17 April 2014
Singing Up a Storm on the Drive
On the weekend Sonja and I were down on the Drive. It was dinner time. The sun, bright as the mastermind behind the hijacking of the Malaysian passenger jet we are sick and fucking tired of hearing about every day, was casting the darkest shadows of Shadowland on the town.
You hear a lot about people not drinking enough to keep the pubs open in British Columbia since the anti-drink Nazis clamped down on this far flung corner of the Empire's favourite way to entertain themselves. You would have never guessed we had a shortage of drinkers from the packed pubs and restaurants, half of them with line-ups stretching onto the sidewalk, we saw as we made our way up and down the street. People who live close to their favourite watering holes need not concern themselves with our province's overkill drinking and driving laws. That is why the pubs out here in the sticks are having such a fucking time of it: the only people who walk here are the homeless.
A couple were just leaving a sundrenched window table at St. Gus' Tavern when we arrived to join in the spring party. Sonja hit the wine. Portland cider for me. We were flying like shitface angels when we were done.
The record store I often patronize was open past its usual closing time so we went in. Came out with Hendrix's BBC recorded triple album set (only listened to one platter so far), a noisy racket recorded in '96 by the UK Subs and a cd version of the Velvet's super '69 Texas show - been listening and singing along to it (especially the versions of "White Light/White Heat" and "Heroin" on it) in the car over and over again.
Sonja picked up a Pink cd. Pretty good for overproduced modern pop music. She uses many of the words that pop up with regularity here in the Dope City Free Press. We like that motherfucking shit.
On our way back to the car I heard a woman singing in the distance. I recognized the voice right away even though I had not heard it in person for about a year and a half. It was e. Gazz from the Pacific Gazzette's eldest. Clear as a bell her voice is and sweeter than Patsy Cline's.
To my surprise she recognized me as I fished in my trousers for the change that would later put food on her poor family's table. "Why if it isn't Mr. Beer."
It was the first time in my life I was called Mr. Beer. Usually it is just plain Beer. Sometimes it is, "That motherfuckin' Beer."
We chatterboxed briefly about our disparate lives. My sixth sense, the one I have been nourishing with alcohol all these years, told me she is in a much better place, much better frame of mind than when I saw her last. That is what happens as you grow up. Once you have told a couple dozen people to, "Fuck off!" you get to be feeling pretty damn good about shit.
We could hear her return to her singing as we walked away. "She really is good, isn't she?" Sonja asked. I did not have to answer as we fucking near skipped up the street in the fading light of a ukulele day.