Wednesday, November 4, 2009

White Rock, BC — The Coast is Cool Indeed

Feeling rested this morning, I make my way over to Crescent Beach for coffee and a stroll with a friend before meeting a CBC Radio crew.

This is Michael Juk. Actually, he's the crew and the producer and the interviewer— good old fashioned radio! I treasure CBC radio. Michael is doing a documentry about the Mississippi Sheiks and wanted to speak to me as I used to work with Sam Chatmon.

I interupt this Blog for a Rant (sorry): The CBC is Canada's most important cultural mechanism, and the most mistreated by recent governments. I wish Canadians would DEMAND that the CBC be given a clear mandate, and then appropriate, ongoing funding to achieve that mandate. And it should be managed by broadcasters— not beancounters from the toilet bowl industry and elsewhere. Cut out those political appointments, too. The systemic dismantlement of CBC television's ability to produce anything but news should be a national scandal. Hey, go check out the CBC flagship building in downtown Toronto. How do you like the BLOCK LONG billboard across the street from it?? CTV hogs the entire streetscape, while the City of Toronto has allowed the destruction of mature trees along the street which had grown to partially obstruct the Toronto Hydro owned billboard structure. Now, as before, it's in your face. It's purpose is to belittle CBC, and it does a great job. How can CBC people go to work and look out their windows at this every day? It says (or might as well say) "your bosses don't care, you lost the Olympics, you're gonna lose Hockey Night in Canada, you can't even build sets anymore, you sold 50 years worth of props, you can't even manage curling..." The pretty people on the billboards just smirk at what's left of the CBC across the street from them. CBC should of— at very least— insisted on the replacement and development of the maturing trees that used to partially obstruct the billboards. Yeah, there's a couple of saplings out there— but it will be thirty years before they obstruct the sign again. And thirty years will be thirty years too late. Clearly there is nobody who cares in any position high enough up the food chain to fight. What's going on with the sign is symbolic of what's going on with the entire network.

And— hey— here's one for you. Shortly before his death Mr. DressUp was denied access to the CBC building by the contracted-out security service they use. True, he had retired and no longer worked there— but go figure. Security risk! Rules! Regulations! Budgets! End of rant....

Michael Juk and I have a great conversation about Sam and the Mississippi Sheiks, and then it's off to meet Dave for dinner and head over to the gig. Can't wait to hear the CBC show when it's done, although I think the "companion CD" really, really missed the point. Star power, but why bother?

We've been moved from the Pacific Hotel Rumba Room into the Legion Hall. I don't know what the Pacific is like, but the Legion Hall is pretty nice— lots of wood, great stage, nice people all about. This is going to be fun! Rod, the President of the White Rock Blues Society, is here to meet us and help us load in. There are volunteers setting up tables, lights, merch areas. We are doing our own sound here tonight, and we like that— in spite of the size of the room. Our little Long and McQuade PA sets up quickly and quickly sounds great in the empty hall. Dave and I slip into the men's room and change into our suits, and then, before we know it, it's show time again!

A fun show. Dave and I are really enjoying ourselves— this adventure just seems to get better every night. The sound is good, the hall is good and the folks are friendly. For the second set we are allowed to wear our hats in the stage area! I'm not sure how this works, but everyone said it was fine— so Dave and I are back in our comfort zones. We both wear hats all the time, so it is rather strange for us to be on stage without headgear!

And what would a show be without a jacket winner??? Here he is! Congrats!!! Yup, we have your size...

I take the opportunity to snap one of our front row tables. Rod has been shooting some video tonight, so perhaps we'll get some live footage up later. A nice crowd, with lots of local musicians out to say hello. I really appreciate that as I know how hard it can be to go out when you are tired and not actually performing.

This local lad brought his National out in the parking lot and played me some wonderful stuff. David "Boxcar" Gates. No doubt White Rock blues fans will know him already, but I'd hope to share him with the bigger audience he deserves. Next time, you need to be on the bill, dude. I'll set it up! Thanks for coming by and introducing yourself. I understand he's got some shows coming up with Tim Williams and also with Keith Hallett. You need to know about those guys, too! Don't miss these shows.

I do the books on the show at the venue, and it's pretty late by the time we roll outside. Dave is off to stay with friends, while Rod and his wife have extended their hospitality to me. Back at Rod's place I am treated to a fabulous spread, and eat far too much! Rod is one of those interesting guys you can converse with for hours. We do. We drink wine. Probably several bottles of it... nice, red wine. It's suddenly morning! Ooops. I crawl off to bed for a couple of hours sleep. I'll be up and gone to the ferry long before Rod gets up to make coffee.

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