Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Maybe he'll drive the Dylanmobile

A little brush with royalty today. The Queen – who is forever in my dogpound – and her husband Prince Pip came through downtown Calgary in their motorcade. I managed to catch a quick glance of the stately couple as they rode in their town car, a vehicle disappointingly unmodified in any Bat- or Pope-mobile fashion. Would putting just a few royal racing stripes hurt?

Sub-question: Prince Philip, Argus Filch from the H.Po movies: same person?

It’s a shame that Calgary, a city renowned for its hospitality and annoying habit of rerouting traffic on a whim - couldn’t have found a nicer stretch of pavement for her in this city. Dusty parking lots and a derelict post office don’t exactly make for the most picturesque parade route. Maybe that would explain why she drove at the pace she did:

"Floor it." "Yes, my liege."

As an example of all this Queen Fever, Alberta has also impulsively renamed the stretch of highway between Calgary and Edmonton, (viz. Cowtown and the Chuck). It’s now the Queen Elizabeth II Highway. I wish decisions like this were taken a little more carefully. If we had waited a few years, we might have been able to name it the Camilla Parker Bowles Expressway. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?

“To get to Edmonton, take a left, hop on the Camilla, and you'll be there in three hours."

Speaking of visiting dignitaries, (and testing the limits of my musical segways) I also found out two very exciting concert dates for Calgary. Jeff Tweedy, Wilco frontman and chronic band-member-firer, is playing solo at the Calgary Folkfest in July. The same plaudits I hand to Joel Plaskett apply to Tweedy as well: he’s a master of funny stage banter, great on the guitar, and (here’s hoping), not frightened by camera-wielding fans. Practice your smile Jeff: I’m a-comin’!

The second visitor is none other than the man himself, Bob Dylan. I spent the second semester at school reading through the first of his Chronicles, (notably lacking a lion, a witch, a wardrobe, or any Narnian citizenry) and really getting into his ’97 album Time Out of Mind. (“Dirt Road Blues” instantly got on the future soundtrack of any movie I would ever dream to make.) Some friends and I caught him play in Toronto four years ago during our “24 Hours of Dylan” trip from Kingston, and I was really blown away at how good on the guitar he is.

I'll just have to remind him that when he rides into town to slow the hell down.

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