October 20th @ Free Times Café

A couple Sundays ago (a Sunday when Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room – that wonderful band of which I am a member and whose very existence is the raison d’être for these missives – was not playing) I found myself in Stratford. I wasn’t there for a pilgrimage to the holy sites of that city’s most famous person – Justin Bieber – but rather to see a matinee at the Stratford Festival. You see, in addition to being a music lover, and a bit of a writer (I mean you are reading this, aren’t you), I am also a theatre-goer – I guess you could say I am a real lover of the arts – and I’ve been told it’s not bragging if it’s true.

After the play we strolled the main streets of Stratford (or perhaps more precisely the main street of Stratford) deciding where we would eat. We chose a brew pub which featured local beers and a menu drawn from the local meats and produce of the area. It looked fine and it was, in fact, very nice. I have to note however, that their local vegetable for the month – one that had a place of prominence in many of their dishes – was daikon radish. While daikon radish is certainly a vegetable, it’s not really the one I would want to build a whole menu around.

Now while the rather over-enthusiastic, perhaps even profligate, use of daikon radish did not particularly trouble me, there was one thing – a small thing to some, but not to me, because there is nothing so small that I can’t turn into a big deal – that did. That thing was the music they played during dinner. You see, I can’t help but listen to the music that is being played wherever I am. That’s great if I’m at a venue where the purpose is to listen to music, but it is a bit of a curse when the music is designed to be incidental. And so, while the dinner conversation ranged over many important and interesting topics, part of my brain was drawn, unwillingly, to the tunes that were supposed to be in the background (and this is in contrast to these restaurants where it seems like the music is the main feature and where, in order to be even faintly heard by your dining companions you have to scream – fortunately for me, a person whose indoor voice is most people’s top volume outdoor voice, I can handle it).

And what of the tunes that were played at the restaurant? Well that was the problem. It’s not the tunes themselves – although they did play Billy Joel, which is pretty much guaranteed to ruin almost any event at which I am present – but that all the music came from the mid-70’s to the mid-80’s. While that wasn’t an awful time for music, haven’t we got past it by now? If you listened to that music when it came out then you are now in your late 50’s and 60’s – and there is nothing wrong with being in your late 50’s and 60’s – some of my very favourite people are that age – but that doesn’t describe most of the folks in the restaurant. A lot of the people there were in their 30’s and had kids with them. Why are they listening to their parents’ and grandparents’ music? Kids in the 70’s weren’t listening to music from the 40’s thinking – “Wow, things couldn’t get any better than this” so why are we still fixated on Fleetwood Mac, Phil Collins, the Eagles, and Billy Joel (yuck).

In another 50 years when people go out to their favourite plant based restaurants – and these will be restaurants that not only serve plant based food but serve it on plant based plates and with plant based knives and forks… heck the restaurants themselves will be made with plant based bricks and mortar and tables and chairs – will the background music still be Fleetwood Freaking Mac and Phil Freaking Collins. When will it end?

For those of you who do not believe that music began and ended in the period between 1975 and 1985 might I suggest you would enjoy the eclectic and varied musical stylings of the one and only Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room. Do we do tunes from the decade that won’t die – of course we do – but we also do songs from well before and well after that period. And we do tunes that we wrote ourselves and which, to me, seem timeless. When, you are probably wondering, can you next see the Living Room? Why on Sunday October 20 at the lovely Free Times Café (conveniently located at College just west of Spandia). The show starts at 8 pm and in honour of Hallowe’en just around the corner, there will be no cover.

Hope to see you there.

Jonathan

P.S. Although I see no need to say anything nice about Billy Joel, I should note in his favour that he has never done a song with bagpipes.

October 20th Set List:
Set #1:Set #2:
Gravel Walk / Renwick
Five Days In May
Down In Belize
Sway
New Speedway Boogie
I’m A Believer
Prairie Lullaby
My Best Friend’s Girl
Ring Of Fire
I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight
Sun In An Empty Room
Galway Girl
Come Together
Unchain My Heart
First We Take Manhattan
Right In Time
Take Me Back
I’m Going To Try For The Sun
Nigel’s Love Song
I’ll Fly Away
Drifting Away
Mingulay Boat Song
Mary Ellen Carter
Sweet Old World
Handle With Care
Trashy Women
What Was I Thinking