for the crowd

Journey to the Centre of the Goth
January 11, 2009, 1:58 am
Filed under: Anecdotes, Opinion | Tags: , ,

Aw, isn’t it sad that my first post of the year is about Goths. ūüė¶ Ha ha ha. Etc. This is a semi review/anecdotal piece about Edmonton’s Goth club, New City Suburbs. If you’ve ever been interested in attending the ‘Burbs, or are looking for fresh perspective, then it’s your lucky day, homeslice.

suburbs, yo!photo by sfllaw (under this license)

Okay, so I tend to view the Gothic subculture in Edmonton as being comprised of members who all inhabit the same universe of dark clothing and musty places. I’m not talking about people who have a Gothic taste in things – bats, maybe skulls, antique furniture and red roses, or just people who dress in severe, classic lines of black. I’m talking about the ones who throw themselves into a subculture in order to belong; it seems to me to have little to do with personal tastes or preferences but more like a demand to hold a certain viewpoint, dress with a certain (but manufactured) flair, and to sometimes demonstrate a certain lifestyle. If it makes you happy then that’s cool, but that isn’t really my thang.

To me, nearly every ‘Gothic’ store in Edmonton feels the same. Cramped, overheated, reeking of incense, and filled to bursting with overpriced clothes in polyblend fabrics that claim a price tag with a ridiculously high number on it. Why anyone would spend over a hundred dollars on a poorly-made polyester dress (which may or may not be put together by children in Asia) is really beyond my understanding. Still, I’ve always been intrigued by the subculture itself, at one point in my life (high school, yo!) even wanting to become a part of it, and usually failing. (I may have been a misfit, but I was a misfit generally unaccepted by most of the other misfits.)

Last night, my friend and I wanted to go dancing, and I finally went and dove into one of the larger pockets of the Goth Dimension, called New City Suburbs – two floors of Gothic hell. Oddly enough, this friend of mine – a good Christian girl who willingly attends Church and is a rarity among self-admitted Jesus Freaks (you wouldn’t know she’s so devoted unless you try to do something with her on a Sunday) – has been to Suburbs quite a few times. So at least I had a semi-reliable escort.

I became very distraught as we approached the crowded-with-smokers entrance. “I don’t want to do this! They’re all… Goth.” I was pushed unconcernedly inside. So much for friends and their famed understanding. Inside revealed itself to generally be the nightclub version of those clothing stores I mentioned, but it wasn’t as glamourously BDSM as I had expected. Instead there was an eclectic mix of partiers, but most of them subscribing to the ‘stranger’ style of dressage, though there were a few ‘normal’ people hanging around. I guess the best way to describe it would be… you know those really low-budget vampire flicks? That’s where the vampires get their victims.

Like every other club, Suburbs attracts people who dress in a certain code – with pubs the girls are in jeans, in nightclubs the girls are in scraps of cloth that pass for miniskirts, and thus with Suburbs black was the dominant colour. Still, I can’t count how many boys I saw in baggy sweaters, loafers, and knit caps, let alone girls in a similar costume wearing gigantic glasses with the lenses missing. And it was like most other clubs to me, where someone spilled a drink on my nice jeans, I was knocked into repeatedly by the same drunk girls who whirl around in circles thinking that they’re not doing anyone any harm, and I was pawed a few times by the same sweaty overweight boy (apparently he stood behind me as I was dancing for awhile, leering, and then grabbed at me, and pretended to have done it by accident when I turned around. Then he put his arms around my friend and I as if he wanted to dance with us; I said ‘no’ and pushed him away. Then about ten minutes later he tried to get me to dance with his friend; I said no again, I was already dancing with someone. Then after that whenever he tried to walk across the dance floor, he’d put his hand on my shoulder as he went by in a fake ‘oh, excuse me’ kind of way. Note to men: I don’t care what you look like, acting like that towards a girl is never cool, all right?).

