immediately drunk. The car ahead of us got
pulled over by the cops and as the cherry lights hit
it we saw Cam and Suzy silhouetted inside, and then
their worried faces, mask like as the lights swung
Told Lu and Mellie stories on the way home to distract
them from the darkness.
Woke up to Luther freaking out!
Come on. Let's go!
Threw on a dress, grabbed some coffee on the counter
and got in the car which started peeling out of the
driveway before my leg was even in. Apparently the
dude had a workshop at 12:30 and it was noon. He
drove like a maniac. passing a rig on a double line
and stuff and when we got there I had whiplash and
felt kind of pukey. He drove up the to gates and then
dashed across the field leaving us in the car. Mellie
said she'd go park and meet me there.
I headed to the Luther stage and saw some other people
playing songs on it. Luther was to the side looking
distressingly relaxed. He was tuning his guitar and
trying not to look sheepish.
"What?" I say.
"Uh well I guess it starts at 1. I might have misread
the schedule", he mumbled.
So rule # 7: It never pays to freak out ever.
A long afternoon of folk music loomed so I hit the
town. Bought a bra from the biker woman who ran the
lingerie shop. Finally found one that fit! And then
walked to the highway to the Canadian Tire in search
of hula hoops. Success!
Bought three and some hockey tape in black and white
so the hoops would match our outfits.
Filled them with water for added weight (Momentum
man!) and was taping them up at a picnic table by the
river. Really Nice Guy From the Canada Council sat
with me for a while and helped me rip the tape into
strips. He said he hoped I intended to put the Canada
Council logo somewhere visible
on each hoop since he had helped me.
"The Hell!" said I, "Pure joy cannot be compromised!"
Long afternoon. Another night time bar show party. I
think we were all a little corned. I was having such a
good time I didn't want the show to end. Shuyler, who
was that night's designated driver, was of the
opposite opinion. We were rough and cranky but I loved
it. Some people attempted to 'jam' with Suzy so she
did the honourable thing and left the stage saying "I
can't do this". Classy.
There was some talk that we may have run out on our
There was some other talk that the festival took care
I didn't even know there was a tab. I paid!
The next morning I had a workshop. At festivals they
have 'workshops'. There's no power tools or band saws
involved, the organizers just put different performers
together, often when they are at their most hungover,
and hope that hilarity will ensue. I had a workshop
with the effervescently straight-edged and earnest
Ember Swift and Australian Lesbian sensations Fruit.
In the car on the way to my gallows, I asked Shuyler
and Luther if they thought they put me in that
workshop because they thought I was a lezzer.
They said it was because they KNEW I was.
Well we work shopped away against a backdrop of bright
sunshine and the river babbled away beside us making
the light all dappled and birdies sang and families
picnicked. I made of point of applying bright red
lipstick before my song and made everyone join me.
This girl did a song about consumerism which
questioned why people buy so much stuff when they have
to find places to store their stuff so they can buy
more stuff. I ventured that with ladies it wasn't
about the stuff so much as it is about The Shopping
and she suggested that the need to shop was symbolic
of a deep void in ones character.
Then Fruit got down to business. Like Ember Swift they
are really well trained and dang that girl can sing
and there's a tuba player and the three part harmonies
and infectious heartbeat grooves and the sunshine and
the families almost swept me away only I started
thinking. And I couldn't stop.
I puzzled until my puzzler was sore.
I puzzled until I got in the car with Jenny and Joey
and young Lila.
When we were pulling away from the festival I had to
ask my tour mates if they thought that everyone
thought that life was kind of shitty and that some
people do the benevolent thing and make sweet inane
inspirational music to make everyone forget/notice
they're alive instead of dragging them back to the
present with their tales of grim reality, or, if they
thought that some people had never noticed it was
shitty in the first place.
Joey checked the rear view and said, "Naw. They
notice. We're just attracted to tragedy that's all,
cause it's the highest art form."
Got to be adopted by the family and taken back to the
farm for the night which felt pretty good.
Tea, pasta and only a very little wine.
Hey where did everybody go?
