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  • Writer's pictureJH

It begins ... again

September 19, 2018

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, music fans of all ages! The Council of the European Union, KLM Airways, Ferwerda Snert, and Virus of the Van Productions proudly present, by popular demand, loud and proud in the Old World, the incomparable Sarah and the Glitterboyz!

Get your tickets NOW!


Why do so many sequels fail?

I have a theory.

My theory is that no matter how slick Version 2.0 might be, the original anything has a charm and a novelty and an energy that simply can’t be re-created. Too many sequels try to re-bottle lightning. They try to conjure a spirit. They try to manufacture what was once organic, and usually wind up being kind of hollow as a result.

And yet here we are.

Another plane.

Another tour.

Another blog about Sarah Smith and her band from Canada tearing up the continent.

And the truth, gentle reader, as I creep once more across this wide blue ocean, is that … well, my head hurts.

I’m reminded this time of a bit that Lewis Black did about what it feels like to fly direct from New York to New Zealand: “If you want to know what it’s like, go sit on a chair in your living room. Then take your hands and squeeze your head as hard as you can for 19 hours straight and don’t stop! DON’T STOP!”

That’s how I feel right now, but it’s all good. A minor bit of cranial compression is a small price to pay for a second European adventure with Sarah Smith. Even a major bit of cranial compression is a small price to pay for this privilege and I don’t take it for granted. Neither do I take my bandmates for granted. For the second time in a year, I’m sitting on a chair in the sky beside my boys Ken Ross and Deni Gauthier. Sarah herself is seated 15 or so rows ahead of us, where I can see her singing at the people sitting across from her.

How did I get so lucky?

It still blows me away. Even though this sort of thing is becoming more normal for me, I still step back sometimes and marvel at life. I’ve said before and I’ll say again that good things happen when you put yourself out there. The first European tour was proof of that. It was the culmination of a decision I made several years ago to step seriously into music. The original tour blog was also me putting myself out there as a blocked writer. It took on a life of its own, found an audience, and was eventually published as a book. Incredible stuff, really.

It all comes from having the courage to take the step. Whatever step you’re considering right now, I urge you to take it, especially if you’re scared. Your greatest fulfillment is waiting on the other side of your fear. Put yourself out there and see.

Whoa, that got metaphysical in a hurry.

Sorry about that.

I’m amazed by how much laughter follows this band. Not just among us, but among the people who come in contact with us. For example, the lady behind the airport check-in counter, who has the cutest head I’ve ever seen (not face, not smile – head), was laughing as she charged Sarah for her extra bag. The girl serving us drinks in the boarding lounge, who now follows all of us on Instagram, was laughing with us too. Even the security guard who ravaged Ken’s carry-on bag to see if his pedal board was a tactical nuclear weapon wound up laughing in the end. The only time I wasn’t laughing was when the guy in front of me tilted his seat back, which brings me to the following public service announcement.


Dear airline passengers: If you recline your seat, you’re part of the problem and you have no soul! Honestly, if you take nothing away from this tour blog, take that piece of wisdom. I’ve got one foot of breathing space behind you. Now my knees are crushed and I can’t see my computer screen. Put your seat up and leave it there! (There aren’t enough exclamation marks in the multiverse to convey the intensity of my feelings about this, people.)

Deni’s talking about embarking on a marathon of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. I think that’s a symbolic and symmetrical way to start this tour off. If you read the first tour blog, you know that Tony Bourdain was a hero of mine and that I tried to channel him a bit in my writing. And yeah, I’m really sad that he’s gone now, but perhaps that spirit will live on a bit in this blog. Once again I’ll be writing about places and food and people. Sarah’s sister Amy wants more descriptions of landscapes, so I suppose I’ll try to do that too. We’ll see what we see and I shall do my best to present our story to you with eloquence and honesty and humour.

Before I do that, I want to thank everyone who followed along last time, who encouraged me, who bought the book and made a point of telling me they enjoyed it. You gave me a gift. I hope I can re-pay you with whatever this blog turns out to be. I can’t re-capture the original blog’s novelty, but if we’re out here living and writing in the now, the new blog will develop a novelty of its own. I hope you stay with me.

The first post is the hardest, by the way. It’s hard to write about what happened when nothing’s happened yet. Accordingly, I’ll sign off for now from somewhere high above the Atlantic Ocean. Over the next four weeks, Sarah and her boys will be playing 22 shows in Germany and The Netherlands. We’ll be returning to some old haunts and exploring some new places. We’ll be seeing many friends and making many more. There will be highs and lows. Late nights and long drives. Moments and memories. The silliest diversions and most profound twists. That’s life on the road.

All you can do is trust the ride.

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