I had a really bad experience with a sound technician a few months ago.
Ever since my EP came out, I have been super lucky to be able to play shows in different venues across the country. I feel like I should preface the following rant by saying that most of my venue experiences have been totally fine, if not great. I have played at venues where I have been fed delicious food, given delicious beer, and met some wonderful and friendly venue owners and staff. There are so many places that go above and beyond to make sure musicians feel welcomed. I think that the fact that venues even let me play at them in the first place is amazing enough in and of itself. And if the venue comes with a friendly sound tech? Even better.
I have met so many great sound techs who are there to help you and support you on stage. I just want to be clear that I know that there are so many places like these not only in the city I live in, but across the country. I think that it is so important to support these establishments because I think so often as city dwellers we take them for granted. The following story is not at all representative of the experience I have had at 90% of venues where I have played. Sure, sometimes the bathroom is covered in more graffitied penises than my personal taste and has no toilet paper. However, I'd take that over outright misogyny any day.
Yes, this is a story about sexism. In the music world. Shocking, I know.
When I was younger and learning how to play the guitar, I was scared to go into music stores. Sensitive and self-conscious, it only took a few (older and male) people to tell me that they "didn't realize so many girls played guitar" or to mock my questions to convince me to stay far, far away. As somebody who primarily listened to female musicians, I was already very aware of how uncool it was to be both a music maker and female. This awareness was a big part of the fact why it took me years to start recording and performing music. Over the years, my skin has gotten much thicker. But that doesn't mean that things cannot get under it. Which brings me to my story.
It seemed like a normal sound check at first. As we unpacked our instruments on stage, the sound tech asked my bandmate if she had a DI for her violin. When she said that she did not, his irritation was palpable, and his tone was snappy.
"Well, you might want to think about that!" he said, as he turned his back to us and walked towards the back of the venue.
My bandmate and I exchanged glances. I felt relieved but also embarrassed to understand that she had also found his reaction rude. I am by no means super comfortable with the technical aspects of playing in a band - it's something that I am working on - but I have played with a few different violinists before, none of whom played with violins that plug in. The venues we play are generally small so it was never a problem.
Unfortunately, as the soundcheck went on, this tech's tone and attitude only got worse. Any request or suggestion that we had was ridiculed and shut down. For example, I asked for my guitar to be turned down in the monitor. This is a request I usually make because I am a performer who prefers to hear emphasis on my vocals when I am playing live. After tsk'ing and sighing for what felt like an eternity, and asking me numerous times to clarify what I meant because he "didn't understand", the sound tech flat out told me that he thought he just "didn't think I wanted to be amplified." Any request or question I had he would react to with a dismissive sigh and the same exasperated tone.
While I guess this could be written off as a sound tech having a bad day or just having a bad attitude in general, I am hesitant to accept this as the case. Not only have I experienced enough to know better, but I also had the opportunity to watch him perform the soundcheck of the other bands who were playing that night, who all happened to be male. And guess what? He was more than polite with them. He even told them they "sounded great!"
I wish I could say that things were different for more established musicians, but I don't think it is the case. Here is an unfortunate mini collection of just a few of the sexist YouTube comments that I've personally come across in the past little while:
Yup, there's something about us, and that something is that we are sick of your TOXIC MASCULINITY.
Anyway, I do think that things have probably gotten better compared with earlier decades. I just don't think that better is good enough. If you're a man, one of the things that you can do to help as an ally is to listen to music. If you don't have a lot of female artists in your library, seek them out. And if your friends still think it's uncool to listen to non-dude musicians, tell them how silly they are. There is so much good shit out there, guys. And a lot of it is not being made by guys.
Making a blog post about words that I can’t spell may seem like a strange thing for somebody who calls themselves a copywriter and editor to do, but alas, here I am.
There are several things in this life that I am not good at. My ability to bump a volleyball? Terrible. My memory? Hazy on a good day. I even tie my shoes a little funny. One thing that I have always had going for me, though, has been my obsession with words and my accuracy with which I can spell them.
Spelling has been a “thing” of mine since I was a kid. Although this hobby may not have been the COOLEST thing that I could have spent my time doing, it did pay off in my non-lucrative but extremely exhilarating grade school spelling bee career*.
There are some words, however, that hold me back from being a total spelling wizard. I will outline them below.
~*~insert joke here about how trying to spell this word actually makes me feel naseous~*~
No, wtf, I did NOT mean "nauseous", whatever that is.
Kgyrstan is a Central Asia country with beautiful mountains whose name I cannot spell. I know that this word starts with K, and I know that it ends in stan, but it’s the middle that messes me up. And you can’t spell a country’s name without its middle.
