By Jen M
It was 1995. I was wearing stained cords from Kensington market, my Dad’s oversized brown sweater and Converse One Stars with vomit stains on them. My hair was disturbingly half-dreaded and I only wore glasses that I rarely cleaned. My goal, apparently, was to look as awful as possible.
Every Victoria Day, the neighbourhood would flock to our front yard to watch firecrackers, eat Rice Krispie Squares and gossip about the latest divorces on the block. You see, our house was on a hill, so it provided great vantage point for the colourful show. But perhaps the other reason we gathered there was because my mother was a host with tremendous bravado. In honour of Queen Victoria (or, just to put on a show) she would drag our speakers onto the street, blast God Save The Queen and sing at the top of her lungs. A tradition that I rather cherish now, but at that point in time, I was fed up and feeling much too ‘mature’ for this scene of snotty nosed toddlers and kids doing somersaults until they banged their heads and cried.
So that evening I decided to fuck with tradition. Just after mom had blared her music, I ran up to my bedroom on the third floor, stuck my stereo in the window and blasted Hole’s Violet. Husbands and wives looked up, somewhat stupified. The children were stunned with fear, and my mother was irate. She immediately screamed up from the street, “JENNIFER – TURN THAT OFF!!” I pretended not to hear and moshed around my room – which was still pink, full of teddy bears and a half-ripped poster of Jim Morrison. Under my desk was lyrics to The Cranberries scrawled with a silver pen. In my underwear drawer was a bottle of beer and a loose stale cigarette. It was a complicated time. Just as I was enjoying full smashability against my bed and neck cranking head banging – I heard the thumping. It was a noise that was all too familiar, Mom was storming up the stairs, “TURN THAT FUCKING SHIT OFFF!!!” So, I did.
Looking back, it almost seems as though the entire scene was crafted to provoke her to this point. Yep, that was bratty.
Fast forward two years later: I was DYING to lose my virginity. It was a plan long in the making and I had marked a young man around the corner as the target. He was a couple years older than me and in university – so that was super cool. He was also the only guy I could get to pay attention to me. Just before we did it, he confessed that it was instant attraction ever since he had witnessed my HOLE interruption that jolted sedated Lawrence Park. Wicked. Now please, fuck me.
My adoration for Courtney Love’s music lives on sixteen years later. Out of all the concerts this past year, it was HOLE’s show that I was most excited for.
Making my way to the Sound Academy down Cherry Street, I suddenly felt a rush of teenager. Girls were wearing fishnets, baby doll dresses, stupid little barrettes and Dr. Martens. Nearly everyone was smoking and there was definitely a heavy goth presence. Ages ranged from eighteen to fifty-five. Sudbury hockey moms mixed with excited gay boys, computer programmers with unnerving chin braids rubbed against the backs of raucous punk girls. Then there were peeps like me, far removed from angry plaid, black lipstick and ripped tights but amused and excited for what was to come.
We all hoped Love would go apeshit, swear at us, rip her shirt off, stumble and get crazy. Aside from a few ‘fuck-you’ smokes on stage, she was totally composed. Having never seen her live, I assumed her vocals wouldn’t live up to the albums – but I was floored with the depth and strength of her booming voice.
When the chords to Miss World kicked off, a dumb smile came over my face and I belted it out like it was 1995 again and I had just been crossed by some bitch in the locker room and the only means of consolation was to chug jungle juice and lie in a field. So like yeah, it was totally awesome.