August 20th @ Free Times Café

You might have heard that George Romero passed away last month in Toronto. Romero was the writer and director of Night of the Living Dead and other zombie horror films (to distinguish them from zombie rom-coms). Night…, which was made for $114,000 in 1968, ushered in the current wave of interest in all things zombie. While Romero died of cancer, I think what actually killed him was learning that Sony Pictures spent $50,000,000 making The Emoji Move (and this is all I will say about a film whose very existence speaks to the utter bankruptcy of mass popular culture – OK now that is all I will say about it).

For the past 40 or 50 years it’s really been zombies and vampires that have taken up most of the space in terms of horror – films, books, videos, plays, TV shows, etc. Vampires are pretty much the polar opposite of zombies, though. While zombies lurch around trying to eat brains or human flesh, vampires glide through word in a sophisticated fashion needing only human or animal blood to keep going. Zombies wear dirty, torn clothing (not fashionably ripped clothing, just badly torn clothing) and have flesh falling off their bodies (their own flesh, it’s not that they are necessarily messy eaters although they probably are) while vampires are elegantly attired Brad Pitt’s and Tom Cruise’s and Robert Pattinson’s. Vampires are classy – you’d get dressed up to go to a dinner party with vampires – you wouldn’t even go to McDonalds with zombies (although they probably prefer Tim’s).

While I get the differences – because they’re pretty obvious – there are some things that don’t make sense to me. Zombies are undead while vampires are immortal but really isn’t that the same thing – neither are going anywhere unless someone figures out the special way to kill them. And speaking of killing them – killing zombies tends to be kind of messy because you have to blow out their brains or knock their heads off but putting a wooden stake through the heart of a vampire or killing one with a silver bullet will also leave a lot to clean up.

But here’s the thing I don’t really understand (there are many things I don’t understand of course, but here I am referring to what I don’t understand in the context of zombies and vampires). Zombies are filthy and dirty and badly dressed while vampires are elegant and well turned out at all times. But vampires can’t see their reflection in a mirror so how is that they always look so good? And wouldn’t a zombie lurching down the street in search of human flesh catch of glimpse of themselves in a store window or something and think – “You know, I should probably push my eye back in the socket’ or “I could really use a comb.’ I was discussing this with a colleague who suggested that vampires help each other tie their ties and pick out what shades of black go well together, but I just don’t buy it. It’s hard for me to imagine Dracula asking someone to help dress him.

This of course brings me to Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room. We have been around so long (14, 15, 20 years, who can remember anymore) it leads to the inevitable question – are we a zombie band or a vampire band? And here I am not referring to The Zombies a great British 60s band whose hit “She’s Not There” (a tune we cover) could be about trying to see the reflection of a vampire girlfriend. The most obvious choice for us is vampires because I don’t think zombies have the physical dexterity to play instruments like the violin, or flute or pedal steel guitar, and also because the fact we have been around so long and never charge a cover at our shows suggests that we don’t need the normal physical sustenance that mortals require. On the other hand, there are the bagpipes, an instrument whose unbelievable caterwauling seems designed to signal a zombie apocalypse.

Anyway why don’t you be the judge? We will be at the Free Times Cafe (College just west of Spadina) on Sunday, August 20. The show starts at 8 pm (it’s dark enough by then) and there is, as I mentioned, no cover. We will be playing tunes of all genres going back to the turn of the last century or even earlier – and how do we know these tunes so well – we played them when they first came out.

Hope to see you there – and don’t be scared – it’ll be fun.


P.S. If you do come to the show you will notice that while there are mirrors in much of the Free Times there are none in the room where we play – draw your own conclusions.

August 20th Set List:
Set #1: Set #2:
Battle of the Somme
Gin & Smoke & Lies
Get What We Deserve
Alcohol & Pills
Bonaparte’s Retreat
Dirty Old Town
Stay All Night
World We’re Waiting For
Pair Of Brown Eyes
Reason I Left Mullingar
Alabama Jubilee
Don’t Be Cruel
Roddy McCorley
Hard Times
Mary Said She’s Coming
Wild and Blue
Neil Gow’s Lament
Song For The Mira
Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes
Band Hand
Dead Skunk
Save The Last Dance