Saturday, November 18, 2006

Summer 2006 - Part 5: Wolf Island and NYC

London hotel room: Let's go.
Come on bitches get in the car! Drive drive drive. Hot
hot hot. Back through Tee Dot up behind Kingston in
time for the ferry line with all the Hootenanny Crew.
"Reunited and it feels so good..."
Wolfe Island is my favourite place in Ontario. It's
very B.C. It's 20 minutes from Kingston and the
ferry's free and it's where the mouth of the St
Lawrence confabs with Lake Ontario. And it's very cute
and the people are nice. We were playing in a hall to
kick off the Wolfe Island Music Festival. A local
French horn professor had donated his cabin to us for
the night. Hank and Lily had left the tour so Ali and
Awna stepped in. I found sparklers that burned blue
when I was in The States. Tonight was the night for
the flaming hula hoop finale. (You duct tape the
sparklers at right angles around the hula hoop and
have gentlemen light them). So far the experiments had
produced varied results. The sparklers take ages to
light which sort of compromises the momentum of your
finale situation. I had bought some lighter fluid
thinking it might speed up the process but the
American sparklers were too volatile and I burned the
living shit out of my thumb in the parking lot.
Back to the old drawing board.
The rest of the gang were setting up the hall with
Christmas lights and putting the banner up and rigging
the sound. I took a stroll down the road and found
Sarah McDermott and Mellie in the back yard drinking
Coronas and joined them. Two of the best smiles I've
ever seen and they fed me dinner too. Then over to the
cabin to snake the best room, get whored up and make
the set list as the sun was setting.
I went to use the payphone down by the dock to Call
Home as The Maintenance Man is a Wolfe Island
enthusiast despite never having seen it. He answered
right when all the cars were coming off the ferry.
Since most of the people were coming over for the
show, they all recognized me and everyone was yelling
stuff as they went by ("Who are you talking too, your
agent?? har har" etc) so it wasn't exactly Quality
Time. Ah well. You win some. You lose some.
Back to the cabin to get tuned up. Jenny and I sat on
the deck drinking wine savouring our last night
together. Everyone was full of love for each other
again since it was all going to be over soon. I had
spent 33 days in the care of The Ontarians and I think
we had all rubbed off on each other.
I was really excited about the finale. We decided that
we'd end with Jenny's circus song where we take down
the stuff DURING the song. (You wanna get show folk
excited about loading gear? Get 'em to do it in front
of an audience!) Then we'd lead everybody out to the
parking lot at the very end where Tolan had pre-set
some fireworks in honour of The Last Night.
The show was fantastic. Best one of the tour. We had
the whole night and didn't have to rush to fit
everyone in and the audience totally dug it. There was
so much love it was kind of overwhelming. Ali and Awna
ruled. Luther's from here so it was total home town
victory story for him. Jenny's always awesome but
tonight she shone. And Tolan didn't go to the dark
side and played great. Chris Brown and Kate Fenner
came by and sat in with some NY city monsters in tow
and the finale totally rocked.
As Me and Jenny and Diona spun the hoops of fire and
Tolan lit the fireworks and the audience went bananas,
I heard Luther say incredulously, "Jesus! What do
people WANT for 15 bucks?"
And then it was all over and I stayed up way too late
because it was THE LAST NIGHT. But that's an illusion
because in this racket there's always The Next Night
The next morning Me and Tolan and Diona headed for New
York City to play in a circus tent.
Wolfe Island has this great eleven-car ferry that
takes you across to Cape Vincent, NY and then six
hours later you're in Man-fucking-hatten doing heroic
battle with the traffic. It's usually one of the
easiest border crossings too. Very mellow.
Diona was driving because she has Jedi mind control
skills with the border guards so they never pull us
in. She had proven herself so many times in this
department that I ignored the niggling feelings that I
should have been driving and that we shouldn't have
had Awna's bass in the backseat or volunteered to mule
the Po'girl Cd's in our trunk on top of the whole
rental car issue.
But we made the ferry and the sun was shining so what
could happen?
We pull up to the booth and the border lady says,
"Where are you going?"
I'm in the passenger seat holding a map to Chris
Brown's house in Brooklyn trying to look innocent.
To my horror, Diona says, "Oh... anywhere and
everywhere... " in this real whimsical way that they
"President street. Brooklyn. Three days!" I pipe up
"Uh huh. And what do you people do for a living?"
Tolan and I are trained in the rhythm and we wait for
"Oh. Me? Ha Ha. Oh. Um actually I'm between jobs at
the moment but you know kitchen help is my usual
Holy fuck this is going so badly. I'm especially
freaked out because it's the first show booked by The
Fancy American Booking Agent to the tune of $1200
UHmerican which is gonna pay for most of the tour so
it's pretty important that we make this one.
"Who's car is this?"
"It's a rental."
"OK pull over here and let me see the registration.
Actually, wait here. I'm just going to deal with the
rest of the ferry passengers."
My faith was crumbling.
Aw fuck we're sunk we've got the bass and Cd's and the
car thing and guitars and they're totally not gonna
let us in and what a terrible first impression with
the new booking agent out of all the fucking shows
we've made to not make this one and fuck I should have
been driving I bet I'm not even allowed to go to the
I opened the car door. No armed guards surrounded me
so I went across the street to a fish restaurant to
take care of business.
When I came back Tolan and Diona were gone from the
Tentatively I pulled open the door to the office and
saw a nice looking guy with Elvis hair handing back
our passports and registration to Diona saying "Have a
nice day. Enjoy your trip."
We ran to the car.
"He was totally in a band and covered for us!", they
I guess the lady cop told him we had "black things" in
our trunk that looked like instruments or something
and he got excited and said, "Like what amplifiers?
Cables?" and she said "Oh I don't know. Black things!
And somehow they overlooked the whole 'This car must
not leave the province' stamp on the registration too.

