Royal Bank screwed me again

Royal Bank screwed me again. I lugged about 15 pounds of loonies to work today, with the intention of hauling them over to the nearest Royal Bank before noon, and exchanging them for some AMEX traveller’s cheques and a deposit to my bank account. Some guy from AMEX told me I’d be better off getting the cheques in Euros instead of Canucks or Francs, and that I should phone the bank first to make sure they had some in stock.

So I did.

I called at 11:30 and the guy at the bank said they had traveller’s cheques in Euros, so off I went at 11:45, beating the noontime rush.

At the bank I stopped at the info desk to ask if I should go to a regular teller for this transaction. She called someone deeper in the bowels of the bank and then announced they had no cheques in Euros.


So she sent me to the huge main branch at Place Ville Marie. By the time I got there, with my sore arm from lugging the coins, it was after 12:00, so there were a million people in line. It took about 40 minutes to get through, only to find out they didn’t have any Euros either. So I got them in Francs.

At this point, I don’t give a rat’s ass. One way or another, 60 hours from now my jet-lagged butt will be in a cafe in the 5th arrondissement of Paris, a croissant in one hand and a cafe noir in the other.

So what’s with Billy Idol

So what’s with Billy Idol on Letterman the other night? A million years ago I was a big fan of the blond one–well, at least a big fan of a handful of songs–but what’s he doing now? Did he have new material to show? Not! He stood on the well-lit glittery stage with his perpetual sidekick Steve Stevens, the twister-haired guitarist, and played the very old Rebel Yell.

It was so lame. It’s very hard to be energetic on a small TV studio stage, and the sound wasn’t fuzzed up or anything. Low volume, no bass to speak of. It was like watching the Donny Osmond version.

I thought back to a road trip I took in 1986, when I was a student at St. Francis Xavier University, in the one-horse college town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Billy Idol was playing in Halifax, about a 2.5 hour drive away. My buddy Ken, drove up from Sydney in his Camaro (another 2.5 hours). We had a few beers and then headed for Halifax.

When you hear the music you make a dip
Into someone else’s pocket then make a slip
Steal a car and go to Las Vegas oh, the gigolo pool

I don’t remember much about the show except for the bit when Steve Stevens lit into the big guitar solo in Eyes Without a Face–it was great. The rest was so-so, partly because Idol’s voice was shot from too much rebel yelling. I think I enjoyed it at the time, but only later did I realize I hadn’t enjoyed it as much as I thought I had.

I’m on a bus on a psychedelic trip
Reading murder books tryin’ to stay hip

After the show we had a few beers somewhere and then drove back to Antigonish. (Things were different then.) Ken slept on my sofa and headed back to Sydney the next day. A few months later he crashed his Camaro when he hit a patch of gravel on a turn while racing with a buddy in another car. The Camaro skidded off the road, flipped a few times, sending Ken flying out the window, and finally T-boned itself into a pole, folding it in half. Miraculously, Ken only had a few scratches. The man is blessed. He can also eat like a horse and never gain weight.

I’m thinkin’ of you you’re out there so
Say your prayers

I couldn’t sit through Billy Idol on Letterman, so I flipped around and eventually found Bill Mahar’s Politically Incorrect, which allowed me the surreal experience of watching former Prime Minister Kim Campbell and Jimmy Walker of Good Times fame (“Dy-no-mite!”) sitting side by side spewing liberal conservatism. Screw that, I turned it all off and hit the sheets.

Riot cops

Those nice riot cops in Quebec City went through 1700 cans of tear gas last weekend–so much they had to put in an emergency replenishment order with their American supplier. Shucks, and there was me and the cat just laying around the country house, doing nothing more useful than reading and writing. Missed the whole darn thing.