ALAN FREW

Musician. Author. Speaker.

Dear Canada Blog #47 April 11th 2018.

Had trouble sleeping. Didn’t shut it down until 4a.m. but once again the eyes opened about four hours later.😳

Checked out and headed in my own vehicle alone to Peterborough, Ontario. The home of the infamous “incident” 😂 wait for it, it’s coming. 

Peterborough is known as the gateway to the Kawarthas, "cottage country", a large recreational region of the province. It is named in honour of Peter Robinson, an early Canadian politician who oversaw the first major immigration to the area. 

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Peterborough at dusk. 

Pre-European’s, First Nations groups probably entered into the area across Bering Sea, through Alaska, millennia ago (exact dates unknown). Woodland Natives inhabited the area followed by Iroquois and Mississaugas. 

Peterborough was incorporated as a town in 1850, with a population of 2,191, and as a city in 1905, with a population of about 14,300. The nickname, “The Electric City" was bestowed upon Peterborough, due to the fact it was the first town in Canada to use electric streetlights.

I hit town around 2:30 p.m. and grabbed myself some lunch, before heading to venue and hanging out backstage. I was alone since the lads had gone to their homes last night and didn’t need to check out of a hotel at all today. 

Approaching this arena I had a flashback to when Glass Tiger did it’s first major headline tour and it was insane. Thousands of teenage, girls just losin’ it. Agents and managers and our record company, setting up this & that at magazines and radio. Meet this guy and shake hands with THAT woman, for she runs the radio station and.... “We’re gonna make ya stars boys!” and.........as I pull into the parking lot, my mind can smell the smells and taste the tastes of when we first played there many, many, years ago.

  “The album that launched a million teenage tears.” 

“The album that launched a million teenage tears.” 

Arenas may all look the same, but eventually each one’s individual identity shows up and comes back to you and you just “know” you’ve played it before. How many times? Now that I can never tell you, but I know when I have been there at least once. Of course I also remember being in Peterborough when we had ....the “incident.” 😳 It’s coming! It’s coming. 

  First rule of “chillin,” learn to sleep anywhere. Is THAT Stanley Cup still just a dream? lol 

First rule of “chillin,” learn to sleep anywhere. Is THAT Stanley Cup still just a dream? lol 

Chilled in dressing room until guys arrived and we readied ourselves for the meet and greet and by now Dear Canada, you totally know the routine as well as I do. Welcome everyone, line up, click click click, sign, sign, small talk, and .....we’re done.  

Show was flawless. Johnny knocked it out of the park as, I might add, did we. A wee woman kept waving a Glasgow Rangers scarf at me and like Pavlov’s dog, I just had to have it on me and so she brought it to me and I put it around my neck.

In a jiffy it was over and it was, “Thank you Peterborough....thank you....Peter......borough? Can’t be can it? Weren’t you told you’d never play that town again? You know? Because of the ....incident?

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It was a warm summer’s evening and Glass Tiger hit the stage as headliners at a Peterborough festival outdoors. The woman in charge of the event, the one responsible for paying us, had already been a bit of a pain in the arse early on, just flaunting her self-importance whenever she could. At one point we had a meet and greet for a radio station and contest winners but she decided that she and her friends were much more important and she just butted in, jumping the queue, moving people aside because, “she was someone important” instead of being a gracious host to all and making sure those contest winners were the ones of importance. She then clashed with our manager at the time, Rod and refused to pay him prior to us setting foot on the stage which is normal procedure. A client usually pays a band a deposit, then hands a balance over just prior to going on. So now she and the manager are at loggerheads. She then wanted to “intro” us by getting on the microphone but we didn’t want that opting instead to go on unannounced and let our taped intro do the job. Now her nose is out of joint.

NOW....comes the good part. I knew it was a family show. I see kids and as a dad, I remind myself, “Kids in audience, no sweary words!” and that’s usually it. HOWEVER, on this particular night it was hot, and sweaty, and loud, and happening, and I was totally into my performance and ........truth be told, it was well past 11pm, and my brain was in complete auto-pilot, and during my having fun with the audience in the encore as they try to copy what I sing to them (I deliberately make it harder and harder) I lost my train of thought, saying to the audience, “Whatever you do, Don’t give up your fucking day jobs!” They howled but .....it dawned on me that I had cursed and so I paused for a moment then came out with, “Oops! Sorry everyone, that just slipped out.” But, Dear Canada, I am from Scotland, and we have a biting sense of humour. And sweary words don’t scare us. We use curse words affectionately 😂 and so I said, “Sorry Guys,  I know there are kids here...(pause) ....ach, whit the hell, they should be in their fuckin’ beds anyway!”

 Sweary words don’t scare us..we’re Scottish! A Glasgow parking ticket.😂

Sweary words don’t scare us..we’re Scottish! A Glasgow parking ticket.😂

Now trust me, I had sureveyed that audience, and knew that most little ones were indeed gone or conked out on blankets. And the audience totally got the humour in it....all except, Miss Puff ‘n’ Stuff side-stage with the cheque in her hand. What a scene when we came off. You would have thought I had murdered the kids instead of saying a curse word in front of them. She was a NIGHTMARE! All hell broke loose. She refused to pay us. She ordered our bus off the grounds. Simply put, she was an asshole. Next day she gives an interview to the local paper and tells the story of the incident, embellishing our behaviour, saying how uncooperative we were all day, and she lies her friggin’ head off then goes on the record as saying, “Mark my words. THEY will never work in this town again!” Ooooooooh, missus, really? I think Peterborough is a bit bigger than that my dear. I got my back up and I called their local radio stations and gave interviews rebutting her lies, making sure the people of Peterborough knew exactly what had happened.

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So thank you Peterborough for having us back! I think we all got over that massive front-page shock of me dropping the F-bomb. And listen. I am done swearing. Seriously. I am cured.  It’ll never, EVER, happen again. Trust me. It will.... not....ever..... happen......again...just as sure as there’s shit in a fucking goat!  

Drove back to my own house and after a warm cup of tea, it’s bed by 1 a.m. Goodnight Dear Canada, until tomorrow.       ~Alan