This dictionary is useless.
I lost a spelling bee in grade seven with this word. It was a low point in my spelling bee career**. Lots of kids laughed at me. As I already hinted at earlier, I couldn’t do sports. I was socially weird. The spelling bee…..was all I had…..until….it wasn’t.. :(
Nope, not what I meant, actually.
If it were up to me I would just double all letters in this word and spell it as “ooccuurraannccee” just for ease of spelling.
Okay, according to spell checker I actually got this one right. There was a 50/50 chance I would.
I have no comment about this.
This city should be spelt Toosawn and everybody secretly knows it deep down inside.
I can spell everything else, though. So it’s fine.
*Not a real career.
**Again, not a real career.
Welcome to the Pensive Pickle.
In this deliciously titled blog, I will share with you my innermost thoughts and feelings and desires. Just kidding. I’m guarded AF. I am probably just going to write about tea.
Like every good love story, the story of tea and I begins with a break-up. Here goes:
For a few years when I was a university student, I worked for a coffee shop chain of which you may or may not have heard of. Wearing a green apron may or may not have been involved. During this time, my schedule often involved waking up for shifts at 6 in the morning!! Sometimes on these days, I would have classes until 6 or 7 in the evening. Although I would love to say that I did it all with ease, one of the reasons why I was able to exist at such ungodly hours was through the power of coffee.
This worked well for a while, except for one problem: coffee makes me anxious. As I already have an anxiety disorder, this was not so good for me. It felt like a bit of an overindulgence. I didn’t want to be greedy. It’s important to share anxiety with others. You must make sure there is enough to go around.
When I was in my late teens and early 20s, I guess that blonde coffees and hazelnut lattes didn't really affect me that same way that they do now. Either that, or I just didn’t realize that my mind and heart were frantically racing. Or maybe I just didn't care because I wasn't thinking about it so much? I’m not really sure. I am not a damn scientist. The one thing I know is that as I got older and more proactive about managing anxiety, I discovered that cutting out coffee works for me. I know what you’re thinking: but Rachel, black tea has plenty of caffeine as well! I know it does, but it has less, and the caffeine it does have I find doesn’t affect me as negatively.
I am a lover of most tea varieties and open to trying all, but there is no doubt that Earl Grey is my absolute favourite. I thought it would be both fun and obnoxious if I went on a mission to buy as many Earl Grey tea types as possible and try them out.
These teas are ones that I primarily bought on a run to Trader Joe’s and Healthy Living in Vermont, but I will be updating the blog as I gather more Earl Grey tea on my unquenchable and dare I say valiant quest.
Equal Exchange Organic Earl Grey next to my sly cat mug. This Earl Grey is SO GOOD. It’s really, really flavourful! 5/5!
Equal Exchange Organic Earl Grey black tea in my Tina Belcher mug that says “UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”. My work friends and I all have matching “Bob’s Burgers” mugs. I feel like this is an important detail for my blog. Again, 5/5.
Earl Grey de la Creme Loose Leaf Black Tea blend from Trader Joe’s. This is probably my favourite variety from this entire haul! I find it tastes super fresh and light. It's so airy and fragrant and delicious not to mention super pretty in the cup as it steeps! 5/5.
Four o’Clock Earl Grey tea that I got with breakfast one morning when my boyfriend and I were at our usual brunch spot. I paused him mid-sentence so that I could focus on taking this photo. He was a good sport about it. He knows it’s for the cause - I mean, the blog. 5/5!!!
Bulk Barn Earl Grey with my Jenny Lewis mug. Now, this wasn’t my favorite earl grey on the list, but it works well in a pinch. Also, it was extremely cost-friendly - I think I paid just over $1.00 CAD for enough tea to make several cups. Plus, buying it involved going to Bulk Barn which was great! I love that place! Hell, 5/5!!!!!
Classic Twinings Earl Grey in my business casual cat mug. This is a delicious Earl Grey variety!! Honestly, it’s really, really tasty. I don’t usually add anything at all to my cup of Earl Grey, but this one even tastes good with a little bit of milk and sugar or agave, if I am feeling particularly fancy that day. 5/5!
Trader Joe’s earl grey in my “R” mug. This one is really good too! I am running out of ways to describe Earl Grey tea! I was warned that this would happen! In all seriousness, one thing that I would say here is that I found the bergamot taste to be less strong in this tea than it was in the Equal Exchange blend, so if you’re into a more subtle Earl Grey taste then this might be the tea for you. 5/5!!!!!!
Anyway, that's a wrap for round one. That sure was fun. Please do not take these tea reviews at face value. What do I really know after all? I’m just some rando with a blog.