Food Reviews

It was somewhere in the middle of a blizzard, in 1988, in a tavern in Nanton Alberta when the fight broke out. I was playing pool with a college buddy who lived in the area, on a raised platform at the back of a local bar. A group of five Hutterite lads were at a nearby table getting their drink on. They were well into a full afternoon of power drinking and the empty draft jugs were piling up. My buddy had departed briefly to the washroom when the floor waitress brought up three more jugs for the Hutterites. One of the lads stood up and punched the waitress in the side of the head.

Granville Street is littered with visual carnage. There are masses of every kind of folk wandering the concrete. The tweekers eating out of public garbage cans, street musicians, business people carried on the wings of a Jean Patou vapour trail. There is every kind of garbage and biodegradable substance from pizza husks to poodle shit.

The parking lot at the Blue Moon Tavern had beat down snow and if you looked close at the mounds you'd find road dirt, blood, teeth and puke. Every crystal had a tale to tell about what had spilled out of the tavern and what immoral act had been flung and dripped into the frozen ground. The Blue Moon is a mandatory road stop on the way to Columbia Falls.

Through the darkness and blizzard we ploughed along, in a trusty old Suburban with no heat and no speedometer, towards the Bavarian city of the Rockies Kimberley. I was nestled in a sleeping bag with a flask of scotch to help numb the cold, surrounded by some of my British friends who were oddly jovial despite the notion of freezing and falling into the arms of sweet Death.

I was recently visiting an artist friend at the Gushal Artist Residency in Blairmore, Alberta. My friend had built an experimental time travel machine which of course I had to try. Only downside to the machine is you return without any memory of where it sent you. I did however, return adorned in some strange clothing with a taxidermy specimen of a Oreamnos Americanus....mountain goat. (see photo) and have since had a reoccurring dream of a Wilford Brimley type looking evil dude chasing me through an old west town with a fancy hammer. Most disturbing.

Ralph Klein's going onto glory brings on memories of Calgary long ago. Turn the time machine to the winter 1988. Olympic mayhem has beseeched the city. I am a college reporter taking in the madness with my laminated press pass. I have access to almost everywhere, and there is free liquor anywhere you can set-up a card table. At some point during the pre-Olympic festivities I find myself at the St. Louis Hotel drinking free draft with the King Ralph and the rest of the media vampires, nestled in for the weeks to come. I remember eating a hotdog and thinking what a great hotdog it was.

Recently I toured with my super group,The Death Ballad Love Tellers, featuring Victoria musician David P. Smith and Edmonton musician Ben Sures. We've been doing this project for three years and this year at the end of our February tour we recorded an album of handwritten Death Ballads in Victoria. This year's shows were especially good and the recording/ touring process was rewarding.

 You drive out onto the first American pavement past the first set of white roadside crosses. The first rolling yellow hills. The first patch of Big Sky. The first important intersection you come to on Highway 3 is what locals call the Four Corners. To the rear to the South, highway three to the border, duty, rubber gloves and taxable love. To the North, Whitefish, Occupy Costco Calgary Chapter Kalispell. To the East, a labyrinth of backroads and Leather-face farmhouses.

The first time I entered the Arts Station, the building was across the tracks near some large poplar trees. It was boarded up abandoned and scary. Friends and I would scamper up the tree with packsacks full of stolen whisky and sawed off pellet guns. We'd crawl along the roof and enter through a broken window. After some some generous imbibing we would run about shooting at each other with our altered air pistols. If luck was on your side you'd escape without a pellet imbedded in the back of your head.