All You Need is BASS

Glow Stick Chronicles: The Exhibitionist Can Collector

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It was 2002, and I was 17 — dying for my independence, but just barely old enough to go on camping trips with friends on weekends. On one such weekend, there was a festival in Northern Alberta that looked to be a pretty good time, so we all piled in a car, pooled our gas money from our shitty part time jobs, and made our way there. This was at the end of an era so to speak. We were riding the end of the crest of all-ages parties. Up until that point, most “rave” type events in our area were all ages, and things were slowly transitioning into clubs. It really wasn’t strange to be underage at a festival back then, as most of my party kid friends ranged in age from 16-20. It was just sort of the way our community was.

2883605561_8b977676a9_oSince the drinking age in Alberta is 18, and many of my friends had reached that all-important milestone, we were able to get a large supply of cheap beer for the weekend. Some of the stuff was so vile you basically had to shotgun it, but since it was crucial to our good time, the boys crafted a beer funnel, aka a “beer bong.” This was the best way to get some longevity out of our minimalist supplies, as 18-year-old kids don’t have cash to spare. I actually cringe when I think back to some of my early festival set ups. Honestly, who goes to a 3 day long rave without an air mattress or an extra pair of shoes?

I planned to sustain myself that weekend off pre-made wraps, nectarines and beer, but two of my friends had other plans. My friends “Amy” and “Mitch” decided they wanted to keep it classy and feast on Thai food all weekend. Packing up goods from home there was much decanting of sauces and splitting up of pantry items from Mitch’s meager student basement suite. Saving money was a necessity, and no one had money to buy disposable containers. Thus, perfectly good empty booze bottles were used to ferry sauces, and a whole bunch of fish sauce went into a mini empty Jager bottle.

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No sooner had we arrived and set up camp than we were joined by a couple of rave acquaintances. We had an amazing camping spot adjacent to the river, and we were putting the beer funnel to good use while our beers chilled under water. The girls got their bathing suits and joined us in the river. As good times were being had, a new visitor arrived. A rather rotund man in teeny tiny shorts and a fanny pack was checking out our campsite, and our girls (underage and otherwise). We’re talking massive beer gut, and ridiculously small shorts. He was French Canadian with a thick accent and much, much older than us. I’m not saying French people are creepy by any means, but there was something about the way this guy talked that gave off an aura of creep. It was a package deal really.

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It turned out he was trying to collect our empties. Mitch gave him the pile, and we returned to the beer bong. Lumbering off with his treasure, the man stashed it in his digs for the weekend (and probably his digs for life), a classic perv van. We’re talking brown Ford Econoline, rusted, generally shitty and shady looking. The kind you imagine prowling around a school.

We immediately went back to having fun. A couple hours later, he returned. It seemed he had identified Mitch as our leader, and in his unintelligible accent he attempted to strike up a conversation. Despite being excessively hard to understand, the gist was homie was making disgusting comments about our female companions, or shall I say “degoutant”. I know enough French to know putain does not mean fries, gravy and cheese curds. It was only the start of the weekend, but this guy was becoming a pain in the ass.

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