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.