piercings

#934: What Now?

RECORD STORE TALES #934:  What Now?

I sound like a broken record at the end of every summer.  It’s tough to keep the spirits up at this time of year.  It’s likely I’ve taken my last swim of 2021.  Next time we get to the lake, the sun will be down by the time we arrive.  And then will come the day it is covered with snow, and empty for the winter slumber.

Music helps – music always, always helps.  So does writing.  But it is an annual challenge.

When I was a kid, the end of August would signal the start of the “sad times”.  The back-to-school ads.   Reminders that I was going to have to spend another year with a bunch of bullies again.  Then the colder weather started to roll in.  Our family would take two weeks of vacation in August but back then, they were two cold, rainy weeks. (Not like today.)  You had to start dressing in long pants and sweat shirts.

Shopping for notebooks and new school clothes.  Realizing that a few weeks of warm freedom were about to be replaced by 10 months of misery.  I hated Labour Day weekend.  Back to the “hell hole” as my sister would say.  These feelings stick with me today.  I can’t flip the calendar from August to September without them.

Even though I’m not in school anymore, the heavy heart returns.  I now know that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder and it’s something I need to fight every fall.

Last year was a success!  I avoided the seasonal depression.  I spent my summer making lots of videos, to take me back there in my mind when I needed it.  I also had the show, the LeBrain Train, to look forward to every weekend.  This year is different.  The videos and photos don’t have the same impact two years in a row, and since May the LeBrain Train has become more of a burden than a joy.  I need something new to keep my spirits up this winter, and I don’t yet know what that is.  It is true that we have a long September ahead, warm but shorter days.  I hope this mitigating factor helps.  I think what I really need is some new creative spark to keep me looking forward.  Last year it was the LeBrain Train but the burnout factor has ensured that I need something fresh that I can look forward to from September to May.

What used to cheer me up at this time of year?

As a kid I used to be excited for a new season of the Pepsi Power Hour which hasn’t existed in 30 years.  I don’t watch a lot of TV these days, but fortunately Marvel has constant content forthcoming on Disney+.  We have a new Iron Maiden album to look forward to, but the idea of new music from my favourite bands doesn’t have the same excitement factor as when I was 15 years old.  Yes I’m happy there is a new Iron Maiden coming, but compared to the sheer expectation of Seventh Son coming out in ’88?  No chills.

It feels like…work?  Like I haven’t finished digesting The Book of Souls and here comes another one.  I can’t remember how half that album goes, and now we have a new one to get to know.  It’s not like in the old days when I felt literally starved of Iron Maiden because I’d played all their albums over and over and over.  Now, there are so many that you don’t necessarily even play them all in a year.

Back then, getting a new Iron Maiden album felt just as amazing as a new Star Wars or Marvel movie today.  Something you have been anticipating for a while.  Music videos were like movie trailers.  We’d watch repeatedly, we’d pause, and we’d slo-mo trying to glimpse details.  Costumes, instruments, stage sets, all of it.

When I was working at the Record Store, I still didn’t know that this seasonal depression thing was real and not just me.  It often came and went in spurts.  I used to call them a “big blue funk”.  2003 was a very “funky” year for me.  I’d been dumped (twice) by my Radio Station Girl, and even with a new Iron Maiden in my back pocket (Dance of Death, and also a new Deep Purple called Bananas) I still felt like I needed to do something to help me get through the winter.  And there was something I used to do to pick myself up back then, especially if I had my heart broke.  Yes, broken hearts are for assholes, but I chose to get new holes.  On September 3, I went to Stigmata in Guelph and got my nose pierced.

It was my third visit to the tattoo studio that year.  After Radio Station Girl dumped me, I got my lip pierced at Stigmata.  A couple months later I got my tragus pierced — that piece of cartilage at the opening of your ear.  A friend of mine named Lois Sarah had just started piercing there and if I remember the details correctly, I was a guinea pig.  It’s fun to go back and read my notes!

Lois asked if I was ready. I said yes, and she asked me to take a deep breath and exhale….

I said, “Wow, I didn’t feel a thing.”

Lois said, “That’s because it’s not through yet.”

I felt the needle go through at least 3 distinct layers of cartilage. Each one hurt more than the last. On the last layer, I said, “FUCK” and both my legs shot out. 

Lois did a great job and it’s the one piercing that I do still have.

But September 3 2003 was just my nose, nothing too painful.  It was Labour Day weekend once more, and I decided to go for it.  Normally I went to get a piercing with a “wingman” but this was my first time going alone.  I distinctly remember wearing my Iron Bitchface T-shirt.  An uber-cool looking guy with a massive afro shot me an approving glance, so I felt good from the get-go.

