Monday, 2 November 2015


There’s Something About a Sunday in November

Ann took an hour off all of the clocks sometime during Saturday night while embarked upon one of her midnight rambles. We sleep together but we never seem to bump into each other as we each stalk the halls of the house in the wee wee hours. There are always telltale signs of the other: a sodden cigarette butt (hastily inhaled outside on the back steps) in the kitchen trash bin, a rinsed bowl and spoon by the sink or an Economist left open on the counter.

Yesterday was Sunday, the 1st of November. We could smell the rain lurking beyond the low iron sky. We didn’t need an app for the evening’s forecast. Sundays have always been miserable days. Growing up they meant the boredom of the Catholic mass and then school the next day. Aging brought hangovers and the dreaded prospect of the night shift or Monday morning. As much as I love the song, Aaron Neville’s funky “Struttin’ On Sunday” was never my bag.

November of course is the most wretched month. The shortening days grow steadily colder. Everything dies by degrees if it isn’t dead already. The only holiday is the mournful solemnity of Remembrance Day. This year will mark the first anniversary of life without my father, an RCAF veteran who passed away with dignity last November 11th aged 90. Mix Sundays with Novembers in a northern town and you have the main ingredients for meGeoff’s recipe for the blues.

Because of all this and the serendipity of timing, we were well pleased to attend legendary comedian Billy Connolly’s Edmonton show last night. I had never attended a stand up performance before, always having believed that belly laughs shared around a table with relatives and friends were not only as hearty, but free. I’ve always admired Connolly as an actor and the routines of his I’ve heard are comedy classics. I’ve read Billy, the biography written by his wife and Monty Python alumna Pamela Stephenson. To me, Connolly is the best comic there ever was.

Last night he spoke without a break for two hours. A Billy Connolly story is impossible to repeat. There are tangents and asides, jokes within the joke, set ups for jokes to be told five minutes’ hence and references back to jokes told five minutes beforehand. He bobs and weaves, a verbose boxer. Sometimes he interrupts himself, bending, overcome by fits of giggling glee. Nobody can swear like a Scot and Connolly has elevated cursing to poetry during his long career. He does not abide those who are easily offended.

After the show Ann and I went out into the darkness and the snow-flecked rain. As we tried to make our way through and around the University of Alberta’s massive Health Sciences campus we chuckled about cigarettes, disease, the elderly and decrepit, dead people and cats dispatched with hammers. Pinch, pinch, punch, punch, a fuckin’ fine ending to the first Sunday of this month.

No comments:

Post a Comment