I went upstairs to get a drink near the beginning of the night, because I was dying of dehydration. I asked for a coke. The bartender gave me a gin and tonic (how the hell does that happen?). Loathe to waste a good drink, I had to find someone to give it to rather than give it back to the bartender and demand something else (also, I was driving and wasn’t drinking anything alcoholic). Then I went to try the bar downstairs. I picked one bar that appeared to have a smaller lineup, manned by a girl. She was one of the worst bartenders I’d ever seen; there were people clustering all around the bar, holding money up in plain sight, and what did she do? She paid attention only to the section of the bar right in front of her. She served about ten customers in the time I stood there, all people who were in that one metre-long section of bar that she kept returning to. I don’t understand it; bartenders make most of their money via tips, and her tip jar was understandably pretty low. Possibly she was a new employee, but still, she had to catch on sometime, right? Eventually I stalked back to the dance floor with the resignation that I’d just collapse of dehydration sooner or later. Of course, the third and last bar that I tried had fast, friendly service, though unfortunately in the last drink I had of the night I sucked something solid up through my straw, and when I spat it out it revealed to be a very small fly that had probably dived into the ice well earlier in the night. Joy of all joys, right? It’s a good thing I’m not squeamish.

Now that all makes it sound like it’s a lousy club and I wasn’t having a good time – on the contrary, I danced a hella lot with my friend, and besides a few incidents there was a minimal amount of people leering, and absolutely no men sneaking up behind me to grind themselves against me. I even ran into someone I knew, which was a pleasant surprise. The music was the music I like to dance to; mostly electronica and techno, and sometimes with popular songs really low in the mix so that you had to listen carefully in order to catch it. The DJ’s (I think there were three of them, all told) seemed pretty young to me, and there were a few glitches during the night and sometimes the pacing was pretty bad and sometimes cranked to a halt (it’s not a good thing when half the dance floor is standing there for over thirty seconds, looking unsure) and one of them liked to dance around and milk the crowd, which kinda got annoying, but I was there to dance, not be entertained, so don’t take my word for it. People were climbing on the stage to dance around and were really getting into it, unlike the clubs where DJ’s are locked in a little booth or shoved into a corner.

Surprisingly, for such a big club, on the first floor there appeared to be only one ladies room boasting two stalls. Also, one of the stalls was out of order. That means that during the night, if you have to go to the bathroom you’re screwed when that one drunk girl takes up that working stall while she’s puking. And who likes putting unnecessary strain on their bladder?

Anyway, based on all that, I can’t tell anyone whether it’s a good club or a bad club, since everyone is looking for something different. Of course, I urge anyone who is interested to go out and experience it for themselves. Cover charge was eight bucks, fyi, and that was for a Friday. I don’t know whether to complain about that, since bars’ll usually have the cover charge to stop their drink prices from climbing, but with the new laws requiring a minimum drink price, I really don’t know how the economics are playing out. Also, water came in bottles and thus they charged you for it ($4) instead of just giving you water for free in a glass, and that might be a factor in your enjoyment of the night. Personally I just order pop and then eat all of the ice cubes. Or drink my friend’s water, harrharr. That might be cheap, but at least I’m a notorious tipper.

So that’s all. For now. Hopefully this post was of some help/amusement to… anyone, really.


Christmas Cheer Coming Right Up
December 13, 2008, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Liquor, Recipes | Tags: , ,

So, today it’s like, minus 25 Celcius or so, with the wind chill making it minus 37. I didn’t plug in my car (yes, yes; Canadians plug in their cars. Laugh away) so it was frozen and unresponsive, and I bullied my brother into giving me a ride into town so I could make my 9 a.m. Accounting final. Yes. I had a 9 a.m. final exam on a Saturday morning. Whoever scheduled that one is an ASSHOLE, especially since it ruined my previous plans to go to Las Vegas this weekend and see the last show in the Lights in the Sky tour. Yes. String that all together… freezing weather… coulda been in Vegas… Accounting examination.

But hey! Christmastime is fast approaching. I’m still having trouble getting into the holiday spirit (it’s coming and going… poss. need more Christmas music) but maybe that’ll change once I’m finally done my examinations come Monday. I have a few tricks for jumpstarting it, though.

There are lots of ways to get into the Christmas spirit. I guess it really depends on what kind of Christmas-spirity person you are. Unless you’re a Grinch. In which case I guess you need to steal Christmas first before your heart inflates to an abnormal size.

Anyway, so this is a recipe which cheered me up quite well (on… Wednesday?) while I decorated the Christmas tree. Except now that¬†I look at it, it’s probably the ugliest tree I have EVER done. Not surprising, considering the recipe I’m about to give you.

You need:
1/2 cup hot chocolate
1/2 cup milk
Baileys/Irish Cream Liqueur

This recipe is so easy, even a trashed Bridget Jones could make it.

