Newfoundland fits in our living room

      Middle of the summer, I’m eighteen. Freshly graduated from high school and still living in my parents house. My room in the basement affords me the luxury of being separate from everyone else. I was out the night before, at the only bar in town that accepts my fake ID. Ripe with a hangover from too many drinks, it starts. My dad has a ritual. Every Saturday morning the smell of bacon (which, at the time, I despised) wafts into my bedroom as Great Big Sea blares from upstairs. I roll over in bed and stuff a pillow over my ears. Anything but this music, anything!

      When I lived with my parents, my father’s Saturday ritual was something I truly despised. Hearing Great Big Sea pounding through the house as he “sang” along always drove me crazy. I had tunnel vision and anything outside my current phase of punk, electronic or industrial made me cringe. I couldn’t see the artistic value in a boisterous band from Newfoundland spinning yarns about ‘Paddy Murphy’ and the Atlantic Ocean.IMG_20151017_101047

      Those Saturdays are a distant memory now. I’m older, live several hundred kilometres from my parents, and for the record, I love bacon. Lots has changed and as you’ve probably guessed, I have come to enjoy Great Big Sea just as much as my dad. Not only are they an important piece of Eastern Canadian culture, but they were part of my youth, my childhood.

      Now, when I listen to their free-spirited sea shanties, I feel a certain happiness. I am reminded of my parents. I am reminded of how much fun inhabited the home I grew up in. I am reminded that my dad is completely tone deaf.

      The most endearing reminder, though, is some of the smallest details end up being your favourite memories.

So give a sailor not your heart
lest sorrow you do seek;
let true love not be torn apart
by favours from the sea.

~Great Big Sea

Throwback

     A few months ago, I bought a ticket to a band I adored all through high school, The Get Up Kids. In the last 8-9 years, I haven’t so much as looked at one of their albums or listened to any of their music. As soon as I purchased the ticket, I had every intention of pulling out my old library of tunes, but never got around to it.

     Fast forward and I am reminded that I’m heading to their show TONIGHT. It was too late to start up their music and reminisce to the familiar sound of Matthew Pryor’s voice. Damn. On my way to the venue, I wondered if I would remember any of their songs. Would it all be lost to my crap memory? Had my mental hard drive been overwritten with new music, experiences and ‘wisdom?’

      I actually attended the show on my own. None of my friends seemed interested in seeing a 90s emo band belt it out on a Monday night. Fair enough, they haven’t been particularly relevant in years (sorry, guys!) All in all, the decision to go solo ended up reaping the best reward.

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      Through the venue’s front door and I could already hear the band ramping up. I grabbed a Red Stripe and high-tailed it into the crowd. It was an anniversary tour so all the singles were being played. I was, truly, over the moon. I had a moment of sadness, thinking, ‘I wish so-and-so was here to share this with me!’ But then I had an epiphany. I’m surrounded by strangers, all close to my age. Definitely no one younger. In between songs I could hear groups of people talking:

“I remember making out with my first girlfriend to this song!”
“Oh man, my dad used to FLIP when I would blast this one!”
“I totally forgot about this song!”

      It became evident that we were all reliving our own teenage experiences together. A thick wave of nostalgia hitting us over and over with every song. As we sang along to the songs we thought were long forgotten, suddenly I felt transported back to a time when I wrote bad poetry, wore an obscene amount of black eyeliner and felt like no one could understand my angst. In fact, it seemed everyone’s own coming-of-age memories were flooding back faster than they could catch them.

      The encore played and the last “thank you, goodnight” was said. We poured out of the building into the rainy week night. Back to work, to university, to our adult lives. Everyone’s dorky smile said the same thing:

      It was nice to be young again, if only for a couple hours.

Set list:
1. Holiday
2. I’m a Loner, Dottie, a Rebel
3. Stay Gold, Ponyboy
4. Lowercase West Thomas
5. Mass Pike
6. Woodson
7. Overdue
8. Action & Action
9. No Love
10. Off the Wagon
11. Valentine
12. Coming Clean
13. Shorty
14. Campfire Kansas
15. Red Letter Day
16. Don’t Hate Me
17. Walking on a Wire
Encore
18. Close to Me (The Cure cover)
19. Beer for Breakfast (The Replacements cover)
20. I’ll Catch You
21. Ten Minutes

Sleep with my memories, pictures, apologies.

~The Get Up Kids