You know how parents do that thing? One minute you're
playing with their kid and they see you playing with
their kid and then the next thing you know a car is
peeling out of the driveway. Happens to me all the
time. I'm no baby sitter. I'm more of an accomplice.
I'll watch A Bug's Life eight times in a row and play
dress-up no problem. "Let's play nap!" is my favourite
So I'm laying around with Lila and we've run out of
games so she says, "Let's play Baby!" and I'm like
"Okay what does that involve?" and so she starts going
'Wah! Wah! I'm a baby!" and punching me in the tit. I
grab her little wrist and tell her not to punch me in
my best Serious Voice and the little minx says, "I'm
a baby. Baby's don't know!" and continues with the
I told Diona about it later and she said, "You're the
only person I know that could get in a fight with a
three year old!"
Yeah well it's a talent.
God where am I? What's happened to me? How did I get
Finally the others return and we can steal a car and
get back to Toronto. Country living's great and all
but we needed to flee stat.
Shuyler and I borrowed the replacement car. Big Blue
Late Eighties thing with power everything.
Oh yeah. Vanna White bit it after The Incident. The
mechanic put in the new radiator only to find that the
head gasket had blown. I know they have to hook it all
up to see if the pressure holds, but did he have to
put in a brand new radiator?
Keenly aware of our loser luck, we named the car
Ka-"blue"-ey as some sort of reverse prayer offering
to the group travel gods. Lunch in Sharbot Lake with
Luther where the vegetarian samosas are loaded with
meat but since we were all sharing like three brain
cells between us, we just ate them.
We dropped Luther off at his car at The Hideout.
"Oh so you guys are friends now?" he said mournfully,
standing there as we pulled away.
We booted it back to Toronto paying very close
attention to the gauges. Overshot T.Dot and missed the
exit , which I've done before, and then circled back
and got to Garth's at 9:20pm.
Garth was sitting in the kitchen shirtless, with a
friend who was also shirtless, shooting a bb gun down
the hallway at an elaborate target set-up. "Cease
fire!' we said when we come up the stairs.
They were drinking beer and holy shit was Garth a
sight for sore eyes. Only trouble was that we had once
again overestimated the benevolence of the Ontario
government and missed the liquor store. They shut at
9. All of them. Provincial law. So we drank their beer
until it ran out. I tried the gun once and it
backfired some bb's at my hip. Lesson learned. The
hard way. Which is apparently the only way if you're
We swapped tall tales and got drunk. Giddy with
freedom, Shuyler and I vowed that from now on we were
only gonna look out for number one and yeah, we were
gonna join the me generation and no more worrying
about everyone else and that if they handed us the
beer tickets for the whole group we'd just pocket them
and no more thinking of others but then we started
laughing because we realized that the very fact that
we were talking about it meant that we were probably
way too nice to ever be that way and that everyone
else was probably already doing all that anyway!
Garth told us about the Time Gobbler. He'd noticed
His evil presence in the big city. The Time Gobbler
wants your time. He wants to devour your time and he
is insatiable. He is a primordial mythical monster who
stems from the earths' depths and appears in human
form like he is the main fungus and the people are
just mushrooms that grow in a fairy ring around you
when you stand still, desperate to compost your time
We thought of all the notorious time gobblers we knew
and made utter sense.
'Ah but Garth, Einstein said that time is relative
like how a second with your hand in a flame feels
like an eternity but an hour spent with a beautiful
woman feels like a second."
He agreed, but only I suspect because I was gobbling
his time. The thing is, like most things, if you can't
SEE the time gobbler you ARE the time gobbler.
When we ran out of booze, we hit the street and headed
to Kensington Market like hummingbirds in search of
About a block from the house, I was testing out
Garth's Friend's ancient cruiser bike and I mentioned
the light summer philosophy I'd been reading and he
said, "Oh so you're going that route?"
Garth's Friend was a member of Cirque De Soleil and
he's an actor and therefore no stranger to doing stuff
in groups and just the way he said it in sort of an
not -at-all smug yet knowing way, it hit me that if a
guy was happy he wouldn't need to be reading about the
consolations of philosophy, he'd just be happy. And of
course there's never just ONE ANSWER to anything. But
it was sort of nice while it lasted.
