ALAN FREW

Musician. Author. Speaker.

Dear Canada Blog #36 March 31st 2018


Lobby call was 9:45 a.m. to go with Sam to 92.7 Rock Sudbury, for a short interview with Mell Dahl. Painless, then onward to Jak’s for a classic breakfast. An incredibly popular and busy spot, I loved the look and feel of Jak’s because it still had that 60’s, small town feel. Waitresses calling most patrons by their first names, exiting the kitchen carrying about 10 separate orders stacked up on each arm. Swamped with clientele, yet still finding the time to top people up with a second free coffee, all the while being “pleasant” about it. 

 “Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger!”   Back to hotel and spent time finishing my prior blog.    Had the chance to do treadmill for an hour and some stretches.    My tv is on the “fritz” due to THIS .....

“Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger!” 

Back to hotel and spent time finishing my prior blog.  

Had the chance to do treadmill for an hour and some stretches.  

My tv is on the “fritz” due to THIS .....

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Take a look at that. Now, I realize I am in the Best Western in Sudbury, but that has nothing to do with something like this. I have stayed in some of the best hotels in the world and I have stayed in motels where Norman Bates offers you “something a little extra with room service” but what you are looking at here is simply work done by someone who doesn’t care. You don’t need money, to care. This is a power connecting bar that cannot reach the devices that it is meant to; mainly a television and a small microwave oven to the left of it, while on the right It connects to the wall and powers the heater. It is so stretched it floats six inches from the floor. It of course cannot reach the floor and if you try to plug anything else into it, it disconnects, as it did with me trying to plug the iron into it, causing the satellite tv to disconnect, which now remains  all “garbled” for the remainder of my stay, because truth be told, I can live without TV and can’t be bothered calling down about it to the front desk.

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Don’t you wish that people would just “do their job?” Do the job you are hired to do? Do the job you have chosen to do? Go the extra mile or in this case the extra “ 6 friggin’ inches!” This may indeed only be a Best Western in Sudbury but what would it take to have a cord that reaches where it is supposed to reach? Nothing right ? But they couldn’t do it. Not only does it look like shit, it performs like shit, and if I had taken the time to call down and complain and have them find a guy to come and sort it all out, then I become the complaining, pain-in-the-arse, guest.

Public service at the best of times is a tough gig. We all know that. I have been in public service jobs before and, come to think of it, I still am in a roundabout way. Could you imagine a show, you’ve paid for your ticket with your hard-earned , money. Here we come, the show starts with a bang and we open with your favourite Glass Tiger song, but suddenly, my voice goes dead. Why? Oh, i’m sorry, it’s because the mic cable we have chosen doesn’t allow me to actually move, for you see, it doesn’t reach properly, and if I touch the microphone, if I move it a fraction, the cable will disconnect each time. Oh shit look, it’s the same thing with the guitar player, his cord doesn’t reach either. If he moves at all, his guitar disconnects, sorry folks, we’re on the “fritz” show’s over. What about our cab tomorrow to the airport? What if it stops a half of a mile from the airport itself, “Sorry folks, ya have to get out here, we don’t actually “reach” the airport we only get somewhat “close” to it. Y’all have to walk the rest of the way.” We see half-measures all the time and it drives us crazy. Count in your day, your week, your month, how many times it happens to you, whereby someone just doesn’t quite do their job. Public service should have nothing to do with money and status. But is should have everything to do with caring enough just to do it right. I remember telling a story about lining up at a Tim Horton’s one day.

 “Yeah? So what do YOU want?” 

“Yeah? So what do YOU want?” 

It was busy, as most always are. I could see in my wait that the server behind the counter was miserable, truly miserable, yet people ahead of me were putting up with it, just desperate to get their morning coffee and get going. Mybwait was at least 15 mins before I got to her. “ What can I get you,” she said dourly. I told her I wanted a tea please with milk. She shuffled around miserably before bringing me my tea. “Anything else,” she barked. This was the moment I had been waiting for; “Yes, I would like a smile please, followed by a little caring.” She stared at me like a deer in the headlights. “What?” I repeated my new order to which she then replied,” They don’t pay me to smile!” We helps each other’s stare for a moment before I said to her,”Well they should!” And I turned and walked away. People watching this confrontation totally got it. “Your tea!” She yelled. “Don’t want it! I yelled back. Enuff said.

We headed over to the venue early to do a meet and greet with the folks from The Investors Group and some of their clients. I gave a short speech thanking the Investors guys for all the fabulous charity work they do and I welcomed the others to the evening, Took photos and signed autographs etc. 

Tonight’s show here in Sudbury was so welcoming to Glass Tiger. After our opening number, I always make a fun joke about a little lady sitting in the front row saying, “That’s not my Johnny! Where’s my Johnny?” And then of course I tell them that Johnny is safe and sound back stage and that, “We are Glass Tiger!” Well Sudbury erupted!! It sounded and felt so great guys, thank you.  

 Two lads, one song.

Two lads, one song.

Johnny and I sailed through our duet together. I had popped into his dressing room earlier to see how he was feeling and he is looking and sounding great. Even although whatever was going around, a flu? A cold? A bug or whatever, it was, it touched each and every one of us at some point, but it didn’t get us to the point where we went down. I am sure most musicians have gone through these days, whereby, if they were home they would be flattened on their asses and probably in their beds, sick for a week, but if you have shows to do? You get up there and you do it!! You “DO YOUR JOB!”

Couldn’t believe the amount of snow that Sudbury got hit with, it just never seems to want to end. They say it will stop tonight and actually warm up and melt before our flight time tomorrow. I hope that is the case because I fly home tomorrow for shows in my home city of Toronto, which of course means that I get to sleep in my own bed!!  

 The Franco-Ontarian Flag

The Franco-Ontarian Flag

Went with Sean and Sam for a beer before heading back to hotel to shut it down. I read a little before falling asleep, including trying to satisfy my curiosity as to why Sudbury has such a feeling of French influence everywhere one goes. Today, for example, while driving to the radio station and going for breakfast, I had such a profound feeling of being in Quebec, our French Province, so I just looked it up, and this is what I found out;  Sudbury's culture is influenced by the large Franco-Ontarian community consisting of approximately 40 percent of the city's population, particularly in the amalgamated municipalities of Valley East and  Rayside-Balfour and historically in the Moulin A Fleur neighbourhood.  The French culture is celebrated with the Franco-Ontarian flag recognized by the province as an official emblem, which was created in 1975 by a group of teachers at Laurentian University, and after some controversy has flown at Tom Davies Square, since 2006. The large francophone community plays a central role in developing and maintaining many of the cultural institutions of Sudbury. 

So there ya have it. There is your cultural lesson for the night.  

And so I bid you a goodnight Dear Canada, until tomorrow.                  ~Alan