#820: 1991 Was the End and 1991 Was the Beginning (Part Three)

GETTING MORE TALE #820: 1991 Was the End and 1991 Was the Beginning (Part Three)

As monumental as 1991 already was terms of massive change, a big one was still to come:  finally learning how to drive!  The time had finally come when I had to, and so I did.  I cut my teeth driving to and from University during the winter.  You can get pretty good pretty quickly that way.  Most importantly, I discovered the pleasures of listening to music alone in the car.

Choosing an album.  Turning it up as loud as I could handle.  Listening to the whole thing from start to finish without complaints.  It was…a revelation.  My parents used to be able to hear me coming home from around the corner, so loud was I blasting it.

It was an ’89 Plymouth Sundance, but all that really mattered to me was that it had a tape deck and I was allowed to drive it.  Upon arriving at school, I can remember putting the tape case on the dash board so the parking control guy could see how cool my music was.

Jesus, I was weird.

Still am?  I guess this website is just me putting my tape cases up on the dashboard of life.  Right?

With new music on the shelves by Europe and Tesla, and a monolithic new slab by Guns N’ Roses to enjoy, I was keeping myself busy.  Then and now I believed in giving new releases multiple listens, and I always played the Guns tapes as a set.  There was no point, I reasoned, in listening to one more than another.  They’re really one album so that’s how I played them, every time.  Late ’91 was a Guns-heavy time.

Although first year of university life was a lonely time, I did make some new friends.  I had two night classes.  One thing I enjoyed about night classes was that there was only one per week — a big three hour chunk.  You could cover a lot of material in one class, and have a week to absorb everything for next class.  My first night class was Sociology, and next to me sat big Rob V, who quickly became one of my Jedi Masters of Rock.  He educated me on Whitesnake, Deep Purple and the Black Sabbath discography.  Then he taped for me a number of rarities, and they were treasured by me for many years.  Those tapes were only replaced when I finally scored original CD or vinyl copies for myself.  We weren’t the cool guys in Sociology class, but we had a lasting friendship.  Rob lived not too far from me, so I was happy to drive him home after school.  He would often have commentary for me regarding my musical selection for the car.

My favourite night class was Thursdays — Anthropology 101.  I hated the professor initially.  He was a ponytail guy.   Our school had a couple ponytail guys.  Also a few socks-and-sandals guys, which blew my mind.  “What the fuck is the point of that?” I asked myself rhetorically.  All psychology professors, those guys.  But ponytail-Anthropology guy (gosh I wish I could remember his name) won me over very quickly with his entertaining, though factually dense, teaching style.  There was a lot to cover each night.

Another quality that night classes had was a higher number of adult students.  I enjoyed speaking to them, but one poor older lady really struggled in Anthro-101.  I’ll never forget her because although she slowed the class down, I just felt badly for her.  She dropped the course by the second semester.

The teacher liked to use examples to illustrate a point.  I can’t remember the exact details, but he was using a current TV ad as his example.

“I don’t know these modern TV commercials!” she said in frustration.

“OK, no problem…here’s an example from your generation.  On the original Star Trek in 1969 there was an episode where they beamed down to this particular planet…”

Then he lost her even further!  He tried though; lord did that professor try.

While I was making interesting new friends in 1991, an old friend became more special.  I took my studying very seriously and because of that I had to stay home for Thanksgiving instead of going to the lake with my parents.  I couldn’t study there.  Too small a space.  So Peter invited me to have Thanksgiving dinner with his family.  That was something that meant a lot to me.  I wasn’t going to be alone and I had a hot meal to look forward to.  I even put on a nice shirt and shaved my peachfuzz.  Peter had an incredible family.  His mom and dad were always welcoming, making me feel at home.  Same with his sister Joanne.  Over the coming months and years, Peter and I would grow closer and hung out every weekend.  Where I had friends that were Jedi Masters of Rock, Peter was more like my Jedi Master of Movies.  He had a huge collection.  I think as a collective, comedy was our thing.  Peter was also my Jedi Master of Comedy.  I might never have seen Slap Shot if it wasn’t for Peter.