So first off, you need hot chocolate. You can make this any way you like, out of whatever you like. Powdered¬†hot chocolate¬†works awesome, of course, but my mother went and bought one of those gourmet Tassimo coffee makers and now I’ve got gourmet hot chocolate to make with it. Or maybe you want to be¬†really cool¬†and make the hot chocolate from scratch, in a saucepan, in which case I salute you and also kind of hate you.

So, you need half a cup of hot chocolate, then add half a cup of hot milk (which dilutes it nicely so the drink isn’t too overpowering), and then liberally splash however much Baileys you want in there. Despite my bartending training, I still insist on not measuring anything when I make drinks, but I will say that adding too much Baileys might ruin your cuppa as it’ll start to overpower the chocolate (If all you wanted to taste was Baileys, then just drink it with hot water or something. Or straight from the bottle.)

This is to be enjoyed while lazing about, doing nothing in particular or of any real importance. If you drink this while cuddled up on the couch, you might fall asleep, especially if you’re cuddled up with a cat or dog. But, if you drink it while decorating a tree, you might end up with the monstrosity that is currently in my living room.

The variations are endless, of course – with Baileys alone you have variation, you don’t need to stick to the classic version, you could go for the mint chocolate or whatevs. But this is pretty much what I had on hand today.

Other variations: Add a splash of creme de menthe, or possibly butterscotch schnapps; ignore adding the milk entirely if you want something very rich; add marshmallows, especially the mini ones!; try stirring a candy cane into it, I do this with my normal hot chocolate and it tastes delish. As of right now I’m not sure adding mint or other flavours¬†would be too strong a taste or not. I’ll get back to you. Kahlua might be nice, too.

But hey! Sparse readers! T ry this yourself and all its varieties and tell me what you think or suggest. Oh, and drink responsibly. Obviously.

Mars Gets Fired!!!
December 10, 2008, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Anecdotes, Opinion | Tags:

In another update of me being self-indulgent and posting about my life, I feel it’s my duty to inform anyone who is willing to be informed of the fact that I got fired last night!

The real beauty about it is that I actually quit already. I sent in my two week’s notice on Monday, when I closed up. This was for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I’d been having some friction with the management because, well, first they gave me too many shifts, and then I told them that I would have to have less shifts or I’d need to quit, and then they sprang more shifts on me anyway without giving me any prior notice (as in, I discovered on Sunday that I was working Monday, screwing up my study plans), and THEN I had to send them a stiff note before they desisted. This is all in the face of them kindly oozing about how they want to be very flexible and accomodating for their employees. Augh. It was a very small business where I was working directly with the owner half the time, and he is the sort of guy who likes to sugarcoat bullshit and politely talk down to you if you do something wrong, which I really dislike (I’d much rather a frank “This is what you did wrong” than, “You see what you did there? Now, how many customers do you think…” etc). Not too terrible by itself, but there were other factors.

One of these was that¬†it was quite out of the way for me. I live outside of town, and the job was at the airport, which wasn’t bad – just twenty-five minutes from my house. However, most of my shifts occurred on school days, which meant I’d have to make my way from the University to the airport, which is a good forty-five minute commute. When I already have to drive forty-five minutes to school in the first place, and then to work, and then home – it gets a bit tiring.

Also, my skin, always very troublesame,¬†started to riot shortly after I started working there. This is because I was working in a candy and chocolate store. Yes.¬†So, a¬†combination of stress and sugar caused me to break out like a mofo. A MOFO. And it’s not like I ate a lot of candy, either, but I had to taste most of what I was selling in order to be of any use to the customers. Now, I’m not trying to whine or anything, but really, compared with what they were paying me, I was feeling that it really wasn’t all that worth it. So I figured, hey, I’ll just quit, enjoy the holidays, then come January started looking for a new job again.

Ah, but my boss had other plans! See, I do the closing shifts, so I complete the daily cashout, bring in all the display cases, lock the store up, clean everything, etc. (Note: I’m not going to name the business because that is not very professional, and also there is such a thing as Google, but anyone familiar with the airport will likely figure¬†it out). So, on Monday night I pulled in all of the display cases except, of course, one. That would be the case of caramel apples, which always stays out – I locked it and went back inside. However, I was not aware that the store recently (as in the past day or two when I wasn’t working) started placing gift baskets on top of the apple case, and I’m definitely one of those people who will often not see something if she doesn’t know it’s there. Long and short of it, someone stole it in the middle of the night because I didn’t bring it in.

