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.


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.

Canada Day
July 1, 2008, 4:49 pm
Filed under: Anecdotes | Tags: , , , ,

Way to go for me, yeah? It’s been over a month since my last update. Naughty, naughty me. All I can say about it is that I was not exactly busy (though work tires me out horribly), but I certainly didn’t have any focus at all to write. Well, I guess I’m still unfocused, so. Better late than never.

But hey, guess what? Today is Canada Day. I’m not in the best of moods and I’m feeling a little down, but I’ve slotted the Nine Inch Nails DVD Beside You in¬†Time into the player (when I was living in Mexico, that DVD was like my comfort blanket) and I’ve cleaned the house up a bit.¬†Cleaning’s great for making you feel like you’re sorting things out, and it doesn’t hurt to have a clean space when you’re going to have company over.

Last year I stood on the bank of the North Saskatchewan River and watched the fireworks exploding over downtown, but this year I’m throwing a little pool party (by little I mean there’s probably just going to be four of us… When it comes to gatherings in my own home, fewer is better). We’ll swim around and eat Smores and drink cheap vodka coolers. That sounds like a pretty decent time by me. I don’t really have the energy to paint myself in red and white and go crowd-surfing somewhere.

I’m pretty clueless as to what other people in Edmonton do on Canada Day. I figure¬†we just party. I don’t know how much nationalism we put into it. It’s hard to generalize things, especially when it comes to national feeling, and especially since Edmonton is the weirdest mixture of people. If you go further south to Calgary,¬†you find a¬†bigger city but the culture isn’t so fantastic. Up in Edmonton, though,¬†the hardcore conservatives and prim do-gooders exist side-by-side with the crossdressers, the pierced, and the loudly opinionated.

And see, we’re officially supposed to be the “City of Champions”, but a long time ago we stopped churning out champions. I used to wish I’d be one of them, but I realise now that if I ever become famous for whatever reason, it won’t be¬†as someone that takes home the gold medals. Edmonton is now owner of a brand new name: Festival City.

Edmonton has a shitload of festivals¬†going on, all the time, all year. People might look around at the dirty industralized areas in the north or the bland neighbourhoods popping up along the west and south, and say that Edmonton has no culture. But nah, we’ve got lots of culture. And¬†we celebrate it, all the freaking time.¬†“Festival City” is just another way of saying that Edmontonians know how to party, as can be¬†witnessed¬†when walking into any bar on Whyte Avenue at midnight on a Saturday.

This post is going nowhere. See! I told you it was unfocused.

maple leaf, yo(photo by Just-Us-3)

I can’t even say ‘the point is’ because there is no point. Suppose I should just stick one in nd make do with that. Well. I am celebrating Canada Day quietly, because I like quiet as much as I like loud and obnoxious. And I’m not feeling very great today because at around three in the morning an ex-friend, who I discovered after a few months of knowing him that he was a liar and hid all of his psychotic tendancies from me (blowing his cover when he¬†abandoned me in Calgary after I got drunk and still wouldn’t even kiss him), started texting me scary,¬†frightening things and then lecturing me on how bad a friend I am and that he’ll never forgive me for not forgiving him. Truth is, I don’t care what he thinks about me, because what’s important is that I know I’m amazing and he isn’t. I didn’t respond to him, and I’m blocking his number tomorrow, but when someone disrespects you like that it sure puts a damper on things.

But you know, he’s just one asshole in a sea of assholes, and I’ve got friends to make Smores with me and listen patiently whenever I open my mouth and start babbling about Trent Reznor. And it’s Canada Day, and I love this country, even though it’s confused and sometimes pompous, and I love Edmonton with all of its gritty corners and graffiti and amazing little boutiques where the girl manning the counter is the one who made the jacket you’re about to buy.

Maybe you’re Canadian or just in Canada¬†and you don’t like it here, but think of something you do like. Even if it’s how the wind feels, or the maple leaf trees, or the loonies and toonies in your pocket¬†(because whenever I go to America, I get flustered by the dollar bills). Go outside and watch everyone else celebrating, too, and it’ll catch on. Trust me. And if you’re already in the mood for a little bit of partying hardy, great! But of course, don’t drink and drive, know when you’ve hit your limit, stay safe and take care of your friends, because without them you’d just be partying by yourself… and that just blows. Am I right? Yah damn straight.

