Kingston

#904: 2000 Dates

A sequel to #616:  None of My Exes Live in Texas (But One Lives in Thunder Bay)
and #903: Online Dating in the Brave New World

 

RECORD STORE TALES #904: 2000 Dates

When I think back on the year 2000, I realize, holy shit:  I went on a lot of dates that year.  Most of them were first dates; things generally weren’t working out for me.  When I look back,  I can’t believe how many there were.  I’ve already talked about “Hamilton #1”, “Toronto”, “Hamilton #2” (in detail!) and briefly “Kingston”.  But there were more.  Many more.  Some names are forgotten; the rest are redacted.  The cities and places are clear in my memory.

“Kingston” was cute and I fell for her hard over the telephone.  I remember finding it cool that she wore mismatched socks on purpose.  Some people teased me for that.  But she was quirky and had great taste in music.  She was a musician; a really good one too.  She came up to visit me one weekend.  We met in the parking lot of the Cambridge Record Store as it was right off the highway.  We drove from there to the cottage where we spent the night.  She brought her acoustic guitar and played some of her original tunes for me.  She also brought her copy of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  The next day we came back to Waterloo for a Record Store party.  You can see why I liked her.

I was supposed to visit her in Kingston next.  The day of departure, there was a massive accident on highway 401.  I was stuck in it for hours and ultimately had to turn back home.  Things fizzled out from there.  She was planning on going to school in Thunder Bay, and while I said “no problem, I can do long distance relationships,” it was not meant to be.  Kingston is four hours away by car.  Thunder Bay takes a whole day, unless you fly.  It wasn’t going to work and I reluctantly had to let her go.  She already knew there was no future to it; I was the holdout.

I wasn’t over her yet, but immediately I jumped into dating once more.  It was a new girl every two weeks.  I was on the rebound.

“Guelph 1” was nice.  She was a student, who had long black synthetic dreadlocks.  The most memorable thing about her was that she was legally blind.  Maybe that was one reason why she went out with me!  She could see, she could get around, but her vision was impaired enough that she was classified as blind.   This meant that she actually got in to movies for free.  She had to sit in the very front row to see anything, but that was OK by me.

We went to see The Cell, starring Jennifer Lopez, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Vince Vaughn.  It was shit, but good enough for a date movie.   We actually went out a second time, after she had relocated to Hamilton.  But she wasn’t into me and there wasn’t much chemistry aside from a couple pleasant dates.

That’s not be confused with “Hamilton #3”.  I distinctly remember going to have coffee in Hamilton with a girl I never saw again.  I can’t recall any other details about her.  She had short black hair?  I think she brought a friend with her?  I got somewhat lost on my way back home (as I usually did when visiting Hamilton) but managed to turn myself around this time without having to call for directions.

“Toronto #2” was more memorable.  I felt a little weird that I was meeting her in the same parking lot as “Kingston”, but she didn’t need to know that.   We wanted to get a bite to eat, so we headed over to East Side Mario’s in the mall next door.

“Make sure we get a smoking table,” she said.

To her surprise, I answered “No such thing here!”

“Whaaaat?” she exclaimed.

Unbeknownst to her, the region had implemented an indoor smoking ban on January 1 2000.  They don’t pay attention to Kitchener news in Toronto, so she had no idea.  Not happy!  That was our only date.  The indoor smoking ban was a trial run, and it was soon enforced everywhere else.  There was a lot of complaining then, and a temporary dip in revenues at bingo halls.  Just like with Covid lockdowns today, many establishments fought the ban and were served up hefty fines.  Things bounced back eventually.

Not me though.  I was still rebounding.  Around the same time as  “Toronto #2” came “London”.  That was my first drive-in movie in 15 years.  The setting was more memorable than the movie, which was the Kevin Bacon turd called Hollow Man.  All I can really remember is the windows fogging up – and we weren’t even doing anything.

