Friday, March 30, 2007


I remember hanging out with the Beatnigs....

For years I had a radio show at CiTR, a university radio station. One of my favorite perks of working there was interviewing bands that would come to town. I'd set them up in their booth with mikes and headphones, then head back to my booth, wave through the window, and off we'd go. I often didn't know more than ten minutes ahead of time if a band would be coming, so there were no rehearsed questions. We'd just start talking about music and see what happened.

I was expecting the Beatnigs to come, but I didn't know when they'd be arriving. I had been playing quite a heavy set, some Throbbing Gristle, some Coil, some Test Department, and it was time for a station break. I opened the mike and began talking, when all of a sudden I began receiving a back massage. "Ladies and Gentlemen of Vancouver, you may not believe me, but I am at this moment receiving a very impressive back rub from a tall, black man that I have never met before. No, don't stop, sir, we're on the air!" Good radio fun, I loved random radio! The Beatnigs had arrived, and Michael Franti was giving me a back rub.

I started the next song, some Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, which really impressed Michael and Rono. I knew they liked industrial music, that's why I was playing it, duh! I ran a good show, I wasn't some dumb air-head playing pop tunes!! I'd done my research...after all, I'd known they were coming for at least an hour.

The interview went very well. Michael is a very intelligent man, and has opinions on just about everything, so I hardly had to say anything. In fact, for the rest of my shift, I didn't really have to do anything at all. I let loose Michael and Rono on the turntables and they mixed music for over half an hour while I stood there and soaked it up. That's good random radio!

Michael Franti is the driving force behind "Michael Franti & Spearhead". You should check them out. Michael is not only a great musician with a lively social conscience, he gives a great back-rub.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I remember finding stuff in my locker....

One of the perks of Junior High at our school was getting a locker in the hallway instead of just stashing your stuff in your desk like in the kiddie grades. I liked having a locker. It was my little space.

I opened the door of my locker one day and found that all my stuff...my books, my jacket, everything...was covered in cigarette butts and ashes. Someone had taken the time to cram the entire contents of their ashtray through the little air holes at the top of my locker. I sighed and began picking the dirt and soot out of all my belongings. I could hear other kids laughing as they walked by.

Apparently I was not allowed to have even the tiniest of spaces to myself.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I remember trying on clothes from the missionary box...

As the pastor's family, it was our privilege to have first dibs on the clothes that were donated for the missionaries. I never knew what missionaries these clothes were designated for, I don't know if anyone did. I just knew that if Mom came home with a big cardboard box, we were going to have to spend about an hour trying on clothes.

This was always fun at first. I'd pick out the old lady dress and put it on, then mince around the room like Carol Burnett as the old lady. If there was a hat, I'd put it on and pretend to be French. Mom would laugh hysterically, but soon she settled down to business. She wanted us to try on anything that looked like it might fit. Anything. Everything. Even the ugly things. And there were lots of ugly things!

Mom would spend a lot of time trying to convince us how great an outfit looked if she liked it. I distinctly remember the sinking feeling of futile stubbornness in my gut that arose as she oohed and ahed over a seer-sucker pantsuit. It was so out of fashion that I had never even HEARD of seer-sucker, but Mom was determined that it looked fabulous on me, and so it went into my closet.

I tried not to wear it, but one day there were no clean clothes and the bus was coming, so on it went. All day long at school, people laughed at me. I tried to defend myself, explaining that it was seer-sucker, but that term is nothing but cannon fodder to cruel junior high students. It was a long day, and I never wore the outfit to school again.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I remember an adventure at the bus stop....

It was a sparkling day in Vancouver, the kind of day where you can't imagine being anywhere else but in the middle of the city, right where you are. I was riding the bus home from somewhere, and I felt like breaking up my usual routine--the people filling the sidewalks all looked so beautiful and interesting! I got off at Granville and Broadway. There was a little cigarette shop there, and I wanted to see if they carried any unusual cigarettes. They did, and I bought some.

I headed out of the shop and sat on the bench at the bus stop, waiting for the next bus. I opened the pack of French smokes and lit up. A bus pulled up, but I didn't want to get on it yet, so I just stayed seated. The door opened. I was about to wave the driver on, when two of my friends got off the bus, Scooter and Olly!! (I'm not making up these names. Isn't that great?) They jumped over to the bench and squished me in a sandwich.

"Paula!! You're beautiful!! What are you doing here? Wanna come with us to an art opening?"

Yippee!! I knew this was a sparkling day! Scooter's dad was a fairly successful artist, and was having an opening at an exclusive little gallery right across the street! Of course I wanted to go! We hooked our arms together and sashayed across the street, sweeping into the gallery like three goofy rejects from "The Wild One". Scooter introduced me to his father, who was very busy schmoozing with the people in suits who had lots of money. We spent some time looking at the paintings, but mostly we hung out at the free bar.

Scooter dragged another older gentleman over..."Paula, I'd like you to meet one of my art instructors." The old fella seemed bored with the proceedings and was happy to hang with us three young ones. In fact, stealing the bottles of scotch and red wine from the bar and heading to my place was his idea!! Ha!! We each discreetly snatched a bottle of booze, hid it in our respective leather jackets, then headed back to the bus stop.

Scooter's art teacher was hilarious, with an opinion and a joke about everything. Scooter sat there watching him, a crinkly grin on his face, obviously deeply respecting the man. We sat in my living room listening to music and finishing those bottles, putting a lovely bow on the sparkling day.