At the end of 1991, my Christmas list took care of some of the last new releases in music that I needed.  Poison’s double Swallow This Live was, not surprisingly, a letdown.  I was also underwhelmed by the Operation: LIVEcrime box set by Queensryche.  Too many backing vocal tapes.  But for a long time I had looked forward to Motley Crue’s Decade of Decadence.  Back in the summer of 1990, Vince Neil was talking about this album.  Finally I had the tape in my hands!  (It’s a shame I spent so much time in my collection lingering on the cassette format, but the car tape deck made it a natural choice.)  I loved the new heavier sound of “Primal Scream”.  The new remixes were just added value to me.  I eagerly awaited whatever heaviness Motley Crue were working on, without realising that the band were working on firing Vince Neil!

Although worlds seemed to be ending when highschool did, somehow life was still going on.  Many things did come to their natural conclusions, like friendships, rock bands and the Pepsi Power Hour, but other things had started to bloom.  Peter and I were to trek onto many 1990s adventures, for the human adventure always continues.



  1. What I loved about three hour night classes was that my Professor would alwayls let us out early. It was supposed to go 6-9 but we were never there past 7:45. Kickass.

    I only had one though. Political science. One guy was old enough to be my grandfather. There were only nine of us. It was interesting for sure. My schedule was really spread out, but my two uncles and my grandma lived in a two mile radius of the school. Made it easy to see people during the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know what Holen, I had a few like that. If they could finish up by 8 at the latest, they were happy and so were we. As I remember it, Anthropology was not one of those guys. But I liked him so much that it didn’t bother me at all.

      I remember on my first class on my first day of school…my Russian history prof, my very first prof…said “I don’t even want to teach this class this year. There’s too much going on in Russia right now.” GREAT. My first prof doesn’t even wanna be there.


  2. I’m not sure exactly what time frames quantify night classes in Canada, but the latest class I’ve had finished at 7:30. I did have a bunch finish at 6 though. 3 hour classes can be a drag though in the wrong circumstances. I had one day where I had a 1.5 hour class immediately followed by a 3 hour one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. >It’s a shame I spent so much time in my collection lingering on the cassette format, but the car tape deck made it a natural choice.

    In the ’80s, I continued to buy new music on LP (vinyl record) format…and I’d buy a blank cassette tape too. Then I’d record the music from the LP onto the tape, and play the tape in my car.

    I started to buy CDs in 1990 after I got my first CD player.

    (I saw Guns ‘N Roses in concert on the “Use Your Illusion” tour at the Tokyo Dome.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dad did that too. he’d buy an LP and record it on a tape when he got home, then listen to the tape whenever he wanted to hear the album. Now he has a bunch of near pristine 80’s LPs.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I’m glad you brought up this taping issue. I was quite particular about taping EVERY LP and EVERY CD that I owned so I could play them in the car. But this eventually became a tiring process, and expensive too, with so many blank tapes. Making all those covers. I decided the best thing to do was to get a CD player for the car. That is when I stopped taping.


  4. Leaving tape cover on dash board? Weren’t u worried about the sun damaging the covers? I once forgot vinyl I had just bought in the car in the summer. It was by Maggie’s Dream.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GREAT QUESTION. I wasn’t worried about tape cases on the dash for 2 or 3 hours. But I got special UV protection on my window at home to slow down the sun fading on my shelves.


  5. Great stuff.
    Mikey can’t drive 55! ha.
    I forgot to add yesterday that I’m with you when the Power Hour got slashed down to a half an hour that is sucked. I gave up on it as well. Poison was a massive disappointment and not just that CC solo it was the whole thing. It hurt my ears and after the Bobby Call performance earlier that year in Winnipeg I still can’t believe I bought this double piece of crap.. haha .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mikey always stuck to the speed limit back then, I was annoying!

