ALAN FREW

Musician. Author. Speaker.

Dear Canada Blog #49 April 13th 2018.

Holy shit, 5 a.m. comes fast when you begin your sleep at 1 a.m. I am super-tired. 

 Gate number “Holy shit, how far?”

Gate number “Holy shit, how far?”

We thought we were in plenty of time entering the airport one hour pre-flight, no carry-on luggage and already armed with boarding passes on our phones. Wrong!! The airport was a zoo, with everything taking three times as long as it should, and so by the time we reached the security section of the lineup we had 15 mins to make our flight. I took a deep breath and said, “Ah, no problem Al, we have fifteen minutes yet.” Famous last words. And so by the time we cleared the x-ray machines, we had about 4mins and counting. Off we set, at a brisk pace and looking at our boarding passes, we both commented on how unusual the lettering and number of our gate seemed. GATE B1C. Not gate B1. Not Gate 1C but gate B1C. Noting that we had never heard of such a thing, we were sadly about to find out why. For Dear Canada, what actually happens when you are given a ticket for Gate B1C is.....you get your ticket, you line up, you go through security and then....you walk one third of the way from Toronto to Ottawa and I guess they pick you up in a plane when it swoops down to the side of the road to nab you. I mean HOLY SHIT West Jet what is that? We walked and walked and walked, took an escalator, followed by an escalator, then walked, then jumped on a moving walkway, an escalator, then walked, walked, stopped, caught a breath, escalator, walked and finally there it is ......another moving walkway, an escalator, a walk and then... .. RUN!!!

  Al Connelly in full stride.... 

Al Connelly in full stride.... 

We’re now at -5 minutes and counting. So race and fast walk, a quick jog, a stop, a walk slow, a quick sprint, and escalator and finally, GATE B1C appears before us like an oasis to a wee bloke with a Glasgow thirst. And so, panting and puffing we made it to the desk where it’s obvious the attendants at the desk had recognized my name and were expecting me, (does this mean we didn’t have to kill ourselves getting there?) anyway, she gives me a welcoming smile and says, “How are you feeling?” and I know she means from the stroke I suffered, (I get that every now and again from airline staff who recognize my name on the list and who may be fans of GT.)  So I jokingly said to her, “Hang on, I might be having another one here at your desk after that walk!” Seriously West Jet that should be a shuttle ride, you have got to fix that.😱

  Morning television. 

Morning television. 

Al and I arrived in Ottawa and were met by our Warner Music representive called Mary and we immediately went to the CTV studios to do an interview on breakfast tv. We had a full day of promo with more radio interviews which didn’t end until a final CBC one which ended at 2:30 p.m.

  Ottawa, Canada’s Capital city. 

Ottawa, Canada’s Capital city. 

Got back to hotel and tried to nap but as I am sure you guys know, sometimes you are just so tired you cannot nap. Your brain just won’t let you and after a futile attempt to nod off, I gave up and decided to read a bit and write a little. 

I stumbled across the news, and was deeply saddened by the recent death of former World Champion Darts player, Eric Bristow. Eric was ranked World No.1 by the World Darts Federation a record six times and he was a five-time World Champion. Bristow died on 5 April 2018, after suffering a massive heart attack. Years ago when Eric was World Champion, he came over to Canada on a very well-paid, promotional tour and one of the stops on that tour, was Newmarket, the old home town of Glass Tiger. Now I have loved darts since childhood. Sam also took the game up years ago and, just for the record, he still plays regularly on a local team. I haven’t played since my stroke because my right arm is still a bit wonky but plan on trying it again soon. Anyway, back in the day, Eric Bristow’s sponsors got wind of GT hailing from Newmarket and so they invited us to play an exhibition match against Eric. Now if you fancy yourself as a golfer, just imagine having to play one on one with Rory McIlroy;  if you fancy yourself as a hockey player,  imaging going up against Conner McDavid. You get the picture right? To say we “played” against Eric is stretching it, he PLAYED, we sort of “participated.” He destroyed us both in mere minutes and although I don’t remember exactly how Eric finished off the game between him and Sam, I certainly DO remember my demise.

 The “Champ.”

The “Champ.”

 

He showboated, to the delight of the crowd. He left himself needing 40 by which to win the game, and if you know darts, this simply means, he would normally just go for, and almost certainly hit, a DOUBLE 20 and it’s game over, but noooooooo. Eric gets down on his knees and finishes off our match by hitting DOUBLE 10 and again DOUBLE 10.  “Oh come on man!! Really?” I said. Of course the place erupted, as did I, Eric was just a delight to watch play the game but now sadly he is gone too soon.

  Stop the action. Yup, treble 20. Ok, as you were.  

Stop the action. Yup, treble 20. Ok, as you were.  

Trivia note; in the video for I’M STILL SEARCHING our director, Don Allan, wanted a scene whereby a dart is thrown at a board hitting the “treble 20.” He explained he needed it to happen fast because he wanted it in the video in slow-motion and so in order to achieve this, he had to run the film (yup! these are the days of film) super-fast, and very costly. He asked me if I thought I could nail it. “Of course,” I said, cockily. Sure enough I took a dart first-time and nailed it.😱😂 You Don’t see me throw it in the video, but now you know.😉

Show was great. The theatre area in the arena was small and the audience felt like they were right there with you, close and loud. Our friend Davey Lawlor and his family attended the show, Davey is a co-writer on WAE YER FAMILY and so I dedicated the song to him. Johnny and I killed it and I got a lovely thank you from Davey later when we visited and had a beer together. 

  Two “laddies” sharing a song. 

Two “laddies” sharing a song. 

We have been told there is a massive ice and snow storm bearing down on this region. We have a VIP brunch coming up with a woman who purchased it from our website VIP packages and so we will join her around noon tomorrow for a bite before heading along the highway to Kingston.  

Goodnight Dear Canada, until tomorrow ~Alan