3 days ago
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Finally, a day off. After doing some housekeeping on my keeper league hockey team (WHL bantam draft Thursday, OHL Priority Selections this morning ...), I'm ready to do a bit o' bloggin. I'm feeling good, no night hag last night. In a metal mood, playing some Isis (prog/alt/instrumental metal, for you genre addicts like me). I can't believe I missed them when they played Barrymore's in the spring of 2007 -- maybe they inflicted some structural damage during their sonic swell, and that's why that Imperial palace of live music has been shut down. I did get to the last significant gig that Barrymore's hosted -- Charles Spearin, Ohad and the rest of the Do Make Say Think boys (and girl) later that same spring. A life-altering experience, although I don't know how I made it home (all three blocks). Please, somebody, get live bands into that place again. It should be the radiant cultural core of this city. Even if the ceiling cracks when Pelican comes through town.
As I said, I'm in a bloggin' mood. Got a little piece of world enough and time today to get a few posts in, in Square Corneresque, machine gun fashion. I can hear Billy Cox in my head right now -- dudda dudda du, du du du du du, before Jimi begins to wail.
But as of this moment, my muse is the irreplaceable Iron Maiden. Again, nostalgia fucking with my head, as most memories do. But before there could be "alternative" metal, there had to be THEM -- Sabbath, Purple, the sad wings of destiny, and then the mighty Maiden. They are my muse right now, the divine afflatus, Square Corner's flatulent wind. They're filling my thirsty ears as I write. I haven't pulled out this "mix CD" since I created it on a beer-sodden night in the Sikh ghetto in Vancouver back in 2004. As I built my levee, gulp by gulp, in my Grub Street hovel, the only white guy in the hood, with my even whiter Cavalier double-parked outside. I lovingly pirated, title after title, the iconic discography that sat in the cassette cache in my parent's basement, awaiting the fiery martyrdom of my father's next pique of pyromania. Now, its spinning inside my computer, and spitting out my stereo speakers. I just ran to the hills, and now I'm (vocally) venturing, along with the Bruce, where only eagles dare. What a Steve Harris bassline on The Trooper. I remember in Grade 10, we were all memorizing a particular section of Coleridge's "Rime". What pedagogical purpose this served, I still don't know. All the Maidenists fought over who got the bits from the epic that ended "Powerslave". There was a lot of that pseudo-historical/literary/cinematic shit with Maiden -- Genghiz Khan, the Aboriginal genocide, the Crimean War, the quest for fire -- but hey, it was 80s metal, everyone did it. And we were 14, fuck it.
I got to thinking about Iron Maiden when my massage therapist asked me yesterday, somewhere between the 4th and 5th rib, about the worst moments of my radiation treatments/tortures. As I was already in the same face-down-on a rack position at the time, the memories flash flooded fairly easily. To prepare for the procedures, I had to have a special mould made of my head. At the time I didn't really know why -- I was still reeling from the shock of the preceding few weeks, the brain surgery, having to learn to walk properly, et cet. Little did I know that I was soon to become the man in the iron mask, in an all too Realist fashion. The only little problem was that the shape and size of my head was about to change. In the interval between the casting of the mould and the commencement of the cranial cookout, a few months of super steroids had swelled my already substantially sizeable head to sublime proportions. When I climbed onto the rack, my body was strapped and sideboarded to the static point of complete immobility. Then came the headgear -- the two halves of the cranial cage. When my Hippocratic torturers finally locked my bulbous bulb into that iron maiden, then told me the initial calibrating of the infernal machine would take about an hour, my heart sank into my crotch. My head would have followed if it could move, if I could even take a breath without searing pain. As tough as I thought I might have been, this was beyond endurance. I felt like a martyred witch in a Mario Bava film. Over the course of the next few treatments, following the initial ordeal, they had to cut open a part of the mask so that my nose could at least be free and allow me to breathe. They also "loosened it up" a bit. Over the next 7 weeks or so I gradually grew immune to the daily torments, even falling asleep at times, comfortably numb behind the pharmacological phalanx of my magical morphine. I miss that shit. Kept the night hag away.