      Yeah dude but you know what, I think we all bought that Poison album because So Tell Me Why was so good. And the packaging itself was good. C.C. started billing himself as Cecil, I recall. I thought that was interesting. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I was buying CDs and burning them to cassette for the car around that time. I had massive case that carried like 60 cassettes. Now, if I bought a Lep album, I bought CD and Cassette because I wanted to hear it on the way home from the store and not wait to burn it.
    That Poison Live album, I remember getting that for free as it was a promo from the Record Store I worked at the time.
    Great post Mike!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was recording all my CDs to tape as well. But stuff like Poison bugged me because to make it sound good, I had to manually fade out the track at the end of each side. Really painstaking…if I fucked it up I went back and rerecorded the whole side to get the fade out correct.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Operation:LiveCrime was a disappointment to you? I remember buying this thing and carrying round college all day as I bought it on the way in to town so no other bugger would grab it before me. I played it that night and as a live film, it blew my face off. I played it twice through. sure, it’s music production has been polished up but with the accompanying visuals, it’s a facemelter!
    As a box set, it’s a nice thing to have in the collection, especially as the band started to take the piss with live releases over the years after this release. The book is good and the CD is a nice addition.

    The Poison live was OK. It was good to get for So Tell Me Why and the other new songs which titles escape me now! As for Prisoners in Paradise, that’s a great record… Then again, my man love for Joey Tempest is no secret!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shit, Livecrime, I’m not sure how to explain this. I was certainly happy with the packaging and the even the VHS tape alone looked cool. (Mine snapped in 1996 which made me sad. I spliced it but have the DVD now so the VHS is happily retired in its box.)

      I guess it was the multitracked vocals that I was disappointed in. I’d never seen Queensryche live and I didn’t really like the use of backing tapes back then. And if I recall, Pamela Moore’s vocals were taped because they were identical to the album.

      Anyway, to be totally fair I would have to get the DVD and remastered CDs out, and give them a fair shake to say how I feel today. I probably wouldn’t care.

      So Tell Me Why, and the other new songs, were fucking awesome. Why can’t I remember the names now? No More Looking Back. And two more!


      1. On reflection, what you say about the tapes is spot on for LiveCrime and on a CD it does matter that you know that the string section and the backing and additional vocals are supported by tapes. I think that I always discount the live CD and always base my opinions on the movie since the fact that you can see Pamela Moore (miming or not) and Scott Rockenfield with his massive monitor cans on so he can keep to the click track and backing tape timings does add (strangely enough) an authentic feel to the film as they are at least acknowledging the use of the tapes… if you see what I mean?

        I still watch it surprisingly regularly (on the DVD now, of course) and I don’t think it’s aged too badly. Tate’s black leggings are a bit of their time, but I challenge you to look me in the eye and tell me that you wouldn’t want a cool denim jacket with “bastard” written on the back like Geoff has!

        The inter-cutting of the stage projections brings the show to life and there is a lot of energy in the performance and audience. It looks like it would have been an incredible night to see Queensryche and for that alone, the film works. It’s an Isham masterpiece.


    1. Haha thank you!

      I didn’t get that Decade of Decadence tape until years later, and I don’t really know why! I guess probably because I only had so much money to spend and I was spending less and less time watching videos. But when I did get it, I was like “How the hell did I let this one slip by me?”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. One of the things about blogging is you never know who is reading…

    Hi Mike, from Conrad in your grade 11 homeroom with Mr Schranz. Man you look different now. Where’d the hair go?

    Thanks for the article on 1991, which was, and always will be, the best year ever for a myriad of reasons. I friggin’ left my 1991 yearbook behind when I returned to the UK. Damn, I’d pay good money to get a copy.

    For me too, there is definitely pre-1991 and post-1991 as two distinct life episodes.

    G.R. was weird for me being 2 years younger than you and therefore taking classes across three grades. Your grade was the best, the funniest, never taking themselves too seriously and always finding the funny in anything. The grade below were mostly arrogant, pretentious and narcissistic, but it had its good eggs. And below that, there was a fractured identity of niners yet to find themselves.

    Having a grade 11 home room when a niner meant I ended up knowing people from grade 13 then, all the way through to new niners by the time I properly was in grade 13 myself. That made for a lot of friends, a lot of fun times.

    I always wanted to return to Canada, but as I went away to uni in the UK, I found out that I’d need 6 years of work experience to guarantee the points to get through the Canadian visa system, and in that time, things change. First at uni and trying to start a fresh episode of educational life like it was back in Canada, and then in the real world of work. I found myself in many a circumstance where I felt I would never go back and I consequently lost touch with the people I occasionally kept in touch with. It was more my age at the time which meant I was just crap at remembering to keep in touch with people, with weeks becoming days, months and eventually years. Nobody should make that mistake.