The whole thing was a goddamn miracle.
"So D... What happened?", I said when we were down the
road and my heart rate had returned to normal.
"I don't know. It's been so long since I had a job, I
couldn't' think of an occupation and I bailed".
Tolan and I offered her a wide array of professions
she could choose from next time.
Half way there the phone calls starting coming in hot
and heavy on Tolan's phone (which costs like a
gazillion dollars a second once you cross the border
It was the production crew. Wanted us there for sound
check at two.
Two words sprang to mind: AS IF.
We would have had to get up half an hour before we
went to bed!
So we do the 'right' thing and kiss ass and tell them
we're SO sorry for the INCONVENIENCE and that we're
DOING ALL WE CAN to get there blah blah blah and we'll
see everybody at five and we told them we don't have a
drum kit or need one which always calms everybody
I feel like hell and I want to die. Diona and Tolan
took care of all the navigation and driving and it
kind of felt okay to be the high maintenance one now
that we were stripped down to a fightin' three.
"Look it's New York!"
I can barely be bothered to lift my head to look out
the window.
"Yeah. New York."
I am jealous of New York.
There I said it.
I am jealous of her fame and the way everyone springs
into hopeful action at the very mention of her name.
What I wouldn't do with that kind of power. I'd be way
nicer too!
New York.
I'd play as good if I was in Nanton!
New York.
O.K. Maybe if I dug a little deeper perhaps my
mistrust of New York is sort of like Protection from
See I've been burned so many times before I've sort of
trained myself not to hope for anything. I steer
especially clear of the most obvious dangled carrots.
Of course every little girl wants to go to New York
but when you go the first time they stick you at some
shit hole in Alphabet City and you play for 8
Canadians and you wish that you could beam yourself
back in time, back to the chicken barn where you
dreamed your dreams and be MORE SPECIFIC.
"I meant Carnegie Hall!
On a Friday!
Wearing Clothes!"
So yeah playing New York on a Saturday night for
twelve hundred dollars UHmerican with my best friends?
Well that's just too many good things.
See I know about the "2 out of 3 Rule". I may have
invented it. It goes like this:
Check any two (2) of the following options:
{} You can be a lady
{} You can have fun
{} You can get paid

You can only check two. That's the rule.

I am dying and I think it's going to feel like this

Friends bubbled up from all over (except New York of
course) and we went early and ended up seeing this
adult circus from England called Absinthe. It was
incredible. The people were so talented and oh the
muscle men and the trapeze lady and the Russian hula
hoop girl and the drunk secretary striptease with the
reappearing red hanky, and the boozy chanteuse. So
good. We wanted to run away with them.
Their show was sold out. We thought the people might
stick around for our show but no such luck. We played
to like 8 Canadians but the tent was fabulous. I'd
been in it in Brighton England.
Fuckin' tent tours as much as I do.
Our show felt like a fever dream. The sound crew were
righteous dudes and there was a grand piano and our
show was very circus inspired and Tolan and Diona are
the best band a girl singer could ever have.
When they threw us out of our trailer, we took a taxi
back to Brooklyn.
Oh yeah. Remember how I knew there was gonna be a
catch? Well, when I caught up with The Organizer who
was drinking with chicks way hotter than me, he told
me that this here outfit
Uh yeah see that's not so great for us right now.
God this show was breaking all the laws of touring
including The Sunrise Rule which is:
If you do not receive payment by sunrise of the night
you played, the chances of ever seeing that money grow
incrementally slimmer with each ensuing sunrise. Also
subtract likelihood from miles you are away.
Shit. When I book shows we get paid. Sure it's not
much but it's better than nothing and nothing is
better that the promise of more.
Especially when you're on tour.
Was I controlling this? I mean like do I keep myself
at this level because of my negative attitude? I don't
even think it's negative. It's more like "You can't
let me down because I can't get any lower"
Would hope help?
It's just that I'm on the cusp of becoming crusty. I
don't want to become crusty so I thought that if I
stopped hoping for stuff I wouldn't get let down
because if I get let down one more time I'll become
permanently crusty.
I don't know. Is it me?
Now some truly crusty folks in this situation might
get off on the feeling of Being Right. Since I'm not
all-the-way crusty, I don't want to be right. Next
tour I'm making t-shirts that say "Prove Me Wrong" in
silver glitter letters.
They say you gotta love yourself before others can
love you.
Well I dig me. Where is everybody?
I think they gotta know you're coming in advance to
really think they're in love with you.