Happy Canada Day, chicos. Sorry I fail at post-writing. Kiss kiss!

The Bird (Or, Alfred Hitchcock Was Right)
May 24, 2008, 3:08 pm
Filed under: Anecdotes | Tags: , , ,

When I was a wee child, Alfred Hitchcock convinced me never to buy canaries, or a pair of lovebirds I had always wanted. Now that I am older, I can see now that there’s¬†only so much Alfie could do to keep me safe.

Every summer there’d be some idiotic bird rapping at my bedroom window – you know, like in Edgar Allan Poe, only not as cool and definitely more annoying (nowadays, I’m pretty sure a writer getting interrupted by a bothersome raven would probably throw a book at it, whether or not it could talk). A few times over the years I’d wake up to hear a hammering sound, preventing me from sleeping in. A woodpecker would be known, every now and then, to attack the chimney. Usually, though, they lose patience, and they’re off, never to bother me again.

But there is this robin, and it won’t go away. It’s gone after the front door. It goes at the side of the house. I’d be aware, while sleeping, of this strange scraping, tapping sound, and now I just ignore it, because I know it’s the robin again. Sometime last week, though, my mother informed me that she’d seen that the bird was now going after my car.

I don’t know how often the bird is there, but I’m sure now that there is some vendetta going on. Perhaps it knows how much of its feathery cousins, the chicken and pheasant, I have consumed in my lifetime. Maybe I’m just the one unfortunate enough¬†to be singled out. Maybe the bird just thinks the car is an environmental disaster and needs to be destroyed. All I know is that my side windows (first on the driver’s side, and now on the passenger seat) are marred by tiny little scratches, placed there by a tiny little beak. My windshield is slowly getting beaten up as well. And not only does the bird leave its mark in that way, either. Oh, no. I’ve also got splotches of bird crap on my side windows, door, and the hood as well. Whenever I wash it off, the splotches are mysteriously replaced.

The side mirrors also appear to act as a handy perch for the feathery little devil. I can imagine it sitting there, enjoying the sunlight, not even bothering to move as it takes a crap all over my car and all over the ground, resulting in a steady build up. Every now and then, when it’s feeling feisty, it decides to fling itself at its own, flimsy reflection in my car windows. Awesome.

Yesterday, as I was heading for my car, I saw the bird flutter away before I got there, abandoning its post. It’s only a matter of time – yes, only a matter of time! – before the robin becomes braver. Before it decides to lurk about my car, waiting for me to head for it, keys in hand, unsuspecting. It will be sure that I am not wearing protective sunglasses to shield my eyes from its beak, or a jacket to keep my arms safe. If all else fails, it will go for my throat. I like to think of myself as a wondrous person capable of loving even the smarmiest and vicious of animals, but. Something needs to be done.

Maybe I should right past wrongs, and become a vegetarian. Or maybe I should lay a scarecrow dummy on the hood of my car, tricking the robin into thinking someone had fallen asleep there, or had fallen from the sky and is now keeping watch. Or maybe I should just get a cat.

A Not-So-Comprehensive Concert Review: Nightwish
May 18, 2008, 8:17 pm
Filed under: Anecdotes, Music | Tags: , , , ,

nightwish 2.0 

Friday night, I had the considerable treat of attending a concert put on by the band I used to listen to in high school: Nightwish. You know, the crazy goth band from Finland where the members all have long hair and they’ll sometimes sing songs about elves. My friend is still a huge fan of them, but while my musical tastes have moved on, I still like to sometimes sit and listen to the ole goth music.

My friend was so die-hard, she wanted to be right up at the stage so she could get covered in Nightwish’s¬†sweat. Which is kind of gross, but in concerts everyone gets crazy anyway and the crowd thinks nothing of ripping each other apart to get the guitarist’s water bottle or whatever. Eventually she made it and was delightedly¬†crushed against the stage. Later on, I was as well. And boy did that band sweat!

The concert was at the Starlite Room, which is a pretty popular venue. Last time I was there was to see Raine Maida. Unfortunately, the floor is slanted, effectively killing your back, whether you’re wearing heels or not. And of course, I was. But the show was pretty damn good regardless.

