Stuff Me In The Trunk part 2.
I sat in the parking lot for a long, long time.
The car wash was a busy spot. Lots of people getting their nice cars all clean and sparkly on the warm March afternoon.
I thought about asking someone to give me a boost. But one time, I’d requested a boost from a guy, and he’d declined, saying his car had some fancy new electronics on it that could fry if he ever tried to jump-start another car. Apparently this is the way with a lot of new cars.
So I was waiting for some friendly-looking person to pull into the car wash parking lot driving an old shitbox car like mine… some understanding soul who would be glad to help me out with a boost.
But no shitbox cars arrived at the self-serve car wash. It seemed like every single vehicle that pulled in was a spiffy new SUV.
Dozens of these, one after the other. Bright silver SUVs, the ones that look like digital cameras on wheels. Dammit, I’m not going to ask some yuppie for a boost for my car just to have them say no and look down at me like I don’t know nothin’.
So I sat in the parking lot for a long, long time.
I brooded for a while and got out and poked around under the hood and the car still wouldn’t start so I got back behind the wheel and brooded some more as I watched a long line of radiantly clean vehicles pull out of the car wash parking lot one by one.
Finally I walked across the street to the Three Mile Tavern to use the phone. My parents were out of town so I phoned my brother Steve and he agreed to come over and jump-start my car. The car started right away with a boost which seemed to confirm my suspicion that the battery was good and the alternator was bad.
The charge got me back to my parents’ place. After a few minutes the car seemed to be running normally. I shut it off and it started up again OK. I was almost thinking of attempting to drive home.
As I was about to put the car in gear, Steve leaned out his passenger window and threw a chocolate glazed Timbit at my windshield. I tried to honk my horn at him. Click. Nothing happened.
I rolled down my window. “Weird,” I said. “My horn’s not working.”
Then the battery light came on, and the car slowly lost power again and died right there.
“Well shit,” I said. “Looks like I’m going nowhere.”
I wound up having a small life crisis over the whole thing, right there in my parents’ driveway.
“This isn’t just some random isolated incident. This is symptomatic of my whole life. I’m turning thirty-five this month and I’m still driving some hunk of junk like a kid half my age would be driving and I just can’t get it together.”
“What are you talking about,” said my brother. “Lots of guys would envy you. Going all over the place, doing what you want.”
My brother has some grown-up responsibilities. Job, house, marriage, two beautiful children. Whereas I’m broke and desperate and practically non-functional to society. All I can do is play this weird music. In my mind I’m nothing but a junkie on the streets of Phantom City: I sold my future for a handful of notes and chords.
I stayed at Steve and Angela’s that night. Sophie, my three-year-old niece, was running around waving a magic wand that made fairy dust noises.
I took the wand and waved it over her head. “Boodle-oodle-oodle-ding!” went the wand.
“Turn me into Sleeping Beauty,” said Sophie.
“Are you sure?” I said. “What about Cinderella, or Snow White, or Elsie Wayne…”
“Noooo! I wanna be Sleeping Beauty.”
“Well, all right,” I said. “But if you’re Sleeping Beauty you have to go to sleep for 400 years.”
“How about twelve hours?” said Angela. “I’m not fussy.”
I gave the wand back to Sophie and she chased me around the living room with it.
“I’m turning you into a punkin!” she said.
“OK, I’m a pumpkin…” I crouched down on the floor. “What do pumpkins do?”
Sophie thought about this. “They go on TV,” she said. “And I watch them.”
“That sounds all right.”
“No! I’m not turning you into a punkin, I’m turning you into a pickle!”
That was Saturday afternoon. I was stranded in Saint John until Monday when I got my alternator replaced by a one-handed mechanic named Ralph over on Seaton Street.
I liked Ralph as a mechanic. The repair turned out to be cheaper than I’d feared it would be. Plus it was a beautiful day and Ralph wheeled his charge-testing rig right out into the parking lot and worked on my car in the sunshine.
I drove home to Chipman and on Wednesday I got up and hit the road for the show in Charlottetown.
First thing I noticed was that my speedometer and odometer weren’t working.
“Christ,” I muttered. “It’s just one thing after another with this friggin car.”
