I just spent $150 for a ticket to see Harry Styles at Rogers Arena next July. That’s July 2018, more than a year away. Back when he first announced his solo album, I said, “Harry better not make me pay another $100+ to see him or we’re gonna be in a fight.”

So we’re in a fight now.

One Direction played BC Place in 2015. We didn’t know then that it would be their last tour before the hiatus, and I spent a long time thinking about whether I wanted to go. I ended up finding floor seats for $100 in the last few weeks before the show, Elisabeth decided to fly out to come with me, and I’m so glad we went.

But BC Place is where our football and soccer teams play, and Rogers Arena is where our hockey team plays. I love Harry Styles because he’s a weirdo aesthete, and I was really hoping I could see his solo tour in one of our interwar music halls, instead of a hollow arena.

But I love his music, his sparkly boots, and his commitment to trying something new, so that’s where I’ll be July 2018. Five years of being fascinated by Harry Styles, and he hasn’t disappointed me yet.

  1. I didn’t mean to, but I stayed up late to hear Harry Styles’s first solo single, and goddamn, it’s good. Granted, I don’t listen to top 40 radio these days, but Sign of the Times sounds like nothing else right now. My first thought was Bowie, but then I caught John Lennon’s Mind Games on the retro music video channel. It makes sense that Harry’s first solo song would sound like post-Beatles Beatles (a little bit of all four).
  2. This afternoon, I watched the bronze medal game of the women’s world hockey championship. Finland beat Germany 8-0, which is the kind of score you expect from women’s hockey. But Finland beat Canada this year for the very first time ever, and 4th is Germany’s best finish. The game is growing.
  3. And then I watched the gold medal game after work.  It’s something of a comfort to know Canada v. USA will always be stressful. It can go either way any day with those two teams. Canada won the last Olympic gold in Sochi in 2014, but we haven’t won Worlds since 2012. Canada didn’t win today, either, but they took the US to overtime. They made them work for it. They made my heart pay for it.
  4. Nobody hates each other like Team Canada and Team USA. But it’s more sibling rivalry than arch nemeses. Because when Team USA wins, at their home rink, after literally fighting for their right to play, at a time when their country needs good news, Canada can only be happy for them.
  5. So now I’m watching Canada beat Sweden at the men’s world curling championship. Last month, the women’s team went undefeated to gold. The men’s team plays for gold on Sunday, and they haven’t dropped a game yet. Maybe curling has used up all Canada’s good luck.
  6. My faucet came off in my hand while I was doing dishes tonight, sending a geyser of water all over the counter, so I could use a little of that luck right now.
  1. Joel Plaskett has a new album called Solidarity. He made it with his dad, Bill Plaskett.
  2. I was at the last show Joel and his dad played at the Vogue, too.
  3. The show started with four men on stage: Joel on guitar, his dad playing a mandolin, and the opening act, Mayhemingways, one on drums, the other playing bass, banjo, accordian. After a few songs, the drummer left. Then the other guy. Then Joel said goodbye to his dad, and left alone on the stage with his guitar, he played a few requests.
  4. “Fashionable People” may not be the first song you think of for an acoustic version, but we turned up the falsetto and made it work.
  5. Joel tells the best stories on any stage, fitting pieces of trivia between the lyrics, over the music. He told us about the time during the La De Da tour that he got a call in Vancouver to open last minute for Keith Urban. He sold one CD.
  6. Then Joel told us about his maybe-haunted studio and finding a dead dragonfly, which is now mounted in a clear cassette case on the wall. Which led into the song from the dragonfly’s POV. The song starts soft, and when it gets loud, the lights come up, and the whole band is back on stage.
  7. Somehow Joel always knows exactly the songs we need to hear.

    Solidarity / We stand in solidarity / We’re weary but we’re ready / Pushing boulders up the hill / Let them have their towers / The next blue sky is ours / We’re in this fight to win / And we will

So, I’ve been watching a lot of music videos lately. Mostly the Retro channel, but Loud had some good new stuff that I wouldn’t have heard elsewhere. (I listen to a lot less new music than I did a decade ago. It’s weird.) Because Loud is a 24 hour cable channel, with no commercial breaks, the videos repeated, like they were on shuffle rather than a loop. Over the last two weeks, I saw Sixx: A.M.’s “We will not go quietly” a lot, and it grew on me.

Sixx: A.M. is one of Nikki Sixx’s bands. He was also the bass player in Mötley Crüe (and primary songwriter, which I didn’t know). He makes the kind of music that I think I don’t like. I don’t hate heavy metal, but it’s never been my thing. Still, there are songs by heavy metal bands I enjoy.

I enjoy this song by Sixx: A.M. It’s super simple and catchy, it’s not at all my “thing,” but I never changed the channel when it came on. It’s a protest song for our new world. It’s a reminder that you can find your “thing” anywhere.

It started to rain late yesterday. The kind of coming from all sides rain. Coming up from the ground rain. I can hear it pounding the roof kind of rain. Still, when I woke up at 3:30AM just now, Jack ran to the back door, scratching to go out. Cats are so weird. He won’t drink water that isn’t fresh or running out of the tap, so of course he wants to go out and play in the puddles.

Today I learned Sade is actually a band, not a solo artist. Yes, the singer’s (stage) name is Sade, but she has always released albums as the lead singer of a band of male musicians.

I grew up in the MTV era (in fact, we were born the same year), but I didn’t grow up with MTV. We had a TV with a rabbit ears antenna and five channels (six with good weather). Even now, after a decade of YouTube and a concerted effort on my part, I’m still seeing music videos from the ’80s for the very first time. This is Sade’s Smooth Operator, which sent me to Wikipedia this morning, wherein I learned this new fact.

Two years ago, I decided to read only female authors. This year, I doubled down on that resolution and deleted (most) male voices from my iTunes collection. (I kept a few duets and songs by male artists with featured women.) During the last week at my parents’s house, I discovered two cable music channels new to me: Stingray Loud and Stingray Retro. It’s a nice change from MuchMusic to watch a music channel with just videos and no ads.

There have been a lot of dudes singing on Loud, and not even as many silent female bodies as you might expect in music videos. But Retro has been the permanent “last channel” on the remote all week, a regular source of memories, new and old. While I’m watching Team Canada play (undefeated!) at the women’s curling world championship this morning, I just flipped back now to catch Nena singing “99 Red Balloons”.

I didn’t grow up with cable, so I didn’t grow up with music videos. Being able to search and watch anything I want on YouTube is so amazing to me, ten years on. I have cable now, but the videos on Much Music aren’t the videos I want to see. Except for two hours in the middle of the day called Retro Lunch. It’s a playlist from the past, but my favourite part is that there’s always a theme. Yesterday was alternative rock from the mid ’90s. Last week, I caught a collection of soundtrack songs. Today, it’s ’70s soft rock. There’s just one glaring thing all these video have in common: men. They’re all male artists. That ’90s playlist was everything I loved (and owned) in high school, but in two hours of songs, only two sung by women: You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette and Violet by Hole. Today, Stevie Nicks is saving another retro dude lunch. At the beginning of this year, I made a resolution to read only women. Now I think I have to extend that to listening and watching, too.