Then, I did my cashout. To my surprise, I found I was actually missing thirty dollars. I couldn’t imagine why, counted all of the cash again, then assumed I’d just put something in wrong and sent it to my boss, along with a message saying I was quitting.

So, last night. I was walking across the parking lot at the mall, stopping over at the pet store to get bedding for my rabbit. My phone rings, and I answer it just as I hit a slick patch and I fall right over. As I’m trying to pick up the stuff that had fallen out of my bag one-handed, my boss tells me my transgressions and then says “We’re going to let you go early.” Yeah dude, I know you mean FIRED. I know you WISH you could say fired, but can’t, because I already beat you to it and QUIT. WHY SUGARCOAT IT.

I know I’m being bratty,¬†but I don’t know if I’m being biased or not –¬†but most people I’ve talked to tell me I’m not and that my boss was just fishing for an excuse. Why? Because at my job, we don’t do cashout at the end of every shift (I had never worked with money before, so I didn’t know that’s what most businesses do). No, we do a cashout at the end of every day. Now, I worked a whole whopping four hours on Monday – that’s four hours out of a twelve hour day. How come I’m the one getting blamed for missing cash? Oh, right. Because I’m the one that did the cashout! Of course! It’s obviously all my fault. Not the fault of the people who worked the previous¬†eight hours before me. But the girl who worked before me has been working there for two years and of course you can’t blame her, you blame the girl who’s been working there for two months. Hurray!

Now, I’m prepared to take the blame for a missing gift basket, but honestly… It was a gift basket. Is that a firable offense? Perhaps in the world of chocolate makers this is a GIANT offense. I can’t see why, though, considering how overpriced everything there is. Honestly, if you buy a box of four hedgehog chocolates, it’s about three dollars more expensive than buying four hedgehog chocolates from the display unit at the till. THAT IS ONE EXPENSIVE CARDBOARD¬†BOX.

So yeah. “You mislaid a gift basket, so we’re letting you go early.” Unless it’s “You mislaid a gift basket PLUS thirty dollars, so we’re letting you go early.” Damn, I’ll sure learn my lesson. Note to self: never leave gift baskets you weren’t aware existed outside of stores again. I can only imagine what he’d have said if I HADN’T handed in my two week’s notice. I’m just glad I beat him to the punch. And really, it’s not so bad… now I won’t have to work for that extra two weeks, which I was doing before just out of courtesy! Hells yeah! I’m still stuck between amusement and irritation, though when I told my mother about it when I got home yesterday, she started laughing. Wildly. And saying “But you already quit!”. It’s good when you’re mom has a sense of humour.

Down with The Man! I’d be an anarchist but I hear it doesn’t pay very well.

Neck Warmer Love
December 7, 2008, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Fashion | Tags: , , ,

One of my favourite looks, especially up here in dreary, cold Alberta, is swathing up the neck. You can look cute, glamourous, hip, stylish or endearingly homeless when you’ve wadded something around your neck – and it definitely draws attention to your face, peering out at the world.

This is really a look I cherish in late fall, once the cold hits, and throughout most of winter and early spring. Once the heat starts making its presence felt, I gravitate towards the flimsier silk handkerchiefs. But I am an Albertan, and winter is coming upon us (even though lately it’s been back and forth, temperature wise) and so I’ve been checking out opportunities to expand my current scarf collection which, to be honest, isn’t all that spectacular.

The main criminal towards my wallet right now is Etsy, which I love because everything on there is either genuine vintage or homemade, which makes it easier on my conscience but still makes my bank account cry a little, especially considering I’m budgeting myself this Christmas. Anyway, these styles are currently the apple of my eye, or however you want to say it!

Ondulato Neck Warmer/Capelet

Seriously, I LOVE THIS THING. Look at it! It’s so darling and old-fashioned and can be folded over and worn in a bunch of different ways. It’s like a mix between a sweet old grandmother’s house and a striking duchess from the¬†late nineteenth century. Love it.

Night Sky Miniscarf

Can you imagine walking around town with this thing on? With your shoulders hunched up and your eyes staring out gloomily, perhaps with a cigarette blanaced between nicotine-stained fingertips. Ah, for the life of the artists who subsist solely on coffee and tobacco. I’ll never understand how and why they do it, but it sure looks cool.

