RECORD STORE TALES #944: Mosquito Song
With all apologies, if the climate change crisis means that I can wear shorts in October, then I cannot help but think that all clouds do have silver linings.
Levity, folks! Just a little levity.
Jen and I ditched our fall coats, and hit the road Friday afternoon. On the car deck: the last live discs of the massive Metallica 2021 box set. This was the 1993 Mannheim Germany show. As we headed into a series of electrifying encores, Jen asked where the crowd was. 17 minutes of “Seek & Destroy” went by awkwardly as the band asked for the audience to follow along, but no audible responses came through the speakers. They must not have mic’ed the audience for that show.
Aside from the music, the drive up was awful. Stuck behind farm machinery and long lines of cars, we took several detours to drive on clear roads. Running out of Metallica*, I switched over to The Darkness’ Last of Our Kind for the final hour of our agonizingly long drive.
When we got there though…
It was a beautiful day that felt like late August, in early October! I did the only thing I could: I put on my shorts and proceeded to rock out. I thought the days of setting up my speakers on the front porch at the lake were over for the year. How elated I was to be wrong! And the place was utterly deserted. People don’t often come in October, thinking the weather would be cold and rainy. It was anything but.
Speakers and laptop ready, I began the weekend with some Ghost. Here’s the fascinating part. I hit “play” on their most recent album Prequelle, and I found it unexpectedly fit in perfectly with the setting. At the lake, I often like to play old music that takes me back in time like a Tardis. It’s the perfect environment, because so much of my musical discovery happened in that place. Three tracks in particular fit the mood like a glove: “Rats”, “Danse Macabre” and “Miasma”. Suddenly I was transported back to an alternate 1986 where these were my favourite songs. It was trippy and very cool.
My mind went to that place again. Grade 8 graduation and the final farewell to the Catholic school system and all the bullies it built. I could see myself onstage singing to them.
“In times of turmoil, in times like these,
Beliefs contagious, spreading disease.”
I wondered if, in my alternate reality 1986, the teachers pulled the plug on me singing “Rats”. I would probably do better singing “Danse Macabre”.
“You’ll soon be hearing the chime, close to midnight,
If I could turn back the time, I’d make all right.”
Little does Papa Emeritus know, I’m getting quite good at turning back the time. All it takes is a song. Those three Ghost songs are easy for anyone to pretend it’s still the late 80s. They would have fit right in. All it takes is the right song in the right setting and I’m there.
There’s one Ghost song that I wish I could take back in time and play on graduation night back in the Catholic days. That would be the evil “Ritual”. Certain lines, at least.
“Tonight, we’re summoned for a divine cause,
Remembrance, no, but for their future loss.”
Ahh, to fantasize. I really resented that place. Music was my release from Catholic hell.
Before too much time in 1986 had elapsed, I found my body back in 2021 being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Little ones with voracious appetites. Enjoying their unexpected fall snack, they were relentless. At one point I raised my electric “bug zapper” over my head. I only wish I had been recording, because in a couple swipes I could hear dozens of bugs fying. 20 or 30 in just one swoop. Little explosions like a machine gun popping, but never running out of ammo. The war against mosquitoes could not be won outside, so I reluctantly took it indoors.
Very strangely unseasonal, but as we get warmer year after year, this is the kind of surprise we’ll have to get used to. Being outside was less hazardous if you kept moving, so I spent plenty of time exploring. I discovered an old, heavily decayed vertebra of some kind. It looked larger than human. A deer, most likely?
The ground was layered with mushrooms of many different types, and they were everywhere. 40 years ago when contractors were building out cottage, a group of Italians scavenged for mushrooms. They knew which ones were good to eat. I didn’t even consider taking that risk and instead just took pictures of some. As I wandered around, there were many more, far denser, but I did not bring my camera. It was like living in Mario Town.
Outnumbering the mushrooms were the mosquitoes, and eventually I could take them no longer. I sought refuge inside. But they had gotten through the screen, and made mists of mosquitoes beneath the lamps. It was mosquito hell!
As are all weekends, this one was too brief. Instead of being sad for the waning of the season, we were just glad to have had an amazing weekend in October. And maybe we’ll even make it back one more time. We’ll see what the weeks left hold.
* We still have two interview discs to go, but I didn’t want to listen to 45 minutes of Lars chewing his gum in the car.