Monthly Archives: December 2002

Legend of the Spider A

Legend of the Spider

A long time ago in Scotland, while a mother was busily cleaning house in preparation for Christmas the spiders that usually stayed in the living room fled upstairs to the attic to escape her broom.

From the attic they could hear all the commotion from below as decorations were being made for when the Christ Child was to come on Christmas Eve bringing gifts for the children.

Excited to see the tree, the spiders crept downstairs for a view. Oh, what a beautiful tree!

They scurried up the trunk and out along each branch. They were filled with happiness as they climbed all through the tree to see the glittering of its beauty.

But alas! By the time they were finished, the tree was completely shrouded in their dusty-grey spider webs.

When the Christ Child came, He smiled at how happy the spiders were. However, He knew how heart-broken the mother would be if she saw the tree covered with the dusty webs. So, He reached out and touched the webs, blessing them and turning them into silver and gold. The trees sparkled and shimmered with radiant beauty.

Thus, the custom to have a spider ornament amongst all the decorations with the tinsel of gold and silver on the Christmas tree was born.

Leaving a spider ornament hanging in some corner of the house is a welcome sign to the Christ Child to visit throughout the year and brings only goodwill and good luck.

~ Wednesday night in Hell.

~ Wednesday night in Hell. “Drinking on the job,” she says as she walks past. “Tsk tsk.”

I rarely get drunk, but I drink just about every day. Goes with working at a bar. Some nights, like Wednesday, you’re not so into being at work and having a drink or two doesn’t hurt at all. Something to do.

I can’t think of too many professions where you get to drink on the job. Rock star, live sound technician, priest… neurosurgeon… (“It’s really stressful,” he explained to me.)

Police officer. Guy’s got a gun, are you gonna tell him he can’t put away your confiscated liquor?

Music pounds all around me. People are dancing and freaking out. All I’m noticing is that the guys are outnumbering the women by three-to-one and maybe I should drop a little 50 hertz out of the graphic EQ.

I stir the ice cubes in my double White Russian and think, “At least I’m not working in an office somewhere.”

Yeah–thank god I’m not working in a quiet, smoke-free, non-violent place.

Thank god I’m not working in an atmosphere of calm and productivity.


~ Walking out of the place at 4am, I feel like I want to peel off a layer of skin. Bikers mingle with bouncers in the parking lot. Apparently I’ve missed all the commotion.

I wonder how one of these Hells Angels would react if I walked up to him and dropped my skin-suit at his feet. I could peel off my face and lay it across the shoulder of his leather jacket. And then I would turn around and walk home and go to bed.

No dreams. No face.

~ I walk downtown Thursday evening and knock on a guy’s door, trying to get my synthesizer back. Nobody home. So I hang out on Barrington for a while.

There’s an alcove where homeless kids usually hang out, the boarded-up front entrance of the old Paramount Theater. Cardboard boxes, cigarette packages, old paperback books lay strewn about on the ground.

In a corner of the alcove is an old Electrohome cabinet. I perch up on top of the abandoned colour TV and watch buses driving by.

“Hello?” says a woman’s voice beside me. I jump.

“Did you call me?” she says. “What’s going on?”


Taillights glower in a red row.

I sit on Barrington Street and change the channels on a dead screen.

~ On Monday at 5PM

~ On Monday at 5PM I went into the club to clean up the wreckage from the night before. Twelve hours after I left the Marquee staff party, I showed up and there were people who hadn’t gone home yet.

Monday night I climbed into bed at 11PM and stayed there for fifteen hours. It actually felt weird to be home in the evening, and not out at some smoky bar. That’s my version of a big night off from work: I stay home and read.

I read Life Of Pi by Yann Martel. I’d been looking forward to reading this because of all the hype it had gotten. Anyways, I slogged through the first fifty pages, skimmed and skipped through the next fifty, and started reading again around page 100.

My advice: start reading Life Of Pi at page 103, and also skip the last ten pages because they’re annoying.

Life is short and I firmly believe that only the good parts of books should be read.

~ Even though I was lying in bed most of the day on Tuesday, I still got on the phone and managed to be productive. Got a new job for example. Having two jobs doesn’t quite qualify me for full workaholic status, so starting in February I’m going to be teaching a couple of introductory audio courses at the Centre For Art Tapes.

I love teaching, as I love any activity that involves doing something I’m good at in front of a room full of people.

So I finally got up at 3 o’clock Tuesday afternoon and went for a walk downtown. I couldn’t believe how low in the sky the sun was at 3PM. That’s some Arctic Circle shit.

The afternoon twilight is beautiful. I realize that staying in bed all day implies that I am a candidate for seasonal affective depression or light deprivation disorder or whatever they’re calling it. It’s true; I am.

But walking around Halifax yesterday, one thing I knew was that I was not alone. Everybody in this town feels the effects of the same weather.

At least I was up and about by 3PM. I bet there are people who can’t get out of bed at all this time of year, or who just feel crappy all the time for no apparent reason. I might find it hard to get up, but by the time I hit the streets, I’m exhilarated by the long shadows and the muted glow of horizontal sunlight.

I have my reasons for loving winter.

~ I talked to an old man on Creighton Street yesterday. Not just any old man: the “Creighton Street Buddy.”

If you live in the North End you probably know his house–the ground floor window on Creighton Street, just off North.

My earliest memory of “Buddy” comes from shortly after I moved to Bloomfield Street. One day, checking out the new neighbourhood, I crossed North Street at Northwood and started to head up Creighton.

Up ahead on a windowsill, I saw what I thought was a can of air freshener. As I got closer I realized it was shaving cream.

