Yesterday was Friday. I was at the Western, so at 7:30 I cycled West along Bloor St, swerving around illegally parked cars, hoping that I wouldn’t get hit. I haven’t bought a helmet here yet, and they aren’t legislated compulsory (whether or not that would decrease mortality from being hit by a car). The day passed quickly and soon I was cycling in the opposite direction, home. Dan had roasted vegetables and chicken breasts for dinner, and had already eaten his. I wolfed down as many partly burnt but absolutely delicious mini-potatoes as I could. We watched Seinfeld.
At 19:30 we met Pete & Royden downstairs; we’d independently all bought tickets to see Tori Amos at Massey Hall. We caught a cab down, only $9. It would’ve cost us $12 to have caught the TTC. We got to the hall, busy with people finding their friends, looking at merchandise, looking lost. It was 19:40. We went downstairs to the bar and I bought a round of drinks. In line I discretely farted but it was not only a silent but deadly it was a lingering and exponentially worsening cloud of toxic fumes. The carpet didn’t open up and swallow me as the people behind us backed away. I was forced to admit responsibility and die of shame. Royden laughed, pretended he too was also letting one rip, then loudly started to blame the people in front. I realised we must be friends; it quickly cheered me up.
We had booked separately and were seated in different areas: Pete & Royden in the balcony, Dan and I in the gallery. We ascended several flights of stairs, until we were as high as you could go in the hall. The gallery seats are so narrow and rows so close together even I, with my average length femora, couldn’t sit straight; I had to delicately avert my knees to the side. Our shoulders were too broad to both sit back; I spent the next 3 hours either hunched forward or with my arm behind Dan’s chair.
The performance was very different to the tour I saw at home, in Perth. Amos is now menopausal and performed alone; the performance had a mature, and relaxed feel (her voice is still beautiful and her stage presence remains engaging). Instead of tight pants and wild hair she wore robes and had black-rimmed glasses, and reminded me of my mother (she has red hair too). The audience has also changed. During the entire support act a couple a few rows behind us continued to have a loud conversation. Were they drunk or is this now sociably acceptable behaviour in Toronto? Every 10 people whipped out cellular phones, screen brightness on automatic or solar bright, taking photos with the flash still on. I grew up in a culture where you respect performers on stage by watching, quietly. You don’t take photos, let alone with a flash. I’ve almost fallen out of a turn on stage because the stage lights are so bright you can barely see the red spot light in the centre of the audience and, bam! Somebody’s camera flash went off unexpectedly and I quivered.
I ground my teeth and sank into my seat. Dan, like Pete and Israel, is made of tougher stuff and he leant forward and whispered something to the woman in front, who was bathing us in the glare of her phone screen. She hurriedly put away her phone and leant, ashamed, onto her partner’s shoulder. I glowed with pride.
I was hanging out to hear Amos sing, Silent All These Years, but she’s got so much work to chose from her track list was songs I’d never heard of. Except Cornflake Girl. It’s now been 20 years since Cornflake Girl was released. I was 15. How can that be 20 years ago!? It was number 35 in the 1994 Triple J’s Hottest 100. And I still have no idea what the lyrics actually are.