Coniption fit

In the summer of 1992 (I think…it might’ve been 1991) my friend Adam and I attended a rock music camp in Halifax. It was called Summer Rock, and lasted two weeks. I think they made it into a CBC TV show a few years ago. Anyway, we crashed on the floor of my oldest brother, TimmyD, who was attending TUNS (now called DalTech) at the time. The rock camp itself was…meh. The most interesting thing about it was that another bunch of teenagers calling themselves Thrush Hermit were there. It was weird to see them get a record deal long after I’d sold my drums for tuition money.

Two great things happened on that trip though:

First, it felt like the first time my oldest brother and I really hung out. He’s 6 years older than I, and when you’re a teenager your little kid brother isn’t who you hang out with. But I guess that summer when I was 16 or 17 I was a little less annoying or a little more interesting to be around, and we just hung out one weekend when Adam was away…we went to see Terminator 2 at the Park Lane theatre, went to his old computer lab at St. Mary’s and played computer games against each other from across the room (which was pretty killer technology at the time)…it all seemed pretty cool to a deeply uncool kid.

Second, Adam had his acoustic guitar at my brother’s place (I couldn’t carry my drums around with me, obviously, so I left them at the school where the camp was held). One night, for some reason, Tim decided to write some lyrics and pulled out a harmonica, and an impromptu jam session broke out in the tiny apartment on Tobin Street. At the time I used to carry around a little hand-held tape recorder, which Adam and I were constantly recording stuff on, and I left it running for most of the night. I couldn’t do much but throw in the occasional leg-slapping beat if the song called for it, but Tim & Adam turned out some truly…remarkable stuff. And by remarkable, I mean batshit insane. One song was described as “freestyle open-verse nebulous note lyrical associative disenchanted lyricism”, another was a country stomp, and there was even an attempt at Bee-Gees style disco. I caught everything on tape, and labeled the tape “Coniption Fit”. Yes, I know now that I misspelled “conniption”.

Adam and I went back to work on my Dad’s farm that summer after the camp, bringing the tape back with us, and listening to it almost daily as we descended into fits of laughter. That was our last summer working together, I think, and we soon graduated from high school and went our separate. From then on, as a matter of course, after each year or before each big move, I would throw out anything that I didn’t use or care about, but I always kept that tape. I kept it through four years at Dalhousie, then brought it to Toronto, to three different apartments, even after I no longer had anything that could play tapes, always meaning to convert it to CD (or, more recently, MP3). I never got around to it.

Then, last month, when my other brother was visiting, he mentioned that he could do it for me. I handed over the tape, and not long after he sent the converted wav file. I listened to it a few days ago, for the first time in years, and felt 16 again. Not that I enjoyed being 16; I disliked it intensely. But the memory of those two weeks is one of my happiest.

So thanks, Tim & Adam, for making something so hilarious with me in the room. Thanks, Andrew, for rescuing it for me. Here’s to friends and brothers, and better yet, the combination of the two.

[tags]brothers, friends, summer rock, halifax, dalhousie, coniption fit[/tags]

0 responses to “Coniption fit

  1. I had completely forgotten playing Net Trek with you guys at SMU: that’s wacky.

    I agree, though: that was the first time you become something other than the weenie little brother you wanted nothing to do with. It remains a cool memory for me too.

    But those recordings: they are something else. Thanks. SWMNBN now realises that this isn’t just a phase I’m going through.

  2. Although I did not listen to it all in detail I personally thought some of the most hilarious stuff was the recording of Aubrey and Doug talking out on the dock at the Blueberry house.

  3. Yeah, that was kind of funny. There are noises in that clip that you could only identify if you worked in the blueberry house, like the screeching sound of plastic wrap being wound around a pallet of berries. Or Aubrey.

    Tim, I apologize if that revelation sends SWMNBN running for the door now that she realizes there’s no hope for you.

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