Saturday, March 25, 2006

I remember skipping school in Grade 11...

As far as I can remember, this is the only year in school that I skipped classes, 1981/82. I blame it on our Math teacher...he was horrible. Still, kids, don't skip school!

(There, I got the required Public Service Announcement out of the way)

My friends and I would go down to Ming's, the local Chinese restaurant. If one of us had enough money, we'd order a big, fat egg roll and drench it in plum sauce. Otherwise we'd just hang out in the pinball room. My favorite game was Gorgar. If you started racking up a high score, the big red demon would speak to you!! "Gorgar getting angry!" and if you were playing really well, you heard "Gorgar hate you!!" When the ball inevitably went down for the last time, it was "Gorgar beat you!". Awesome...

I would occasionally save a quarter for the jukebox. I think most of the music was Led Zeppelin or April Wine, but my favorite song to play was "Rock Lobster" by the B-52's. You have to understand that due to my sequestered upbringing, I had no knowledge of bands, none. All I knew was, that song made everybody else in the place angry, and it made me want to dance. That's all I knew. I played it whenever I could.

Do you think as much as I enjoyed making Gorgar curse me, I also enjoyed making my friends curse me? "Who put on this crappy song?", or "I hate this, it isn't even MUSIC!" they'd yell. Is that why I liked it? Have I allowed other people's opinions to shape me in some reverse way? That's almost a disturbing thought--me, who has practically based my identity on not caring what people think about me, doing exactly the opposite of the status quo. If I truly didn't care what people thought about me, I wouldn't care if what I did impressed them OR bothered them. I'd be indifferent, unaware...neutral.

I think I'm more indifferent now than I used to be. But I'm only human...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I remember drinking coffee at the Zen Cafe....

It was a little coffee shop just off the main drag on Robson Street in Vancouver. The year, somewhere around 1986 or 87. (My memory is VERY unreliable from this time!) All I know is, I'd stay out dancing and partying til late, late, late. The 12 noon blast from the BC Hydro building would wake me up. I'd make myself presentable, and head straight for the Zen to meet the tribe. We'd sit there drinking coffee for hours, creating all sorts of rituals around the drinking of the cup.

I'd pour in two creamers and NEVER use a spoon. We all decided that it was much prettier to watch the cream mingle with the coffee naturally, without help of stirring. If you really ponder the swirling cream, you can't help but start thinking of the universe and it's constant turning...I'd almost get dizzy at the thought of it.

We'd have contests to see who could flip an un-opened creamer the most times without making a mistake. If you flipped it with just the right amount of force, it would make a complete rotation and land upright, ready to be flipped again. My personal record was in the high fifties, this after hours of practice.

There we'd sit, tattooed, dread-locked, leather-clad youngsters--pondering our cream swirling in our coffee. We'd discuss the art work on the walls, we'd make plans for outings, we'd debate the meaning of life...all very bohemian, really. The owner of the cafe never seemed to mind us sitting there, spending only a dollar or two, taking up five or six tables. He must not have been very busy. I don't recall ever thanking him for that. We were all so self-absorbed, it probably never entered our minds.

To this day, I refuse to use a spoon to stir my coffee.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I remember getting choked by Gene Kiniski.....

The band, D.O.A., was shooting a music video at the Town Pump, and the call had gone out to their friends and associates to come be the crowd for the shoot that day. My friends and I got all punked out, too fun a chance to miss!

The cameras were all set up, and we were told how it was going to go: the band would pretend to play on stage, we'd jump around like maniacs, Gene Kiniski would run in with a briefcase (he was representing the corporate pigs, I guess!) and start causing mayhem, and then Joey would jump off stage and kick the crap out of Gene. Sounds great!

The cameras began rolling and we began jumping around to the music. Gene ran in, and I was in shock. I'd heard of the wrestling legend before, of course, but he was so BIG! He saw my dumbfounded look and headed straight for me, wrapped his big mitts around my neck, and then proceeded to choke me, cartoon-style. The director made him choke me a couple of times so they could get a good shot of it. Gene was awesome! As soon as the cameras would take a break, he'd laugh and say "You look like you are havin' fun!", but as soon as the director would yell "Action", he'd turn into this wild-eyed madman and go straight for my throat!

I've watched the video a few times, and I don't think that shot made it. Too bad. I'd like to watch my head shaking back and forth as Mr. Gene Kiniski throttles me. I think it would be good for those days when I'm getting too high an opinion of myself...might take me down a peg or two to see what a wimp I really am!

Monday, March 13, 2006

I remember sleeping over at my Grandma's house...

Whenever we would make the trip to Calgary, we would sleep over at my Grandma B.'s house. She had a colour TV! She had a remote control! She had cable! We were in television-watching heaven. Whenever we wanted, we could go downstairs to her freezer and get a fudgecicle...she was always stocked up, and never said "No".

This memory centers around where I slept, though, in the basement. She would make up a bed on the couch down there, with the blankets like a hot dog bun, and me the hot dog. I'd pull the blankets over me and stare at the wallpaper. It was covered with cowboy scenes, western stuff...there were teepees, Indians, horses, lassoes. Where does one get this wallpaper? I'd love some wallpaper like that now! Sleeping down there, I often had dreams of gun-fights and sunsets...and I was always the hero, saving someone, usually my little sister, from the dastardly black-hatted cowboy. Yessir, I'd sure like some of that magic wallpaper in my house now.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I remember spending a day with two people who were more punk rock than I'd ever be....

It was a sunny Vancouver day, and there was an outdoor music festival at Stanley Park. I arrived and saw a couple I'd met a few days earlier on a blanket in a good spot, and they called me over. They had been there for awhile already, and were quite drunk. They offered me the vodka bottle, very generous of them, I thought! We were being loud and belligerent, but so was everybody. It didn't seem like we were sticking out too much. At one point, the guy picked up an empty jar and threw up into it...I was struck by how casually he did this. Then I was struck by how clear the liquid was. And then he shrugged and said, "No point in wasting good booze!" and proceeded to know. The stuff in the jar. I had never seen anything so punk rock in my whole life!

His girlfriend just hit him, then grabbed my hand. "Come on, I gotta go to the bathroom." We stumbled our way through the crowds towards the Women's Washroom. There was a huge line snaking out of the door and around the corner. "Forget this, let's use the Guy's can," she said as she pulled me along. We burst through the door, and I remember all the surprised faces of the men at their business. "Don't mind us! There's a line-up a mile long over at the girl's can..." She was so confident!! Holy cow! I pretended to swagger along with her, but I was actually embarrassed.

There have been times in my life where I have experienced that strange feeling of attraction and repulsion mixing like oil and vinegar, like a lava lamp. This was one of those times. The whole memory is so surreal, like a scene out of "Sid and Nancy"... I didn't see that couple much after that. They kind of faded out of my realm of reality, but they reign in my mind as the punk rock King and Queen. I never quite managed to attain that level of separation from my morals, no matter how hard I tried.