August 18th @ Free Times Café


Late last summer I developed a sharp pain in my right knee when I was climbing stairs (‘oh no,’ readers think, ‘this oldish guy’ – I prefer ‘oldish’ to just ‘old’ there’s something about the ‘ish’ I like or perhaps it’s just the ‘old’ that I dislike – ‘is going to spend this whole missive talking about his ailments, maybe I should bail right now, this is not going to be good.’ I know that’s what you’re thinking but just wait a bit, please).

So, I went to my physiotherapist (having just written that I realize that it does seem a bit pretentious – ‘my physiotherapist’ – like I’m some sort of elite athlete who has a whole team of specialists to keep him in peak physical condition for his important sporting endeavours, including his very own physiotherapist. Looking at it in that context I should say that she’s not really ‘my physiotherapist’ as much as she is the physiotherapist I’ve seen twice in the past twenty years.). Anyway, she made me do some exercises and some things in her gym and then told me that the problem was that I wasn’t walking properly and that I didn’t climb stairs the right way either.

I must say I was a bit surprised by this finding. It’s not that I’m some sort of world champion in walking or stair climbing but I have been doing both of these things for pretty much all of my life. Admittedly there was a short period right after I was born that I don’t remember where, apparently, I wasn’t walking or climbing stairs but since I don’t remember that time, who knows, maybe I started walking right away – although if that happened I think someone probably would have mentioned it. In any event until this idea was broached to me by the physiotherapist that I was seeing for this condition (I think ‘my physiotherapist’ really would have worked better here) I had no idea I was doing it wrong.

And you know what – I was doing it wrong. I wasn’t walking properly and I wasn’t climbing stairs the right way either. How do I know? Because the pain in my knee has gone away. After just a few months of exercises and conscious stair climbing practice (who knew there was such a thing) I’m good again.

Now you are all probably interested in knowing what it was that I did that changed things so dramatically (I told you it would get interesting). What was I doing wrong that I am now doing right? And I can’t tell you. Sorry. It’s just that I relearned to do something and now I can only do it right and have forgotten how I did it wrong, which in the end, can only be a good thing.

It’s kind of like life isn’t it.

And here is where I draw a parallel between physical pain and spiritual or psychic pain. And then I compare how I addressed and dealt with my physical pain and how one addresses those inner pains. Or at least that’s what I’d do if I knew anything about those things but I don’t.

But what I can tell you is that there is a parallel between my dealing with my knee problem and playing in a band like Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room who will be at the Free Times Café on College just west of Spadina on Sunday August 18 at 8 pm. Sometimes when we rehearse (yes, we do rehearse – at least once a month and before every show, I know you can’t always tell but we do) we can’t get a song right. And then, we tweak something a little bit and it’s all good. And if you ask us how we screwed it up before it would be hard to tell you, because what matters is not what we were doing wrong but that now we’re doing it right (and if we screw it up again, which we have been known to do, it is a completely new screw up, not the old one – or oldish one – that we’ve forgotten). And so in honour of the disappearance of my knee pain and the healing power of music, there will be no cover at the show.

Hope to see you there.


P.S. Speaking of pain – bagpipes.