How We Spent Our Saturday

Saturday night was an interesting one, in a good and bad way. We had a great time at dinner, at the Craig Cardiff concert and then at the pub afterwards. I even got to have a small conversation with Craig since we ended up in the same bar. But getting back home from our big day out pretty much sucked.

Let’s start with the fun stuff first.

The concert was more than just Craig. There were alsoMike EvinandRobyn Dell’Untowho served as his backing band and played some of their own stuff, and a local group calledYour Neck of the Woods,who described themselves as a country bluegrass band. I guess they sort of were, but bluegrass wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when I heard them. The Shoe Thief said he thought the same thing when he saw them the first time a little while earlier. They weren’t bad, but their sound wasn’t quite right and their set was so short it was hard to get a read on them. Nothing instantly stood out like with all of the others, but I’d have to see them again in a more extended form before I’d be willing to say good or bad. the girl had a nice voice though and no disrespect intended to the guy doing most of the lead vocals, but she ought to be doing more of the singing. I can’t seem to find anything on YouTube, so if you’d like to hear a sample it looks like you’ll have to fuck around with MySpace.

Next up was Mike, who they called the piano man. Three guesses why they call him that. He writes some fun songs. We heardIf You Were My Girl,which he said he wrote while he was still figuring out girls, andGreat Pop Song,which was all about well, great pop songs. That one even had a fun sing-along part.

Speaking of audience participation, Robyn’s amazingly catchyJust A Birdhad us all doing bird whistles. There were some pretty bad whistlers in the crowd I must say, but somehow they added to the fun. Also of note was Shoe being a crow for a second. It was hard to whistle after that.

And what can I say about Craig? The guy was fantastic! I knew who he was and liked a few songs beforehand, but I have much more of an appreciation for him now. I can’t say there was a bad song in the bunch, not even close. I’ll sharethis live version of Safe herebecause it’s been in my head since the show.

I also need to give it up to Craig for having a sense of humour. I wish I had a picture of the costume that Shoe wore out to the bar afterwards. I’m not entirely sure what he was supposed to be, but whatever it was had a giant schlong component to it that I used to lead him to the bathroom and back during one of the gayest moments of my life. The poor girl playing guitar that we walked past on the way there actually stopped and let out some kind of noise that I can’t describe and then continued playing. If we offended anybody nobody complained, and Craig, who was sitting a couple tables away from us as it turned out actually came over, shook my hand and thanked us all for coming out to the show since he had seen us in the crowd. He also said the dick thing was pretty funny, which was nice.

Now to the not so positive portion of the evening.

You always hear and read about how much the downtown sucks on weekend nights. Amazingly, even though I’ve lived here for almost 10 years, I’ve never been caught in it. There’s always been a cab available or we could walk home or get a ride. But for some reason, probably everybody wanting to get to and from Halloween parties on top of the regular business, getting a cab was fucking impossible.

We first tried calling one around 10 O’clock since the bar we were wanting to go to for food and drinks was full. Carin tried calling both cab companies, but couldn’t get through. Then we both started trying them, and nothing. Thankfully we met a couple old friend’s of the Thief while we were standing there and they found us some room at their table so we went in and had a drink with them. They left, but we all sat around for a couple of hours until the place closed down. It’s a good thing we did, because none of the wang stuff would have happened had we called it an early one.

It’s now after 1 in the morning. It’s cold, we’re full, we’re tired and we want to go home. Call the cab companies. Busy. Keep trying and trying…and still no go. The guy from the pub that we know a little offered to let us stay there a while, but it was down to the people mopping up and us, so we decided to take our chances walking downtown where hopefully there would be some rides available.

This is where I gain a new respect for what the cops and the folks who live and work down there deal with all the time. Don’t get me wrong, the crowd on this night was pretty peaceful all things considered. but it was a big crowd and most of it ranged from pleasantly buzzed like me to completely hammered. For some reason, the city stops the buses at midnight, and some of the cabs have a policy of not picking up people who flag them down. Why either of these things are allowed to go on is a mystery to me. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t the crowd thin out a lot more quickly if people could actually, I don’t know, go home? As it was we were standing around for an hour or better, and by the time some people I can’t thank enough for their help found us a cab it was long after 2. When we left the crowd was still huge and showing no signs of getting any smaller anytime soon, which is completely insane.

There’s been talk on and off about a barstool tax on the places downtown, which if memory serves me would be a $1 charge to every person who comes into a place at certain times. You know what? After what I went through Saturday, I’d happily pay $1 on my bill if I knew that the money would be used to keep the buses running and to build and maintain some public washrooms. That way we could get people out of the core without nearly as many fights and without them having to piss all over the various buildings down there. And to any bar that would oppose such a thing, I offer a suggestion: If you don’t like it, stay open so that people have a warm place to go and a bathroom if they need one. Not letting people come inside should be one of those things that isn’t allowed to happen. If you’re gonna fill ’em up, the least you can do is let ’em empty out when they need to.

None of this is going to stop me from going downtown, it’s fun. It just needs to be handled better. The politicians need to not come down too hard on the bars and bring in a whole bunch of lame rules, but the bars need to work with the city a little and take better care of their customers. There has to be a balance there somewhere.

I hate to end on kind of a down note, but I really don’t have anything else to say and I think this post has gone on plenty long enough.

Talk to you all later. Remember to go see Craig Cardiff if he’s playing in your area, and go Giants!

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  1. […] with a layover in a place you shouldn’t be ending up in to start with is no fun, nor is a bus system that doesn’t bother to run when it could arguably be used the most. But like with anything else you’ve got to take the good with the bad, and Guelph has most […]

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