(Okay, I just went for a walk, away from this fucking
screen that drains you of everything)

So wait just a minute here. Maybe this is part of a
bigger thing. Like a symptom. Like maybe this is right
where THEY want us- not even daring to hope.
Less than powerless.
Or maybe.. it's hope that makes you find your powers.

Okay so just like today when a walk made me change my
whole point of view, back in New York a big old 11
hour sleep kind of made me do a spiritual about face.
And how decadent is it to sleep until 3:30 when you're
in NEW YORK CITY? Maryanne Faithful said that's the
definition of decadence. Having it all around you and
not touching it.
People save up all their money to come here and hang
all their dreams on making it to Broadway and us
chumps are sleeping!
I could see the clock saying 3:30 but I couldn't get
the meaning to sink in.
3:30. What am I Dallas Good?
"Breakfast" in Brooklyn. Oh look how cute! The waiters
are all actors! I saw their little highlighted scenes
from The Seagull on the bar. Oh that takes me back,
bless them.
A walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. Holy Shit! We're in
NEW YORK CITY! I'm alive with pleasure. I'm not going
to die. The feeling wasn't permanent! Thank God. I
I think I got unwanted X-ray vision from that womyn's
fest. I can now see through all ladies clothes and
wish I could turn it off.
That night we went to my friends Ben and Suohi's
restaurant. The Good Fork.
I've never had friends who owned a restaurant before
so it was kind of exciting. The restaurant is like a
living testament of their love. Ben did all the
woodwork and serves and Suohi makes all the amazing
food. It was to die for.
Our friend Marta joined us and at the end of the
night, the people from the next table were making
jokes about Tolan and his three ladies.
"Yeah. They're all my ex-wives!"
After dinner, Ben took us over to this little bar to
see The Hot 8. Brass band from New Orleans. Giant
black guys playing trombones and marching drums and
trumpets, saxes and a sousaphone. Incredible. The
bathrooms were on the stage so if you had to go you
sort of had to join the band.
It was all instrumental music except at the very end
the whole band started singing "Just my 'magination
running away with me.."
By the end the whole room was singing along and it was
perfect night in Red Hook.

Do you think maybe I'm like, bipolar?

Back to the crash pad where we found Ali and Awna
sleeping in the yard. Maybe we shoulda left the key?
Stayed up drinking with Tolan and talking about His
Drinking, which was more interesting than you might
imagine and went to bed vowing to leave first thing.

I woke up when Diona came into the room holding her
stuff from the trunk. She said, "So the side mirror's
been sheared off and there's a big street cleaner
ticket glued to the window. I'll take care of the
ticket but you're gonna have to cut the mirror off for
the trip back."
Aw crap.
Thank god I ticked the insurance waiver!
Only thing was we had to destroy all evidence of ever
leaving Ontario or else the deal would be off.
I snipped off the electrical mirror wires with nail
scissors and threw it in the backseat.
Hmm the ticket needed to be washed off with warm soapy
water. Fuck it. We'd do it at a gas station. All
right. So long Diona. So long New York.
I'll get you next time you fucking bitch!
Somewhere in the Catskills, I was reclining in the
front seat desperate for snacks when I felt the car
slow down. I looked up and saw an overhead sign that
read, "Service Station/Rest Stop" "Mm I need to be
serviced..." I murmured while stretching. Tolan
looked down at me in his mirrored shades and said,
"Maybe you need a rest instead."
Guess the honeymoon's over.
It rained the whole way back which was good because it
dissolved the tell-tale ticket off the window.

God this is taking DAYS to write. My editor Hank has
his work cut out for him. And he's hardly in the
story. I don't know why. Maybe because he's just so
perfect and I love him so much there's nothing else to
say? Just watched that Tristam Shandy movie-it's a
supposedly unfilmable movie based on a book that
couldn't be written! The author in the movie poses the
question that if the story takes as long to tell as it
took the story to happen, how then do you tell it?
Especially when you consider the fact that if you're
still living, the story is still happening.
How do you simultaneously exist and document it?
Some time passed between the occurrence of the events
and the recording of the events so I feel that my
attempts to document how I felt then are tainted by
how I feel now.
Ah whatever. It won't matter in a year!

I'm gonna spare you the part about dropping Tolan at
his parents and returning the car and flying home and
all that crap.
Instead I'm gonna leave us on the interstate in
upstate New York winding our way through the rain, me
reclining in the passenger seat and Tolan driving in
his mirrored shades. I'm gonna leave us right at the
part where we figured that since the car was buggered
anyway it probably wouldn't hurt none to smoke in it.

Yours in show business,
Sept '06


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