What’s In Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators.
On the grill
Who are you
My parents took me not to a first concert, but to see the then-famous Reveen hypnotist and illusionist. It was sometime in the early ’80s in Victoria at the Royal Theatre. I was extremely disappointed that my brother Mark was not chosen as a volunteer for the grand finale even though he had his hand up the whole time. Honestly I did not really start going to shows until I was 18—a few local gigs here and there in Victoria. But my friends and I were more concerned about skateboarding outside while the bands played, even though I listened to music constantly on a Walkman, or at home on the turntable.
The first big show I remember seeing was Neil Young and Crazy Horse with Sonic Youth in 1990 in Vancouver at the Pacific Coliseum. We did not have a ride, so I rode in the back of the truck outside with three friends all the way from Victoria. Sonic Youth changed my outlook on music—standing on their guitars, walls of feedback... I was there to see Neil Young, and was only familiar with the video for Sonic Youth’s “Kool Thing” . I’d never heard anything that loud before! After that I was at Harpo’s—a club in victoria—as many nights a week as possible.
Top three records
The Clash London Calling First band I heard on a Walkman—borrowed the tape and Walkman from my friend at high school. I could not believe the sound of the Clash, as well as being able to walk around amongst others while your own soundtrack played. I remember smiling while listening, and receiving some scary comments such as “What’s so funny Gowans?” from some of the school’s larger sports enthusiasts.
Depeche Mode Violator Every sound on this album is so carefully tweaked and put in place by Alan Wilder & Flood—it’s the first time the band was allowed to really develop Martin Gore’s demos into fully formed ideas. Great songs, and only 9 of them. Released during the height of the CD era, but left people wanting more instead of an album of 18 songs that went on for 74 minutes.
Fairport Convention Liege and Lief Oh, wow! Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson make the first foray into British folk rock, taking medieval songs and poems and turning them into a transcendent listening experience centered around the interplay of Denny’s voice and Thompson’s amazing guitar playing. So much space in the instrumentation—you can hear how they listen to each other even when they stretch out into some extended instrumentals. Always critically rated in the top 10 best folk albums of all time, so when anyone tries to trade a copy in at the record store I usually ask why.
All-time favourite video
Okay, this is embarrassing but I need to share this. Grade 7, watching Video Hits on CBC (?), promising young new wave band named Industry, the video was for “State Of The Nation”. The singer, Jon Carin, ended up playing synths for Bryan Ferry at Live Aid, and then has been a longtime member of Pink Floyd. More recently he programmed all the synths for Kate Bush when she did some shows a few years back. So that being said, I loved the sound—only heard the song once, but somehow memorized all the words of some of the verse and the chorus. I then started telling people “Have you heard of Industry?” and drawing keytars on my binder and thinking how cool it would be to be able to wear the same white jumpsuit/parachute pants as Jon Carin.
What’s in your fridge?
Chipotle/adobo peppers in sauce. To use in chipotle-mayo, dressings, and a particular breakfast wrap—almost like an inverted omelette which you can fill with whatever ingredients. Aside from egg and tortilla, a solid foundation for a long day of retail. The wrap is found on Nadia’s time To Eat On Netflix
White wine. To drink, and to also hit certain recipes on the fly with a splash: pasta sauces, risotto, de-glaze a pan then hit it with butter and lemon to go with some fish, etc.
Hummus. The freak-store-bought hummus that I thought at the time would be a great idea to have around for snacks. Maybe with veggies? Crackers? Chips? But no, it gets opened after getting home from shopping, starving, half-eaten, then somehow pushed to the back of the top shelf. Then the life forms inside the container, and turns into the most horrid discovery of life living in the back of the fridge.
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