    My friends back then were tight knit, many of the guys and gals among them got married, so now many of them are related family.Knowing this from afar seems quite surreal, but I think it’s also a tribute to them and something I am proud of them for.

    I secretly loved somebody in my social circle and was too dumb to know it (because it was more than hormonal and I wasn’t used to attraction that wasn’t based on hormonal response) until I got on the plane back to the UK. Despite moving on, coz you have to, and being married for 12 years and now divorcing, I cannot help but think sometimes of some Fleetwood Mac lyrics about remembering the face of a pretty girl on the other side of the world. OK, Fleetwood Mac is hardly the sort of rock your websites about. But 1991 was the middle of my time in Canada and I loved it. At the time, I was listening to GNR, Van Halen, Skid Row and Ozzy Ozborne, among others.

    I often wonder what happened with all the others from our grade 11 home room.

    Anyway, thanks for the trip down memory lane. I me be British on paper, but my heart is forever Canadian. Even you are part of the reason why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember you Conrad! That was the best class. The best! The happiest class and home room I ever had.

      I remember for our final project we had to write a video game in BASIC. I accidentally erased mine and they couldn’t get it back. I had to start over from scratch!

      This will for sure bring back memories — this is a music video I recorded with a few classmates in 1989-1990. I hope some things look familiar to you!

      Sorry to hear about the divorce man. 12 years married here but no divorce.



      1. I remember Chris H and Anthony B. Chris went off to DeVry though paid us a visit every now and then. I was in some other classes with Chris. An all around great guy on every level.

        That home room was always a laugh. What I remember from you (strangely) is your impression of the Macho Man Randy Savage! That and the story writing with Anand, yourself, A.B. and M.T.

        But that was ’89.

        The reason ’91 was a surreal year for me is that my folks returned to England, but I stayed in Canada. They left the day after I turned 17. I didn’t really have the self-discipline for study that Canadian kids had, so went a bit off the rails, although it all came good in the end. I was far more used to the English system of parroting information and only being motivated to do homework to avoid detention. That didn’t happen in Canada if I didn’t do homework. UK classes were still like Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall video with authoritarian teachers. So in Canada, I kind of coasted for a while and got into heaps of things I shouldn’t have – some of which would make your blog need a ‘R’ rating if I posted it.

        Then there were the ‘bush parties’. And me living with various people – at one point, the guys who ran the Kitchener occult store! (I know that closed years ago).

        I recall getting banned from the computer lab for some hacking incident that wasn’t me. I wasn’t even using the computer lab anymore. It wasn’t the only time I would get into that sort of trouble.

        I got suspended later when I found out somebody had created a phishing login screen and was harvesting passwords. I was able to determine who and make their account display a message on login that they shouldn’t be doing that. I thought, because the culprit was a friend, that they would realize they’d been caught and just stop. But instead they reported it, the school made an assumption it was me who left the message (which I didn’t deny), and we both got suspended together for 2 weeks.

        Don’t sweat the divorce. It was a good marriage for the most part. But I married somebody much younger than me who transpired to be living a lie (partly due lack of self-acceptance and self-deceit) who ultimately came out as gay. Nothing to do but accept it and move on.

        Now it’s just me and trusty a Basset Hound. Thankfully no kids to worry about.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Macho Man impression was like my only thing back then! I can still do it, it hurts more now though. I also used to do this thing where I would bend my finger all the way back to my wrist.

          Here is something I remember about that computer class. You might have been there for some of this. I remember someone had figured out the teacher password for the network. The password was that they had no passwords – just a login and press “enter”. So once word got around, some of us started adding icons to our home screens that we weren’t supposed to have. I was staying late after school working on my project, the computer game. One night one of us got caught. A janitor saw us fucking around, adding icons and erasing them, and got wise. The teachers implemented passwords immediately after!

          I also remember sending annoying emails back and forth — I would send like 100 emails, and the only way to delete them was to read them. And then I remember one morning trying to pick a fight with you over Roman Empire and British Empire via email. I really don’t know why I did that, but I hope you forgive me now!


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