Quadrophonic Malloy

Left: the basement artistry of Malloy. Right: the man, the myth..

It strikes me, a week after arriving back home in Vancouver, that I haven’t wrapped up my story of my trip back to my hometown. The 10-day non-vacation (at least half the time was spent working or with relations) was a chance to reacquaint myself with the family and friends and, as is my wont, to consider all the ways my life has gone wrong since I left the warmth of the family hearth, if not the womb.

All in all, I’d say the trip was a success. True, I didn’t manage to talk my way out of staying at my parents’ (the food is questionable, the service worse, and I have no fondness for my old room, a small dank basement unit with wood-panelling where I spent my troubled teenage years and which is now full of my nephew’s sports equipment). And true, the mosquitoes were bad (as always this time of year–but not as bad as Hellboy II. And the weather was not great, especially the last few days, when I actually had to wear long pants and a hoodie.

But I did reconnect with my friend Dennis and his lovely wife Sandra. In fact, my one venture out into Winnipeg nightlife–not counting hipster karaoke on the Wednesday night–was with Dennis, Sandra, and Sandra’s cousin Steiny (short for Thorstein–he’s Icelandic). Steiny was down from the Pas, a northern Manitoba (meaning: colder than an icebox in winter) settlement of about 6,000. I’m not sure what, exactly, he made of Alive, the nightclub we went to last Friday. Sandra had asked around to find out where to go, and when to get there to avoid a lineup. We avoided a lineup, all right. We also avoided any other patrons, at least until half an hour later. That’s when the Badabing party bus rolled up outside the club. A red carpet was unfurled, and a couple of dozen 20somethings in various states of inebriation tumbled out. We moved from a window seat to a table overlooking the dancefloor, which was suddenly semi-populated. Then the Miller Genuine Draft girls appeared, and set up a tub full of beer. As the evening wore on, the zippers on their jumpers got lower. Around 11 the evening’s entertainment, a cover band called the Boom, hit the stage. Let’s just say, it takes some nerve on the part of management to post a dress code that specifies “no white shoes”, and then employs a band that covers Bryan Adams songs.

One disappointment of the trip was that my high school drinking partner, Malloy, never called back about a visit. This is too bad because he’s always good for a story. A great big bloke, black hair, uni-brow, the youngest of a big Irish family, he has the sickest imagination and sense of humour of anyone I know. If you’ve seen the movie Superbad, specifically the end credits–which play over drawing after drawing of cocks, an obsession of one of the main (male) characters–you’ll have some idea of the kind of drawings that found their way onto Malloy’s notebook paper in high school. Strangely enough, for such a twisted individual, he has gone on to marry and breed–two daughters at last count. The last time I was there was typical of a visit to his suburban house; he ushered me downstairs, poured me a rye-and-Coke, and gave me a tour of his domain, i.e. the basement he has made into a shrine to his fave pop culture icons. Then, amidst the models (a Monkees car, a Starship Enterprise), Beatles paraphernalia, and a ’70s pinball machine, he treated me to a classic Malloy performance. He popped in a videocassette of footage of him playing guitar on a picket line from when he and his fellow casino workers were on strike, and pressed “play” on a cassette mix of classic rock tunes and his own 4-track originals. He handed me a scrapbook, which featured all his appearances in the local print media, from high school basketball photos to news stories about his picket line serenading . Then, while his voice warbled out of the speakers and he appeared on TV and I flipped through the clips of long-ago exploits, he talked about himself. Quadrophonic Malloy.

BUT, on the plus side of the trip, I finally wore down my niece Delaney. The five-year-old used to hide behind her mom, my sister Corall, whenever she saw me. But on this trip, I let her no in no uncertain terms that I was coming over to her house for lunch, and that she’d better have a tuna sandwich ready for me–just the way I like it, with little pieces of dill pickle mixed with the tuna. My heavyhanded approach worked–when the fateful lunch date arrived, she actually did help her mom make some sandwiches.

There were other highlights–dinner at Dennis and Sandra’s, my uncle’s gift of a bottle of Crown Royal, taking my nephew to a rock show, E. parking four blocks away from a (free) concert so he wouldn’t have to pay for parking. But, I’m glad to be back in Vancouver. At least you can get a decent mojito in this town.

1 Response to “Quadrophonic Malloy”

  1. July 19, 2008 at 6:09 pm

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