Rome is Burning


Okay, as I sit here half corked at my computer waiting to be able to log off from my “new” job (only a 6-month contract – got let go during COVID – so fucking lucky to live in a country that helps during economic crisis so had EI – I am truly blessed in so many ways … but I digress – as I am wont to do, please bare with me.) Where was I? Oh yeah, we’re fucked.

I was supposed to be compiling something about my plight during COVID but dude, I grew up at the height of the Roman Empire (70s, 80s, 90s), if you’re new, Google it and see how we lived pre-cell phone, internet era – dudes it was off the hook and no recordings, so no regrets, no splashed all over the internet – we got to actually LIVE – anyone reading this at this point who is not borne in the sixties or before (and that’s not going to be a lot, if any – gawd damned plebs when it comes to social media and the internet – but damn boi, can you blame them?!) despite their intellect will only have an abstract concept of what I am about to bestow upon you. Love, light and NO RECORD OF WHAT YOU DID – hell to the L, ya!

I LOVE music, all kinds of music and the BEST thing in the whole wide world for me is to let lose and cut a rug (https://owlcation.com/humanities/Origins-of-Romantic-Idioms-and-Phrases). Granted, when I grew up it was a phrase that was well past its due date but still it was valid. In this immediate gratification society of today it is heartbreaking to me how you have no sense of history, tradition and the things that used to be carried forward from generation to generation are now lost – [put in still of people staring at screens].

So back to music. Because I was so diversified compared to most – “I’m rock and roll”, “I’m a punk”, “I’m a goth”, “I’m into disco” … I was Danielle and I went everywhere and danced to everything.

The first bar I remember (please bare with me if stuff is out of sequence, hazy or misrepresented, I’m just going on vague recollections here and my my memory is haphazard and/or missing pieces, or some non-memory I’ve embellished to seem real … and that is why this shall be called fiction. Although, truth be told A LOT of it really is me and stuff I did) – so the bar … It was called the Upstairs Sidedoor and it was either just below Yonge … I think off of Gerrard or Dundas [will get lost down worm hole trying to find ANY information on this place later) … I’m figuring Dundas (hothead of wheeling and dealing, drugs and hookers). I was underage when I first went there I think – anywhere from 14 to 18 and it was stellar! – Yeah, let’s cut the difference and say I was 16.

I still have this memory of walking up this incredibly rickety and narrow staircase that was ill lit and squishy on impact – I’m sure it was riddled with mold under the (what I imagine was at one time) red, now mud-like carpeting put the stairs and of course, turning to the side and going in. Upstairs, Side Door – like literally!

Anywhoo – the door opened and the music and the outfits and the atmosphere – I was aghast, I almost fainted from happiness! I was one of maybe a handful of white people in the place and the rest were all literally pimps and hos and MAN were they decked out. I mean like fedoras with feathers, matching three-piece suits, canes with gold encrusted handles – women in heels that defied gravity and so much shiny material and sparkly stuff I just grinned from ear to ear – and then the music!!! OMG I was in heaven and I just was drawn to the dance floor and following the rhythm and soon I was amidst this throng of people and it was a small place just jam-packed with people and not well ventilated so on the dance floor everyone was hot, sweaty and writhing against each other.

I think I was one of the few people there too who wasn’t “working” (pimp, ho, dealer). In retrospect I was SO FUCKING PRIVILEGED to even be let into that place – not sure how I did the things I did back then but …

It didn’t occur to me until many, many years later that I had managed to permeate so many culture barriers by being there at that time. I never saw colour so much as I saw people who could and could not dance. And I will NEVER change my mind about this and I don’t care how wrong it is to say it – white people CANNOT fucking dance. So I followed the rhythm and it is anything but white, black, Hispanic, pick an African country … anything with heat IMHO. I think white people can’t dance because they were born cold. And then there was me (granted there are a few of us, but sadly we are few and far between – most of us are doing the two-step shuffle or that – oh my fuck, so amusing and I shouldn’t laugh but, almost beat dancers … you’re looking and you’re like … yeeesh, so close to the beat but OOOOFFFF nope, not quite there yet – and my all time favourites, the ones who are completely off the beat entirely and do this weird hand, foot random punch, kick thing while they’re dancing, or, you know, on the verge of a seizure – I’ma go out on a limb here and hope that y’all know I am in no way cowtowing to “norms” or “politically correct” in this tale. So – that said – I used it work at a place called Club Z and we would have Asian nights – this was where this display was most prolific. [Insert video later of my interpretation of such dancing.] And, I have to say – this took MANY, MANY years of emulating in order to even get this close, and some say I still have too much rhythm.

Not that anyone will read this but … I am publishing as I go and this will probably not be finished for months or years but I’ve finally started!

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