The odd thing about the recently concluded trip back to St. John's is how hard it was for me to find time to get online, or how uninterested I was in blogging when I could find the time. I was in Italy and on a boat in the middle of the Caribbean and I could find the time. In St. John's? Not so much.
Still, there are observations I made a mental note of to comment on when I found more time. And since I'm back in the Great White North I have, well, not that much more time to be perfectly honest. The Canadian Mixed Curling Championships is rapidly approaching and scaring the hell out of me, quite frankly. Still, here are a few things that I took back from Newfoundland.
1. The traffic in St. John's has, impossibly, gotten worse. I witnessed on a daily basis several acts of attempted vehicular suicide. I mean just staggeringly brain dead things. I mean, if you want to run a red light at the intersection by the Avalon Mall on Columbus Drive, well, it's your funeral. Hell, I was in Mount Pearl and in a long line waiting for the light to change. A woman was trying to turn right so I gave her a break and let her out in front of me. The son of a bitch behind me leaned on the horn that loud you would have thought I'd murdered his mother.
I was fully prepared to blame baymen for this decline in driving skills. However, it was pointed out to me that baymen have been coming into St. John's and fucking up traffic for decades. We've adapted to that, so it must be something else.
My best guess? Mainlanders. It's the influx of all this new money and newer people making things deeply weird. I've always said St. John's has some of the worst drivers in Canada, but if what I saw my week back home is accurate, we're easily approaching Montreal levels, which ought to be deeply concerning.
2. Somewhere in St. John's this conversation is happening (with apologies to Patton Oswald):
Businessman: You know, I've been think and it occurs to me that there's a real business opportunity here in town that people are failing to take advantage of. That's why I'm coming to you looking for money.
Banker: And what's that?
Businessman: Well, I've been wandering around downtown St. John's and I've noticed there's only 50 coffee shops down there. And I was thinking what downtown clearly needs is another coffee shop.
Banker (jumping up, excited): Stop drilling, you glorious motherfucker, you hit gold! Another coffee shop! Jesus, why didn't I think of that?
Seriously, folks. The coffee shop situation in St. John's, but especially downtown, is getting deeply weird. Coffee shops are going to outnumber bars pretty soon. And I think we can all agree that a drunken, hyper-caffeinated population is good for no one.
Although perhaps that does explain some of the driving I saw.
3. Wandering into the Rose and Thistle and paying $10 to see one of Canada's greatest singer/songwriters - Ron Hynes - essentially playing for beer money and having a blast, is surely God must be one of the great deals in Newfoundland, if not Canada.
4. The two most commonly heard conversation I had when I was back home? "So and so is now dead/dying of something horrible/is sick with something no one can figure out" and "Jesus, can you believe it? My house is now worth (inset some silly number here)."
Honestly, no wonder my grandfather is a bit depressed when it seems every second conversation is about either how he's feeling (not great) or who is dead now. And as for the housing, it's like a collective delusional mania has set in. "My house has gone up 50% in the last year! I'm rich!" Yes, too bad about that whole having to find another place to live problem after you've sold your house, though.
Craziness. And hey, it's not like anything possibly disasterous could happen with a housing bubble, right?
5. You know, I'm beginning to think there's just some kind of chaos field that surrounds Dups anytime he's in St. John's. In theory, going to George Street to catch the Idlers and the Discounts should be a simply enough thing. At no point should we have been subjected to three Shea Heights rejects doing some kind of hideous Newfie rap, and yet....
Apparently the opening act cancelled at the last minute and these three morons got to fill in. The brain scarring will never heal. Never. I read an article in either the Scope or the Current saying Newfoundland rap was about to take off. If this is the calibre, then it should be shot down now, quickly.
As we were fleeing the bar (without seeing either the Idlers or the Discounts) I asked the bouncer who they were. He wanted to know why.
"Because I want to warn the whole world how much these assholes suck."
"They do suck," he said.
"God yes," added a woman collecting money for the bands at the door.
Neither knew their names. However, if you see three white guys rapping, two of which are over-weight, avoid them. I would suggest violence, but that would be bad. You know, they might get all gangsta and shit on you. Or sic their ho's on yo ass and fuck you up. Word.
1. General Joy - Tori Amos
2. Giddy up - The Hives*
3. 19th nervous breakdown - The Rolling Stones
4. Uncle Alvarez - Liz Phair
5. Fade together - Franz Ferdinand