August 23, 2004

Groupie Moment

In Fall 1993, I went to Simcoe with Doug. On the way back, he popped a tape into the tape deck. It was one of the two volumes of There Ain't No Easy Road, and I got goosebumps. I loved what I heard, and I wanted more. Two nights later, we went to the Things Is Changin' tape release concert. I loved Fred Eaglesmith and the Flying Squirrels. So much so that I started going to all sorts of festivals, fall fairs, and concerts in churches and schoolhouses, just to hear Fred.

Obsessively following Fred J. Eaglesmith and the Flying Squirrels (the J. has since been dropped, and I no longer have to resort to tapes to hear Fred - there are CDs) for a few years exposed me to all sorts of other music that I ended up loving. I went to a festival to see Fred, and ended up liking the Grievous Angels, and so on. Once, I drove to Parry Sound to see Fred - and the concert happened to be at White Squall, at the end of their Open House. Well, what do you know, I discovered kayaking that day, and that led to a whole other world of obsession...

And then, Fred got to be a bigger name, especially south of the border. Suddenly, you'd hear him on CBC, including on the Vinyl Cafe. There were people who proudly referred to themselves as Fredheads. Obsessively following Fred around became something lots of people did. So, and here's where I start to sound predictable, I stopped. I didn't want to be a Fredhead.

Ah, but guilty pleasures. If Fred happend to be playing close to home, I still went. The charisma that makes people hop into atrociities like motor homes and stalk him across state and provincial borders is still there. I love him just as much as I ever did, and truth be told, I always kept up the CD collection. I have them all, even the out of print ones. Closet Fredhead, I guess.

And this past weekend, I dragged Vanessa to Aylmer to the Fred picnic. I just wanted to see a Fred concert. I didn't want to camp there, I didn't want to interact with other fans, I just wanted to see the music and buy the new CD. Well, as I went to buy the new CD, Fred was standing there. And, good PR guy that he is, he pretended to remember me and gave me a hug, and of course made my groupie-soul-self's day.

I'm already planning for attendance at another Fred concert this fall. Who cares if I'm a cliche, I like it. I had to turn 33 years old before I could admit that: I like Fred.

(At the picnic, they were selling mechandise. You could buy a t-shirt that said "I like Fred". You could also buy "I (heart) Fred". And "I think Fred's ok". I stopped short of buying a t-shirt. Even I have my limits!)

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I've got loads of pictures to upload and stories to write, but I'm hideously behind. I'm back from a fabulous vacation, which included kayaking on Quebec's North Shore and an aborted hike in Charlevoix, among other delights. So far, the only web stuff I've managed to do is to update the farm blog. Sigh. Who can expect me to sit inside when it's summer?

Posted by Johanna at August 23, 2004 11:18 AM

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