For accordion-playing songstress Gillian Kirkland, will the third time be the charm? After two attempts at a CD launch gig were foiled, another one is slated for this Saturday night at Mercury Lounge.
To illustrate the commitment of working musicians, here she describes in painful detail what led to the second failed attempt back on November 23. The identity of the venue in question remains veiled.
By Gillian Kirkland
It was a dark and snowy night, during an exceptionally cold and snowy Ottawa winter. Piano man and drummer boy along with the unstrung cellist and squeezebox diva sat bundled in heated cars, futilely spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as they waited for the doors of “Café X” to open. But alas, the appointed hour of the sound check came and went and still the doors remained locked.
“Oh, why oh why have we been thus forsaken,” wailed the diva—and she figured that she may as well get started on a new song since drama tended to inspire her.
Drummer boy rapped his fingers and unstrung cellist let out a yawn, but piano man, who was a pioneer of modern technology, pulled out his cellular telephone and called security.
“Allô,” said he, “y-à-t'il moyen de parler avec le gérant du Café X.”
“We'll have to get back to you on that,” replied the anonymous agent at the end of the line. After an hour or so of ever-increasing tension, the phone rang. It was a staff member of Café X.
“Sorry, we forgot to tell you,” she said, “but the manager has been let go and we have decided to cancel all performances.”
“?!!?!!!?,” said piano man
''AHHH!!!!!!,'' wailed the diva.
“Mais ce soir nous avons un lancement,” said piano man, “and ze people are coming!!!”
The carefully bundled musicians, with their carefully bundled instruments sat scratching their uncombed heads as their carefully prepared show unravelled in the snowy night.
Suddenly, with a glint in his eye, piano man once again pulled out his cellular telephone and called up Le Grand Chef who managed a club in the netherworld across the river. And so it was agreed that the performance would be displaced “alla gypsy caravan.” Unstrung cellist deftly produced a paper and pen and a notice in shaky writing was pasted on the cold glass door of the Café. It read, “Lancement annulée. Spectacle transféré chez le T…”
The intrepid musicians raced across the great divide to arrive at that other solitude. And in the new venue—which was warm and welcoming and unfortunately also smelled of fresh varnish which had been surreptitiously applied by the upstairs neighbours only a few hours before—they set up for the show. A few brave souls made the journey but mostly they were forced to evacuate before the end of the second song because of the fumes and the draft of cold air coming from the open window. All told, it was a night to be forgotten ...
The moral of this story is to never show up for a secretly cancelled CD launch without a cellular telephone and a last-minute backup plan.
For anyone hearty enough to tempt fate a second time, you are cordially invited to attend the Rubicon Relaunch on Saturday, January 11 at the Mercury Lounge at 8 pm. Be sure to dress warmly and inhale deeply.
Read about the making of Gillian Kirkland's new recording, Rubicon.