Monday, January 01, 2007
Happy New Year, everybody!
Hope it was as fun as mine, thought as usual, my gallivanting at New Year's leads to strange and baroque company, and oddly, a whole lot blues thrown in. I went to Hamilton, Ontario, of all places to see a guitar blues act at a nightclub, but was told I needed a ticket, and so, retreated to my sister's. She put on a feed, oddly of
ham, home fries and collard greens, touch of the old country and certainly the Old South here.
I had a drink or two at Mary's and that probably explains why I got screwed up on the Hamilton Street Railway and somehow ended up on the Burlingto Train Meet for Toronto.
Here, suddenly, I had companions who kept me merry all the way to Oakville, where I was inexplicably in the presence of a gorgeous black girl who was SO lost that I don't believe she had a brain left. She thought Front Street was in Oakville and in any event she had no more ticket to get to TO. Enter the encyclopedic yodelling brakeman. He would fix her ticket. He would entertain us this New Year's Eve with song, and talk about song, especially the blues. He had exchanged his brakeman hat for a funky Newsboy lid and he looked for all the world like TJ or somebody out of Bonnie and Clyde. All the way to Oakville, I heard the brakeman and the conductor carrying on this incredible conversation about Chess Records, and even a time before when all the blues greats of the Twenties, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Big Bill Broonzy, T-Bone Walker, Son House--and probably even Blind, Lame and Crippled Horribly, for all I know --were laying the ground work for Cream, The Rolling Stones and parts of Bob Dylan. The two train guys were especially animated about a PBS Crossroads Guitar Festival on TV, which was to be aired later today, hosted by Eric Clapton and featuring the last of the great blues players, especially Buddy Guy and Hubert Sunlin. The brakeman and the conductor had enough encyclopedic material on all popular music since about l9l9 to the present day to fill and entire website. There was even a part, perhaps apocryphal, about Chuck Berry smashing Keith Richands full in the mouth for making computer copies of all his riffs and passing them off as his own.This incredible conversation is going on while the black girl with me is catching up on the stunning cultural contributions blacks have made to America and the world. But still, she was lost.
No matter The Football Drop for the new year came and all four of us, brakeman, conductor, Black Girl Where Did You Sleep at Night (Robert Johnstone?)--shook hands hugged profusely and brought the New Year in right. Who cares who was lost or found. This was the football drop at the GO BOWL. Everybody got to where she or he was going and I was again sent merrily upon my way from Finch to Newmarket.
Is there intelligent life north of Steeles Avenue? Every good time has an asshole at the ending and we picked one up at about Oak Ridges and he began to harangue and belittle everybody until the bus driver asked him to get off the next stop. Thank God. He looked like a serial killer. In other words, I had a pretty good time. Christ, I'm still high. Happy New Year everybody.