Then my rear-view mirror fell off.
So I drove all the way to Prince Edward Island trying to guess at my speed, while looking over my shoulder for cops, literally.
How do you like my mad website promotional skills? Where I tell you all about these wicked shows, the day after they happen. Anyway Charlottetown was A/V, Windom Earle, Books On Tape, the Mark Black Speaking Engagement as well as a local band called The Danks.
I loved the all-ages show at the Guild. I set up on the floor and the kids formed a circle around me and I made them all start revolving around while I played like it was a robot-dancing circle-pit. Then I gave some guy my tambourine and he took off leading a mad conga line all over the venue.
Everybody played better at Baba’s Lounge except for A/V. I had a few technical issues with a bad MIDI cable or a fried synth or something and tried my hardest to play so no one would notice while troubleshooting on the fly. That’s always tricky. But Windom Earle were on fire, Mark Black Speaking Engagement turned into Mark Black Drinking Engagement and Books On Tape slayed everybody, probably my favourite single set of music I have witnessed this year.
After Baba’s Lounge we all loaded out and decided to hit Subway for a 3AM snack. A ton of snow fell in Charlottetown last night, weird huh, it’s been so spring-like lately. I was warming up my car and told the boys I’d be right behind them as soon as I brushed some of the snow off. So everybody left and I grabbed my snow brush from the back seat and, click. Didn’t take long to realize that I had locked myself out of my car with the engine running.
Brad Deighan was with me. After about twenty minutes the Windom-Mobile returned to find out what was keeping us. Brad and I had been meticulously attempting to brush every single snowflake off my idling car. The whole back end of the car looked like it had just pulled in from Florida or something, dropped right smack into this winter wonderland.
“Forty minutes ’til the tow truck gets here… gotta clean the car off… gotta get ‘er looking good for the tow truck.”
Finally the tow truck did come. And the driver took about six-and-a-half seconds to break into my Ford Tempo.
In the lineup at the drive-thru, Brad jumped out of the car and brushed the snow off the back window of the car ahead of us and then charged them a toonie for it.
This morning I filled up on gas and bought a soldering iron at Canadian Tire in case I had to fix a synthesizer and I bought some contact cement to glue my rear-view mirror back on, which didn’t work. Then I sat in my front seat counting loonies and toonies to see if I actually had enough to pay the $40 toll for the Confederation Bridge.
I’d like to thank anybody who bought an A/V CD on Wednesday night for making it possible for me to actually get off the island. In fact, thank you to anyone who has ever bought merch from any touring indie band ever, you have no idea the difference it can make.
I had just about exactly enough money left for a couple of junior burgers at Wendy’s in Sackville. The cashier gave me my change: four cents.
My worldly fortune. I put the pennies in my wallet and put my wallet in my pocket. With this four cents, I shall build an empire!
Friday night at the Capital in Fredericton we’re going to do it all again with A/V, Windom Earle, Books On Tape and Mark Black‘s magical slideshow commentary. This show is going to be a culmination of utter awesomeness before Todd Books flies off to Montreal and beyond. If you’re in Freddy you’ll want to hop on this party wagon. It’s going to be a blast.
Last week I played shows with Wax Mannequin and Epworth Band. I loved travelling around with those guys as well. Here’s a video of a special A/V set from Reflections Cabaret in Halifax. Something never before dreamed of, it’s A/V with not one but two human drummers. Sean Macgillvray and John Epworth replaced the drum machine in the A/V equation and I can’t believe what a great job they did. It was “A/V and the Cult Of The Click.” I had a wicked time at this show.
The video was shot by Stephanie, whom you can see in the screen cap over Sean’s shoulder, reflected in the mirror at the back of the stage. Since she’s behind the mains you can only really hear the drums but trust me, the science was all pretty crunkin’ loud in there.
All my gear was set up on a platform on the dancefloor. I was stationed right under the mirror ball facing the boys on stage. I have a hairdo because a sexy model from Paris, France took off her wig and placed it on my head in the middle of the set. This vid is from the tail end when I got off the platform and joined the boys onstage where I rolled all around and humped Wax Mannequin’s drum machine.
cross wires, we’ll set the speakers on fire
burn it down this is the future of sound