The Feminists: Road Noodles

Today we had our first meal of road noodles. Now Mike feels like he’s really on tour…something about making spaghetti on a 2 burner propane stove brings out the nomad in him. Our combined efforts produced a delightful meal of sauce and pasta, which we consumed in the parking lot behind The Vat, the venue we were playing at in Red Deer. And by the way, it was a fucking freezing picnic. The wind howled, the rain lashed. Grief and I took turns trying desperately to warm our hands before the (tiny) cheerful blue flame of the stove. Then it was time to do the dishes with (of course) freezing cold water. Nothing like dunking your hands in a pot of cold water on a freezing cold day, I always say. Builds character. I marched into the club past all the grizzled old men playing pool and filled our water flasks with hot water from the washroom so that Ferdy wouldn’t freeze off his bass playing fingers before the show. By the time we finished our fabulous al fresco dining experience, it was time to load in. Then it was time for me to hang out in the van and listen to Marvin Gaye for a couple of hours – which would have been pretty much an ideal way to while away an evening …probably an indoors experience would have been slightly LESS FREEZING, though.
Eventually it was time to head inside and get ready to play. Well, the guys headed inside while the bouncer insisted I go and get my i.d. “I’m playing tonight” I said, thinking that this would save me from making another trip back to the van. “Then you can just go and get your i.d. and I won’t bother you for the rest of the night” he replied smugly, bulging arms crossed across his chest, planted firmly in the doorway. Okay, fine. I think I forgot something in the van anyway.
Upon successfully gaining entry into the Vat, I looked around at the crowd and thought “is this an all ages show”? until I saw all the teenagers lined up at the bar buying booze, and then I was just confused. Until I remembered that the drinking age in Alberta is 18. And then I just felt old. Since when do 18-year-olds look like kids?
The Vat is a very cool venue. It was a long narrow room with a big stage at one end and the bar at the other, and it was packed with young passionate music fans. Monty at the soundboard was a total pro and the onstage sound for us was clear and balanced, which of course meant that we played pretty damn good. There was a crowd gathered right in front of the stage as we played, and the audience was very generous to us, considering they’d never heard of us before.
But I was wrong about that. After the show a lovely girl came up to us and told us she was from Vancouver and had heard us before. Definitely a first for us, to be playing hundreds of miles away from home and have someone in the audience who was previously aware of our existence. There was also a rather enthusiastic gentleman who told Grief and I that he’d like to take all four of us home, make sweet love to us all night long and feed us breakfast in the morning. If there could have been a way to get the breakfast without the lovemaking, we would have been saved from our first night of sleeping in the van.
The frontman of band that played after us had the misfortune to make a joke about feminists (“How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb? None, because feminists can’t change anything”.) To my great delight, there was a pack of teenage girls at the front of the stage who booed him continually and very loudly. To the point where he had to laugh nervously and say “Just kidding”. I love the ‘just kidding’ type of chauvinist. That’s the kind of guy who who expresses his insecurites about his own masculinity (maybe I’m not as smart and good-looking and skilled as all these women around me) passively through mean-spirited jokes. It’s a pretty safe way to say nasty things about women – unless the targeted females boo and hiss or otherwise demonstrate their disgust – then it’s, hey, just kidding, we’re all friends here aren’t we? I’d like to think that guy completely destroyed his chances of getting some action that night. Public humiliation is not a turn on for most gals. Too bad, fella. All those girls were really cute.
We slept in the van that night. It rained all night and everything was cold and damp the next morning. I changed into less damp clothes in a Tim Hortons washroom. Such is the glamor of rock and roll. Grief is sick with a cold. Soon we will all have it. Onwards to Edmonton.