Fuzzy Moss Neckwarmer

I love it, because this makes me think about mossy woodland fairies and, at the same time, the west coast (probably because of the sea-greeny colour). Honestly this thing looks so wonderful and comfy, and I think the button/clasp is a real seller – it looks like roughly carven wood, which, if you’ve ever been along the coast of British Columbia, you would probably like and appreciate due to the amount of driftwood-carving there.

Green and Pink Reversible Mohair Scarf

This thing is just damn cool, because for one thing it reverses and pulls apart into two scarves. Also, I’m a big fan of those colours – and, when muted, they’re wearable for practically anybody. I’d be hard-pressed to be able to incorporate this scarf into my winter wardrobe, though (it looks so fragile!), but it’s a beautiful piece nonetheless.

Ruffled Cream Neckwarmer

I did my best to find something white, to offset all the darker colours. The thing about white and winter is that it can be a total expletive to incorporate in a wardrobe, but at the same time it looks sooooo classy. White is just a bad colour for me personally, especially in winter here where it gets dangerously muddy, but there are some people who can pull this off and I salute them. And honestly, this neck warmer is freaking awesome-looking. It would look great underneath a big, dark wool coat.

gaspLa Resistance Neckwarmer/Scarf
(link NSFW – nudity)

Don’t you find it gets really chilly when you’re out and about, stickin’ it to the man by spreading or practising your art? I sure do! There’s nothing that says rebel like a weirdly patterned scarf in neutral, security-monitor-friendly colours. And better yet, you’ll be identifiable from a distance, which is great to spread the word if your peers see you getting dragged off by soldiers and trailing blood, but I guess not as great if you’re being targeted by a sniper. No but seriously, someone has to try and make me that scarf, because it looks awesome.

Mmmm j’adore. Of course I’ll probably just have to sit around and make do with my current scarves, because 1) let it never be said I am not grateful for what I’ve got! and 2) I need to save if I plan on going abroad this summer. Le sigh.

Are Men Becoming Extinct?
December 5, 2008, 5:55 pm
Filed under: People | Tags: , , , ,

I have bad luck with men, or, maybe, I’m just being my own worst enemy and put myself in these situations. The good thing is that I’m not one of those people that needs to be in a relationship. I’m pretty happy with being by myself. After all, since I tend to have such a high opinion of myself the majority of¬†the time (I swear I’m not a narcissist! Or possibly I am) I figure I’m in pretty good company. Anyway, when it comes to the opposite sex, I fail. I am always attracted to males who don’t care to have anything to do with me, and no matter what I do (which runs the gamut from swearing to being completely hostile) those I know who are of the male gender seem inevitably attracted to me. I don’t get it. “Well, you are pretty damn cute,” my friends say. Well, yeah, no shit, but I could not make it more clear if I am not interested in someone short of running them down with my car and screaming out the window.

Well, okay, not true. I could probably sit them down and have a talk, but that poses a lot of problems. For one, that is acknowledging there is a problem in itself, and really I’d rather just pretend not to know what’s going on and ignore the fact my male friends are sending me longing glances or laughing forcibly when I comment on how attractive¬†another man¬†is. I’m sure I’m not alone in this problem and there are tons of girls who suffer similar fates. Anyway, even people who know they shouldn’t be are completely silly when they’re infatuated, me included, so maybe I shouldn’t be so irritated by it.¬†

My point is, though, that I never respond to any advances that are sent my way because they’re always wrong. I don’t want to hook up on the dance floor with some farm boy from Saskatchewan who is only interested in seeing if my mouth does more than talk, because I’m not really a fan of hooking up at all. I don’t care for the guys who managed to wrestle out my number from me during my weaker moments when I was a newbie to the bar scene,¬†and who called me minutes later, just to make sure I really gave them the right digits. Sometimes I get frustrated when someone offers to buy me a drink and I refuse, kindly, and they insist politely until I say, sure, why not, and after we do a shot of tequila I feel like a complete tool once we dismiss each other and head in separate directions. I know I must be like a welcome relief to guys in comparison to women who walk up and ask for a drink and then skidaddle, but it’s still not like they get anything for their efforts.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is a bit unflattering, because I’m pretty sure Men are dead, or at least scarce to the point that they might as well be extinct. I mean, like, real men. All of my experiences thus far are with what I classify as either “guys” or more commonly “boys”. So yeah, I’m being completely sexist here, but let’s not kid ourselves, pick up any men or women’s magazine and no matter how tactful they try to be, they are sexist. And I don’t think it’s really a good thing, but it’s not all bad either (as anyone who believes in “Femininity” or “Masculinity” will argue for). The thing is, I don’t like boys. Boys are completely ridiculous. Boys want to make me feel like I’m treasured and loved, but are too thick to actually figure out the right way. Boys get tangled up in their emotions. Boys are completely psychotic.

