Years ago, I was part of a cult. All the cult members were young people, all of us lost children, all of us aspiring film-makers, all of us willingly brainwashed into becoming provocative artists. Well, maybe it was a cult, I still can’t decide when I look back on those surreal few months in the Eastern Townships.
During this stint of strangeness, I lived next-door to a loving family who celebrated paganism, cured ailments with herbs and performed Reiki on me. After leaving the cult for my indecisive nature, I lost contact with most of the members.
A few days ago, I received a message from Emily, who was in that loving family, and who I hadn’t seen since she was 16. She asked if I wanted to be a judge in a Battle of the Bands she was organizing. “You’d be the only female judge we ever had,” she said. And it was going to be a fundraiser for the Mae Sot Education Project, a wonderful organization that provides teachers and funding for refugee and migrant students in Burma.
So I rode a bus back into the Eastern Townships, to Lennoxville, a tiny town with 2 pubs. (“The event will be in the better of the two pubs!” Emily assured me. )
I sat next to 2 other judges who both had large beards and were happy about the free beer that came with the job. So we laughed and drank and judged.
And I realized how difficult it is to judge music (Simon Cowell). One band was technically incredible, as though they had been practicing scales together for 20 years (despite the fact that they couldn’t have been much older than that). Another band wasn’t very good technically but had so much charisma, stage presence and groove that it was hard not to smile while they performed. And another band couldn’t seem to hook the audience’s attention, but they were the only band who played entirely original songs; which were soft, strong, intricate and well-written.
In the end we had to call a tie, not because we wanted to back out of announcing only one winner, but because we sincerely couldn’t decide which band was better.
Thanks everyone for a night of penis jokes and rock ‘n roll!