Monday, September 13, 2010

With a bang and a whimper

There are two sayings that I like to pretend were said by my grandmother, although I think I probably picked them up from all that nineteenth century literature I read when I was a kid. They both essentially mean the same thing, I think. The first is, "it never rains but it pours" and the second is "if it's not chickens, it's feathers." So I'll leave it to you to guess what kind of week I had.

Collective bargaining began this week, and occupied six hours of my time on Thursday, plus countless hours of my thoughts since then. I also had dinner with my mother and one of her friends from nursing college. On Friday, I attended a Deans' Breakfast for the frosh, followed by an information session for the English majors, and met with the union's Scholarship Committee. On Saturday, I volunteered for the local AIDS Committee's annual AIDS Walk, and somehow got suckered into doing work with Excel spreadsheets.1

Saturday night made it all worth it, though. Friends of mine put together a record label for artists in North Bay Rock City2, recorded an e.p., and held a record release party at one of my favourite bars. After the week I'd had, I had more or less talked myself out of going until one of the performers emailed me to tell me that he thought I should go--so I got out of my comfy pants and into some other clothes.3

This was the best decision I'd made all week. The martinis were $5, I was only minorly socially awkward, and the music was amazing. Generally, when you've got a multi-artist e.p., you're going to wind up with something that you don't really care for, but this was not the case on Saturday. Everyone who took to the stage was awesome: there was a great mix of originals and covers. (My favourites were Matt Murphy belting out Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz," Tyler MacIver's version of Tommy James & the Shondelles' "I Think We're Alone Now"4 and Kyle Fowle's Sonic Youth cover.5)

Headliner Craig Cardiff played a set mid-show, which felt very intimate as he invited people to sit down on the floor and on the stage. I didn't because I didn't want to abandon my totally sweet bar stool, which was still less than ten feet from the stage. His set was excellent even without my favourite song, "Albion Hotel," and he played a lovely cover of "What A Wonderful World" as his last song.

I'm always a bit worried when I go to friends' creative endeavours, because there's always that slightly possibility that your friends are going to suck, and then there's some awkward lying involved about how much you enjoyed stuff.6 Fortunately, no lying would've been required for this show: I had a great time, as evidenced by the fact that I stayed out til 2 a.m.

Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better night out, with one exception--I forgot to grab myself a copy of the e.p.
1 There really aren't words to describe how much I hate Excel/how stupid Excel makes me feel. Also, it was Excel for Windows Vista, which is even worse. I really hate the MS Office suite for Vista. Obviously, no one at Windows has ever heard the phrase, "If it's not broke, don't fix it."
2 Despite the nickname, North Bay is very seldom a Rock City.
3 I tweeted about this at the time, but I still want to know: What does one wear to indie concerts when one is a grown up? This was so much easier when I was 16 and could wear a pair of Converse One-Stars and a t shirt I'd painted a slogan on myself. I ended up in a (machine) knit dress and a pair of jeans.
4Yes, it is the same song that Tiffany covers; it just sounds more impressive if you know the original artist.
5 Though, as I tweeted at the time, every time I hear Sonic Youth now, it reminds me of the part in Juno when Juno is angry at Mark and she tells him that she bought a Sonic Youth album and "it was just noise!"
6 This is undoubtedly a residual effect from one of my exes, who--while he was a talented guitar player--definitely thought he was a lot better than he actually was, and would get upset if he wasn't given what he thought was his due after shows.

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