Selections this week were informed by the torrent of misogyny, abuse, and threats of violence being hurled at our provincial government for the audacity of bringing rural labour practices and protections in line with the rest of Canada, as with practices and protections in other sectors.
My personal feeling is that this shit-storm has been brewing since Alberta elected its first progressive government in the history of time; the opponents of that government were simply waiting for the right alignment of celestial bodies before they launched an all-out broadside. It’s ugly, but I think the right may have spent its political capital too early in the NDP’s 4-year mandate. That’s the nature of rage machines; self-control is not one of their strengths. None of this is about whether agricultural employees are covered by Workmans’ Comp. or whether accidents on farms to fall within the purview of Occupational Health and Safety; for the right, it’s about their fear of modernity and their hatred of ‘socialism’, for the not-right, it’s about whether a petro-agro-state like Alberta can be dragged into the 21st century.
It’s also about whether or not we allow blustering, violent, woman-hating assholes to intimidate our politics. To Hell with them, I say.
If this week’s show turned on any one thing – other than a prevailing atmosphere of gloom, tribulation and doom, it would be the concept of turd polishing, which came to us courtesy of the Supersuckers. One fresh bright spark was provided by the Polymorphines of Ottawa. They opened here for Bob Log a few weeks back and put on a stomper of a warm-up show. Not as druggie-sounding as their name might suggest, they play bourbon-soaked roadhouse boogie (think The Band’s Up on Cripple Creek cranked up to 45) with a crazed enthusiasm that had me thinking of Muppet biker gangs.
And yeah, you would think that by now Nick Cave would have figured out that it’s a good idea to have a plan for getting rid of the body (I mean it’s 25 years since Kathy’s Kisses and Deep In the Woods), but hiding under it, while novel, does seem a singularly bad idea.
Terry Umble had hoped to get away early that Wednesday morning. He had plans. But his alarm clock was unaware of the urgency and made no more than the usual feeble effort to roust him. Then Rue took an amount of time that stretched the limits of credulity selecting which of his clothes to wear. He’d never thought of his wardrobe as such a cornucopia of choice before. Then the bike had to be loaded into the back, as it was unlikely that they’d be heading home at the same time.
By the time he pulled up at Campadillo, it was clear that he’d have no time for errands and would likely be late for work. But she ruffled his hair, kissed him on the neck and told him he was wonderful before wishing him a great day. In fact he did feel pretty good and he dropped the windows to let the air rush in as he hit the highway and made for Moose Hills, Saskatchewan. Even the prospect of a full day at the John Deere mailroom seemed pretty good. It was a tedious place, but at least nothing happened there that did not make sense. The gung-ho can-do atmosphere that had taken over CRAK left him feeling quite alien. If you can’t be a nay-saying slack-ass at an alternative radio station, then what hope was there left anywhere in the world?
While Terry slept in his mobile kitchen and the majority of Moose Flatters did likewise in various places in their homes, the mascot arrived on a flatbed trailer drawn by a rented rig. It traversed town via Henday, crossed the Town Park intersection, then turned north into Moose Flats’ newest subdivision and snaked its way past Dr. Speck’s house onto the access road that took it up the gentle north slope of Greyere’s Hill. The crane that would load it into place was already up and running. Constable Renchuk, raking in great overtime making sure that no one, particularly W.O.E., tried anything funny, was fast asleep in his cruiser.
First to see the mascot arrive was old man Toole. He liked the late night of summer for the coolness of the air, liked hot chocolate with at least three marshmallows melted in and liked the music of the crickets – fall was coming and they’d all be dead soon. He was richly enjoying all three when the rig passed his front porch. The mascot was entirely draped in canvas drop cloths and there was nothing to be impressed by other than its size, but even that evoked no more than the shadow of a smile from old man Toole.