7 January 2013


Fuck do people like to moan. Since the new bridge opened that links us drunk farmboy motherfuckers to the downtown delights of Dope City that is all people have been doing. Moan. Moan. Moan. I suppose seeing nearly 500 cars wrecked on their way across the my dick is bigger than yours gigantic span during the first month since it opened does provide a certain amount of inspiration for those inclined to moan about just about anything however.

Used to be the capitalist scum who have been running this province for most of my lifetime could be counted on to build roads and bridges if nothing else. Since they began running on fumes, nearly four years ago now, it appears as if they have become something of an inside out Midas - everything they touch turns into a motherfucking boondoggle.

Personally, I have had no trouble getting back and forth across the new bridge. Years of construction have left me stranded on this side of the river which cuts Metro Dope City lengthwise like a well intentioned switchblade. For all I know the city finally has a hockey team worth giving two shits about. I guess we are about to find out.

So when I heard the Pacific Gazette was sponsoring a performance in which "Song For Beer" would be sung at a swank coffee house in the city I had no reason not to go see and hear it. The song is based on my epic post "Sticky, Sticky, Sticky" which just failed to win several Canadian journalism and poetry awards in 2011.

For the cost of a small donation to an Honduran orphanage in Copan Ruinas (see both Paying Attention or A Closer Look on my sidebar of links if you too would like to count yourself as a supporter) Sonja and I got to see three performances. All three were sort of like the shows an uncle of Sonja's (who was proud to be a drinking buddy of Elmer Q. Tippee) used to perform every Christmas - except better.

First singer of the night was Shonna who sounded pretty good for somebody not nearly recovered from the cold which has half the city sicker than an army on New Year's Day. Except on my record player, I do not often hear an acoustic guitar played. Sounded lovely really.

Next was Ellis who I am guessing started playing guitar the day after he heard Bob Dylan the first time. He stomped his feet in time with the songs he was singing. I like it when guitar players do that. Especially when the room is quiet enough to hear the stomping.

Before long Gazz and his eldest daughter Gazzette took the stage. I had heard both of them sing in person several years ago on the shores of Shout Lake. Since then I have only heard them sing via mp3 through my tin can computer speakers. Was I in for a shock.

Turns out Gazzette has developed a voice everybody should be hearing, not just the people unlucky enough to be snowshoeing along a sidewalk in motherfucking Montreal, where she is attending school. A pitch perfect one of a kind voice. Sonja was as floored by her performance as I. "It's as if we had heard kd lang sing at a kitchen party in Carstairs, Alberta in 1982," is what she said to me on the way home later.

Gazzette even whistled for an extended bit. A rare treat that is. Nobody fucking whistles any more.

Did "Me and Bobby McGee," my favourite song about Freedom not sung by the Cockney Rejects ("Freedom! There ain't no fucking Freedom! Riot!") a couple others I forget (If the Dope City Free Press was proper journalism I would have taken notes. That would be no fun.) and her own composition inspired by her walks to school past one of Montreal's many graveyards, in one of which you can find their past hockey glory buried.

Write more songs Gazzette. Write one every day or so like Neil Young. I have no further advice.

In between Gazzette's songs Gazz sang "Song For Beer." It sounded a lot better than the mp3. An unexpected payoff for having worked in a sawmill for decades and then written a little about the experience.

Sitting here looking back on the evening and writing about it now has got me thinking about art, why people create shit, why people put themselves out there, in public, period. I am reminded of a Yeats quote Lou Reed read to his "Take No Prisoners" audience 35 years ago.

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

You get to hear a lot of the former these days; to hear the latter turn off your computer and go see someone perform.


RossK said...


Who the heck needs journalism when you've got words like those hidden away to be unearthed from the bottom of a dusty old cookie tin a generation from now.

Song a day?

Will have to let E. know about that.

Regardless, here's the 'crazy, mixed-up world we live in' thing...

Gave her a big, filled-to-bursting tome of Yeats to take back to the snow...Was worried it might tip the scales and result in the tripping of that damnable 50lb/23kg baggage alarm at the airport last night (which we dashed to after one last quick song at a family party earlier in the evening)...Luckily, it did not because those alarms can be extremely costly...Believe me, I know (last Christmas it was the banjo and the Uke and all manner of tomes all going back that did it).

Thanks for coming!

(and thanks to S. for the fantastic pull-quote)


Your driver said...

Beer, I'm still following you, of course, but it's a lesser known fact that I still try and read Gazette every day. I have no idea what he's talking about most of the time. Just to bring you up to date on some other bloggers- I still hear from Frankie pretty regularly. We exchanged Christmas cards this year. He finished his probation, left Sacramento and is living with family in Florida. He seems very happy. Ritchie, "Rico", Vanian of Bleedin' Out sends me suicide notes weekly. I'm not kidding. His wife dumped him and he is drunk and threatening to off himself all the time. I've done what I could. Ib has disappeared. I've even tried contacting some of his relatives through Facebook and they're not talking. Callie, from Alabama is still on speaking terms with me, but she's not writing anything. I swear I'll write something else soon.
I'm glad you're recognized and lauded in your own time. You certainly deserve some recognition. I'll believe that Ross' daughters are both very talented. He's a pretty big deal himself.
Happy New Year,

karen said...

What a great review.

I completely agree with those last 2 sentences.

I wish I could have been there.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Gazz - your kid has a sharp eye, a handy attribute for a songwriter.

Jon - Gazz writes for BCers. Even when we try and explain ourselves to outsiders they never get it. We are the Afghanistan of Canada.

I got the feeling Frankie was doing alright. I hope Rico changes his attitude to his new situation soon. It is life and life only after all. Odd about IB, but within the context of the Internet. Entertaining old boy.

Try and catch DOA when they soon visit your area. It will be your last chance. Check Sudden Death Records for details.

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Karen. Just introduced to your site. Looks great. See you around.

RossK said...


Now that I know you are still around, I will try to do occasional translations.



Our entire troupe has been to the North before...Which, of course, means we could probably be talked into doing it again.


Your driver said...

Yep, DOA are playing Petaluma at the end of this month. I might go for old time's sake. I haven't seen them in, oh dear, 30 years. They did show up at my friend Bob's wedding a few years after that but they weren't performing. If I go I'll wear sensible shoes and bring along healthy snacks.