I’m writing this because awhile back I¬†read Where Have All The Cowboys Gone? by Amanda Pagliarini, who says she fears that all men are becoming teenage girls, and it got me to thinking. Seriously? What’s with boys harassing you via text messaging or email and deluding themselves into thinking it is all your fault because you happen to be a girl? The terrible thing about texting is that it’s now easy to make a complete fool of yourself, and it’s also easy to be psychotic and stalk people. I’ve had my fair share of being woken up at four in the morning because some idiotic boy (who was previously a friend)¬†thinks it’s cool to tell me I’m a slut because he’s had one too many drinks and is still smarting from the fact I haven’t responded to any of his advances. With technology it is easier and easier for boys to be boys. (By the way, I think when people get drunk they should just turn off their cell phones, or have a friend looking out for them to chuck it in the garbage before it does any harm. Don’t you?).

I think Men are becoming extinct. You know, men. I’m tired of the losers in bars who drag me aside and try to talk to me when all I’m thinking about is trying to get away from their bad breath. I hate guys who want to be friends with me but only to get with me, or are¬†friends who unload their baggage on me because I’m not attracted to them. I hate how men blame¬†homosexuality if women have standards that are too high, and who don’t understand that some¬†girls get freaked out if a stranger sneaks up behind them on the dance floor and starts grinding against them without permission.¬†I don’t want men who treat me like a notch on their belt, or who consider my disinterest with them a personal insult. What I want are real men. Where did they go?

There’s a fine line between a manly man and someone who’s just a dick. Walking that line is an art. Any rough-and-tumble man I see nowadays is never into me, so I shrug and move on. Half of them are jerks, anyway. It seems like you can’t get a good, fit man without having to deal with him being a jackass, and nice, sweet boys are never in shape or healthy or stylish. Where are the freaking cowboys? Where are the guys that think women are great but don’t want to puzzle them out one bit? Where are the guys that are smart enough to remember your birthday?

I don’t want a sickly sweet boy who wants to talk about my feelings. My feelings are my own. And believe me, I’m a total wimp – I’ll cry at the drop of a hat because I have an eternally bleeding heart – but I’m not going to talk about it, I don’t want a heart-to-heart.¬†During the summer,¬†my friend got drunk, accidentally threw a racial slur at me, and then sloppily cried on me and begged my forgiveness and told me she loved me unconditionally, which I didn’t particularly like because that’s just an awkward, touchy-feely situation all ’round. When that shit happens, I just want to walk off in the other direction and go talk to someone who isn’t ruled by her ovaries.

I don’t want to be called every day to see how I am. I’m probably doing fine. I don’t want to see a guy every day of the week, because I need my personal space and I have other¬†things to do. I don’t want someone who lies to me to try and preserve my feelings – I want honest, unfeeling truth. As terrible as it is, I want somebody who drives a fast car, will open the door for me from time to time, will be rugged and masculine and spontaneous, who can sit through a documentary and actually remember more than half of it, who wears dark colours and killer boots, and who isn’t a philandering scumbag. Oh, and while we’re talking about near impossible things, I’d like to have the¬†Parliament Building¬†converted into my own personal lovenest, and an international holiday declared in my honour. Yeah, I know. But a girl can dream. Sigh.

Great Big Sea: Concert Review, Yo
December 3, 2008, 6:23 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , ,

My reviews are a joke, mostly I just talk about what I did that night. Haha… oh well. This is another of those times, because on¬†Sunday night I had the pleasure of seeing Great Big Sea… again.

The great thing about these guys is the fact that going to one of their concerts isn’t actually a big event. I don’t stress about it, wondering if I’m going to have a good time, if I’ll be able to see them again a year from now, and et cetera. GBS is always around, ever since I was a kid. They swing by about once a year, and going to their concert is like going to a party where you vaguely know the people throwing it, but it doesn’t really matter (and unfortunately you have to pay for your drinks). After the first couple shows, you get the feeling that these are guys who would be just like any regular guys if you ran into them at the pub, probably because they would be.

