The Final Mosey
Another day on the road, another hung over torpor to struggle out of in the morning. Paying the price for Canada Day in full, the fact that we had the day off and furthermore that we were headed to a cottage on Lake Huron was the medicine required. Chris’ Aunt’s boyfriend had a cottage there and was already hosting several other members of Chris’ family, and had had kindly extended the invitation to us as well. My memory of the drive up there was patchy, to say the least. Each brief moment of conscious lucidity was a accompanied by a new and increasingly pastoral landscape. By the time I had convalesced in full, we were in full blown cottage country. The community in which this cottage was located was one funded entirely by cottage life. Nothing but greasy food joints and ice cream shops, with the pushers of knick-knacks and antiques filling out the remainder. We got a good look at the place while attempting to follow Google’s usual byzantine directions, which actually ended up leading us inside the wrong cottage. Despite the general friendliness of cottage country, the occupants were less than happy to have us walk into their home. We did eventually end up finding the place though, and my god, what a place it was. Vic, the boyfriend of Chris’s aunt, was a man of no small wealth who was involved in real estate and construction. As to be expected, the man built himself a pretty damn fine cottage. It had one of those quintessential cottage views of lake Huron: the deck littered with muskoka chairs looking out over their stretch of beach and pier to the endless pristine expanse of Lake Huron beyond. The sort of view that immediately harkens back to childhood cottage expeditions and sets the mind at ease. I will also swear that time functions differently in cottage country, that even time has to slow down and have a beer.
It must also be said of Vic, that the man was a good a host as could be imagined. You’d think we had just won a war from the greeting we received, free beer and liquor, offers of free reign over the sea-doo and boat as well as a hot tub, offered with “no” being an unacceptable answer. It was a scenario which made it hard to stay hungover. The day ended with a massive bonfire and fireworks display. Well, fireworks display is probably over stating it a bit. More accurately, it was myself and the band plus Chris’s step cousin, drunk and having gotten hold of a box of fireworks. Amazingly, nobody was maimed, though some close calls to be sure. The only real casualty was our ears; there were these littles bastards, “Piccolo Pete” by name, that did nothing but scream like a son of a bitch when lit. They looked like bottle rockets, and in the dark we were hard pressed to tell the difference, until it began it’s ear splitting performance. God damn you Piccolo Pete, I’ll see you in hell! Moving right along, target shooting with roman candles (The targets are also fireworks) is totally sweet. Roman candle duels even more so, if you’re willing to have some holes burned though some articles of clothing. Maybe don’t try that one at home.
Leaving this wonderful place wasn’t easy, but by god, we did it somehow early the next morning. Having long grown wary of Google’s whimsical directional decisions, we opted to simply take the highway at the first possible opportunity. Ottawa is a city I always get a strange vibe from, something functional and proper about the place, as though the bureaucracy has seeped down into the topsoil. This is coming from a man who’s only ever spent a day or so in the downtown looking at tourist exhibits, so my view may be biased by ignorance. This trip would be no different, as we did not arrive in town with time for sight seeing. (Or throwing eggs at Harper’s house, which is apparently a fair ways out of the downtown of the city. Another golden opportunity missed!)
The show was going to be played in an art gallery, so from the beginning I suspected this would be a good, or at least interesting show. The place was doing an arts show on Canadiana with some live musical accompaniment, a crowd of interesting eclectics was already assembling upon our arrival. Conversation about Mexican death cults (A real thing, worth a look if you’re bored at the office http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Muerte) and attempts to define the national character of Canada (We’re a bit of a bland folk, really) eventually gave way to the performances of the evening. A local named Adam provided the opening act. Out of a milk crate of tangled wires and analogue devices as well as an ancient TV Adam created a strangely entrancing drone performance. Using footage from old BBC documentaries and the static of the TV itself and performed on the street outside the gallery, it got some interesting reactions from passers-by. My personal favorite was a passing frat boy’s assertion that he had “Some manly beats, bro”. It takes all sorts, to be sure. DJ Swayzeface was laying down tracks throughout, and around 7, with a pretty decent crowd packed in, Cinema L’Amour took to the stage. Of all the shows of the tour, this was probably the best. An excellent performance by Chris and Dorian combined with a super interested crowd (People clapping along without being told to, always a good sign) made it perfect for the last out of town show of the tour, with a bang rather than a whimper. Despite how well Ottawa was treating us, we couldn’t resist the siren song of our own beds and showers only a few hours away in Montreal, and set out to return home shortly after the show.
It was hard to believe I wasn’t going to be living in a van for 12 or more hours a day anymore. Rusty, with his messy seats and ever accumulating tour junk, had become a home away from home. Despite that, I was still very excited to get back to my real home, the one with a bed and a shower. Though we were back in Montreal, the tour had yet to come to a close. There was still the the Bar St. Laurent. The tour’s last show was to be a reunion of sorts. The fine touring gentlemen from Welsh Cinema would be opening the show while Ben, who set up the show in Winnipeg, was ending the night with his band, Ultra Mega. Despite the merciless heat that seems to be the Montreal summer, the show was a smashing success. All three bands performed at their finest, to a very drunk and enthusiastic crowd. Having seen Cinema L’Amour play a great many shows in my year in Montreal, I can say with a degree of expertise that the Bar St. Laurent show was perhaps their finest. It was almost strange to actually know people at the venue, a clear sign the tour was over, and I had to return to my slightly more normal regular life. Sad bit of business, to be sure. Still though, there’s always next tour. So long as I’m not broke or dead before September, it’ll be time to do all this madness all over again.