the last 3 days

November 15, 2010



the flight was fast, efficient. I walked on the plane and was surprised to see no first class section. All my last flights were on an American airline or another and they all had the first class thing.

It’s an egalitarian system : no leg room for everyone. Ok with me, I don’t need much, But it reveals another mentality.

I talk to one of the flight attendant he thinks I am an American because I am outgoing. Canadians are polite… with the exception of Quebecers who like to laugh, protest and sing loud.

I got to my seat, offered my row mate a piece of gum. I always do that, it fosters immediate affinity… And better breath, which can really be a major savior…

I pulled out my book, read for a little bit but it’s not really working so I pulled out my CDs. Only Jerry Cantrell would do. He’s been my musical travel mate… He does not know it mind you. But he’s been in Flagstaff, Louisiana, New York, motels, campsites under the moonligh, in the sun, in my mom’s living room in Quebec…. pretty much all over the place unapologetically rocking me and Leo out.

There are TV screens but it’s $5.50 bucks for a movie and I don’t want to spend cash on that. So I got the music blasting and I channel surf. ET (entertainment tonight) HD is playing.

I get to see a beautiful girl going under the knife of some creepy plastic looking surgeon. Shiny looking surgeons talking to other extra groomed surgeons, looking all serious and meaningful, women sitting in well behaved, straight backed, appreciative, so much to be learned.

There is something so bizarre about this. We watch insecure beautiful people get butchered as if it was just a regular thing. The results are creepy. Their newly improved features are a little too sharp or a little too plump, a little too straight, like the sculpture of an average artist. Pretty good, almost real yet lacking the genius of nature. They sell a DVD of this girl’s journey under the knife. Who buys this stuff?

Then I got to see cartoon characters saving a robot cartoon character, the news: I got to see people coming off of a cruise ship in San Diego… some sort of smoke disaster… They are all OK and smiling happy to speak to a reporter and a camera, be heard and seen.. I get to see Marie Osmond looking really upset on Oprah. It’s outlandish, voyeuristic…. Thankfully I can’t hear what they say… I hear Jerry sing “ …takes a hammer on a nail…”

We land, it’s cold. I put on my jacket. I get through customs

“Have a good day”

I’m now officially in Canada.

It’s clean. Damned clean. Shiny. Wow.

I get through the last security doors, Erika is there, I’m smiling really wide “whoo hooo!!” I holler. No, I can’t be quiet about it. We hug a huge hug over the barrier. People look, smile. Approve.

We drive out. It’s so quiet. No traffic. There is no one around. It’s dark. Damp. There is no one to be seen.

I said it out loud : “It’s so quiet…”

With Erika at the sushi place

We go for sushi, it’s not the greatest. We laugh, that is great. We go to Erika’s place, blow up an air mattress and go to sleep.

Friday morning.

I wake up. I’m frozen. An air mattress in cold weather turns into a block of icy air. Brrr… The apartment is a tiny studio facing Vancouver Island in the distance, it is at the junction of the South arm of the Fraser river and the ocean. The sun shines shyly. We get up, eat, get going. We roll down Cambie street. I am a bad passenger. I get motion sickness and I’m searching for the brake pedal and clutch on the floor…

We get to the studio where my stuff is stored and it’s so, so, so good to see Jamie, Sheila, Ted and Ryan. Big hugs. Big smiles. It’s like I never left and it’s also like visiting a past life, something that was, a long, long time ago. They want to know everything.

I tell my stories and I see people’s eyes get that distant look. They either tell me they are jealous or tell me about their past adventures. They wish for the space, the time, the absence of deadlines, the openness to what life can bring.

Around 5 PM I head out. When I lived here I was either riding a bicycle, driving a car or my motorcycle. No transit for me. I have to get to Stanley Park, to the Rowing club for my gig tonight. I end up riding the Canada Line, the sky train built for the Olympics that will take me at Georgia and Howe. The train zooms rapidly, 1,2,3 stations. I get off. City center. Georgia street. Downtown Vancouver.

There is an immense sense of unreality. Of being a tourist in a dream. I will play tonight. The night is dark, the maple trees are red-orange-yellow, shedding their coats of colors to all winds. The city shines with Olympic leftovers, sculptures, structures, shine and glory.

Christ Church

vancouver night


Hotel Vancouver

more art

I walk all the way to Denman, then off to Stanley Park.

I get to the venue first. I’m early. Chris will bring my Gibson 175. I see Bruce, the organizer, big hugs, big smiles, stories, we all shine. Chris gets there and I’m so glad to see him. He limps a very serious limp, the result of a nasty motorcycle accident at the track in Portland. But he is a major trooper, Camille, his girl is there too. We talk about all this stuff… crazy. I”m so glad they both are getting over this.

We are the last to take the stage. It’s really fun. Especially when we get to songs from the Alien Suite, because Chris was on that album and we toured all over the place back then. It’s beautiful. A lot of faces are riveted to us. There is even someone who sings along as he knows the lyrics, Stuart, my beautiful friend.

We go back home, pull out the air mattress, go to sleep. A good day.

Saturday morning.

I wake up tired from too short a night. Things start slowly. I get to the Steveston studio where I used to work with the master, Alberto Replanski. I see my old friends, smiles, hugs, lots of questions to answer. I stay for a while, help out with some design questions on some of the sculptures… They all want me to stay, to work on the stones.

studio whimsy

this was a horse I had started, I sold the stone to Sveltlana and the horse became a man...

By mid day we finally make it to Surrey where the van is. It’s a full size Vandura circa 1984. It’s covered in a blue tarp. It looks smaller than I remembered. It rains a nasty cold rain, it’s getting dark. It kind of sucks all around.

I get to the back doors, pull out CD boxes, there is water getting in there and I see that the stupid tarp is not water proof. It smells musty. I see my easel, boxed sculptures, tax papers… I put those closest to the water leak. Of course the boxes I want are under really heavy stuff… I finally get what I need and we can go. I thought I’d get a t-shirt and a couple of personal things but it’s getting too dark, impossible to see and I”m getting a strange “wanna go” feeling. I lock the doors, pull the tarp and tie it again…

We get in the car and go. It’s miserable, dark, cold and I am damp all over. Yuck.

I feel the feeling of not wanting to feel, resist, then allow it to be for a moment and close the door. Deep breath. Stuff, past life, emotions, history and the weight of time and space.

We get to Steveston, hang out some. Pull out the air mattress, plug in the earbuds and listen to Jerry one more time “…. By the way father created hell on my own…. “

Sunday Morning.

Grumpy pumpkin past halloween prime

hip windows on Granville street


Up, coffee, yogurt, I walk out to the bus stop to get to vancouver. I go to Wicked Cafe, the best freaking coffee ever… then to my hairdresser who clucks disapprovingly when she sees my hair… she fixes it all up, color, cut, looks and feel awesome. The I go to the West End, meet Jessica a friend and massage therapist. She gives me a two hour massage. She says my body lets go better now, that travel was good for me. No shit.

We chat, hug, smile. Time to go. I walk up Robson Street, thankfully it does not rain. I get on the sky train, Now I’m sitting at a coffee shop writing, waiting for 10 PM because Erika asked to have time with her boyfriend.

Tomorrow is the big day. It’s shipping day, my last day here. Lots of things to do.

I can’t wait to fly out. Fly into the sun, the music, the vibe of California.


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