Just so you know, I don't wear lipstick to clean horse stalls...
As I write this, it’s Wednesday April 4 and the Juno Awards are over. Out on the prairies a beautiful little city is getting back to normal, while somewhere in Ontario, I’m a little queasy and very grateful that I didn’t get totally polluted all weekend...
Some of you may have gotten the hint (some of you knew) that our trip was a big deal. In fact it’s so huge that I can’t be all vague about it anymore! This is our third trip to the Junos but it’s the first that my husband has gone there as a Nominee. It’s also the first time that he’s come home A JUNO WINNER!
I am so proud of him that I can’t keep it quiet anymore! Besides he got interviewed by the paper today so screw it. I hear that the hometown paper already ran a story. I even stumbled upon a Wikipedia page started for him. There is no anonymity in this world anymore.
Here we are! Soak it up because after today I’m reinstating the No Faces Rule! This is a Limited Time Offer!
Saturday March 31 was the Gala Awards night. Yes, I am the wife who jumped up and down, screaming, and possibly throwing the horns. Man, I had an out of body experience. I’m not kidding. I heard applause, and I heard squealing noises, and then I realized that the noises were coming out of me. And that my high heeled boots were leaving the floor repeatedly.
We had prepared ourselves to not win. There was some stiff competition in this category! There was no way I was going to take the win with any degree of dignity.
I’ve known him for 20 years, and I have been there from the beginning, when he was a teenager doing live sound in divey bars. I married this business. I was there when he didn’t make enough money to buy food and pay bills at the same time. I committed to staying home with the kids because our home needed that stability with him working 16 hour days. I was there when he went freelance, facing the uncertainty of an unforgiving career with no safety net. I’ve suffered because I believe in him so much. I love him and admire him and to have this kind of recognition from his peers is such an overwhelming feeling of honour and validation.
On top of that, after all these years of overwork, erratic eating, sleep deprivation and stress, he’s still a good lookin’ fella.
I didn’t actually get a whole lot of pictures of rock stars. Why? Because I didn’t really feel right about it. Here we were, included, and seeing these people with their guard down, rather than in Performance Mode. Suddenly I didn’t feel like getting into their faces with a camera.
However I did get some hugs. Whoo boy. I got hugs from a young bass player that I have a little crush on. It’s official. Last year I just liked him lots but it’s a crush now. He’s tall and broad shouldered and funny and articulate, and he really likes hugs. I really should have gotten a picture. Jethro says I’m cut off now...no more Tommy Mac...til next year! Ha!
The CTV party on Saturday night was surreal. It was a real Who’s That of the Canadian music industry! Yes, I did walk past many Famous People. But there was a high proportion of Us Nobodies. Clearly, the music business needs a lot of Us Nobodies to keep it going; people like me who provide love and clean socks to keep things moving along.
We drank so much free beer. Honestly we drank. We paced ourselves and never got to the point of stupidity, mostly because we agreed that we wanted to feel good the next day and, y’know, remember stuff. In any case, on Saturday night I exceeded my two beer limit. (By Monday I didn’t want beer, for the first time in memory. Later on in the day, beer and I reconciled and I remembered how much we like each other; we’re friends again.)
Here’s me and Mulroney:
I was jealous of their hair colour:
I love this man. I really do.
I really loved how I matched the decor at the party. It's like they knew and had it all planned for me!
Sunday was the telecast. This was the Big Show. We got all but one of the Engineers together (one poor guy was feeling ill in his hotel room) and we rode to the arena in a crickety GMC van. That was our limo. It didn’t matter: with our limo passes clutched in our hands we tentatively approached the big white tent.
Here’s the truth about the red carpet: it’s really wide. Like, reeeeallly wide. There’s a red barricade down the middle. One one side, Ben Mulroney interviews Famous People as they come down the carpet. On the other side...Us Nobodies! We stepped out. I saw a sea of faces, mostly young faces, mostly wearing a blank look because they were trying to figure out who the heck we were and coming up bewildered. I reminded myself to walk slowly. I clutched my husband’s big hand. I heard Ben Mulroney’s voice. I heard Jim Cuddy’s voice. I turned my head and...there he was. Ben Mulroney, Nice Guy of TV. His hair was blowing in the harsh Saskatchewan prairie wind. Ben Mulroney had messed up hair. In that short but pivotal moment of my life, all was right. I had my man, my Sassy Pink Dress, my red carpet moment, and proof that Ben Mulroney’s hair really does move in a breeze. (My camera died as we went into the arena! Duh!)
