Tuesday, May 30, 2006

even while pelted with hailstones. . .

. . . Neko Case kept crooning. This girl is my current favourite vocalist. She has a voice that
barrelled down into the Gorge behind her, and continued to fight the hailstones that had started to pelt her 1 minute into
Star Witness. Graciously passing the coat offered her to her backup singer, Neko kept singing, as if conversing with the antagonist sky. She raised a hand to the clouds, as if in a humble offering of mortality. It was only when it was truly impossible and dangerous to continue that Neko surrendered along with her fans--huddled together under tarps and umbrellas on rugged prairie above the Columbia River. Thus, hers was the most memorable performance of the weekend for me, and if she wasn't on the bill for the Winnipeg Folk Festival this July, I would be very sad to have missed her.

Besides contracting some kind of strange stomach plague, my first Sasquatch Music Festival was a success. It was my first outdoor festival of the rock genre, and a few highlights stand out besides Neko's war with the weather gods: 1) I actually
enjoyed Nine Inch Nails' performance (it was like full-body massage set to lightning). 2) I realized how much geography can interact with music: there was something about Iron and Wine's feverish back-porch folk that was heightened by the desert stretching out around him. 3) Sufjan Stevens is a really nice guy (yes folks, I talked to him!!!) 4) I'm not sick of seeing the Hip live and they sorta do make me feel proud to be Canadian, even though Gord Downie is an eccentric lad, 5) live music knows no comparison and has not, cannot, will not ever get old for me.

Favourite Musical moments: Mercir's electronic version of Sufjan's Chicago, The Flaming Lips' s sing-a-long rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, Beck's "Puppetron" (marionettes made of his entire band, acting out the entire performance), discovering Laura Veirs and the Headphones, Ben Harper's energetic delivery of With my own two hands, and waking up from a mid-evening doze to Death Cab for Cutie's I will follow you into the dark.

Being surrounded for 12 hours by such great music often has a saturating effect on me. That's why I appreciate the Winnipeg Folk Festival's approach so much more, there's more to do, and you can return to your campsite (yes, Sasquatch has a "no re-entry" policy, which is awful in my books). Despite all of the amazing music, I started to feel numb sometime Sunday afternoon. You almost need a break, in order to let your ears get hungry again.

That said, I wouldn't trade this weekend's experience for the world. But I might for a settled stomach . . . for more pics, click here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

running returning

I am afraid it's been so long that I wrote here, that whatever faithful audience I had has stopped reading. Oh well, that wouldn't be the end of the world, only if blogs were worlds. Parallel universes and such. A possibility, I suppose.

My trip is over. I am now an unemployed, vagabond drifter, no longer a traveller "proper," as a loaded touring bike helped testify to. Two days now in Vancouver. Two in Washington for this, a few more days in Vancouver, and then . . . home? Ah yes. Home is that little brown bungalow in Oakbank that is now up for sale. Home is a brick house in Wolseley, stained with memories. Home is a sunroom on Beverley Street. Home is the back room of the old Banff Post Office. Home is this apartment. Home is my tent pitched on a grassy knole. Home will be many more things, too.

If my soul were a compass, I feel like it would still be wavering, still trying to find true North. Like all the peaks I climbed during my summer in the Rockies, we'd round a bend, striving for the peak, and then the
true peak would emerge, far off in the distance and luring us further with its increased altitude. How much of life is like this, "a striving and a striving and an ending in nothing," as Olive Schreiner says in one of my favourite novels. But yet this is not dismal, it is not empty. That our strivings end not in our own great worth, but that our worth was and is there anyway and all along, is of great consolation to me. But I'd still like to find North. And if not, South or West or East would do, too.

It's good to be back to my virtual home. There is still room for rambling . . . have no fear! And if I'm only talking to myself and my few relentless readers, that is fine by me.