I took part in a couple notable acts this past week. I created a littering meme that went viral and took part in the attempted intervention of a peer that is spiraling down fast in a battle with opiates. One resulted in feeling an immense pride in my metal brethrens righteous behavior. The other reminded me of that helpless feeling, because of the many people the music scene has lost to the scourge that is drug addiction.
The tale of two music festivals. I know the ratio of people was at least a thousand to one but even if you cropped the Pemberton picture for comparison to the Armstrong picture, the crass amount of litter is boggling. The disrespect shown at Pemberton by the sheer amount of garbage left by the campers is grotesque. Many mainstreamers claimed they were tired and it was hot, or ‘relax’, there are people volunteering to clean up our sloth. What a crock of shit. Zero personal responsibility was shown by this sadly majority, segment of society.
At Armstrong, the festival attendees each cleaned up after themselves. The picture was taken by token cleanup crew lady, Kiri. She said she snapped the picture after the bands and campers departed because of the one little orange tent that was left. It started on Facebook after I shared the viral photo of the Pemberton mess. I made a bet with local punk author, Chris Walter, that there was no way Armstrong would look like that. He disagreed. We waited for some metalheads I knew that went, to check in. I won the bet! Over five thousand proud metalheads shared the meme I made, pictured below.
The intervention I organized didn’t end well. I was just sick of hearing people whisper about how sad this persons life had become. I reached out and eventually found his family who were determined to try to get him clean. We got him away from the clutches of the downtown east side all the way to Calgary. It lasted two days.
He was a peer of mine in the promoter / booking coordinator aspect of the music business. The Vancouver community isn’t all that big in reality, especially in our subculture. When you start hearing rumblings about an individuals flaky maneuvers in dealings with bands, you take note. Being a promoter is already a touchy business as you’re perceived as having endless pockets of cash, while wielding a whip across the backs of hardworking musicians. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most of us are in the game for the music and to eke out an existence doing something we love.
I don’t think anyone that starts doing recreational drugs ever thinks that they will end up homeless, selling stuff out of a shopping cart, feeding their demon. He has already burnt bridges with venues, bands, and friends. He actually thinks he can still bilk money out of our music scene. Drug brain, it’s a delusional life. He has turned into the equivalent of one of those Nigerian scammers looking for someone to dupe. The jig is up. No one in the heavy music subculture can afford to be ripped off. It’s obvious to me that he doesn’t give a shit about further damage to his reputation.
I reached out. I tried. It’s all you can do. Will I try again with him. Probably not. I had never even had more than a few conversations and a couple of shows with the guy. We never went for lunch. I just have a hard time being a bystander. One of my tenets in life is to not be an enabler. So on that note, it really is up to him now to want out. Sad, yes. Surprising, no. Unfortunately it won’t be the last person we lose to this shit.