I was led to the back room, but not before washing up my hands with disinfectant gel. I sat down in the Very Big Chair, as I liked to call it, and Lois prepared the goods. She marked my nostril with a dot and got the position right where I wanted it. Then she applied some iodine to the area, both inside and out. She tested out the position of the receiving tube, and finally asked me to take a deep breath.  As I exhaled, the needle went in no problem. Almost no pain at all. I’ve been pinched harder.  (By your mom.)

The rest of the year still sucked, nose ring or not.  It was the year of working with the Dandy, a manchild that drove me slowly mad as he sucked up to the big-wigs.  Work was miserable and not getting any better.  But at least I was proactive, and did something that I thought would help.  Something that helped in the past.

I’ve been there and done that with piercings, and though I like the look of them, I don’t enjoy the upkeep.  I prefer to spend my money on something more permanent, like a tattoo.  That’s something to consider, but I think I need to look elsewhere for a bright spot this winter.  Maybe I will find my joy in the live show once again, but I can’t count on it.  Truth be told, I haven’t been feeling it as much since May.  I remember telling Deke that I was struggling and he suggested back then that I take a break.  But I didn’t feel like I could take that break until the end of the summer.  And here we are.

So now I search for some new slant on my creative outlet to revitalize me.  Something to look forward to regularly.  I was very lucky during the winter of 2020-2021.  I hope I can pull it off again!

 

#822: Record Store Daze – Gallery #6

As time goes on, old photos are more and more fun to dig up.

This batch dates back to 2004-2005.

First up, I have a feeling a marillion.com order came in!  I was one of thousands who pre-ordered the double Marbles album and got my name in the credits.  In the following picture it’s the singles for “You’re Gone”!  Two CDs and a (UK) DVD.  I had to have them all even though I couldn’t play the DVD back in 2004.

 

Ahh, this is a good one.  Sarge from Metal Fatigue in Bournemouth, England was visiting his friends The Legendary Klopeks in Canada.  That’s Josh “Sweet Pepper” Klopek holding my hand.  Hey man, I’ll take any support I can get when a bald British dude is shoving a needle through my flesh.  Sarge did the piercing in my home, the first and only time I have had such a comfortable piercing experience!  Josh has a black eye because of the onstage punishment he took nightly.

These two photos were taken with cardboard standees with webcams, but for the time, they looked pretty good.

Just some goofing around.  I was doing some live streaming, it looks like.  And the Wheaties box may have been done by Sarge!

WORST.  MASCOT.  EVER.

 

Finally, these last two pictures are really special.  They were taken the day before I met Jen.  It’s strange that they are the only ones timestamped.  But I would have known the date regardless.  The Bob Marley and Slash shirts are obviously new (you can see the tag) and I bought those shirts the day before I met my wife.  I bought them at St. Jacob’s farmer’s market, on a date with another girl.  It was memorable because it didn’t go well.  She was really hurrying me along when I was looking at shirts.  I knew it wasn’t going to work out.  The next day I met Jen.  She wrote about her side of it in Getting More Tale #434:  The Man in the Bob Marley Shirt.  If I had chosen the other shirt to wear that day, maybe the story would have been called The Man in the Slash Shirt!

 

 

RECORD STORE TALES Part 171:  Record Store Gallery
RECORD STORE TALES Part 279:  Record Store Gallery Deux
RECORD STORE TALES Part 280:  Record Store Gallery III – Furry Friends
RECORD STORE TALES Part 311:  Record Store Gallery IV (Shite Photies)
GETTING MORE TALE #607:  Every Picture Tells a Story

Sunday Chuckle: Get Pierced!

I found this crate, pictured below, at work amongst a pile of old tools.  I thought I worked in a steel mill?!  What the heck kind of work do we do around here anyway?!

Part 311: Record Store Gallery IV (Shite Photies)

RECORD STORE TALES Part 311: Record Store Gallery IV (Shite Photies)

This is what it’s come to in this crap-fest known as Record Store Tales:  Another batch of semi-embarrassing photos of a much younger and thinner LeBrain.  These are from a party circa 2003 or so.  I can’t remember the names of anybody in these photos except one, which is Jesse Villemaire (last photo), the owner of Thrive tattoo studios in Cambridge.  I can’t remember a single other name!

Long time LeBrain readers will recall that vintage Marillion tour shirt (that I don’t fit into anymore) from Part 126:  The Marillion Shirt.

Part 273: Purp Ate My Balls Redux: Special Edition

RECORD STORE TALES Part 273:
Purp Ate My Balls Redux: Special Edition

I am thrilled to have discovered all the missing pictures of the infamous “Purp Ate My Balls” gallery.  This isn’t everyone who owned the shirt, just the ones who took pictures.