Then came “Mississauga”.  This is the one I felt worst about.  Most of the other dates were just dates.  We went out, we hung out, we went home.  “Mississauga” met me at the local Chapters store and we went book shopping.  Then, I believe, we went to see a movie.  I can’t remember exactly because the night ended with us making out in the back seat of my car.  Although I felt cool as hell at the time for having finally made out with a girl in the back seat of a car, afterwards I felt shitty.  She went home, and we never saw each other again.  I didn’t like that.  I was really confused, working my way through all these feelings.  But it was a mutual thing.  She didn’t call me, and I didn’t call her.

“Guelph #2” was the second last date of the year 2000.  Also a student.  Nice enough girl; we went out a couple times.  I think the moment I bailed was when she messaged me one weekend telling about this other guy she was hanging out with.  I had no problem with her seeing another guy.  We had just gone on a couple dates, we weren’t exclusive or anything like that.  It was the nature of this one specific message that scared me away.

“I’m here with a guy and his penis is stuck in a bottle!” she said.

All the best of luck to ya!  I didn’t have any follow-up questions.

At the same time, I had just met “Kitchener #1”.  The year was coming to an end.  I was 28.  I was tired.  I had done all the rebounding a man could do.  I was ready, but the first date didn’t work out as well as I hoped.  We went to the Boathouse and had lunch.  Afterwards she sent me an email titled “Let’s Hang”.  She just wanted to be friends.  I was OK with that because I did like her, and I thought, “Being friends is OK.  Nothing wrong with that.  I would like more friends.”

Right around the time some dude in Guelph was struggling to remove his penis from a bottle, “Kitchener” was having second thoughts.  We got along really well, and had continued to hang out as she wanted to.  A few weeks after that first date at the Boathouse, she had a change of heart.  She asked if I was still interested and I was.

And so, as the year 2000 ended (and with it the millennium), so did my misadventures in dating!  “Kitchener” and I stuck together for two years which was the longest relationship I ever had at that point.  We had good times.  She became like a member of the family.  In fact she still has Christmases with our family today, even though we split in 2003.  When I finally met my true soulmate Jennifer, my ex attended my wedding.  I liked that we were able to do that.  And now, my dating days are truly over!

 

 

 

REVIEW: The Glorious Sons – Shapeless Art (2013 EP)

Welcome to the Week of Ontario Bands! A brainchild of BoppinsBlog, Ontario Bands Week will focus on favourites from our home province of Ontario Canada. Participating sites include Keeps Me Alive, Stick It In Your Ear, and 1001 Albums in 10 Years. Let’s give’r!

KINGSTON.

scan_20170212THE GLORIOUS SONS – Shapeless Art (2013 Black Box EP)

There has been a wave of exciting new bands from Ontario Canada in the last several years.  The Arkells (Hamilton), July Talk (Toronto), The Standstills (Oshawa), Monster Truck (Hamilton) and The Glorious Sons (Kingston) have been leading the charge on radio.  Each band is unique and unlike the others.  It is hard to pick a favourite, but The Glorious Sons truly are something special.  Their debut EP showcased secret weapon, lead singer Brett Emmons.  Rarely do you come across such a genuinely soulful rock singer from the snowy climbs of Ontario.  Instead Emmons sounds like he probably hailed from Mississippi or Louisiana.  He has enviable range and power, all substance with plenty of style.

The Glorious Sons’ debut EP, Shapeless Art, was mixed by fellow countryman Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar, Grady)*.  Johnson has a blues pedigree and the sheen he adds to the sonics is the cherry on top of some excellent songs.  The first two tracks are now rock radio staples:  “White Noise” and “Mama”.  These are different mixes than the ones released on debut LP The Union.  The familiar crashing and bashing of “White Noise” is welcome any time any day.  You can’t help but feel recharged after one listen.  “Mama” sounds like the deep south in the middle of summer.  It is definitely meant for good times.

