Later that night I went to Amherst Cinema to see Never Let Me Go, again the place was empty, and the film was bleaker than the future of my professional skateboard career. Worse still, once I got back from the film at midnight I had to do a midterm essay, due the following morning at 9AM. Weary, grumpy and sans tea, I pushed on, typing out drivel worthy of this blog, but with a typically leftist-student pastiche. Job done, exhaustion one step closer.
Even with my assignment handed in I took a mulligan on going out on Tuesday night. It's our lad's night out, and it always includes good times, pizza and more good times, but in preparation for halloween it was best to avoid the bars. Instead Mike and I went for a skate in the light rain. We're adept at embarrassing ourselves quite well, but between the weather and the other guys out there (who were straight out of Tony Hawk games) we opted out after an hour. My bag of tricks only contains a one inch ollie, and barely held up against their nollie, shove-it, grind 720, goofie, gnarly flip catalogue.
I made a visit to the American institution known as Walmart on Wednesday. Amherst and the surrounding towns exist because there are five colleges in the area, yet stepping into Walmart was more like a wormhole into another part of the country. The book section was remarkably anti-Obama, and the employees looked like they had just stepped off the farm. Still, it wasn't the worst shopping experience of the day. That was reserved for Target, which happened to have its floor littered with blood and every employee standing around telling shoppers the same lie about a guy who cut his hand (when security and management were talking about the suspect who got away).
Oh well, when I get sick of Amherst I head to Northampton, and that night Michael and I went and saw The Besnard Lakes play at the Iron Horse. It was a triple Canadian Bill of band's I'd never heard of, though I wasn't alone, the venue was practically empty. We caught the tail-end of the opening band, but still saw Wintersleep play second. The singer was like Bernard Fanning, and their keyboard player and guitarist interchanged through songs but I was ultimately underwhelmed. It didn't help that I couldn't stop staring at the drummer as he made a pre-vomit face with every drum hit, it proved an unusual highlight.
The Besnard Lakes started their set with some poxy light show and a tape that played some fantastic quotes. Given I had never heard them before I obviously didn't know what to expect. I was a little startled at the singer's falsetto but impressed with their general set. Their light show went up a notch, with some chequered red & white patterns rolling across a display that reminded me of the Illawarra Steelers. It wasn't exactly big budget, but it added to their space-rock vogue.
I joked around saying I was going to Amherst because I liked the idea of running into J. Mascis at the grocery store was exciting. He's an absolutely astounding guitar player and his song writing is paralleled to his shredding. He also has a distinctive grey mane and massive glasses making him hard to miss. So much so that when he walked into the Iron Horse I spotted him as soon as he stepped in from the door. It would have been fun (for me only) to tell him about why I came to Amherst, but when a guy is on a night out with his lady it's best to keep it like that. I kept my inner fanboy suppressed, though I can't promise the same if I run into Thurston Moore, another native of the area.
Thursday was the first night of our Halloween weekend, and it would be the bars of Amherst that would experience this. I donned my Santa costume-though i forgot the beard and belt, Dicky Peach and Alex dressed as old men, Michael and John were Richard Nixon and Barrack Obama, Max became a lifesaver, Jess was a bee and Lee-Roy unintentionally dressed as Michael. Despite the costumes, Peach and Alex were still getting their i.d.s checked, so our stay at Stackers was short. Monkey bar was an even shorter adventure, barely making it into the door before we were turned around. People were still eating their dinner after all.
|Lee-Roy's Michael costume|
Despite last week's terrible experience, we gave The Pub another go. It was dead, but there was no security at the door so we got everyone in. The youngsters kept a low profile until the place filled out, and after that it was odd to see Dicky Peach without two beers in his hands. The rest of the troupe arrived before the mad rush and Ollie, Dave and Josh had decked themselves out in ladies clothes. Dave even method acted his way into the woman's bathroom, but stopped this trend when the lines got too long.
|I met the Burger King|
|Old man Isaacs and Peachy Claus|
The Pub was full of all sorts of characters. Dorothy kept stealing my Santa hat, one guy had shaved his head so he could be a paedophile (who I mistook for Hunter S. Thompson) and a bunch of girls were cats. If you fill a room with alcohol and people in disguises they go a bit wild, and that's a very good thing.
After the pub and pizza we all ended up back in Cashin, where we met up with everyone else who went out that night. It was equally wild, as footballers, vampires and Germans had all been diving into barrels of booze. I took a leaf out of Alex's book and stole a few beers before we were all moved the party to the basement. Along the way some pirate threw a football at my beer, spraying it everywhere, an action I thought should be extended his way. Oddly enough, he took exception to getting beer thrown at him but before anything could happen my attention was taken by two cans of spray paint under a couch. From here, the old men, Alex and Richard grabbed each can and proceeded to spray eachother's op-shop jackets....along with parts of the building.
|That time I met Tom Brady|
When the paint came out I knew it was time to leave, and as I walked back to the hall they named after me a longboarder took a massive tumble. It was nearing 4AM and the guy was flying down the hill. Unfortunately for him a drunk Santa was the first on the scene, but credit to him, he rolled on after a few minutes of gaining his composure.
