Reading recent Musical Memories regarding “mosh-pit misadventures,” I was painfully reminded of a tale of shame and violence all my own. It was in late November, in the Okanagan. By the time the sun went down, I’d been drinking for almost eight hours, swilling beer and making my way north-eastward, towards a house party on a dirt road off Highway 97, near Winfield, BC.
After a half-hour transfer stop at Orchard Park Mall where my riot-grrl friend and I slurped red wine in a forgotten corner of the Chapters, two older rockers from my northern hometown met us on the bus at a stop along the highway. We all snuck hits from a flask until we jumped off at our destination and walked down the gravel to where punk rock music was heard blaring from the open windows of the worn down two-story spread.
Over a hundred punks and various riff-raff were stuffed into the place, which reeked of booze, piss and stale cigarettes. One of the many punk bands on the bill was blasting away in the dining room, and the living room was full to bursting with wasted stink-wads slamming away. We joined them upstairs, and sometime during local heroes HippieCritz’ set I found myself kneeling down on the floor in the living room, drinking deeply from a warm bottle of rye.
I’m not a big guy now, and I was even scrawnier back then when I subsisted on a diet of booze, perogies and chips. All of a sudden, this two hundred plus pound metal head came flying out of the pit, headed my unwitting way. To stabilize himself, Beefcake lays down a heavy, Doc Martened foot upon my own, which was upturned & clad only in a well-worn Chuck Taylor. Behind his thud, there was a snap, and an electric bolt of white pain shot up into my brain.
Luckily, I’d had the foresight to heavily medicate myself on the bus ride up, popping a few caps of pure back alley fun en route. After rolling around a few moments, in agony, the blinding pain dulled to a warm discomfort and I crawled to safety in an open doorway. I spent the rest of the party inhaling deeply from a burning bag of seemingly endless homegrown, keeping a well-dilated eye on my swelling ankle and the black bruising of my foot. Three days later, a doctor would tell me it was broken.
At the end of the night, I caught a ride along with a few others from the half-sober drummer of HippieShitz back to Kelowna. I rode in the box of his truck, hugging my knees against the frigid 120km/h winds of winter and the freezing drizzle. When we got back into town it was dawn. The grrl I’d gone to the party with left with some other dude. Twitching, limping, I walked back to the hotel in the rain.