2 October 2011
My experience in stadia has been limited. Limited enough I can take the time on a Sunday morning before I catch Dope City Downs' last live race card of the season to write about it.
Never did go down to the Forum to the see the Canucks, back when they rocked the professional WHL. My dad figured that was a man's place, full of working men with a bottle in their pocket and dreams of revolution in their head, not a place for snot nosed little motherfuckers like me.
When we headed off for Alberta, a move ordered by the fucking government which gave birth to my attraction to Anarchism, the closest thing that province had to a stadium were the racetracks and the prisons. The men who were attracted to those places were the exact sort of people who paid money to see the Canucks play in the Forum. Again, no place for a boy to be caught in.
When I got to be a teenager that same Forum and the nearby Gardens would put on lots of rock shows. They were a great place to visit pissed out of your head, waiting for the drugs to kick in. April Wine, Triumph, Moxie, Sparkling Apple, the Clash, DOA, Devo, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and many more. The little old hockey arenas were the best places to see a rock show.
The old hockey arenas are where you will usually see your local roller derby girls putting on their shows. Lots of room for a big beer garden in those places and all the seats are so close to the action you can smell the girls skate by. (Breathing deep just now brought back the pussycat scent of my favourite roller derby girl. Now might be a good time to thank whoever it was who put up the poster for your Kerrisdale show on the Bumblebee pub's notice board a few years back. Every sporting event I had ever attended then paled in comparison to what I experienced that night.)
When us Hockeys moved back to what is now laughingly referred to as the Greatest Place On Earth, construction had begun on a new hockey arena, one the city fathers, those very same whisky drinking motherfuckers at the old Forum, hoped would one day house the losingest team in NHL history. I attended a few games there when I was still little and the Ice Capades, which my grandparents always made we sure we attended. The Ice Capades are what Canadians think Heaven will look like when we get there: colourful and just a little spooky because of all the fucking Christians running around making sure we were in the right seats, singing the right songs, and threatening to kick our asses to Hell if we fucked up their idea of The End.
The hockey games in the new arena were predictable. The Canucks always lost. Eventually, after a generation of losing, Canucks fans started getting frustrated and began rioting. They were not even good at that.
Famously, this is where Canuck fans had their Anarchist moment in the sun booing the Canadian National hockey team in 1972. Motherfuckers still cannot figure out why the rest of my great fat country will not cheer for their team even if they are the only Canadian team in the Stanley Cup Final.
When I got older I attended a few rock shows in the big hockey barn which still sits beside the racetrack to this day. Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Elvis Costello, the Sex Pistols and Bob Dylan were the only bands I saw there. 15,000 seaters are a shitty place to see a band.
Not far from the new hockey arena was the football stadium. Never did see a football game there. In those days the Lions and their fans were a bunch of losers like Canuck fans are today. Did not want to be associated with them. Did see lots of Whitecaps games there though. Whitecaps fans were and remain a good crew. The only rock shows I saw there were what were known as Summer Sundays. That was when all the teenagers from Sliverville would drop acid, drive into the East End and join tens of thousands of like minded dope smoking assholes for the biggest house party of the year. The bands were nearly always outhouse shitty but no one cared. It was all about who had the best drugs and who could do the most of them.
Then someone decided to build a new stadium for the football and soccer teams but not the fans of Summer Sundays. I was there in the biggest crowds that building hosted. Cheering against those cocksuckers from Toronto in the last NASL Soccer Bowl; beating the shit out of Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans when the Lions occasionally sold out the joint. It would get deafeningly loud when all us drunks started hooting and hollering at the same time.
The assholes who built the stadium also dreamed of a major league baseball team paying for the stadium's construction. That never happened. I did see the Expos and the Jays play a couple exhibition games there though. And I saw the AAA Canadians play a few series there too. The Canadians would sell lots of tickets to Opening Day but the remaining games would see a crowd of hundreds scattered around the 60,000 seat place. It was a joke but the beer was cold so I did not give a fuck. Guess I got my tax dollars worth out of the place.
Never saw a rock show there. You have to be some kind of a moron to pay real money to see a band play in a place with acoustics as bad as that place had.
In England I attended soccer games with crowds that varied from 341 to 60,000. Did not get to Wembley for the 100,000 experience. The English know how to behave when they get together in groups large or small in a stadium.