The Feminists: Popcorn Girls And Rockumentary Filmmakers

We finally left the pollution, industry and concrete behind us and have seen many pretty sights on the drive to the Sault. All day long I gazed at lakes, trees, islands, and a riotous array of flame colored leaves. The season is definitely turning now, and I’m glad we’re on our way home because winter has suggested itself politely as a possibility. And I’d like to be safely back in Vancouver by the time winter decides to make herself at home.
Morale is still decently high. We realized with surprise that we are on the home stretch now. I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop, but we only have a week and a half left and it looks like (I say this very cautiously and quietly in case the karma gods mistake it for pride or boastfulness) everything is fine and we will make it back in one piece.
We’ve sold merch at every show since Saskatoon, and we’ve been getting paid since Montreal. Right now the band is paying for itself, we have food and gas money, and the van is functioning reliably. I wouldn’t call it a vacation, but I would say it’s my favorite kind of job to have.
Pulled into Sault Ste. Marie around 7 pm. Trevor, the owner of The Downbeat Lounge met us at his venue, we loaded in and did a sound check. Then we had dinner with him and got the lowdown on the local scene and bands. After which he very generously installed us at his home so we could relax until the show. I had a chance to do laundry! And play on the internet and watch tv. I find tv to be moderately terrifying when one stops the dosage for awhile and then restarts. I find there’s a readjustment period that is needed to achieve a high enough level of passivity, numbness and denial so I can start enjoying those Ashlee Simpson videos again instead of disdainfully avoiding them. See, that woman is a poet. I have just to watch the video enough times so that the little voice inside that says “go outside! Read a book! Call your mom! Practice!” eventually goes away. It’s a daunting challenge, but I always prevail over my better self.
At Trevor’s house, I was sleeping in his son’s room. All of his kids were gone for the weekend. This particular kid was probably aged 10-12. Immediately I noticed that the proudly displayed toys and posters were eerily similar – or exactly the same – as those which my bandmates, strapping young lads in their late twenties and early thirties, so profusely enjoy. Lord of the Rings, South Park, Playstation2, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Star Wars. This kid had it all, even a foozeball game.
I had previously suspected that the guys weren’t, how shall I delicately put this, fully formed adults. This 12-year-old boy’s bedroom seemed to reinforce my suspicion.
And you know, that’s really quite fine with me. I’ve considered growing up once or twice, ( in a fleeting moment of madness or uncertainty) but have come to the conclusion that I’d rather enjoy life. I think no one needs to put their childhood joys and pursuits behind them just because some imaginary egg timer goes off (okay! You’ve graduated from high school! Now it’s time to grow up!). If you’re smart about it, you can keep pursuing that childhood hobby, pay some people a lot of money to teach you more about it, and then call it a “career” to set your mother’s heart at ease. Sorry, ma. My secret’s out.
The incredibly wise and mature (but charmingly boyish) Mike Zobac said to me recently “In this culture, it’s considered a mark of growing up to turn your back on the things that you’re good at”. To which I would add “and the things you enjoy”. Musicians and other insane artists refuse to grow up in this way. We just keep doing what we’re good at, and what we enjoy, and one by one the people that one studied with or played with acquire full-time, non-art-related jobs that provide benefits, promotions, and security. And houses with mortgages.
I fault no one for looking for safety and security. One does not experience either as an artist/musician. However, I find the deep mystery of music to be so fascinating that I can’t stop myself from exploring, listening, writing, playing, practicing, teaching, studying, and spending money on it. It’s a whole other world I can dive into, and my compensation for an insecure, unstable, financially terrifying existence.
And in this supremely satisfying world of music, we rocked the fuck out of Sault-Ste. Marie. We played two powerful sets on a tiny postage stamp sized stage jammed in a corner by the front door. It sucks to play by the door because I can see people leaving during our set and it hurts my feelings. I always want to yell “Hey! Why are you leaving in the middle of a song? Are we that boring?”
A lot of people did leave after the first set, which was irritating and humiliating. But during the second set, they were replaced by even more (and better) people and there was a large influx of suitably respectful listeners. We sold merch, and a friendly intelligent guy named Dan filmed our show and interviewed us for a documentary he’s making. So we played for a large appreciative audience AND got to feel like rock stars as Dan swooped around with his camera.
As I was packing up my keyboards, a blond waifish woman attired in many flowing dresses intercepted me to ask me if I’d like some popcorn. Okay, I said cautiously. Immediately she reached her hand somewhere inside her voluminous layers and fished out a handful of popcorn from a kangaroo like pouch (of fabric, not skin). It was cold. I was disappointed, but gratified that the gods of popcorn had deemed me worthy of this token. The filmmaker Dan recognized the popcorn goddess as a girl he had a crush in high school years ago and promptly asked for (and received – way to go, dude) her phone number. Isn’t it nice how popcorn girls and rockumentary filmmakers manage to find each other. I’m a sucker for romance. I wonder if she brought popcorn along on their date. Maybe they went to the movies so she would be in familiar surroundings.
Onwards to Thunder Bay!