That Sunday feeling
Today is Sunday.
I have that Sunday feeling.
It’s almost 4pm and I’m still wondering around my room with the bath robe provided by the hotel. I have been for the last three hours actually, just sitting in different spots in the room, thinking about whatever comes to me. The Canadian sun is like a new born baby, crying it’s rays off the caked snow. I lie on the couch and blind myself, letting my mind meander. I don’t often get the opportunity for that kind of day dreaming so much these days, but when I do I snatch it up. I remember the days back in London, for five years I rented a crappy apartment above a shoe shop in Shoreditch from an English lady living in New York (and never put the rent up from £200 per month) and I’d spend entire afternoons happily dreaming to myself, while playing drums on my chest. The little flat was on a tiny street called Yorkton Street, so I called it ‘Yorkton Palace’. There were three of us in the apartment, although I was the only one to stay as long as 5 years, until the landlady decided to sell and kicked me out. I had people coming coming around all the time. I drank a lot of tea and spent a lot of time organising things (gigs and theatre projects) from the wired phone on the kitchen table. The lounge was the biggest room and there was often somebody/bodies sleeping on the mattress and anything else which was soft.
After a year of living in that apartment, we found a drawer at the bottom of the enormous old cupboard, which was full of junk and inside the drawer, there were about 250 pictures of tourists posing with the Madame Tussauds wax work of Arnold Schwarzenegger. So, I decided to cover all the walls of the living room with the pictures and have an Arnie party! I remember the guests being quite alarmed, not to mention, intrigued by the unusual soirée. We liked the pictures so much, however, that we chose to leave them all up on the walls. I use the word ‘chose’ lightly, as it was probably more out of laziness that we didn’t bother to remover them. During the following summer months, pic by pic, they fell to the floor and gradually got destroyed, which is a shame – I would have liked to keep them as a memento of my obscure days in Yorkton Palace. In my second, or third year there, I had a Henry living with me who was my teenage next door neighbour and played in Baxter, the keyboards in band I had with my brother. Henry was good at handy man jobs and taught me how to build things like shelves, most importantly. This was a big revelation for me, having been living with so much stuff all over the place (don’t ask what), finally I could create new spaces to put them. I became quite the do-it-yourself handy man and made our shit hole into a home, constantly tidying up after everyone’s mess and trying to kick the asses of my house mates to do there bit as good, honest citizens, usually to no avail. I did a lot of cooking in that house too. Most of my time was spent in the kitchen in fact. I used to have little dinner parties and invite people that didn’t know each other, including me. Sometimes, I’d invite people, having only just met them. Age wasn’t important. In fact, the more dramatic the age differences were around the table, the more interesting it often was. It played host, getting the conversations started and once people relaxed and open up I’d just keeping serving the food. Much like playing a concert, I suppose.
I remember one old guy that I loved. I’m struggling to remember his name but he was an inspirational old American in his mid to late seventies, still riding a bike around London and always doing something, or going somewhere. He carried pieces of paper around with him of exhibitions, or films that he wanted to see. I met him because for a year and a half I worked as a ticket usher in the Prince Charles Cinema – possibly the quirkiest and cheapest cinema in the heart of London, playing a mixture of art house, European and Hollywood blockbusters (fortunately, at that time it was less Hollywood). It’s most famous for doing weekly Friday night showings of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and Sunday matinées of ‘The Sing-Along Sound Of Music’. I must have watched that film about 75 times – I can still say it’s an incredible movie though.
I loved that job. It was in that job that I discovered so much great cinema that I had never previously been exposed to like Ingmar Bergman, Lars von Trier, Wong Ka-wai, Wim Wenders, Nanni Moretti, Jim Jarmesch, Alexander Sokurov, David Lynch – he even came and did a Question & Answer with the people who’d just watched his new film ‘Lost Highway’. A lot of interesting and unusual characters came to see movies at the Prince Charles. I’d regularly get into beard-stroking chin wags with the clientele about the director’s vision. ‘Hmm.. yes… interesting… hmm’. It was often dangerous getting caught in conversation with that type film goer, but occasionally stimulating too; not every scholar is a geek and I can’t decided which I prefer.
