Susan knew exactly what she wanted for her birthday.
She wanted to go see Swiss Heavy Metal band Celtic Frost. And nobody would go.
Except for me. There aren’t too many places I won’t go.
We had both just arrived in Toronto, and she knew more about the city than I did. And I didn’t have two pennies to rub together.
My job as a hostess in a Yorkville resto-lounge supplied me with little money and much frustration. The management in a place like that inspect you in the morning to make sure your appearance is up to standard. My manager behaved more like a pageant mom than a hospitality officiant.
“You don’t walk, you glide.” This was his response to me walking too quickly through the dining room one day. “I don’t care if the kitchen is on fire, you glide.” The place shut down a few months after I quit. Damage from a kitchen fire. I’d bet that some poor hostess in 6 inch heels with a good nose for smoke could have saved the day, had she been able to glide to the kitchen fast enough.
Susan knew I was financially depressed and offered to buy my ticket. We met at Yonge and Queen and decided to walk. To The Opera House. Google Maps informs me that it was a 31 minute walk. I would argue that it was 7 hours. A 7 hour walk. It seemed like that. Neither one of us had been there or really knew where we were going. Each step we made was in hope of stumbling upon the right place, like two nomads searching for a river in the desert. Except we were searching for heavy metal on Queen Street East.
Despite our journey, we arrived unacceptably early. Susan bought the expensive tickets, I bought a couple of Labatt 50s for us out of the roll of loonies that was my life savings at the time, and we waiting in the big dark room. Eventually the others came.
Susan and I represented 30% of the female population at this concert. And we were very popular. Many men hugged us. One smelled Susans hair while headbanging. Another attempted to give me a back massage while the band played a song called Circle of the Tyrants, a crowd favourite.
A heavy rain made our countless smoke breaks an opportunity to cuddle into doorways with other concert goers. We made all kinds of friends and ended up getting a ride home from a super lovely documentary filmmaker. We piled into a tiny car with a bunch of his friends and forged home in the driving rain.
Would I advise two young women fresh to the city to get into a car with a group of strange men after a heavy metal concert during a near typhoon?
Would I advise two young women fresh to the city not to get into a car with a group of strange men after a heavy metal concert during a near typhoon?
No. Can’t say that I would.
That was an awesome night.