Thursday, June 15–Hamilton, Ontario
We wake after four hours of sleep, faced with an eight-hour drive and the unpredictable task of crossing the Canadian Border for our show in Hamilton, Ontario.
Over the border, we note how much less sinister it seems here. Like if we totally went crazy–drove off the road and ran naked through the streets spray painting cop cars and harrassing kittens—the locals would feed us a hot meal and call our parents, rather than stealing our gear or beating us up.
My jeans are falling off from the lack of eating. A government road sign advises, “Fatigue Kills. Take a break.” Its frankness is impressive; in America, someone might try to sue, saying the sign upset her children. We heed the warning and pull off. Nick says, “I sure wish there was a different kind of fast food here.” Bingo! There’s a sign for a place called Tim Hortons. Inside, the counter people are ridiculously nice and the food is a huge step up. The coffee is perfect and they serve our sandwiches on real plates. I love Tim Hortons! I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and buy some more of their goods! Right now, as I write, I wish I were swimming in a pool of Tim Hortons coffee, floating lazily on a giant glazed donut innertube.
In the parking lot, a kind farmer–a total roadside anachronism–points out that we’re awfully far from home. For the next fifteen minutes, he explains the dire straits of the bean farming economy, and shows us pictures of his dog, who he claims can actually count and sometimes multiply fingers held aloft. (The dog barks the correct answer.) The dog also, judging by the pics, loves riding shotgun on farm equipment.
More road signs keep popping up. A first version in English and about a mile later, the same thing in French. Drunk Driving Kills. Tailgating Kills. It’s a wonder anyone musters the courage to get behind the wheel.
Mike took a Greyhound us to Hamilton, due to some coordination issues, and arrives at the club shellshocked by the experience. Two buses in a row broke down, and a prostitute named Lisa, a woman with a tiny pink dress, cat-eye makeup, and a nasty rash, befriended him. She was the most normal person on the bus.
Mike recounting this story reminds Nick of his own stint selling sex ads at Portland’s local newsweekly. Few things are more incongruous than imagining Nick, Mr. Deadpan, regularly collecting cash from Ladies of the Night. He’d field complaints (for example, that the font on the ad for “Sensual Massage” looks like “Lensual Massage”) relentless bullying for discounts, and occasionally, threats from pimps.
Our t-shirts and 7-inches that we shipped here never arrive, all but killing our gonzo merch campaign. We meet this cool band called Yip Yip, who come out wearing checkered jumpsuits inclduing face masks and goggles, so that no skin at all shows, and play keyboards and toy saxophones. They’re sort of terrifying,
We decide to buy a hotel so we can sleep in. Yes, tomorrow, we will sleep. And explore. And eat. Oh yeah, and play a concert.