It was a glorious and wonderful slow motion slice of brain film.(Later on, I found the Jim Cuddy interview clip on the website and saw us walking past behind them. So, technically, we were on TV!)
It was over way too fast. Soon we were at the top of the steps and nobody was interested in interviewing our group. They have no idea what they were missing, eh?
We entered the arena and hung around in the Famous People Lounge, where I pretended to be extremely cool and made mental notes. For example, all Famous People are smaller and younger looking in real life. Except for Tommy Mac. He’s just better in real life.
This is Hedley. My new crush is the tall smug lookin' guy on the right.
Antoine Gratton, who won Francophone Album of the Year (that means it's in French) is a STAR baby!
Canada knows how to do a rock show. I feel kinda sorry for all the hip-hop and R&B artists in this country. Those fifteen guys have a hard go. My favourite performances at the concert were:
Billy Talent, who straight up rock and gave the show a serious kick start!
Alexisonfire...ah gosh, I do love me some Alexisonfire. Here they are on the red carpet that afternoon. It cracks me up that our Canadian rock stars shop at the Goodwill. I kind of love it!
Dallas Green, aka City and Colour, started with his own song, which was beautiful. Then they cranked into “This could Be Anywhere” and knocked us all out. Those guys are haaavy. Their producer goes way back with us and it was great to catch up with him after all these years!!
Three Days Grace, who had the wicked pyro. We were sitting close enough to feel the heat on our faces.
The Tragically Hip, who performed with producer Bob Rock, this year’s Hall of Fame inductee.
(You might know Bob from such albums as Dr Feelgood and every Metallica album sinceThe Black Album.)
DJ Champion. They closed the show with a definite kick in the head. A DJ, a husky voiced singer and four guitars! Awesome!
Nelly Furtado was inescapably ubiquitous for a few days.
I was worried about Nelly on Saturday night. She seemed spacey when she accepted her two awards. She got it together for the telecast and pulled off a few comedy bits. I considered the huge workload of being nominated, hosting the show, and being a featured performer. I suspect I would be spacey too. Oh wait. Yeah. I definitely would be.
She held her own as a host! Believe me, I’ve seen worse.
I admit, don’t get the Promiscuous Loose Maneater stuff. I’ve been rather harsh about this for the last few months too. But I found myself liking her on Sunday, mostly just because she really did host the show instead of passing off introductions to the presenters. The girl has a work ethic.
I’m just too much of a hick metalhead to understand the kind of music she makes. Clearly, lots of people do get it because she took all five awards she was nominated for!
I realized something else about The Famous. Yeah, they’re people too, they’re just like you and me. They put their pants on one leg at a time, only when they do, they make gold records.
They’re not like you and me. They are different. They have something in them that needs expression. They have to perform. I think that for some it’s as much a curse as a blessing. Imagine having an intense need to perform, and to share it with others, craving attention so badly that you’d be willing to step out in front of 20,000 people to get it. Now imagine loving that feeling and knowing that this is how you feel alive. For some, performing is the thing that lights the fire.
I like to stand next to that fire.
We went to bed on Sunday night at 5:30 Monday morning. This is me in the lobby of the Radisson wanting to find my bed.
So there you go. I arrived, I basked, I had the glow, I shook, wept, and didn’t barf. I ate, drank, and danced like a fool.
I jumped up and down and screamed.
I drank enough beer to keep the Western Brewery of Saskatoon SK in business for another ten years.
I hugged Tommy Mac.
I got the T shirt.
I slept with a Juno award winner!
I escaped Saskatoon without any restraining orders put on me. (Whew!) Jethro’s already planning next year’s trip to Calgary!
Now I must put my house in order and get back to my regularly scheduled real life with the laundry and dishes and barn chores and riding lessons, and a novel that insists I get back to work. Thanks for reading and sharing this amazing moment in time with me!