Thursday, June 01, 2006

05-27-2006 – Back behind the bonfires

“You want to maybe take it down a bit? I don’t want a fuckin’ riot in here.”

Sue Kiernan, mistress of the Black Dog, has an unusal glimmer of worry in her eyes; outside the window, illuminated by the strobing of fire-engine flashers and cop-car party lights, tens of thousands of de-individualized mob-nodes are hooting, screaming and waving, spilling their psyches into a mass vortex that’ll eventually result in smashing, burning, public sex and hundreds of inches of shocked – shocked! – newspaper editorializing. The steady stream of Metallica, Maiden, AC/DC, Danzig and Slayer I’ve been throwing down no doubt seems a worrying soundtrack.

But, you know… “keep the customer satisfied,” right? When a grinning oilpatch hoser with the twin blazes of stag-party fever and a hometeam Western Conference win burning in his breast slaps a fiver on the faders, straight-up paying for “Master of Puppets”, what’s a responsible DJ to do? “Sorry, buddy; you’ve had too much rocking already. How’s about this chilled-out Herb Alpert remix, instead?”

As it turns out, the fella was down with the Alpert, too. Sue needn’t have worried about her crowd, at least no more than usual (which is kind of a lot); at this improbably, impossibly late stage in the Oilers’ playoff run, the people who stay inside the bars after the horn blows are the mellow ones, the genial partiers. The beerlights are an oasis, a refuge for the people who’ve long since whooed their whoos and just can’t take that street scene anymore – a growing demographic.

Fuck, is this city ever exhausted! Has it only been a month since the miracle of a first-round win over Detroit drove me to manic streaking? It seems like years; this town’s been partying its ass off more-or-less every second night for nearly five weeks, and the strain is showing – what do you all make of the three or four different kinds of cold and flu that’re making the rounds? The Oilers caught it and so did their fans. Overtaxed biosystems, depletion of physical resources… we need this little layoff as much as the team does.

What was spring for us when the Oilers would miss the playoffs or get knocked out in the first round? What did we do with our alternating evenings without hockey games to watch… what did we do with our alternating days without hangovers to nurse? For that matter, what did we do with every evening for half a year while the league was locked out? I kind of don’t remember… I have vague visions of kitchen art-parties and board games, Katamari Damacy and wine-waving walks through twilit alleys; a blur of… not exactly productivity, but not TV-gawking, either. Whatever goes down in the final, I hope it goes down quickly; I want my damn life back.

Just four more wins, eh? Whoo! Alright! The cops are snarling warnings and polishing the truncheons, the Mayor’s calling down the hooligans, Big Georges (thumbs-up for fightin’!) is telling fans to “chill”, and Edmonton’s Nice People and the papers that pander to them are clucking their tongues and shaking their heads, wondering why all these thousands of Bad Apples have to break and burn and such instead of clapping “Yay,” leisurely finishing their second beer, and going home to rest up for another respectable day of making and spending money.

Hey, papers? Here’s a little news item for you to check out next time you moan aloud about Why All The Hooliganism. Look back at years, decades, a century of regularly placing sports above news. Look at fan-goading articles like the Sun’s front-page “Why can’t Edmonton party like Calgary?” piece from early in the Detroit series. Look at the sport-rhetoric of war, battle, combat, victory, legacy, history and fascist tribal pride that fills your pages and pocketbooks. Look at broadcast fireballs, light shows, laser-beams, hard-rock soundtracks and ADD computer graphics. Look at a marketed culture that for years has thrived on turning people into beer-buying, merchandise-hoarding automatons, screaming open wallets. Look at a culture where the Oilers are the most important people on the planet, their success or failure the most important issue facing humanity. Now, you moaning pussies, you tell me where the fuck this mob comes from.
Go, Oilers!


Anonymous said...

ah ha ha ;ha. this pretty much kicks ass.

Anonymous said...

Hey, man - do you even look at your email?