Friday, February 20, 2015

Short Takes #4 (& Hip show at ACC)

It is bloody cold out.  Tuesday and Wednesday were cold but not completely out of character for winter.  Today (Thurs) was so terrible.  I had to walk down to Spadina and back (got some boots on sale!) and my face just hurt for a while.  Apparently, it will stay cold for two more weeks but gradually let up in early March.

I wonder if the frozen pipe syndrome hit our local recreation centre.  (City Hall suffered a burst pipe!)  I didn't really want to, but I dragged myself over there (to the rec centre not City Hall) to go swimming, and they had no hot water and the pool was closed.  You'd think I would rejoice that I had a legit excuse to go back home and veg out, but you would be wrong.  I actually did make the effort and following through would have felt much better.  This was especially annoying as this centre was not one of the ones open on Monday (Family Day) so there will be no evening lap swimming at all for the week.  (I am not at all impressed with the schedule over there, but I'm not close enough to a Y to really take my business over there.)  I guess it was more important that they had things fixed today, so that my daughter could have her swimming lessons.

I managed to send off my short story (based on the short play that was red at RedOne a couple of weeks ago).  It is a fairly early chapter in my novel.  Now I have in my head what the next chapter will be, and I think I'll get at least a few pages down tonight (after I wrap up this blog post).  I don't really expect to win the contest (though that would be ultra cool) but using this as a way to really get me going was very helpful.  I probably ought to join a writers' group in Toronto -- or even start one (after we have moved and I can have guests at the new place).  Though I can see my wife not being too keen on that, particularly if the writers have to censor themselves because of the presence of children.  It's probably more hassle than it is worth, though I wouldn't say I am completely abandoning the idea.  (Actually, I found a writing group that might be my speed, though it actually meets twice a month on Thursdays, and there are no fees to join!  However, because it is not a poetry workshop, only two people get to read each time, so it is about two months between actual critiques of one's work -- that could be good and bad.  Well, I will think about it a bit more before I see if I should join.)

I finished Elizabeth Bowen's The House in Paris, but really didn't care that much for it.  The structure is quite similar to Three Days of Rain (the play) where the action starts in the present moves to the past to clear up some key misunderstandings about what actually took place, then returns to the present.  The first section wasn't bad, but I didn't care for it after that.  It's hard to pinpoint exactly the problem, but really it is much ado about a fairly pedestrian affair and a number of high-strung characters that didn't seem particularly believable.  I also cringe inside when I read about men in their mid to late 30s marrying 18 and 19 year old girls which was apparently "a thing" back in Britain in the 30s and 40s.  It not only appears in Bowen but one or two of Elizabeth Taylor's novels.

Anyway, the big news of the night is that I went to the Tragically Hip concert.  I wondered if the cold would keep some people away, but it didn't seem so.  Gord was slightly more restrained, particularly on some of the Fully Completely material, but he is still a bit much.  I kind of preferred focusing on the amazing guitar players.  So I saw them in Chicago ages ago, not long after Fully Completely came out, and they played a lot of that, and material on their first two albums.  Gord was only slightly over-the-top back then.  I did see them do a few songs during their free event at Dundas & Yonge, though it was starting to rain so I basically took off after Fifty Mission Cap.  While I did enjoy the concert, I suspect this will be the last time I go and see them live.

The main focus was the album Fully Completely.  They played the entire thing in the middle of the show.  That was pretty awesome.  I've listened to it so many times that I know it essentially by heart.  I really barely know Hip material not on that CD, though I own quite a few others (or did at one point) and do occasionally listen to them.  I don't even know with certainty if I picked Fully Completely up while living in Toronto (though that is the most likely scenario) or elsewhere.  Each show opens with 5 songs not on the album, and they have really been mixing them up.  I will wait for a full set-list to material before I commit, but I do know that they did Ahead by a Century, Escape Is At Hand For The Travellin' Man and My Music at Work before the "main event."  During Fifty-Mission Cap, people yelled and pointed to the Stanley Cup banners.  How cool is that (even if the games were played at the old Maple Leafs Gardens and not in the ACC)?  Apparently, in Vancouver, the fans actually booed at those lines!

Then after the Fully Completely run-through, they came back on to do five songs in the encore.  I know they ended on Blow at High Dough but wasn't sure about the others.*  I think they skipped New Orleans is Sinking, but I could be wrong.  It is clear they are really mixing these up during the different shows, and if they had started a bit sooner (not an hour after the doors opened) they could have played a couple more fan favourites.  Anyway, it was a good show, and I have no serious complaints (other than the cold).

Ok, I should go and get at least a page or two of my next dramatic scene done.

* Setlist is here.  It looks like they did Bobcaygeon and Nautical Disaster during the extended encore.  So really close to an ideal set.  Probably the only thing that would have been better is if they had substituted New Orleans is Sinking for My Music at Work.

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