Rush Of Memories

I was bored out of my mind for most of 1981.

It was Grade 11 and I had some good friends, but high school was pretty much a loss for me. French class was good, but, basically, I got through high school thanks to an underground newspaper I was part of. It was a beta version of with some liberation theology and Solidarnosc theory thrown in. It got our editor-in-chief thrown out.

And Rush.

Rush got me through.

My buddy Bruce, whose passion for I forget her name was matched only by his devotion to Neil Peart, installed me in the mysteries of the Willowdale power trio. We were the only Rush fans I knew of. Kind of a secret society. In his basement (he lived down the lane from us in Delwood, which was then a frontier neighbourhood in northeast Edmonton) we listened to this band that sounded like nothing else. Duran Duran was singing to Rio with rhymes you could predict (sand, land, can, Rio Grande), while Rush was asking me to consider the men who hold high places and the ontological status of change, free will, seeming and being—and a Red Barchetta.

They were from Canada, even though in those days Toronto (YYZ) and Lakeside Park were as exotic as Alex Lifeson's guitar language. Geddy Lee's voice was a jet. Peart brought a syncopated message from a realm we didn't know existed.

We recognized the analog kid.
You move me
You move me
With your buildings and your eyes
Autumn woods and winter skies
You move me
You move me
Open sea and city lights
Busy streets and dizzy heights
One of my treasured, ephemeral-yet-enduring memories of being in Canada was driving with a friend up from Montreal to Lac Nominingue. We passed Morin Heights. I somehow knew enough to know that in those stands of maple, birch and beech was Le Studio and that's where so much Rush music was recorded and sent out in a beam of limelight to they couldn't know who.

I don't know why Rush is back in my head and heart these days. They're more of a pop culture phenomenon, for sure. They are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I think often about those Delwood days and the sources of resistance we summoned while adult life presented itself so unspectacularly.

But they still speak to me. What I have learned since about the complexity and the simplicity on the other side of the complexity of life I still hear in their music.

And before I had ever glimpsed Greece in my university years, they gave me:

Changes aren't permanent
But change is.

I saw them live once, with my buddy Murray, at the Coliseum. They had rotisserie chickens in big cookers at the front of the stage.

Thanks, Brucey. Thanks, Murr. Thanks, Rush.


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