Dec 14, 2007

Chapter 4

Gabriel Dumont

First Responders Scramble

Blues Alert! Blues Alert! This is not a drill!

The Blues Police scramble to their blue choppers, the true men in blue, the thin blue line. They take off in a swirl of dust, barely over the tree-tops, picking up speed, swooping up and down the hillsides, below the radar, with Howlin’ Wolf on their earphones, until they arrive at the scene of the crisis - and yes, hard to believe but true. There is a party going on around the pool – a diplomat’s residence - and they are playing the Downchild Blues Band at LOW volume. And they are chattering and eating delicate hors d’eouvre and using the Blues as BACKGROUND MUZAC.

You realize, of course, this means war.

But the tension subsides when the host agrees to turn it up LOUD and the Blues Police let him off with a warning: “The volume control on your speakers goes from 1 to 10. Crank it up to 11.”

If you can’t feel the floor vibrating, it is not LOUD enough. If you can’t feel the base line thumping on your chest, it is not LOUD enough. The Blues is not the background soundtrack for the chatter of words in your head. The Blues is designed to stop the chatter of words in your head. To bring you back to the priorities of the heart. To make you dance almost against your will. And so it has to be played LOUD.

Darcey Jerrom? Never met the man. Shaman. Medicine Man.

I said at the beginning of Chapter 1 that I got Parkinson’s and a friend bombarded me with the Blues and that is how this all started.

The friend is Darcey Jerrom.

I have never met him. He lives thousands of miles away. I never asked him for anything.

He bombards me with the Blues. On the internet, or delivered by messenger to my door, with cryptic statements. Relentlessly, for two years. He has sent me about 150 hours of Blues, carefully selected from the 16,000 songs in his collection. If I listen for an hour a day, it would take me five months to listen to the 150 hours he has sent me. But some tracks, I listen to over and over, so it takes more than an hour a day. And I make my own compilations of what I got from Darcey and send them out to other people with Parkinson’s. It’s like one of those chain letters, except that there is no explanation of what happens to you if you break the chain by not playing the Blues. This website will provide that explanation. If blue helicopters land in your backyard, don’t blame me. You had it coming.

I stumbled across Darcey and his website, DustMyBroom, by what some call accident, some call serendipity. I was looking for one thing and found something completely different. Something that is much better than what I was looking for, but that I never would have thought to look for. When that happens to you, pay attention. Someone has opened a new door for you. Accept the universe, right then and there.

Irish tradition

When the doctor told me it is an incurable downward spiral, my Irish heritage, pride, and culture required that I get really drunk and then feel sorry for myself.

Is this my last poutine? What if I die this winter and the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup in the spring and I won’t be there for the looting of St. Catherine Street? What if they discover the cure for Parkinson’s the day after I die, and I become a footnote in medical texts, as the last person in history to die of the disease, and at my funeral the businessmen joke about how “he always said timing is everything -- hahahaha”.

And then I got nostalgic for places and people I had not see in many years, and thought about the northern Indian Rez where Ursula and I lived 30 years ago, and then the Killiniq Inuit we got involved with, and I predicted a quarter of a century ago that there would arise a new generation of native leaders who would be independent, conservative and entrepreneurial. So to see if I was right, I googled around with search terms such as “redneck Injuns” and “conservative socio-political trends among Canadian First Nation aboriginals”

And Google sent me to – one of the top five conservative blogs in Canada. Full of redneck Injuns.

Lone Ranger: We are surrounded by Indians.

Tonto: What you mean “we”?

I was too drunk to make much sense of it at the time. In one of the comments sections, some professor in Vancouver was attacking someone named Darcey for not knowing anything about the native people, that if he knew the First Nations he would not talk like a neo-con white supremacist.

Because this Darcey person did not support the apartheid socialist reservation system, and proposed conservative solutions, therefore he must be against the Indians, because liberals are the only humanitarians, or something.

But Darcey, accused of being an ignorant white man who knows nothing about the native people, was not around to defend himself. He had gone to a Blackfoot reservation for one of their traditional celebrations. When he did reply, it was something like this: kipaha kituunn pooneu uta, which apparently means something like “Shut up” in Michif.

Oh, you have never heard of Michif? Well they don’t teach it in universities. It used to be widely spoken on the western plains of what became Canada and the United States. Today there are only about 950 people in the world who speak Michif. Now that the buffalo are gone.

It identifies the speaker as Metis, and so you can expect to see him with the Plains Cree, the Nakota, the Objibwe, the Blackfoot, and the Black Chicago Blues and the Black Delta Blues. Wait a minute, the last two are not Indian tribes!

But you turn on a local Rez radio station, and the song they are playing is Eddie Clearwater singing “Reservation Blues” ("reservation or plantation, you paid your dues.") Where else in the world would you see a poster of Gabriel Dumont beside a poster of Robert Johnson?

Robert Johnson

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