Tag Archives: Ian Breslin

In a Vancouver hospital, odd events, movies and talk of aliens wearing bras

Here I sat after midnight, struggling with the transcription of two blogs – well, struggling with the first, which is delaying the second – when I got a series of emails from Anna Smith, this blog’s occasional correspondent. She lives in Vancouver.

They started and continued thus:


Anna, Ruggero and Daniel at St Paul’s A&E in Vancouver

I am in the waiting room of A&E at St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver again.

I have been sitting beside two nice young men for two hours. They are both film students – one Italian, one Mexican. One of them had to get scans as he had an appendectomy two weeks ago and his innards were still settling so he is waiting for the scan results and getting blood tests.

It has been a very entertaining last several hours.

A and E is very busy. Though a window, I saw a catatonic Sikh man sitting on a chair, without a turban and his hair was a mess. Nearby, a hefty, good-looking drunk woman with bare legs sat howling angrily that she had been in every suburb of Vancouver in the last two days. 

“You DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT HAS HAPPENED to me!” she told people. “My boyfriend has LEFT me!”

The emergency waiting room is like a circus. The two students and I seem like we are the only ones not stoned or drunk.

One old man was amiably drinking beer after beer from cans. He announced he had some pot but not rolling papers. An old lady (who works as a safety officer on a building site) said she had papers, so they went out to smoke a joint and got stoned in the ambulance bay.

Meanwhile, a wiry little man with a grey Afro hairstyle went into the bathroom and, when he emerged, his pants were falling down. He ripped his shirt off and started roaring around the room stripping so they made him lie on a stretcher.

“Fuck Me!” he said in exasperation.

“Don’t talk to me like that!” a nurse told him.

“I wasn’t talking YOU,” he said angrily. “I was talking to MYSELF!”

I went for an MRI scan.The technician asked me to remove my bra and necklace. The necklace had a fiddly clasp and, because I was feeling shaky, I asked the young lady to undo it for me. 

She asked: “Do you want me to help take your bra off too?”

“God, no!” I said, “I’m a stripper. I can take my own bra off.”

Anna Smith – Nurse Annie – c1979

“When did you do the stripping?” she asked.

“I still do it,” I told her.

“Did you ever do anything else?” she asked.

I should have pretended to be surprised and asked: “What else is there?” but I didn’t.

Anyhow, when I got back to the waiting room, the students were still there, I told them about the bra question and they cracked up.

I told them my funniest stories. They told me their funniest stories too. One involved a friend in Mexico, who had mistaken a midget for a leprechaun.

We also spoke about film, art and the drug problem downtown. 

The Italian – Ruggero Romano – is directing a feature documentary film about homeless people on the downtown east side – it depicts the controversial dynamics of the financially poorest and emotionally richest postal code in North America – V6A – There is a teaser trailer online.

 
The Mexican – Daniel Federico del Castillo Hernández – was a painter before turning to film.

Daniel del Castillo’s lively painting of his family in acrylic

He showed me a lively painting he had made of his family, with each of his  relatives portrayed as a different animal – a dog, a cat, a horse, a deer, etc. We were having so much fun watching the goings on. Ruggero was busy taking notes. He has joined a writers group. He said: “We should come here more often….”

A cute, paranoid lady with a skateboard and a British accent sat nearby, chatting on her phone.

The beer drinking man started demanding that the television channel be changed. When no-one responded, he stood on a chair and groped around the TV unsuccessfully. A security guard then realised the TV-groper had been drinking and told him to put away his beer. He refused, so he was told: “You aren’t allowed to drink in the hospital!” and he was escorted out.

Eventually (after 6 hours) a doctor came to explain that Daniel’s scans were OK so he could leave. 

Alien Bra heads at the Isle of Wight (Photo by Gordon Breslin)

While waiting, I have found out that, in the UK, Ian Breslin and Mark Levermore of The Outbursts band were at the Isle of Wight Festival. Apparently they are still celebrating the release of Alien Bra, their latest album, which features a song about being abducted by aliens and forced to wear a bra.

Elsewhere, the World Health Organisation has declared that BDSM and Transvestism have been struck from the list of diseases. They did not mention anything about men who go out in the sun wearing alien heads (or alien bras), so I suppose that is still an illness.

I am still here, in acute care now, waiting for my CAT scan result.

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, Eccentrics, Humor, Humour

How Scotland could rule England + London punk rock news from Canada

The front of today’s ‘i’ newspaper

The front of today’s ‘i’ newspaper

Tonight is Hallowe’en and things are getting strange.

An IPSOS Mori poll commissioned for STV says that, on current voting intentions at next year’s General Election, the Scottish National Party would win 54 of the 59 Scots seats in the UK Parliament at Westminster.

The Labour Party would have four. The Liberal Democrats would have one. The Conservative Party would have none.

