rough notes

a sort of homecoming

with 2 comments

Twitter told me (here, and here) that Sloan has just flown into halifax. the band is playing at the grawood this friday, and i’ve scored some tickets. i’ve never seen sloan before (this is sacrilege, given my age and demographic), so i’m kinda-sorta excited.

the hali airport is the filming location of sloan’s ’96 music video for The Good in Everyone. The band did a pretty great send-up to the dope deal scene in Easy Rider, and it makes for good viewing (observe below). If you have One Chord To Another (the album the song is on), you’ll also hear George Stroumboulopous at the beginning of the track as he invites them to the makeshift stage at the toronto eaton centre for an “impromptu” gig. I don’t have any video for that, but i wanted to mention it anyway, because Strombo was once the voice of t-dot’s “alternative rock” scene, and then turned into the “cool bad guy” for muchmusic before landing his current position as Your Boyfriend on CBC’s The Hour after Peter’s finished with the national news. You’ve come a long way, Strombo.


here’s a clip of Strombo interviewing Leslie Feist. Feist is not a part of Sloan, of course, but she does originally hail from Nova Scotia and also sings a touching song about Mushaboom, which I believe is good enough to complement His Stromobosity in this clip. (I’ve written about LF, before, and her work with BSS and winter and Canadiana. I like linking to that post, because i almost feel like I know what i’m talking about in that entry)


Anyway. Sloan has touched down in Halifax, literally moments ago. Part of me wants to go back in time by about forty minutes so I can wrangle down a friend with a car and then make the 30min drive out there. I don’t want to cheer as Sloan comes down the escalator in the arrivals area, but I would like to see the band and their partners and kids greeted by the band’s parents. I figure the kids are along for the ride on this stop and will be hanging out with the grandmas and grandpas when they play at the Grawood at Dal on Friday. (or, perhaps Sloan’s parents will come out any watch them play.)

It must be a little odd for them to fly into Halifax, since this is the town they’re associated with even though they left it so long ago. Sloan is the Halifax band that never made it (really) big until they left Halifax. they are happy to talk about their roots (the non-internetized music video for She Says What She Means certainly embraces those roots), but they’re also quick to tell you that they sure as hell moved to the big smoke long, long ago. Sloan isn’t a Halifax band. Sloan is a Toronto band. Sloan is a bunch of middle-aged dudes from Halifax who now reside in Toronto and every now and again play some songs for their younger, but also now old fans.

Regardless, it’s weird to fly home. I’ve done it several times, and I’ve never really liked it. I tend to feel certain pangs of nostalgia, but what really begins to creep into the soul during these returns is absence. As I touch down, I realise I associate historically – if not heavily – with a place where I am not, a place that doesn’t normally describe me but once did and will now in in an uncanny sort of way represent me again for the briefest moment of time. Of course, nostalgia deals with absence in the first place since it’s a conflation of both the good feelings of being back in a place you once loved as well as the odd realization that the place you once loved, and still love, is actually no more and hasn’t existed since time began its grim march forward at the moment you marked that moment in time. Don’t worry, I know I’m not making any sense. I’m not really trying to.


post script: last summer, i saw some one walking down South St wearing a t-shirt that read, “I am not Chris Murphy”. I wish I owned that t-shirt.

Written by mitchellirons

March 25, 2009 at 6:40 pm

2 Responses

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  1. It was a sort of homecoming for me too when I moved to Hali in the summer of ’01 to attend King’s.
    I always thought of myself as a Nova Scotian even though, at that time, I had not lived here in 20 years.
    The day I moved to Halifax, I picked up a copy of The Coast at Dal. I saw that the band Guided by Voices was playing at The Marquee the following night. I asked a relative where I could find Gottingen Street (pronouncing the “N” like a foolish CFA) and went to the show.
    I wasn’t that impressed with GBV, but I enjoyed the heck out of the openers The Joel Plaskett Emergency and bought their disc Down at the Khyber. While at the show I saw none other than Andrew Scott wandering around.
    In retrospect, that was a pretty Halifax (re)introduction to this city.


    March 25, 2009 at 8:40 pm

  2. Heh! This is great, because I have tickets for them too and am very much looking forward to this. See you there!

    Will their kids be along? (Was that what you were getting at?) Perhaps, but the Grawood is a licenced venue. The only minors allowed are ones that are actually going to Dalhousie (and have a Dal ID to prove it). I mean, if you’re with the band maybe it’s different, but officially that’s how it is.

    William Matheson

    March 25, 2009 at 9:22 pm

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