(This is my first entry brought to you buy the Eee PC’s ultra portable capability)
Last night was a classmates birthday. Birthday’s are the only event which can lure me to a club. Clubs are odd places – the music bleeds your ears, you are constantly loosing track of your friends, conversations are one on one because a third person right there cannot hear you. I stayed for a while and had a drink because it was in fact a friend’s birthday, and although I disapprove of this sort of celebration I don’t disapprove of the person, and I believe people do have the right to celebrate their day as they wish, and we as friends have an obligation to go along and make an effort to have a good time. However, at some point, auditory health takes front seat and it is time to leave.
The walk home from the entertainment district was enlightening. At first walking past clubs, hearing bits of conversation from people in line ups. Aliens all of them. Although I respect these people as humans, this respect is purely abstract – I can not see myself in them. Perhaps this is why I feel no right to say clubs are a bad thing in general, but only that I dislike them – we dislike things in general when we see an aspect of ourselves in them which we dislike. We can generalize universally only when we see the aspect internally, otherwise there is no basis for such a judgment.
But, walking up Spadina I felt more and more at home. Looking through the windows of the restaurants in Chinatown I see people speaking a language I am unbelievably far from understanding, and yet their celebrations are entirely familiar to me. Then, I was walking past the blues bar near Kensington market, and heard live music on the inside. My spontaneous reaction to this place is that I do not belong, that I am not to go inside. But, reflecting, this makes no sense at all. So I walked in, ordered a pint of Blue, and sat down alone at a table. The Band was old – the lead had been playing the bar (Grossman’s tavern) since 1971 – he called it the mecca of blues music in Canada.
The way he stood and spoke commanded respect. His guitar – a 59 telecaster, “looks like shit, plays like hell – unless you’ve got someone behind it”. He could play it like hell, he played with more depth and style, and respect, than most of the audience deserved. This is normal, when he told a story about a white musician who in the 20s and 30s did much to get black blues artists radio play and exposure someone yelled out “he’s a good friend of mine”. The lead almost got angry – but then said “No, that’s cool”. The implication is the absolute lack of respect for words does differentiate our time from others, but it does not make it worthless or uninteresting. And, it has an upside – not taking things too seriously.
But more important for me was just going into the bar, against my immediate intuitions. It’s important to explore the cities we live in, and we don’t always have friends to do it with. I didn’t meet anyone at the bar, didn’t speak with anyone. But I felt that I could have, I felt at home there. I understood the place, and I liked the people I was around.
I will be going back.