They’re great performers. I’m not the biggest fan of that kind of rock, like all the spread-leg power stances when playing guitar and so on, but my god did they have energy. So did their openers (Sonic Syndicate). I listened to Nightwish back when they had Tarja Turunen, and I hadn’t really bothered to listen to their stuff with the new vocalist Anette Olzon, so I was interested to see what she was like. In the end, though, it didn’t matter too much, because I was right near the stage, between the speakers, meaning I wasn’t able to hear her voice at all. Damn! At least she was super cute. You know, I’ve been to a couple metal and metal-ish concerts in my time, but I’ve never seen anyone have fun like Anette did. She’d have this great big smile on her face half the time as she rocked around the stage, and there was a lot of chemistry between her and the other band members, too. They obviously worked really well together and had fun doing what they did. See! You can still like vampires and fallen angels and goblets and¬†tombstones ‘n’stuff and still enjoy yourself. About three songs in they were sweating so much they looked like they would pass out any second, but they still kept at it.

Being me, I have to start talking about clothes now. Anette’s outfit was very, very flattering, and I wanted her boots, which looked like¬†a pair of Converse¬†but went up and covered her shins, I believe (my memory es muy terrible). Anyway, her dress was very simple and filmy¬†and just Goth enough with a huge silver clasp between her boobs. Very classy.

On my own outfit: Usually I don’t¬†mind showing up at places and standing out, but I wasn’t about to a) get beaten up or b) get shown up by the goths, whose outfits can get a little insane. I was up for the challenge. What I wanted to do was blend in, and sort of dip back into my old goth-y roots, but I ended up wearing a black corset over¬†a bright pink and orange outfit, and I was showing off my legs, too, because I knew if I showed up in long pants I’d regret it. The result was that I stuck out like a glow stick in a cemetery.¬†

¬†A note on their openers: It’s rare when you get a band onstage, and all the band members are cute. With Sonic Syndicate, that was how they rolled. They also played with a lot of energy, rushing about the stage and just rocking out. They’re probably building a great fanbase through pure performance grit alone.

Storytime with Mars:

Of course, the biggest downside at any concert is the (drunk) asshole in the crowd, or, worse, like at Friday’s concert, when there is a lot of them concentrated in one place¬†right next to you. There were three of them right by me that I would end up pressed against. No one wanted to be near them, and they were right by the stage, too. They were soaked in their own sweat and it was beading off of them, and being that sweaty is only attractive if, well, you’re attractive, like in that one Britney Spears video. Call me shallow, but if you were in the same situation as me,¬†you’d feel the exact same way. Admiiiiit it.

Unfortunately, not only am I a girl on the small side, but I’m pretty decent-looking, a really bad combination when you’re crammed in a mosh pit. For reals, dude. I was repeatedly hit on by, and forced to be smooshed up against, this fat bald drunk white guy who was a good fifteen years my senior. When a bunch of people tried to fight their way through and I was bowled over, fat bald drunk white guy tried to help me up (I didn’t need it; strange as it sounds, girls can take care of themselves sometimes) and put his arm around my waist. I did not ask for it to be there. I didn’t want to come off as a complete asshole, but after shouting “I’m fine!” for the third time I had to spend twenty seconds wriggling away from this guy’s hold. Seriously. I’m not retarded, I know the whole pretend-to-be-helpful-but-really-just-cop-a-feel move. Halfway through the concert he said “So, what’s your name?” “I’m too young for you!” I snapped back. About a song later when I was getting propelled into him again, he said something along the lines of “It doesn’t matter how old you are, I can still show you a good time!”

Luckily, there was a gap in the crowd ahead as two of the drunk idiots were kicked out by a pissy staff member.¬†I made my exit fast, managing to get around the guy that was a good four heads taller than me and previously had kept clipping me in the face with his elbow, and slipping in front of the nice boy from Calgary, so¬†I could get behind my friend at the stage. “Smooth move!” said nice boy from Calgary. I know, right. See, I get pretty tired of not only being pressed against people who are soaked with sweat, but when those people are unattractive, drunk, and creepy. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t really rev my engine. I know, how strange of me.

And that was the Nightwish concert. Thrilling! I know you all felt as if you’d been there. My work here is done. For Nine Inch Nails I think I’m going to wear a flower-patterned dress and bring a muscly guy along to protect me.