That was his name… the old American dude on the bicycle. So, that’s where I met Jim. I wonder what he’s doing now. Something tells me he’s still up and at it. There was no getting rid of him in a flash. Such a great guy, he was. He had that second world war American way to be friendly, always hitting me on the arm and saying things like ‘Good on ya Chuck!’. Once, we were having one of our usual chats and I said something that made him burst out laughing, swinging his arm up and smacking me hard in the left ear. Man, did that hurt and left it ringing for the rest of the day, but the whole thing made me laugh and, subsequently, I never forgot it, or him.
That’s enough nostalgia for one blog entry I think.
Back to present day.
The last two gigs in Montreal were our best so far. I mean, at this point, being early days that it is, we can only get better and better. The audiences went insane. Not just for us but also Current Swell, who have been doing an incredible job of warming them up for us (I love that band – great band and really great dudes – every one). I don’t know what drug it is in the local water but lets just say that the public are not backward in coming forward. Or, perhaps it’s too much fresh winter air. Oxygen makes you high after all, that’s why they give it to us on plane gas masks, according to Tyler Durden. After a killer 2nd show last night, we all went to a great club called JelloBar (I think that’s the spelling). I’d been there once before in November and both times there was a live band with top class musicians playing all the classics, ranging in style. I think it was last year that it was taken over by the drummer who played with me on the Canadian TV show Belle et Bum, which explains a lot; he’s a very cool guy and great musician too. Rarely, have I been into a club on a Saturday night which, not only has a great live band to whom everyone is dancing and singing to, but the mixture of black and white people is completely equal. There was no feeling of separation between anyone, each smiling and chatting, or dancing with one another. In fact, I think it’s a Canadian thing; Although I’m sure there are places where it is more prevalent in Europe there’ still definitely a feeling of separation in the bars/clubs themselves. Here, the mix seems to be a lot more casual.
However, I’m not talking so much about the relationship between English and French speaking Canadians. I’m quite aware there is a long standing friction going on between Quebec (wanting to be it’s own country) and the rest of Canada, although I am told it’s a lot less these days, compared to 15 years ago, when there was a referendum, concluding with Quebec continuing to remain under Canadian government at a close loss of 49.5 votes. My own little personal theory of why the feeling for Quebec to be separated today is less, (as I am told – I make no claim to have any political voice of authority on this) is because of the internet. I know it sounds cliché to blame the web for any shift in consciousness but it plays a part, I’m sure of it. The fact is, when kids go online, whatever language they speak, in order to surf the web they constantly have to switch from their native tongue into English. But more than that, the majority of the the entertainment industry is focused in English, and the most likely thing for someone to do on the internet to is watch, hear or learn about any of their favourite icons and idols. Subsequently, they’ll find themselves watching interviews or reading Twitter/Facebook posts in predominantly English. Let’s take me as an example. I mean, I wonder what the first language is of most people who read this.
My record is distributed by the same Canadian record label as Lana Del Ray, so this week I was given a copy of her album to listen. While writing some of this blog I had it playing in the background… For those of you who are sick of anything reminiscent of the 80′s, well, the 90′s is well and truly back. It’s kinda like listening to a funky Enya, with the same intoxicating, little girl, jilted heartbreak lyrical content as Amy Winehouse. Both singers sold boat loads of albums world wide so I’m sure she’ll be alright, despite the media who are loving to hate her at the moment. I have to say though, the lyrics are not bad and she has written some good melodies which will be her strongest asset (one song has already stuck in my head, since a quick listen 2 days ago). Clearly, the main thing holding her back are the stage performances which did her no favours on Saturday Night Live, in particularly. Who knows, these days? It’ll be interesting to see what people really care about. I met her on Taratata as we waved goodbye to camera. She seemed like a nice enough girl. I asked her how her appearance went. She told me, “horrible, I hate these things”. I asked if she thought she was in the right profession, to which she answered, “I’m still trying to work that out”. Let’s hope she does before the world eats her alive.
In the meantime, I’m gonna read my book.
Gotta get up at 6am for a TV show.