I’m sitting the Backpacker’s Halifax Hostel typing this. I’ve been in Halifax since last Monday, and I am slowly preparing myself for the long voyage out to St. John’s, Newfoundland. Getting to the rocky western shores of the island will be easy enough, but it’s the 500 mile trip across the island that’s going to be a problem. Here’s a little tip for anyone who’s thinking about buying Greyhound’s Canada Pass: the title is misleading in that the “Canada” Greyhound is talking about doesn’t include Newfoundland. Damn Yanks. Since I can’t afford the $100 bus trip there, I’m gonna hafta hitch a ride.
Hitching is not such a big deal. The standing-on-the-side-of-the-road-for-hours-looking-glum-thing is do-able, as long as I have a book. It’s the getting-stuck-in-a-car-with-(a)-psychopath(s)-thing that worries me. It’s those stories, those urban legends that always come up in a converstion about hitch-hiking, usually just before I hitchhike, that always instill me with a touch of dread and foreboding. The feeling lingers until I get to my destination. It’s impossible to not think or talk about the dreadful possibilities of hitchhiking as much as it impossible to not think or talk about a social taboo. Worst is when the topic of ill-fated hitchhiking comes up when your in a car with someone who just picked you up:
“Yeah, you don’t see to many people hitchhiking any more since that young feller got killed here last year.”
Note to drivers: saying something like that will make a hitchhiker very nervous.
Note to hitchhikers: the best way to avoid dwelling on the subject of dismembered hitchers is to subtly change the topic:
“Nice weather today, eh?” is a good topic changer that any timid hitcher can use.
All in all though, a little sense of dread or foreboding can really help you feel more alive. Mortal fear has been known to shake off the tired sense of safety and routine that clings to us in our daily lives.
Enough senseless dead hitchhiker babble. Here are the goods on Halifax:
It’s an awesome city. It has all the amenities of a metropolis: a harbourfront, a historic/cosmopolitan centre, a beautiful oceanside park, and an artists’ ghetto. It also has lakes you can swim in which are only a 45-minute walk from downtown.
And of course, it has a Word scene that is on the upswing. Apparently, a few months ago the Word scene was pretty dismal: one venue, with one reader and an audience size ranging between 3 and 10 people. This is not to say that there weren’t other venues around, but if they were, there were too far below the radar to be accesible to newcomers and passers-by. But with the advent a powerful poet from New York, Clive Wray, establishing himself in Halifax last June, and a sudden surge in audience interest, things are looking good:
A Poet’s Word, is a new venue taking place at The Dearby Lounge at 2215 Gottingen Street (902) 422-9608. It’s more a less a well-lit pool hall in the artists’ ghetto. Sign-up time is 8:00 pm, and the warning signs at the entrance to the lounge – “No Fighting,” “No Loitering” and “No Selling Drugs of Any Kind” – would encourage poets to be on time: not too early and definitely not too late.
The Shoestring Reading Series happens at the Economy Shoe Shop on Argyle Street in the historical centre of the city. Any one who’s frequented The Tales of Ordinary Madness reading series in Vancouver will feel quite at home here. It’s hosted by David Rimmington, and the sign-up time is 8:30 pm.
Dave Rimmington also hosts The Poetry Show on CKDU, 97.5 FM, from 10:00 – 10:30 pm Wednesday night. You can contact Dave for more info at 902-488-9643. You can also tune in via internet at ckdu.dal.ca (no “www”) if you want to give a listen.
Word Iz BOND Spoken Word Artists’ Collective iz what it says it is in the title. They meet and set up spoken word events throughout the city. For more info email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maxwell hosts The Drive-BY Suicide Transmission Drop from 2:00 – 6:00 am every second Friday on CKDU, 97.5 FM. Via internet: ckdu.dal.ca (no “www”). For more info, contact Maxwell: email@example.com. Maxwell takes submissions, so send anything that might sound good on audio.
That’s all for now folks. Next stop, St. John’s.