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nerolog, Stardate 061002


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nero @ COCA, Guelph, Ontario

COCA stands for the Canadian Organisation of Campus Activities, but it might as

well stand for Campus Officials Cause Alcoholism. It's a five-day

shmooze-a-thon centred around Business Hall (the official meet and greet), a

twenty-five minute showcase, and a large amount of consumption.

I went down early from Sudbury on Friday to scope the scene and try to get COCA

folks out to the nero show at Jimmy Jazz in Guelph on Saturday. Well, the scene

is a bunch of university delegates who are at the conference to shop, and

eighteen bands and a bunch of t-shirt/video dance party/travel cuts type people

who are there to offer there wares up for consumption. What it looked like was

a bunch of people drinking in a bar watching a rockin' band who is in turn

watching a big clock counting down from twenty-five minutes to zero (power cut

off time). I arrived in time for the last showcasing band, a really good rock

'n roll like the Stones band from Edmonton. Ran into Andy (former soundguy at

Dekcuf) and a couple other people, like Jay Fletcher (more about him later). We

all moseyed over to the Brass Taps for The New Deal's set from 12 'til 2am.

This was a few free drink tickets event, which was following up my

beers-with-my-wonderful-hosts-Pete&Tasha buzz quite nicely. The New Deal didn't

go on until after one o'clock and played less than an hour, but they were pretty

good. All you New Deal lovers out there woulda loved it; small room, small

dancing audience. I'm not converted but I had a good time, plus I started what

was to become (this nerolog was just interrupted by the first human dumping -

Jay hit the brakes and me, the computer, mattress etc. landed on top of Shane

and his bass) a five-day, unsuccessful pickup mission. After the New Deal was

the nightly 2-4am all-free all-you-want boozeup back at the hotel. I got

absolutely and utterly trashed.

The next day the band showed up and played a kickass show at Jimmy Jazz

(Stardate 050802). Nobody from COCA showed up, which I expected, as their job

is to stay at the conference and drink for free and see showcasing bands. On

Sunday Jay and Shane went to visit a friend in London and Dave and I went to

COCA (I had decided it was all about presence). We found our way into the

awards ceremony and had a beer or two and soon we were outside about to make our

way to tonights showcases, which were all comedians. I had just uttered the

words, "where's Jay Fletcher and those famous rum shots of his?" when Jay

Fletcher came outside and said, "Hey CC (a throwback...), you ready to have a

rum shot and get a free t-shirt?" Jay is a really great guy who has made a nice

living selling promo stuff, t-shirts, mugs and the like. Turns out he comes to

COCA every year with twenty really nice tie-dyes with all that years bands

listed on the back, and if you drink a shot of rum, you get a shirt. Here's the

catch: the shot glass is enormous - he gets about four shots from a 26er. Got

my free shirt and off to the showcases we go, where Dave and I shmoozed and

bought beer all night (after the first one. First one is pretty much always

free at COCA). Things got hazy, we got seperated, and somebody dumped a bunch

of free drink tickets on me. I raced to the bar and found myself next to Dave,

who had also found some drink tickets. "Sorry, bars closed." As if I wasn't

drunk enough already. No matter, off we go to the nightly boozeup 'til 4am

thing at the hotel. As I recall, this is exactly what I suggested to Dave that

we skip because we have to be at Business Hall the next morning at 9:30. Things

got really really messy this time, folks, and I'm afraid to say that I bet most

people will remember yours truly. Suffice to say that I paid dearly for that

free t-shirt.

Dave and I woke up at 9:30 and somehow had our booth set up at Business Hall by

the time it started at 10am. I should say half-booth. Business hall is where

all the sellers (like us) set up a booth and display our wares for the

purchasers, who are herded in to collect as many cd's ("Oh can I have a sticker

too? Can I take two?") in exchange for business cards as possible. We were set

up next to a Toronto rock band called Hotel and our booth looked great. We had

our big 3'x4' poster that Heather had made and had arrived in Guelph in time, a

stereo blaring the show from Jimmy Jazz and lots of stuff to give away. Manned

by a weakened shell of a man, smiling and shmoozing through the pain, the

hunger, the thirst, and the loneliness, while the band loaded in, soundchecked,

and disappeared. Finally 3 o'clock came and Business Hall was over, I packed up

our stuff and my coveted, collected business cards and trucked the stuff outside

to wait, and wonder where the bus and the band had gone. Were they back at Pete

and Tasha's? Parked somewhere napping? Do they think Business Hall is all day

and won't come back 'til their showcase at 9pm? Hey, isn't that the girl I was

trying to pick up Friday night? And, there, like a shining light was Jay, with

a Burger King bag in his hand for me. I hugged him more than perhaps I should

have and devoured the burger despite it having mustard on it, a feat I have only

attempted once before.

Hung on the bus waiting for the showcase and Dave start feeling really ill. He

took a nap and I tried to find food on campus after 8pm, which proved impossible

regardless of how much I needed it. Dave woke up from a dream where they were

playing the showcase for an empty room save one old person way in the back,

scowling and seated behind a desk, but he felt better. Hustled our asses inside

to the dressing room, I went out and caught Junkyard Symphony and then it was

nero's set. The room wasn't full, that's for sure. One guy told me some of the

university delegates were back at the hotel watching movies. Now, that's rude;

the acts have to pay big bucks to showcase at COCA and the least people could do

is do their job and be there. Don't get me wrong, the place wasn't empty, but

it makes me mad.

The lighting guy did a great job on nero. He's a Sanctuary lurker and he

danced his ass off while he did nero's lights. The band did well, they

certainly impressed people. I think they might have been a bit nervous, they

missied some pretty big changes, but it all worked out, and they stopped playing

with three seconds remaining on the clock, the closest of any band at the

conference. A few people came to the dressing room announcing nero as the best

band of the conference which was nice, and Jay Fletcher was there. nero got

their free t-shirts. Things got pretty foggy after that, though Jay and I

danced for the entire Beau Dixon set. Nobody else did; their asses must be

broken. I have a vague recollection of K-os showcasing, and then we were at the

late night spinner dance party with more freebies. I opted out of the 4am

boozeup and slept on the bus while the boys went out and got sloshed(er).

Most of Tuesday was spent in recovery but we made one last stab at presence and

checked out a few showcases. We were all so exhausted we went back to Pete and

Tasha's early(ish) and slept in anticipation of heading to Toronto for the last

show of the west coast tour the next day.

Quote of the conference: "Your manager is crazy!"401 ThemeLemondustSpeed Queen

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