Day of first gig in Canada. JJ has had a toothache for a few days so decides to see a dentist. The tooth is pulled and he has a nice whoosy sort of feeling for the rest of the day. After the dentist we head for Barrymores in Downtown Ottawa. Was more like a rock venue. Had a large standing area with two seating levels back from the stage.
The sound crew wanted everything up too loud – Tom nearly blown away when he touched the bass. Kept the drums and bass up at the expense of the keyboards and guitar. In the end got it almost right. It is difficult for sound guys to get it right if they don’t know the music of the band they are wiring up. Ideally should send a CD well before. Try to give as much info as possible on the set list but it can’t be easy. The dressing room left much to be desired but Mark had put some light bites plus drinks in there. It is difficult for Neil to get his head together for the show sitting on a hard chair with noise and clutter all around. He manages but it’s not in any way ideal.
TUESDAY 9TH Next day after breakfast we had a couple of hours drive north- east to Montreal where all the sound guys spoke French to each other and English to us –totally bilingual – was impressed.
Club is in a salubrious area surrounded by strip joints and fast food outlets, broken pavements, holes (caverns) in the road. Walking quickly looking for salady sort of places passing hobos, long low (gangsta)cars, rank smells, festering food- could imagine millions of rats just waiting. Then suddenly up near the university with a chrome and glass shopping mall-which I thought might have salady sort of things. But no, inside the smart chrome and glass , was the same junk food as outside. Makes me scream to think that nothing that is ever said or publicised about junk food gets through and people still eat it in preference to anything else. And another thing while we are on the subject. With all this wealth around how come the pavements don’t get mended, the holes in the road don’t get filled. The empty and derelict shops don’t get refurbished. How come salad bars don’t appear which give you a choice of a light French (oil and lemon ) dressing instead of the gloop that is generally served. Where are the shops selling food that is good for you. JJ has a theory that by leaving things in the sort of state they are in downtown Montreal, people will want to get out of it and become part of the consumer society so that they too go out and buy something they don’t really want. (echoes of Rory Motion and The Drainpipes here). I am not so sure-all it does is to make me depressed and want to get right out of that place as well as right away from the malls and every thing else associated with this uneven, barbaric and decadent society.
Much later one of the crew tells me about the nice areas of Montreal – an old town with cobbled streets etc but unfortunately we wont have time to see it. Back to the club itself. Nightclub- smart inside – black and shiny, low lights, security guys. An audience of about 30 – well I would think twice about coming to see Neil in this area. Where could you safely park or even walk?. But as usual the fans were enthusiastic and great fun to talk to- one who wanted Works in progress on vinyl – put him in touch with Japanese fan. Another who had one gap in his Bonzo collection and was hoping we would be bringing all the LPs with us – put him in touch with Danny Barbour. Neil and I had a good suite in the hotel with many rooms where we could do our things without disturbing each other.