If you’re unaware, Great Big Sea is a folk music group from the East Coast, and listening to their music always makes me want to quit whatever it is I’m doing, move to the coast, and start up a bed and breakfast and then spend my life in blissful harmony by the sea. And… yeah, pretty much that’s what the music makes me feel like doing! Lately, with their newest album, they’ve hedged away from cheerful Newfie music and are all over the board, with a bit of rock and country thrown in, which certainly stirs things up a bit.

So the concert was at the Jubilee Auditorium, which is a very nice venue and actually where my graduation ceremony was held, not that I really recognised anything (It’s not like I cared enough to pay attention at the time). I ended up buying two drinks – gin and seven, and then Grand Marnier over ice. I wasn’t about to overdo it, because I was with the same person I hung out with at Halloween, and I was both miserable and embarassed¬†on November 1st¬†when I called her from work in between bouts of throwing up behind the counter, exclaiming¬†“I am SO SORRY I got that drunk last night.” so I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. Anyway, that still cost me like twenty dollars. Sigh.

It was a great night for a concert, the weather wasn’t harsh; in fact, the weather was perfect. My pal and I were pretty close to the stage, just enough that we could see the boys performing but not so close that we were craning our necks. We were still seated next to a pair of women, though, who actually had pre-prepared dance movements (hands waving and so on) for most of the songs that they would perform, in sync. My friend and I took note not to become them in ten years.¬†But whatever: the band¬†sounded completely amazing. Possibly it was the way the amplification was set up in the theatre, but also they looked very fresh and energetic, which also probably contributed to the amazing performance.

They were also incredibly weird and silly; possibly the tour is making them loopy (… loopier). Of the boys, my friend and I always have a little crush on Sean, a bit soft spot for Alan, and complete awe for Bob, because he can play anything. He’s like the folk version of Trent Reznor, only, like, more wholesome. There’s also Kris and Murray, who, unfortunately, my friend and I always have a tendency to forget about until we actually see them onstage, just because they’re relative newcomers, but of course they’re both fantastic as well.

With the exception of Kris, it seems, everyone in Great Big Sea sings, and they all play. And they’re all incredibly talented at it. They live and breathe music, honestly. They pull out guitars, bass, flutes, various percussion, violins, accordians… and they play it all with panache. I love it. They’re such good performers, and last night they were over-the-top with Newfie goodness. Generally, half the time when they stop to talk to the audience, they actually play little riffs so their dialogue has a soundtrack, and they did that last night. And then they started composing songs out of nowhere. They did this one long poem/song near the end about how cool Edmonton was, how Calgary sucked, that time they first played Edmonton, and that they ate Cadbury cream eggs that entire first¬†tour because someone gave them a giant box and they couldn’t afford anything else, etc. Also there was a point during the concert when Murray tried to lick Sean. Good times.

Back to the music itself, a lot of the songs they played off their new album (Fortune’s Favour) sounded way better live. I heard their song ‘Straight to Hell’ live at Capital Ex last year and loved it, but hearing it on the album wasn’t as great. Usually the songs sound great both on the album and live, but with the new record mostly it’s awesome live and okay on record. Not too bad a thing, though; the music is still good.

So really, to you Americans out there, if you ever have Great Big Sea pass through your town (because they do, with very little fanfare), give ’em a chance. They’ll knock your socks off, and you’ll leave feeling happy.

Why so freaking serious, already?
October 23, 2008, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Events, Rambling | Tags: , , ,

That awesome time of year is approaching! Halloween, bitches. It was my favourite holiday as a kid, I’d get all worked up and festoon my bedroom with fake spiderweb, so thick you had to duck and dodge to get through. This year, in the spirit of things, I did it again, only less chaotic, but I still have problems sitting up too straight on my bed.

I think it’s a stupid sentence, if I were to say that costumes are a big deal on Halloween, but I’ll say it. Costumes are a big deal on Halloween. I think one of the best things to do¬†during the holiday¬†is going out and just seeing what people have done. I love people who make their own costumes, just because the take on things can be so original – even the people who do something on the fly, as long as it’s creative. Last year I had three costumes for three different events – I was a necromancer for my Halloween party (I put on a turban and festooned my house with signs for¬†my going rate of raising the dead), I was a femme fatale for Halloween weekend (I put on a polka dot dress, elbow-length gloves and a fedora), and for actual Halloween night I¬†actually went as Trent Reznor, circa 1994 – I stood outside the bar and had my friend pour cornstarch on me, and then rolled around in it to make sure I was¬†completely coated. Then I got¬†totally drunk (I was staying in character, right?) and made an ass of myself (also in character).