At the 2010 UK General Election, the figures were:

Conservatives – 307
Labour – 258
Liberal Democrats – 57

Given the strong possibility that the Liberal Democrat vote collapses in England and that UKIP gain a number of seats, Scotland’s votes might (as always) affect the outcome of the election and there is a very real theoretical possibility that the SNP could hold the balance of power at Westminster and/or become part of a ruling coalition in the UK. Also complicating matters, of course, are the votes for Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland and Plaid Cymru in Wales.

That is so complicated, the implications are incalculable.

If the SNP actually put up candidates in Northern England – Berwick-upon-Tweed, Carlisle and possible even the Newcastle/Tyneside area, the results there would be interesting. I seem to remember that an apparently well-conducted poll a few years ago found that the majority of voters in Berwick-upon-Tweed would prefer the town to be in Scotland not England and I understand there is at least some level of theoretical support for Carlisle to switch countries.

That old Chinese proverb springs to mind: May you live in interesting times.

Which we do.

Following on from yesterday’s blog about Anna Smith – this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent – being attacked by a Doberman dog, more missives have arrived from Vancouver.

The Blood Bank at St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver

Anna Smith visited the Blood Bank at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver

“We were recently hit by a ‘pineapple express’,” Anna tells me. “A warm tropical storm belting up from the equator via Hawaii. Its name was Ana. It was supposed to be destructive with strong gusts. But it wasn’t that terrible after all. I was prepared to go out to my boat the night it struck to make sure it would withstand the storm. Instead I went to the doctor and to St Paul’s hospital for lab tests and a chest x ray.”

That was before the Doberman attacked her.

“My boat is pretty tough,” says Anna.

So is she, in seems.

I woke up today to this e-mail:

“It is 2.00am here. It is very warm. My window is open. The storm (Ana) is finally over. It dropped so much rain that there is barely any low tide today.

“I am still not able to walk because of my crash with the dog. I am still in my boat cradle. I like to be able to sit in bed and look at water. It is very interesting.”

Zombie Strippers lust after The Outburst

Zombie Strippers lust after Outbursts

As today is Hallowe’en, Anna sent me a poster for Zombie Strippers and told me that she had heard news of what Ian Breslin’s neo-punk group The Outbursts are doing in London.

“I have heard a rumour,” she told me, “that The Outbursts will have song sheets at their next gig, so the audience can sing along to Splashing Out (a song about wanking), Whatever Happened to Me (drugs), and Filthy Nina (the police).”

There is a video of Whatever Happened To Me on YouTube.

“Song sheets for Punk?” says Anna. “What a great idea. Finally everyone will understand the meaning of these gloriously disruptive tantrums.”

Anna used to be an exotic dancer and, according to a recent blog, may still occasionally dabble.

“Strippers are always on the lookout for good music,” she tells me. “Especially Zombie Strippers.”

Anna also seems to be branching out into music. She sent me a video of her and a lady called Natasha Nault singing.  It can be viewed online.

Anna (right) and Natasha Nault go beep

Anna Smith (right) and Natasha Nault go beep

Well, Anna admits it is less singing and more beeping. She says they made the video because they were doing their best to assist a man (who, she says, does not wish to be identified) to find his car. The unidentified man, she says, is not London-born Jian Gomeshi.

I have no idea what any of that means.

But she adds:

“We made up the beepy thing song after sitting through a seven course dinner at a downtown hotel hosted by a megalomaniac Italian construction magnate whose office decor includes photos of himself with Silvio Berlusconi. I once gave him shit about this, even though Berlusconi does have good taste in young belly dancers.

“The dessert table had its own room and the highlight of the evening was the magnate’s lengthy red-wine-fuelled stream-of-consciousness speech expressing gratitude to his employees, especially the ones who had worked twenty years without an accident.

“He also said: I would like to take this opportunity to thank Maria, who I love, because she is Greek and I am Italian.

“I was not sure who Maria was… The builders were squirming in their suits and turning away plates of giant ravioli stuffed with porcini mushrooms because they were smothered in parmesan cream sauce (the porcini mushrooms were). The builders thought the porcini mushrooms were Eggs Benedict and cried out: Take that shit away!

Anna Smith ignores the BBC in Canada

Anna sometimes lives on a boat near fish

We managed to escape just as the disco lights started flashing and narrowly avoided seeing Portuguese dancing to that song about Rasputin.

“Now I am in a panic because of Hallowe’en and having to lie so still when I want to dress up like a zombie and dance…”

Personally, I blame much of the foregoing on the lingering effects of 1970s and 1980s drug culture. But I thank the non-existent God that we live in interesting times. And I am looking forward to next year’s UK General Election.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Canada, Eccentrics, Music, Politics, Scotland, UK