The Feminists: Blood and Confusion

Thanks to all of you who informed me in an affirmative fashion that they wish to be kept abreast of The Feminists Third Wave Crashing Tour 2004 as we bicker our way across this great country of ours.
We are now in Winnipeg. Yesterday we drove across Saskatchewan. This may seem like an innocent and innocuous sentence, but let me assure you, it takes a lot longer to drive it than to say it. So we have traversed BC, AB, SASK, and are now in central Canada. I haven’t been able to find out what time it is for the last 3 days, but I think we’re 2 hours ahead of BC here.
Our show in Cranbrook was our best one yet, lots of people came out to see “Ferdy Belland and The Feminists”, as we were billed, but because Ferdy is from Cranbrook and knows the whole town, it was much to our advantage that his name was on the bill. But also kind of funny, as K. kept introducing all of us as Ferdy Belland, except Ferdy, who he introduced as “The Feminists”. We played 3 powerful sets, and had a lot of fun. We actually made a few fans, including one of Ferdy’s friends who volunteered to head up The Feminist Army and spread the word of how brilliant we are. This was very nice for us, much preferable to our usual “play-for-the-bartender” shows.
We sold 17 cd’s and at one point there was a line of people (a short line, honest compels me to admit) waiting for us to sign them. Very rock star. Over and over we heard “that was great, you guys are awesome” and there was lots of musicians in the crowd who were impressed with our arrangements and the stupendous freight train of rock power that is The Feminists. Probably the most gratifying show we have ever played, definitely the most appreciative and enthusiastic audience we have ever played for.
We had a day off in Cranbrook so Ferdy could cuddle with his lovely wife Erin, and we used this time to further the evolution of our tour van, The Gray Mare. We added a tv so the boys can play video games as well as the library (cardboard box of books), multilmedia bag (playstation games and cd’s) and added storage compartments. The van I would say now is almost liveable.
The glory of Cranbrook was followed by the strangeness of our Calgary show the next night. The Wild Rose Pub was in a mini-mall on the TCH. We had never played in a mini-mall before, but our name was illuminated proudly on the mini-mall sign high above our heads. As we unloaded our gear and ate dinner, all hell broke loose (keep in mind it was also the first day of Stampede).
A fight over a pool game moved out into the parking lot, one of the men still having a pool cue in his hand. As an innocent bystander tried to intervene, he was hit from behind with a pint glass on the back of his head. When he fell down, he hit his head again on the concrete curb. There was lots of blood and confusion. Many people leapt into action, and soon the police and ambulance were there. Then we had to go in and play. We hit our first chord and there was no bottom end to the band, as Ferdy’s bass amp had stopped working at this precise moment. Very sad, completely shook our confidence, and we were all mildly traumatized by the previous bloodshed. After the first set we ran his bass through the PA, which boosted his volume and our spirits considerably. There was also no stage at the Wild Rose, so we were playing in a corner by the door. It’s quite a bit harder to rock on a carpeted floor with nothing to launch yourself off of. We played ok, there was no mistakes, but there was no FIRE, baby.
Then the real fun began, after the gig as we were all trying to get to our various accommodations. While dropping Ferdy off, Mike drove over what felt like a 12 inch curb, vastly irritating Ferdy and terrifying K. and myself. Then we set off to find our place, but the friend that Mike had brought to navigate our way there was drunk and wasn’t paying attention to where we were, and had only been to said place twice. So we drove around in the dark in Calgary for quite some time as I slipped into a fitful sleep in the van bed. We finally got there, slept for a few hours, and then set off to collect Ferdy and get his amp repaired. I performed my morning toiletry ritual at an A&W in one of the many enormous big box complexes in Calgary. My first day with no shower – little did I know what was to come…
We got the amp fixed and pressed onward to Medicine Hat where we ended up camping in the parking lot of the Shell station on Hwy 1. This was because the van got flooded and wouldn’t start after we gassed it up, so we had to wait until the next morning for it to start. Our first night sleeping in the van. Also, we witnessed a young BMX dude wipe out right across the street from us and break his knee cap. Ferdy and Mike provided ice, advil, first aid and reassurance until his buddy came to pick him up. My days are gradually becoming more and more unpredictable. Now I have no idea what can possibly come about when I start my day, and this is quite exciting. And nerve wracking.
Awakened by the gentle light of the morn, and the tender melodies of engine brakes careening past our heads, The Feminists greeted each other with a surly “what time is it?” “6:30” “fuck that shit” and were on the road by 6:50 am. My first prairie driving experience. We made it to Regina, stopped for a couple of hours and made further improvements to the Gray Mare, adding an electric kettle so we can make soup and coffee and tea, and well, so many things really. Also, a backseat organizer and more storage compartments. It’s all about the storage and making sure everything has its place (right guys, am I right guys??) to prevent the forces of entropy from completing their awful work.
We were unable to find an Internet cafe in Regina, a city of 200 000 people. Also, the downtown was completely closed, so I have no idea what it’s like. So far, we usually end up going to some faceless gigantic mall to set up HQ while we take a break. And Wal-Mart is the same wherever you go. Yesterday, I had a latte at the Regina Starbucks/Chapters and it was great. I felt a little stupid that Starbucks has ensnared me in this way, but it was so nice to have a good coffee…is that so wrong? I know it’s not very punk rock, but I was dirty and dusty when I had it (day 2 and 3 no shower) and I tried to be obnoxious when I ordered it.
Then we drove to Brandon, MB. and camped in the parking lot of the Husky truck stop. We love the Husky. You can park there for the night, there’s washrooms and showers and laundry, so many ways to be clean. Another night in the van, and it poured rain all night but we were (very) snug and dry in our little tin can home.
So now, Winnipeg. We play tomorrow night and have many errands to run today. Laundry is high on the list. Well, my list anyway. And I’m the only one who makes lists, so let’s just say I’ll be washing my clothes today. We have now completed our longest dead stretch with no shows – 3 days – and will now be playing almost every day for the rest of the tour. And we didn’t kill each other, so I have high hopes. It’s usually the down time that causes all the interpersonal drama.

Thefts: 1
Vehicular malfuctions: 2 (minor tune up in Cranbrook)
number of times someone has said “well fuck you guys”: this is too annoying to keep track of
shows played: 6
provinces traversed: 3
bowls smoked: we have instituted a 2-bowl-per-day allowance to conserve our precious resources
cd’s sold: 25