Then a wizened old man poked half-a-shaving-creamed face out the window. He waved his razor at me. “How’s it going today, buddy!” he said.

“Not too bad, buddy!” I said (the only possible reply in this part of the world).

Pretty much ever since I’ve been walking past this window once or twice a day on my way downtown or to the studio. He’ll lean out his window and say, “Hi, Buddy!”

I’ll wave back and say “Hi, Buddy!”

It’s part of my daily ritual. Once I was walking up Creighton Street with a friend and both of us simultaneously said, “Hi Buddy!” Gradually I realized that everyone says hello to “Buddy” on their way up Creighton Street.

I saw him once with a bottle of Hermit’s sitting on the table in front of him. He looked in pretty rough shape, but he still managed to wave and shout, “God bless you, sir!”

When the weather gets too cold, he puts his window down. But he’ll still thump on the window with his fist, and then the fist will open out into a wave.

Yesterday I walked past and said “Hi buddy!” through the window, and then I turned around and went back and he opened his window and we had a little chat.

I don’t know why it had never even occurred to me to do this before. I complimented him on his Xmas decorations and we talked about the weather for a bit, and then we shook hands and said “Have a good one!”

His name is Jimmy. I walked away feeling all stoked.

I could write a hundred stories about why the North End rules.

~ I jammed last night at the Cornwallis space. I grabbed my Gibson SG and went to throw the strap up over my head and the guitar came up fast and biffed me in the mouth. It stung and I tasted blood.

I have a fat lip now. It’s cool to bleed at a rock’n’roll show but if you bleed at practice then you are a chump.

Wound up staying late after hours at the Khyber Club last night. Pounded back the Jagermeister with a couple of friends. I’d been feeling a sore throat coming on, but there’s nothing like Jagermeister to cure a cold.

~ Today is a lot like yesterday–a slow start into a quietly exhilarating afternoon.

I walk downtown and get to see the huge full moon hanging over Dartmouth at 4:30PM. The sky is mauve, lavender, purple. Smiles in the cold air crack my fat lip. I drop in to the No Records store, and when I come out, it is nighttime.

And then a strange celestial convergence takes place, and I receive cheques from both of my jobs on the same day.

Last night was the Marquee

Last night was the Marquee Club staff party. It all took place downstairs in Hell’s Kitchen and featured gifts, amazing food, tons of free booze, backroom hijinks and live entertainment by The Mellotones.

There were lots of people there. The Marquee Club has a staff of probably seventy-five or eighty people, each of whom were allowed one guest, and then there was the usual assortment of shadowy figures and hangers-on.

One of the bouncers came up to me and said, “Man, I don’t know half the people here.” I pointed out that half the people there were guests. He said, “Hey, you’re right!” and walked away with the twin lights of epiphany burning in his slightly reddish eyes.

Since I am the Hell’s Kitchen sound tech, I got to mix the band. That means while the rest of you were boozing it up, I was working. ‘Sallright though. I still got to have some fun. I wore a suit and tie to the event (surprise!) and danced around at the sound console with my hot young vixen of a date.

The night got less fun when my date finally left and yet it looked like the band were poised to play all night long.

Sometime after 4am, it looked like the boys were going to wrap it up. They left the stage and I went to start tearing down. I had shut off the monitor amp, unplugged a couple wedges and pulled all the lines out of the snake when two members of the band came up and said, “Hey, we’ve decided to get up and play another set.”

This posed a bit of a problem, as I had no way of knowing which cable had been pulled from which input of the snake. They said, “Oh, it doesn’t matter man, we’re not too fussy at this point.”

So I plugged the thirteen cables back into the snake at random and got back to the console and tried to figure out which channel was which as the band started up again. It was uggg-lee.

I managed to find the lead vocal and get it going and then worked on the other instruments. I had to loosen my tie for this one.

It occurred to me that I was at a party, and yet this situation was more stressful than anything that had happened recently in my normal working life.

The band had told me it would only be a short set. However, it turned into a drunken free-for-all jam session.

At 5am I mentally washed my hands of the whole mess. I was tired and my head was starting to hurt. I had lost the urge to drink, which means for me that the party is over.

I pushed up all the faders, turned down the monitors, slammed a compressor over the master outputs and turned around and walked out of the bar.

She wore naught but Christmas

She wore naught but Christmas stockings

The very picture
Of decency
A whiff of the delineate
The smile she wore
That other thing
The thing that made it a trick-
Soft, but none-too-subtle

A certain swagger
A certain
joi de vivre
les filles des roi
A joyeux noel tradition
All the long night all the long day

Since time immemorial- a fair Yuletide fave
Santa’s scanties
St. Nicks chickies get to busting heads and worse

Tears in my goddamned beer
In Memphis goddamned Tennessee

-anonymous comments post 12/12/02

~ Confucius say: “It is

~ Confucius say: “It is good for girl to meet boy in the park. But it is better for boy to park meat in the girl.”

~ A couple days ago I wrote this big blog entry about the award-winning Maritime musicians who showed up in Hell’s Kitchen on Sunday night with their entourage of black-clad Toronto-looking self-important motherfuckers. But then I decided not to publish it. I thought it was better to let Mister Aluminum Bat do the talking. Suffice to say, I almost quit my job this weekend and I almost went out swinging.

Had a couple days off and loved every minute of it. Then back to work Wednesday night.

Some guy got a little upset because the bouncers wouldn’t let him back in the bar, so he threatened to come back with a bomb and throw it at us and kill us all.

A bouncer was sitting on him outside the door when I left. The cops were just arriving. Guy didn’t look too comfortable. I was laughing as I walked up the street.

It was minus fifteen out.

Bring it on, I don’t care about winter or terrorist threats.