The next day I sat in the dining hall discussing that night's costume with John. Seeing all those girls in cat costumes gave me an idea. If every unorganised girl can get away with it why can't I? With some borrowed leggings (that showed off my killer calves), a tail, ears and some eyeliner I was transformed into a cat in 5 minutes. Well sort of, poor Kate had to stitch the tail to my jocks.
I braved the cold and snickering on my way to the ice-hockey. After last week's debacle I was more than happy just to get into the stadium, the fact that most people there were in costume made it great. For the final period we moved seats, this time sitting a few rows back from the glass. The seats were great, so good that I happened to get hit by a stray puck as it sailed above the glass at speed. It collected my thumb as I either tried to swat it away or catch it and as a solid piece of frozen rubber is hard as hell, it really hurt.
It was freezing outside in leggings, so Max, the Chilean Miner/minor and I went to Sunset and were greeted by a room full of fog and hussies. One girl had her shirt off whilst another got a little too excited about my inappropriately placed cat tail. The Beastie Boys (Dicky Peach, Alex and Sam (Tony Hawl)) arrived with the cross dressers and Essex. The fog machine was going off, but after some dancing on a table we all decided to head off to the Ski & Board house for a party.
The place was packed, and the owners were getting quite upset at people on the lawn. One guy even went as far to say "how do I say this in Australian; Get the fuck off my lawn!" * terrible accent included. It didn't matter in the end, Kate managed to talk her way into Max and I getting into the party. Unfortunately our beer was with Tony Hawl, so we were relatively dry from then on.
There were a bunch of girls in cat costumes at the party and it was fantastic to undermine their outfits. After a while at the party the everyone had to leave because the fuzz were about to shut it down. After a brief stop at College Pizza, who had amended their child labour issues, we headed back to Sunset, where we were joined by a bunch of Irish-American idiots.
|Kate's what the hell costume.|
See here is the thing, I asked one guy in an Irish flag morph suit if he was Irish, to which he replied "100%", then went on a tangent in a terribly improvised accent about County Kerry and the IRA. It was as stupid thing as I have ever come across, because being born, growing up and living in Massachusetts does not make you Irish. If anything, it's 100% American, and that is something he should be embracing, rather than a genealogy that has been bred out of his misguided brain. Anyway, his other 'Irish' mate said he was going to devouge some wings, so I took my notice and got the hell out of the place.
The next night began at Ollie's room. Michael and I had saved our best costume, Steve Irwin and a crocodile, for this night and planned on making it a good one. After spending some time at Ollie's, which was fantastic and featured an array of different characters we all headed out to find a party...only it doesn't really work with large groups. We all fractured off, and my team headed to the North of Amherst. We went past one huge party, but as a guy I refuse to pay $5 entry to someone's house. Instead we walked up the street, followed a group and joined their tail as they entered some house.
Oddly enough, the plan worked and everyone in the group got in. After a while Mike and I performed our crocodile wrestling stunt on the dance floor, only to hit and break a lighting fixture. One of the resident's was pragmatic about the incident, and told us to chill out while still retaining a grin on his face. Fantastic. Mike knew a bunch of the guy's at the party through rugby, so we managed to get more people into the party.
I'm not sure what time we left, but the walk home proved to be a rather incident packed affair. Being at the end of the line of people, I only saw Ollie struggle to his feet. A group of homeboys had provoked him by insulting Amanda and in turn sucker punched him. Sam and I missed the punch, and as were saw the group walk off we asked what had happened. They played it cool for a while saying they didn't know, but quickly changed to "we know what you're trying to do". I have no idea what we were trying to do, but as soon as Sam took his eyes off them he copped a fist to the face. It was a decent hit, but he didn't seem rattled. I was startled by what was happening, and without turning my back began to leave. These arseholes were simply looking for trouble.
See, we were having a great night until then and some unprovoked act of violence instantly turned it on its head. I used to get upset that the police were overzealous here, but clearly it's to stop people like the guy who wanted to fight me last week and these guys. However, they are doing an abysmal job over it. If I had been caught giving Ollie and Sam a beer I would get a substantial fine, yet they can get suckerpunched and have a group of Neanderthals get away with it.
I can only hope these guys picked on the wrong person up the road, because there are people that have something between their ears that they'd like to protect. More than that, their act was offensive to themselves as Americans. There are some absolutely lovely and great people here, yet a mindless mob painted them with a horrible brush.
We all got back to Sylvan and no one was particularly impressed. Nicholas, Alex and Dicky Peach's room mate was drunk and raging about it. His shirt was off, he flung a chair across the room at me - just as I had done to Alex the night before. He was subdued by a take-out food order, but it was curtains for me. The night was brilliant until then, so I was happy to call it and hit the hay.
So that was my first Halloween, a remarkable weekend for good and bad weekends. It's with a sense of bigotry that Australian's don't embrace the holiday because it's so American, but it is a fantastic thing. Community spirit, everyone getting dressed to go out and have fun and an excuse to eat a whole bunch of sugar is a great thing. If the rest of the world can't see that, then it is truly their loss.
Mumm-Ra - She's Got You High
I learnt to play this on guitar today. Thought you all should have a listen.