A Mere Stone's Throw from the Border

A cool illustration A Rant in A-Minor by P. Freako
Illustration by Roberta Sykes

Okay, this is a rant -- you'll have to bear with me. Recent events have rekindled a frustration located deep in my spleen. The god damn 49th Parallel. The border between Canada and the United States. An imaginary line carrying with it not so imaginary laws and not so imaginary border guards.

April 7th, the Town Pump. The Goops with the Joykiller -- oops, I'm sorry, did I say the Joykiller? They didn't make it north of the border. Wednesday, April 24th, the Hungry Eye (say it isn't so!). Funeral Oration with Falling Sickness and d.b.s. I'm sorry, did I say Funeral Oration and Falling Sickness? Neither could get across the border. Undercurrents, Cleveland, Ohio, May 1995. The Coma Toast. I'm sorry, did I say the Coma Toast? They couldn't get south of the parallel.

Add these three examples to thousands of others throughout history and you start to understand that there is a conspiracy happening here. Government forces are collaborating to prevent both the Canadian and American people from witnessing acts of cool music. This must be recognized as an act of cultural homicide.

Now let me get one thing straight here. I'm not talking about paving the way for thugs and murderers, or even businessmen (the best thieves wear ties) to get clearance to roam the land. No!! What I'm talking about is how stupid things can prevent you from crossing the border. A parking ticket will do it... takin' a haul off a joint will do it... public acts of free speech will do it... a couple of nose rings and blue hair will even do it. This is bullshit. You've just prevented 80% of cool musicians and artists from crossing the border.

Throughout the universe there are infinite balances and counter-balances. Case in point: a group of legendary, beautiful artists, the Group of Seven. Their unfortunate counter-balance? The Group of Nimrods -- the Artistic Antichrists, as it were: Bob Dole, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Tipper Gore, any one of the Rankins, Jacques Parizeau and Mariah Carey. They must be stopped. There is no time to waste. But how to stop them?... Hmmm... We could tell them Hootie and the Blowfish are playing a private show, they would all go and then we could dynamite the place. Nah, too messy. Hmmm... Aha!!!

Welcome friends, welcome to the beginnings, the plotting stages, the gathering of ideas, bodies and momentum to create the ultimate display of free trade between Canada and the United States... Da da DA! Welcome friends, to... BORDERPALOOZA.

Now it doesn't have to be called Borderpalooza. We can call it whatever we want, all we have to do is decide what it is and I mean exactly what it is, because if we are going to pull it off then we are going to have to define its parameters to the government forces that be. Licenses, permits etc... you can't even imagine the paperwork for something like this. Of course, we could screw that and do it anyway, illegally, and by the way illegally isn't always wrong in a society filled with inane, trite laws.

Here are my thoughts right now. A cultural free trade extravaganza. We hold a major music festival at the Peace Arch (located at the border between southwestern B.C. and northwestern Washington). There is a park waiting right there and it is a neutral zone between the two countries. We invite bands and artists that have been denied access across the border. This way, both Canadians and Americans will finally get a chance to see bands that they have been denied the opportunity to see before. We'll make it one big picnic.

Unlike other festivals we will not be selling refreshments at the site. There will be no festival t-shirts or merchandise for sale. Anything you want, you bring and you take back out with you. We don't need any additional garbage left all over the site with the sure-to-be-present undercover government garbage-heads roaming around already. The proceeds of this event? Hmmm. I'm thinking we donate the proceeds of this event to national hemp societies on both sides of the border. They deserve it. Nothing more could be sweeter than watching the face of Tipper Gore as Wool donates a cheque to the Canadian Hemp Society. Welcome to Fantasy Island.

To catch da plane... da plane off of Fantasy Island bound for Borderpalooza I need major help and a major barrage of thoughts and ideas. This is where you come in. E-mail me at freako@dropd.com and let's get this thing going. We can't be denied our cultural freedom any longer.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on May 30, 1996

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