Friday, December 13, 2002

One of our ex-classmates likes to use the class email list as a pulpit from which to lecture us about how we should vote, what sports teams we should cheer for, what dodgy writers’ festivals we should attend, and so on. Yesterday he went off about the Olympic referendum (or is it a plebiscite?) and how we’d become the laughing stock of the world if Vancouver voters turned down the chance of hosting the Winter Games.

The thing is, Vancouver isn’t a wintery city. A snowfall that stays on the ground for more than a couple days is an anomaly. Maybe if the Winter Olympics included events based on what you can do with slush (Figure Sliding, Slush Dancing, Cross-Country Slipping, Slushball Face-Washing Battles), then Vancouverites might relate more to the concept of hosting the games.

You could argue that Vancouver’s a winter city only because some of its citizens have the leisure time and the money to travel every weekend to places that have real snow. The majority of us haven’t been to Whistler and wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves if we went there. People who live in cities where they skate hand-in-hand on the river, where children enjoy sweet, snow-cooled maple sugar treats, and bonhommes de neige enchant passers-by on every thoroughfare could probably get their heads around hosting the Olympics. The Games would meld nicely with other civic activities. But in Vancouver—my Vancouver? Nah.

So, with an Olympics potentially in my backyard, I’m keeping an eye on the weather. Last night seemed downright warm. After I got home from the STC Christmas Party I collected the belter from her office and we walked up to the Cottage Bistro to see The Beggars (Super, Shockk and Smash) and the Neins.

We caught the end of the Beggars’ set. They were pretty fun. They drew a little from Jackass Has Haybreath (but damn, I missed “SarahLou2”), some Represented, and a bit of what I assume was the Super Robertson back catalogue. Shockk rocked the kit, Smash made bass faces, and SR pivoted and postured in that slow-motion manner of his—like Neil Armstrong stepping away from the LEM.

The Neins are kind of cute. M/F vocals lead the charge. The girl with gauchos on sang with her hand at her right ear through the whole show, and I don’t know why. The guy with the guitar has a plain sort of voice, but does well with it. When he says “Thanks, guys” after every song I detect a British accent. This was the second time I’ve seen them, and I recognized a number of the songs. They’ve got a handful of good ones (which is a handful more than most bands) in a ’60s Kinks vein. If The Neins had existed back then, their local paper would’ve dubbed them a “beat group.”

After the show, Smash and I had a laugh about one of the funnier bits of the new Opeth album—this insane syncopated pattern that dominates the second half of the title track. Good old Smash; kindred spirit to the end. The belter and I walked home with CT and Super, ladies in front, men behind. Super started talking about the Sons of Freedom and singing “Fuck the System,” and that's when the length of my day and the late hour finally caught up to me. It took all of my resources to say goodnight to them properly when it was time for Jenn and me to cross the street to our place.

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