Dear Canada Blog #46 April 10th 2018
So let’s see.....today was a day off. Today was not a day off. How so? Well on the Johnny Reid-Glass Tiger calendar, today was indeed, a day off. For me however, I had a Frew gig. (No rest for the wicked.)
Woke up around 9am and readied myself for my drive. I decided to downsize my suitcase as I am now in the “home stretch” of this tour and don’t need the huge case that I have been travelling with since February.
My gig tonight is in a place called Oshawa, Ontario, a small town, population 159,458, Lake Ontario shoreline, approximately 60 kilometres east of Toronto. The name Oshawa originates from the Ojibwa term, aazhaway, meaning "the crossing place.” Oshawa’s modern roots are tied to the automobile industry, specifically the Canadian division of General Motors known as General Motors Canada.
Oshawa is one of those areas that I have frequented as a musician since back in my bar days of the late 70’s. There was such a vibrant music scene in those days and Oshawa had no shortage of great talent come through its doors.
I was in a band called Onyx and this is one of the only photo’s I have from that time in my life. This shot was was taken not far from Oshawa, in Cobourg, on the beach. The head in the bottom right corner, is the drummer for ONYX, and if not mistaken, Wayne Parker, took this photo.
To say it was a great band would be stretching it somewhat. Talent of course was there, but that particular line-up would never have made the leap required to enter the big leagues. That said, it was all a necessary part of growing up, it’s how I “cut my teeth” on the live scene. It was like an apprenticeship. It helped me hone my skills certainly as a singer and frontman and “somewhat” as a songwriter, and it got me on the road to my 10,000 hour rule which I probably completed some 30 years ago!! I probably have 200,000 hrs and counting under my belt by now. In case some of you are wondering what I am going on about, there is a theory, closely linked with writer Malcolm Gladwell that it takes about 10,000 hours of "deliberate practice" to become world-class in any field. So about 6-10 years to get great at something, I am sure there is some merit to this theory but I think it would certainly vary from person to person, depending on their internal skills and of course a wide array of other factors. Regardless I had my 10,000 hrs in many moons ago.
It’s interesting how I always had my eye on “young” Al Connelly as a guitar player. I brought him into ONYX at the latter part of our existence and then when we broke up and the band that was to go on to become GLASS TIGER formed, I brought him into that also. (You can pay me later Al. 😂)
Got to The Regent Theatre in Ottawa for a 4pm soundcheck. Then took my band to dinner at an Italian restaurant called AVANTI. Food was great, staff were courteous and my troops were a cheap date tonight because none of us wanted any alcohol lol.
My gig was primarily a speaking engagement first and foremost with music as a bonus. It was an event organized by someone who is becoming a pal. Stephen Butchard, from the Investor’s Group, is a fellow Brit, (a “scouser”) Do you need a translation? Scouse is an accent and dialect of English found primarily in the Metropolitan county of Merseyside, and closely associated with the city of Liverpool. The word is derived from the dish lobscouse, which is basically lamb stew that was popular among sailors at the seaports of Liverpool. Inhabitants of Liverpool are more often described by the colloquialism Scousers. The word 'scouse' is often used an adjective meaning related to Liverpool. Hence, The Beatles, were scousers.
So Stephen put on this event for around 400 guests and my job was to give them an evening of storytelling and music. Done!
It’s funny to me to know that public speaking ranks right up there as a number one human fear and in many cases, DEATH, ranks number two!! As Jerry Seinfeld says, “This means that there are actually people out there who would rather be in the casket, than giving the eulogy”.😂 Strange, but obviously true.
I decided since there were lots of entrepreneurs in the audience to focus on the notion of BELIEF in self and in NEVER GIVING UP ....EVER. I told two stories that basically span my lifetime; one from my childhood, regarding my belief that I would go to Canada, even although it was never in my parents volcabulary that we were going to Canada. The other, is the story of my involvement in the writing of the song, I BELIEVE, for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the end result of which, was a massive, glorious, hit song, that captured a nation, while in fact the journey to get there, was nothing short of a professional nightmare requiring every ounce of “never give up.....ever,” that I could muster.
Stephen also allowed me, “free reign” to have a laugh with them, which I would never turn down, so I also had them howling in their seats. It’s been scientifically proven that laughter is good for your health & well being. Releases stress, lowers blood pressure, enhances brain function, helps you sleep and so much more. Who doesn’t love a good laugh?
The evening was a monstrous home run. We also raised $3800 for the Heart & Stroke foundation by auctioning off a guitar, upon which I wrote the lyrics to I BELIEVE. All in all, a brilliant night all around.
I headed to a nearby hotel and slumped into bed.
I bid you adieu. Goodnight Dear Canada, until tomorrow. ~Alan
“Button it! And get to sleep!”