Unfortunately, there will be an unavoidable sight for me this Halloween.

(He freaks me out. Like he’s got something in his pocket and I never wanna find out what it is.)

It’s so weird – half the people who get dressed up are awesome and original, and the other half don’t put any thought into it at all. It’s like people who get tattoos – some put a lot of effort and thought into it, creating designs to showcase who they are and who they want to be, and everyone else picks a numbered picture off the wall.

Saying that I’m predicting that a good one in five costumed men¬†I see at the bar is going to be the Joker wouldn’t be right. It’s not really a prediction. I know that they’re going to be everywhere, and I really dislike it. It’s on par with people who wait until the last minute not knowing what to dress as, and then cave and buy some fangs and fake blood and go as a vampire. Actually, it’s worse, because the Joker requires a lot more care in his costume than your run of the mill black-clad vampire. You have to find/order in/make that crazy suit, you need to do fake FX scars on your face and then plaster it with makeup. Two guys¬†I know (none of them, I might add, fitting the requirement of being tall, blonde, svelte, good-looking¬†and charismatic) recently had a discussion when I asked who they were going to be for Halloween. “I’m going as the late Heath Ledger.” “The Joker? Yeah, me too.” A few days later I called another friend of mine¬†over my own costume predicament, and he said “I was thinking of going as the Joker.” Despite¬†my pal’s¬†relative attractiveness, stylishness, and charisma, I bleated in alarm. There is going to be an infestation.

Not only that, but you know half the men (over half?) dressing as The Joker will be, well, not up to par. Their costumes will be shoddy, they won’t even try to play around with their voice, they won’t even have an inkling as to understanding the character, and really, isn’t that just kind of insulting to Heath Ledger? I think he did a fantastic job, like most people – you just can’t watch that movie and say he didn’t, or you are just seriously in denial. (I have a fun joke of saying, indifferently, “He was okay” whenever someone asks me what I thought of Heath in the role – you’d be amazed, or maybe you wouldn’t, at the sort of reactions I get).

This year I’d planned to go as Harley Quinn, but then I scratched the idea. At first I was amused to maybe go as the Joker’s villainous escort, but then I was quickly annoyed when I realised just how many Jokers I would be seeing this Halloween (and as a result, the cost of a pre-made¬†Harley Quinn costume went up – srsly, eighty bucks on ebay for a velveteen jumpsuit that might look like crap on me anyway? Really? And there is no way I’m going to make my own out of spandex, I’m not suicidal). Seriously. If you really love the character and could actually pull it off, then great. If not, though – if you’re just going as a shoddy version with bad grease makeup and a paunch, then why bother? I think I’ll personally ignore and snub any man I see dressed as the Joker this Halloween, unless he staggers up to me and greets me in that strange little voice. If you’re going to do it, go for it, completely.

I won’t be Trent Reznor this Halloween, but I’ll be a wolf girl, with a gigantic fur skirt and one damn ugly mask. I don’t care what girls do for Halloween – if they want to do the Mean Girls “slut rule” that’s fine by me, but I don’t need Halloween to be sexy – I’ve got the rest of the year for that.

You’ve got a little bit over a week until Halloween, so hurry up! Think of something. Go as your hero. Go as the thing you’re afraid of most. Strap some branches to you and go as an Ent or something, for chrissakes. I guess lots of people go out on Halloween to hook up – much like every other weekend, but they get to play with being something they’re not. It’s more fun that way, I understand, but I kinda wish people would have even more fun and play with it outside the bounds of being sexually attractive. (I’m not dumping on hooking up, casual sex, or any of those, I’m just sayin’ that something beyond the usual ‘sexy maid’, ‘sexy bunny’, ‘sexy angel’ (???), or ‘sexy pirate’ might be nice to see).

Actually, one of my best pals is demonstrating the best of not caring about being attractive and just wanting to have fun quite well, because she’s going as one of our favourite characters this Halloween – Old Gregg from the cult tv show Mighty Boosh.

And if you have no idea who that is, that’s okay. I have Youtube on my side.

“It’s attached to your rod, motherlickah!”

Anyway, Happy Halloween, kids! Hopefully I’ll post once again before the holiday, but don’t hold out for hope. Anyway, stay safe, and if you’re going out with friends, remember: there is no ‘I’ in ‘drunk’.