Friday, January 12, 2007

11-25-06 -- The Studio

“Live tooo flyyyy… flyyyy to liiiiiive…!”

Ok, you know, punk rock n’ everything, but when you bust out the Maiden and everyone’s going “no way!” and you just totally do it and it’s all pretty much perfect eedledeedledeedledeedledeedle complete with foursquare synchro rock-strut up to the lip of the stage… well. Nice work. I think these guys are called Aces & Hearts or something like that, and they’ve got the frostbitten party patrol eating out of their hands like 4H llamas. Aces High is basically a folk song ‘round here.

It’s a good room for timetravelling, dingy postindustrial ruin above a bottle depot, fair cover, BYOB and a grand foyer crammed pillar to post with ancient arcade cabinets, some of which even work. Reaching around the kickdrum filling the cockpit of a defunct vector Star Wars, I fondled the X-Wing yoke: “Dude… remember how this feels?” Dude does indeed remember.

Remember, also, smoking indoors, countless duMauriers providing the bass notes of the Rock Reek? Thirty goddamn degrees below motherfuckin’ zero outside for the fifth or sixth or sixtieth day running… and here the smokers don’t have to huddle; piled-up jacket geology – layercake strata of flannel, hoodie, coat, scarf, toque – in the corners absorbs the atmosphere, just like in the old days. Cigarettes, malt liquor, happy friends, headbanging to Powerslave – it feels like nostalgia...

...but these are memories borrowed from others and self-implanted; remember, please, that you were a nerd, and high school was three years of sobriety and Paul Simon tapes.

The Get Down rock as expected, as demanded of veterans. We wouldn’t let them get away with less! The feeling in the room is good – it’s been too long for some of us, and it feels like longer… winter’s laid its social-dampening hand down early and hard, and many have been holed up; even tonight, a heavy wing of party pals couldn’t make the dogfight on account of there being no cabs to be had anywhere in the city, all the companies’ robodispatchers (“WHELcome to Co-Op Taxi!”) jammed busy with a quarter-million shivering Shackletons anachronistically radioing for airlift.

Man, I just thought of something. You know how we Edmonites do things, how after a cold spell we explode like crazy people into summerlike activity the moment the climatometer dials back a notch from LETHAL? Well, when this particular deepfreeze breaks, shit’s going to go insane. The minute we hit the minus-single-digits, people are going to be rollerblading, suntanning, sidewalk-cafeing like it’s mid-May. Eight degrees below zero and everybody shirtsleeves going “Damn, it’s nice out!”

Meanwhile, back in the rockatorium, things are getting raucous, the line between entertained and entertainer properly blurred. Bottles are being passed – well, sometimes taken -- into my hands, swills of palm-warmed Black Label from a widemouth Forty alternating with swigs of a bruisingly fruity Pinot Grigio, all spilling around a cigarette I somehow find myself smoking. My roommate’s feeling particularly Russian, her Doukhobor eyes glinting with mischief as she tries her secret wrestling moves and sneaky trips on anyone within range. Through the rock, I think I can somehow hear the tweedling soundtrack of Bubble Bobble from the entryway arcade… is that one couple still playing their way down into the 100-level pit…?

WHUMP! A tumble into snow. What? Where am I? When did we decide that going outside was a good idea? Oh, right… we’re walking home, thirteen blocks, because we couldn’t get a cab; the details are hazy. All I know is I’m down on the frozen ground and my roomie's tackling me, growling like a bear cub, punch-swatting me over the chest and shoulders. Goddamn Russians, always with the… oh, no. No! Please, no!


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