Ah groups. If you don't happen to have the steeliest
of cores, they make you freak out about being you.
Tolan, Garth, Ford and I played at the new Six Shooter
Records Store. It's super cute and the treatment was
fantastic. The nicest ladies in the world work there.
The store is in the east of Toronto but you can get
there no problem on the TTC Skedaddler. Our show was a
reunion of sorts. We hadn't all played together in a
while but it sounded like no time at all had passed.
Ford brought his new huge accordion and it looked like
quite the workout. Tolan's mum came and a lovely posse
of friends all came on their bicycles and it felt like
we were part of a small town community right there in
the giant stinky city! Very moving. Children danced
while the parents drank beer and it was all over by
10. Headed to the Cadillac Lounge for food and drinks.
Nevile put 20 dollars in my hand for a taxi. I was
grumpy because all that love on an empty stomach can
hit you sideways. But then it was all fine on the
I tried to convince Tolan to come with me when I left
("Day ONE man!") but he refused to abandon his post
and unfurl himself from around Martin Tielli's neck.
Got a ride to the airport to pick up The Fiddler in a
truck with only five days to live driven by The Most
Hated Man in Toronto (He's nice to me.) Got pulled
over and screamed at by the FBI. No shit.
Since we were on the 427, when cops scream at you they
come to the passenger side to do it. I was tempted to
roll up my window but figured that would have done
nothing for our cause. The dude was a walking heart
attack and he screamed and screamed that that was some
of the worst driving he'd ever seen (guess the signal
lights were out) and he didn't even WORK traffic
anymore he was on his way to the airport to attend to
some terrorist related emergency and he outta pull
this truck off the road right now and make us walk,
but then he just sort of talked himself down and let
Holy shit! We were kind of shaking while we waited
outside the terminal, way too scared now to crack a
Diona comes out and hops in the truck. She says, "So
the woman beside me on the plane said she was a
hairdresser and I thought 'No way. You're way more
than a hairdresser and it turns out, she was a
combination dominatrix stash slipper... hic...
with HER OWN TRAVELLING BAR!"
What an entrance! Arriving drunk. That's my girl. I
looked her over and had to comment. "Um are those
dutch rubber gardening clogs on your feet? What's next
sweat pants? Have you completely given up?"
She assured me that they weren't even hers and that
there was no other choice and her real shoes walked
off with some acrobat or something at the after party
up in Dawson City and she was gonna get new ones in
Shuyler was making us dinner at Garth's and he's a
fantastic cook. The dude even made me dig eggplant! I
don't know when the meeting was held where it was
decided that if you're a vegetarian you must love
eggplant because if i was there man, I would have
voted no. But Shuyler man, he made it taste good. Said
it's all about getting the baby ones not the giant
Tolan came over later and shot all eight targets with
the bb gun perfectly in rapid succession. Amazing.
Ate the food. Drank a bunch of wine. Smoked some
p.o.t. and headed out to bluegrass night at the Silver
Dollar. Miss Dottie was singing with all the pickers.
So funny to come from the Hootenanny tour where we
wear matching outfits and choreograph the segues and
make it like a whole production, to here where
everyone's in shorts and sandals and there's long
interludes between songs where they all stand around
choosing the next song until finally someone says,
"Okay in it's in A and it's a 1-2-6-4-5. Okay?
Guess it's more about the music than the show.
Hank and Lily arrive.
Opened for Sarah Harmer at The Harbour front Centre.
Totally beautiful sunset luxury show. Me and Tolan and
Diona. It's so easy when the setting is so lovely.
(Maybe hold out for only this? But what do you do in
Met a lot of nice people after the show who had never
heard of me before. And Miss Sarah put on a wonderful
show. I love her. Everyone loves her. It's so great.
Afterwards we all were invited back to a little after
party in the next building where we ate chips and
salsa while Sarah and her band were presented with
gold records. When the chips were finished, we all
just took one step to the left and started in on the
pummelled carrots and hummous. Our needs were more
immediate than gold records. Maybe because we don't
have any gold records. Huh.
The problem is when it's all about survival there's no
time to think of the future.