Tag Archives: John Mayall

Too Busy For the Habs That Year

003 This is my passport photo taken when I was 17.

I was getting ready to go on a big trip, which ultimately would cause me to miss most of the  Montreal Canadiens’ 1968-69 season.

I’m unable to talk about watching Rogie Vachon and Gump Worsley in goal and rookie coach Claude Ruel winning the Stanley Cup in his rookie coaching season and most of the other details of that year, mainly because I wasn’t around.

When this passport picture was taken I was working in a factory, having quit school after grade ten, and was saving my money. I worked for a year in this old place, but on November 22, 1968, a month after I turned 18, my friend Robin and I took a train from Orillia to Montreal, boarded the Empress of England, and sailed for eight days and nights until we reached Liverpool, England.

My thoughts weren’t on the Habs at all. They were filled with swinging London, the Beatles, long-legged lovelies in mini-skirts, Carnaby Street, and of course the great British bands like the Stones, the Who and the Kinks. The sounds that had come out of there while I was stuck in Orillia, and all the photos which described to me a special place where kids were cooler than cool, drove me crazy until I knew I needed to go and see for myself.

From Liverpool we took a train to London because that was ground zero of all that was good and cool about England, and we took a room at the YMCA. (A few years later I also stayed at another YMCA in Sudbury, Ontario, and I don’t know about now, but I can tell you, YMCAs aren’t the Ritz).

I had no idea what was happening with my Habs and I’m ashamed to say it, but I suppose I didn’t really care at this time. We were in England and that was all that mattered. While Beliveau and the Pocket Rocket zigged and zagged and the team geared up for the playoff run, I ate fish and chips, rode double decker buses, and wondered if my hair had grown a bit more.

At one point we went to the Beatles’ office on Savile Row, knocked on the door, and asked a lovely young secretary lady if the boys were in. She said no, and to this day, I’ve wondered what I would’ve done if she’d said yes.

We traveled up through the Midlands in the dead of winter, into Derby and Nottingham, hitchhiking from the other side of the road of course, and I recall sleeping standing up in a phone booth one freezing night. We also got beds at a Salvation Army shelter for the down-and-out, and it was the two of us with heavy woolen blankets over top of us, listening all night to old, homeless men snoring and burping and farting and talking drunken gibberish.

We were in Swinging England! Robin bought a Victorian top hat at  the Portabello Road flea market which he wore when it wasn’t wet and windy. And we saw John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (with future Stone Mick Taylor on guitar) at a jam-packed Railway Tavern (Klooks Kleek), a place that also housed bands throughout the 1960s like the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Yardbirds, and more.

Back home, the Canadiens were rolling along to a first place finish, with big Jean Beliveau ending up second to Phil Esposito for the Hart trophy as league MVP. Yvan Cournoyer finished with 87 points, just five ahead of Beliveau, and Tony Esposito, who of course became a huge star in Chicago, was a Hab that year and replaced Gump Worsley in goal when Worsley had some sort of nervous breakdown.

And in the playoffs, the Canadiens first swept the Rangers, beat Boston in six games, and took out St. Louis in four games to win their 16th Stanley Cup.

There’s just not a lot I can tell you about this Habs season. I was busy.

Slayed By Sens

radio

They couldn’t hold a couple of leads, and the Canadiens are now 1 win and 4 losses in their last five after falling to the visiting Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Tuesday night.

I listened to the game on the radio. The Sportsnet channels were showing the Boston-St. Louis game, and RDS was covering the big Impact-TFC soccer game at the Big O.

I like radio games. And even though our little baby girl was shrieking good naturedly throughout, I could still follow the game and was also able to see video afterward of the great goal scored by Alexander Radulov when he undressed Mike Hoffman and beat Craig Anderson.

It’s amazing how patient I am with a noisy little two-year old rugrat carrying on in the background. Much more patient than when I was raising my natural kids all those years ago..

I guess it comes with age. And maybe the drugs and corn liquor.

And for those who don’t know me, how old do you think I am?
a) 101
b) 89
c) 66

Shea Weber opened the scoring in the second period with a patented blast on the power play, and after Ottawa replied to tie it, it was Radulov channeling his inner Guy Lafleur.

Ottawa would soon even it up again, and in the third, Alex Galchenyuk on the PP sent the boys in the lead one more time before Grimace Stone and that Karlsson fellow beat our man Price and that was that.

Four goals for the Senators on 16 shots. That doesn’t sound like Carey Price, does it?

It’s time to redeem themselves on Thursday when the Carolina Hurricanes visit Montreal. If you’ll recall, it was those bastard Canes just last Friday who scored three times in the third period to beat Al Montoya and the rest.

Random Notes:

Canadiens outshot the Sens 39-23 and were 2/8 on the PP.

Andrei Markov collected three assists.

Wouldn’t it be nice if others contributed the way Byron, Galchenyuk, Radulov, Weber, and Markov do?

Today, November 22nd, is quite a date. The NHL formed on Nov. 22, 1917, JFK was assassinated on this day in 1963, the Beatles White Album was released at this time in 1968, and on this same day, Nov. 22, 1968, me and my buddy sailed on an ocean liner to England where we spent much of the winter and at one point knocked on the door of the Beatles’  Apple offices on Savile Row and when a secretary answered, I asked if the boys were in. She said no.

We did a lot of great shit in England, including sleeping in a Salvation Army flophouse, standing in a phone booth all night in Coventry in the freezing cold, and seeing John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (with Mick Taylor), at a small yet historic club called Klooks Kleek.

Mick Taylor would join the Rolling Stones several months later.

Hope you have a great sleep. You deserve it.

 

 

Toilet Door Pride

The next time you see metal toilet doors like the ones below, please keep in mind that Bruce Traviss and I used to put doors like these together, and we were good.

We were good and we were fast, and there were certain ways of doing things. Those things didn’t just assemble themselves you know.

We made those doors at an Orillia factory called Porcelain and Metal, and sometimes it was almost hard work.

But I wanted the best doors for you, because you were worth it. If you were alive then.

Hopefully modern day toilet door people show the same pride.

I was also motivated, because I was saving to go to England where I hoped to get a job making sure all the Beatles wives except Yoko were comfortable while the boys were in the studio.

What goes into toilet door making?

As the various parts of the doors came down the assembly line from the paint room, Bruce and I would spray the insides with black glue, attach a bunch of cardboard strips, fit the fittings, put it all together, and send it on its way. Then we’d do another and then another and then a whole bunch more.

We were so good at it that we had our night’s quota finished after a few hours and were able to smoke a lot and catch mice in barrels for the rest of our shift.

We always let the mice go of course. We liked the cute little bastards. I still like them and I hope Bruce does too.

I did this job for a year or so, saved my money, and in November of 1968 took the Empress of England ocean liner to England with another friend, Robin Metcalfe, where we stayed for much of the winter and spent my washroom door money on beer, fish and chips, rent, and a cool John Mayall show in a dingy club called Klook’s Kleek.

Hopefully the next time you feel like kicking a metal washroom door or writing terrible and sometimes funny things on it, please keep in mind that somebody out there worked hard putting your door together so you’ll have a comfortable and private stay as you empty your innards.

Always remember – buried inside those metal doors are a bunch of cardboard strips and a lot of black glue, which you can ponder as you sit.

And if the lock doesn’t work, it’s probably not the door assembler’s fault. Although it could be I guess, if the assembler isn’t as good as Bruce and I were.

Below, the Empress of England that Robin and I sailed on to England. My ticket was bought thanks to the doors.