The other three songs are unique to the EP.  Title track “Shapeless Art” sprints along with gently picked clean guitars instead of crunchy chords.  It has power, drama and catchy “whoo hoo hoo” backing vocals.  “Ruby” on the other hand builds slowly from a somber piano base.  By the end it’s an absolute party.  You can picture the crowd jumping up and down singing along, until it feedbacks to an ending.  The centerpiece though is “Baby”, a re-recording of an old music video they made independently.  Where the music video was vocalized by Jay Emmons, Brett sings it with him on the EP version.  It finally sounds fully realized, probably recorded, full power extracted and concentrated.  With “Baby” now sounding armed and ready to go, the Shapeless Art EP is complete and one of the most exciting releases of its kind in many moons.

 

“Baby” original music video version

Whether you check out this fabulous EP or The Union LP, or their brand new single “Kill the Lights”, do what you have to do to get this band in your ears.  You won’t mind if they move in right to your brain, because listening to the Glorious Sons is an absolute pleasure.  We look forward to their next album due some time in 2017.  If the pattern holds true, they will be hitting the radio again with another steady stream of quality singles.  May as well get ready for stocking up this winter on old Glorious Sons.  Shapeless Art would be a recommended first purchase.

4.5/5 stars

*Johnson has lived in Windsor Ontario, as well as Alberta, Winnipeg and Texas.

CHECK OUT THE GLORIOUS SONS’ NEW SINGLE, “KILL THE LIGHTS”!

REVIEW: The Glorious Sons – The Union (2014)


TGS_0001THE GLORIOUS SONS – The Union (2014 Canada Factor)

Kingston Ontario is home to several great Canadian rock artists:  The Tragically Hip, Hugh Dillon and the Headstones, Sarah Harmer and Weeping Tile, and many more.  I dated a girl from Kingston about 15 years ago and guess what!  She was a musician.  (I even reviewed her CD for her back in the day!)  The place is a musical hotbed and The Glorious Sons are my latest favourite band to hail from there.

The Sons have been earning a lot of radio play thanks to four great singles.  The one that first gained my attention last year was “White Noise”.  The way the singer (Brett Emmons) enunciates caught my ear.  He has a unique sort of drawl to accompany his powerful rasp.  The first two things that initially catch me about a band are usually the singer first and the song second.  Turns out the Glorious Sons have both on “White Noise”; a brilliant track with a dark celebratory vibe.  It sure sounds Canadian to me:  guitars, bass, drums, singer, song.  There’s a certain type of “Canadian Rawk” that the Glorious Sons inhabit a corner of, and I don’t mind at all.

“Lightning” is the current single I’m hearing on the airwaves.  It is a spiritual companion to “White Noise”.  It has a slow burn to it, and a killer vocal performance by Emmons.  Four of the five Sons are credited to backing vocals, and “Lightning” has those “ahh ahh’s” that help bump a chorus into the stratosphere.  For a harder rocking single, check out “Heavy”.  Better get your boots on because this one will get your ass swaying.  The fourth strong single I’ve been hearing is the southern flavoured “Mama”.  Sounding something like an undiscovered Skynyrd track via the Black Crowes’ By Your Side, it’s plenty fun and gets the hips movin’.

Thankfully, The Union is more than just a few good songs on the radio.  This is evident on the slow-building opener “Man Made Man” which sounds like good old 1980’s hard rock!  Once again the band cover the backing vocals, keeping everything sweet enough for hit potential.  “Hard Times” is another hard rock standout.  The cool thing about the Glorious Sons is that not only could they be very big now, but they could have been very big in 1989!  This kind of celebratory rock would have been right up my younger-self’s alley. “The Contender” covers the badass rock vibe, and what could be more Canadian than a song called “Gordie”? “I wanna be like Gord Downie!” sings Emmons, name-checking his home town hero on this campfire rock track. “The Union”, “Lover Under Fire” and “Amigo” round out the album, a strong collection of songs overall.  All these songs share strong hooks, great singing and a soulful rock sound.  “Amigo” is a nice mellow piano track to close the album.  Not a poor song in the bunch.

I’m very happy with my purchase of The Union by The Glorious Sons, an up and coming band for sure.  And for $12 on Amazon, the price sure was right!

4/5 stars

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