Blackout in the Red Room

Lockdown Video #7: Mail Day!

#827: Freestylin’ 5 – Brave New World

GETTING MORE TALE #827: Freestylin’ 5 – Brave New World

Oh, how so much has changed in such a short time. The conveniences I once took for granted are now dearly missed. I feel as if I am living in the early chapters of an old undiscovered dystopian fiction novel. Then there is the paranoia I feel when we get such mixed signals from all around. Don’t go out! But this store is offering pickups. Wear a mask! But only if you’re not able to be more than 2 metres away from the next person. Or not. And what kind of masks? It’s a surreal day that ends with a phone call with your mother about what kind of mask she’s wearing these days.

Look at classic science fiction.  There are very few that feature gloves as part of regular daily attire that are not dystopias!

Because I feel it’s appropriate, I’m listening to Kilroy Was Here by Styx for inspiration while I write.

“We all need control.  I need control.  We all need control.”

And to think we were led to believe that the future dystopia would involve robots and rock & roll rebels.

On the other hand, I feel like I’ve been rehearsing for this my whole life.  In spite of losing hundreds of books and movies in a recent purge (to be discussed in full in another chapter), I still have dozens unwatched and unread here to enjoy.  I was saving them for the proverbial “rainy day”.  Who was to know it was going to be three months of rain?

As a classic introvert, I tended to spend most of my time indoors anyway, nose buried in a laptop, headphones on.  I never particularly sought busy weekends of going out and being social.  I left that to Jen while I did my own thing.  She’s managing as well as anyone else.  What I really miss are the luxuries.  Dropping in at the parents house to steal groceries from their fridge for a visit.  Going out for a medium rare steak when you’re craving it.  Wandering the aisles at the record store.  Even ordering from Amazon.

I am a creature of habit, but with more emphasis on spending locally in social media, a thought occurred to me.  Why am I relying on Amazon for music?  We have Encore Records here in town, and they have been advertising that they ship.  The other day, John at 2loud2oldmusic mentioned that there was a new Joe Satriani coming out.  I liked the track he posted, so I checked and Encore had it in stock.

I don’t believe in ordering “just one” of anything so I browsed a bit and quickly filled my cart.  I searched for “Coverdale” (hey, you never know if something previously unheard will pop up) and their very smart search engine returned me a hit for all his stuff plus some related albums like Vandenberg.  Good ol’ Dekes has long asserted their brilliance so why not?  It looked like it’s probably one of those sweet Rock Candy reissues.  Love/Hate’s Blackout in the Red Room is an album I’ve wanted for 30 years but never pulled the trigger on until now.  It has three bonus tracks thanks to Rock Candy’s fine series of reprints.  Finally, King Kobra’s second CD Thrill of a Lifetime made it an even four.

I picked my shipping, hit the Paypal button and later the next day they had my order processed.  I’m going to have new music this week!  And plenty of it too!

New music helps keep up the illusion that things are still “normal”, while they are actually anything but.  You can pretend for a while.  I’ll sanitize the parcel when it arrives, a stark foreshadow of what the “new” normal will be like.  I’ll wash my hands when I’ve removed and discarded the cellophane.  Only then will I allow myself to enjoy the CDs without the reminders.

A wise person recently told me that now is the time to spread kindness.  I’m trying to remember that.  Part of that includes being kind to yourself.  I bought myself some CDs.  Don’t be afraid to treat yourself if you can.  I know we’re not all in a situation where we are financially able to do that.  I’m part of an essential service.  As much as I resented that at first, I’m really grateful for it.

As I try to be kind to myself, a dark side of me whispers in my ear.  “You’re being careless.  Everything you let enter the house is a threat.  You already suffer asthma.  You’re not paying attention to the statistics.  You should be working from home.”

We are all facing our own personal struggles right now.  I know a few people who have it bad, real bad, and I can’t do a damn thing to help them except be here to listen.  It’s a small gesture, but can be a huge one in some circumstances.  Don’t underestimate your own personal value as a human being that can listen.

My hopes are high that we will get through this together.  Together, separately.  Humans have a remarkable capacity to work together when we want to.  I don’t dare put a timeline on this in my mind.  I try to take it one day and one week at a time.  We have made it through another week, and all we have to do now is keep on keepin’ on.

So keep on keepin’ on, my friends.

Part 220: Blackout!

RECORD STORE TALES Part 220:  Blackout!

It seems like only last year, but in fact it was 10 years ago today.  One of the only times we ever closed the store early was the Great Blackout of 2003.  If you lived in, well, North America, you probably remember Blackout 2003.

I recall closing up shop in the mid-afternoon.  It was obvious the power wasn’t coming back on, but the phones were working.  We got the call to do our best to close up without power, and head home.

For many people, particularly in Toronto, this turned out to be an exceptional evening.  People left their homes, went out and socialized.  Many went to the beach.  Me, I just sat at home and read a book until it was too dark to read.  Then I turned in.

I fell asleep quickly, it was so quiet.  Suddenly I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing.  I reached  for my watch, my eyes trying to focus on the glowing hands.  4:30 am.  I didn’t know what to think.

On the other end was Brandon “You Are So Punk”, who worked at our Niagara Falls location.  That first night, they incredibly still had power, although that wasn’t going to last!

“Man, why are you calling?” I yawned.  “It’s 4:30 in the morning.”

Brandon paused.  “What are you talking about?”

Frustrated, I answered, “I’m looking at my watch, you’re calling me at 4:30 in the morning!”

Brandon paused again, and answered simply, “Dude.  Your watch is upside down.  It’s 10:00 pm. I just got home from work.”

D’Oh!

The next day, Friday the 15th, the power was restored in the early morning.  Still, we weren’t supposed to be open.  The government had advised all non-essential businesses to stay closed, and not put additional strain on our fried power grid.  Us being so essential, were open (of course).  That is until about mid-afternoon when we again had to close, due to rolling blackouts.  The shit thing about that was that we were absolutely slammed with people that morning, we were overwhelmed.  A lot of them were what I called “tire kickers” — they like to ask you a lot of questions but they don’t buy anything.  Since nobody was open except us and a few other “essential” businesses, it was like a holiday for the general public.  People brought in used discs by the box load to sell, I kid you not.  I went through 300 discs from one guy alone.  I had him leave his box behind because it was going to take a couple hours to go through, and then we ended up closing while he was out.  He came back a few days later for his cash and unwanted discs (which was most of them).

When people reflect back on the blackout, they usually have fond memories and stories.  Not me!  I remember shit stories!  Oh!  And I had to throw out all the meat that I had bought that day before work too, because the fridge had no power.  Fuck you, blackouts!

DSC_0073.jpg