What’s the “Purp Ate My Balls” shirt?  Well, to quote the original story, Part 227:

10 years ago my online handle was “Purpendicular.”  (Gee, where did I get that name from?)  ”Purp” made a good short-form nickname.  For whatever reason…and believe me I wish I could remember…Sarge decided to make and give out 40 or 50 “Purp Ate My Balls” shirts!  He gave them to all his shop employees (Metal Fatigue in Bournemouth) and I’m pretty sure all the Klopeks ended up with them too.

Here’s a whole lotta pictures of English people wearing me on their shirts!

I also found the original photo that started it all!

PURP ATE MY BALLS

Part 245: Metal in my Ears

RECORD STORE TALES Part 245:  Metal in my Ears

and bonus “Shit LeBrain’s Dad Says”

Even though ear piercings on men at the record store were against our backwards “body piercing policy”, I thought for years about getting my ears pierced.  Thought about it, never really did anything about it.  This inaction went way back, even in highschool I just never got my ears pieced.  I came close on summer holidays after graduation.  Today, My Favourite Aunt still blames me for the day my cousin came home with his ear pierced.  It happened like this…

Bob, myself, cousin

Bob, myself, cousin – 1991

Summer holidays ’91, my cousin was visiting from Calgary, Alberta.  By coincidence, my friend Bob had decided to spend a few days at our cottage with the whole family, which was cool by me.   Bob was like family.  My cousin liked to be active.  He was never the type to sit quietly.  Or do anything quietly.

He kept telling us that wanted to get his ear pierced.  We decided, “Hey, why don’t we all drive into town, and the three of us get our ears pierced?”  We found a hair salon on Queen Street in Kincardine, Ontario called The Clan that did ears (gun-style).  Somehow, on the way there, Bob chickened out.  He said, “You know, I’m starting my new job next week.  I don’t think I want to go in there with an earring on my first day.”

“Are you…what are you saying?” I asked.

“I’m not getting it done.  You can get yours, but I can’t go to a new job like that.”  Bob was standing firm.

Feeling my backbone melt away, I said, “I’m not doing it either.”

“WHAT?!” Bob and my cousin both said in unison.  “You’re chickening out?”

“I’m not chickening out!” I protested.  “We all agreed to do it.  If Bob’s not doing it I don’t have to either.”

My resilient cousin said, “I’m still doing it.”  True to his word, he did.  The crap hit the fan when we got back to the cottage.  Why was he the only one with his ear pierced?  The questions came fast and furious.  I was accused of  “tricking him” and “suckering him in”.  But I didn’t trick anyone.

I simply chickened out.

I still thought about getting an ear piercing, on and off, but the point was moot since the record store did not allow piercings on men.  Obviously this policy couldn’t stand forever or they’d never be able to hire anybody.  Finally after much petitioning and complaining by many, the day came when they changed their policies regarding earrings on men.

I knew the only person who would still give me a hard time about an earring would be my dad.  Sometimes people would ask me, “Why don’t you get an ear piercing?” and I’d usually respond, “Because my dad’s retired and I don’t want to give him a heart attack.”

My friend Shannon promised to help me to soften the blow.  She accompanied me to Tora Tattoo in Waterloo, where the young lady there (Shelley) pierced both lobes with 10 gauge rings.  I was pretty happy with the results.  My dad was not.  Upon entering the house, his only words to me were:

“I sure hope those things come out!”

No dad, I had them solder them in.  Jesus Murphy!

Part 227: Purp Ate My Balls


RECORD STORE TALES Part 227:  Purp Ate My Balls

10 years ago my online handle was “Purpendicular.”  (Gee, where did I get that name from?)  “Purp” made a good short-form nickname.  For whatever reason…and believe me I wish I could remember…Sarge decided to make and give out 40 or 50 “Purp Ate My Balls” shirts!  He gave them to all his shop employees (Metal Fatigue in Bournemouth) and I’m pretty sure all the Klopeks ended up with them too.

I wish I had the photo gallery, but Sarge used to have pictures of all those people wearing my face on their shirts and doing the “Purp” face.  It was a mini-phenomenon at the time, but all I have left is Sarge.

For obvious reasons, I was not allowed to wear this shirt to work.  I do still have mine though, packed away in storage.  I wonder how many more are still out there?  I often wonder if people in Bournemouth, Brighton, Niagara Falls and beyond still wear their “Purp”?

Sarge

Part 171: VIDEO – Record Store Gallery

RECORD STORE TALES Part 171:  Record Store Gallery