Toronto is the largest city in Canada and I always thought it was one of the most constipated until I found a bookstore on Queen Street that made a point to carry at all times the complete works of Charles Bukowski.
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was an American alcoholic, gambler and very prolific poet and writer. Almost 20 years after his demise a new book of his is still being published every year.
I was in the Queen City to attend a music video awards event back in the days when music video stations’ main programming was actually music videos.
I was managing a band and the record label with which they were signed thought it would be a unique networking opportunity.
The streets were crowded around the music video station. The police had installed barricades along the sidewalks to separate onlookers from artists a bit like they do at the zoo to keep visitors from feeding the animals.
The gathering was denser at the check-in gate for guests. I waited for my turn to be let in.
I felt like I was at a corral where they assemble cattle before a stampede. Staffers were busy talking on cellphones and walkie-talkies. Some looked happy and excited, others looked worried and I was dreading the moment those would get out the cattle prods.
Finally, we began to move in the studio.
The place was full with the usual attendees for such a function: music critics, record company executives, video producers, would-be, have-been and never-will-be musical performers, actors, venue owners, band managers, and of course a slew of jet-setters and beautiful people who would look good on camera during the live broadcast and the endless reruns.
Past the buffet tables and bar laid out in the main studio and through a door on to the other side of the building, a huge stage was set up in the parking lot enclosed with a chain link fence for the occasion. Tall towers had been erected in the middle and back of the lot for spotlights and cameras.
Veejays were rushing to interview video artists and performers before the show. Deejays were pumping out techno music; roadies and technicians were making last minute adjustments; dancers in fishnet stockings and low-riding leather skirts were warming up backstage, and the whole area felt as if it was ready to explode.
The video station’s General Manager spotted me and came to greet me.
— “So glad you could make it,” he yelled. “We’re going to have a blast tonight! Did they give you your coupons for the bar?” he added, handing me a roll of tickets to keep me lubricated for a week.
I wandered around the stage area when a cute blonde in Daisy Dukes and a red and white checkered top tied up high over her bare stomach asked me:
— “They say Madonna is going to be here tonight, is it true?”
— “That’s what I heard,” I lied, doubting Madonna would leave her snazzy London spots to attend a PR event in a small market like Canada.
— “That would be so awesome!” she said.
Then I felt a hand on my butt and heard a male voice say:
— “Hey cowboy, looking for a good time?”
I turned around and recognized the bass player from the Tailgaters, an up-and-coming indie band whose music was influenced by Korn and Hole.
I grabbed his wrist, removed firmly his hand from my ass and said: “Yes, but not with you: with her,” pointing at Daisy Duke who had already moved on to other interests.
My eardrums were quickly swelling from the music so I went inside for a drink.
As I was standing in front of a salad bar crumbling under freshly cut veggies, fruits and condiments – including a ranch dressing fountain – I realized the bass player had followed me.
A ranch dressing fountain. Ranch dressing was first commercialized by the Hidden Valley Ranch, a dude ranch near Santa Barbara, California, in 1954. The Hidden Valley Ranch brand was purchased in the 1970’s by a bleach manufacturer.— “You’re a nice man, but you seem uptight,” he said, “I could give you a massage that would really loosen you up.”
The words “uptight” and “loosen up” uttered by a Tailgater made me cringe. But when he put his hand on my shoulder, that was too much: I moved away hastily, stumbling in the process and knocking over the salad bar as I fell down.
Baby spinach, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, celery sticks, strips of green, red and yellow peppers went flying. The ranch dressing fountain toppled and, as it collapsed, covered me in sweet, fat and salty sauce.
The security guys rushed over with their cattle prods in seconds. The Tailgater had conveniently vanished in the commotion.
I was summarily escorted off the premises. As the two heavily-built bouncers were dragging me through the crowd to the police cruiser, I heard two people say:
— “It’s a faggot who tried to assault one of the Tailgaters’ band members.”
— “Gee, they should let the fans in instead of inviting these homos, we’d never cause trouble like that!”
***Now, when a waitress asks me what kind of dressing I’d like on my salad, I always say:
— “Vinegar, just plain vinegar.”
I met these two guys from Bopp Core Productions on Stickam about a year ago. Obviously they haven't been traumatized by ranch dressing the way I was. Check them out on YouTube.
Samedi prochain : La prostate, vous connaissez?