David’s Daily Digital Dollop: Dollop 202 – Car Before The Storm

Download the audio version of today’s Dollop here

After leaving the hot tub in Kelowna (well, it was too big to take with us) we got in the hire car and began the first leg of our five hour journey, which was to stop off at Wentworth music shop, wherein worked a man we were rather excited about meeting. The man is called Don, and he is the drummer in a band called The Young’uns – Canada’s The Young’uns.

As mentioned in yesterday’s hot tub based Dollop, people have frequently got our two groups mixed up. The Young’uns from Canada are a covers band that primarily play weddings, so I think it’s fair to say, without sounding arrogant, that our reach and audience is quite bigger than there’s, given that we’ve been played on national radio and have won one of the biggest awards in our genre. OK, that probably did sound a bit arrogant, but you know what I mean. Basically, what I’m getting at is that The Young’uns from Canada seem to spend most of their Twitter activity telling people, who’ve attempted to tweet us, that they’ve got the wrong Young’uns.

We weren’t sure if they loathed our existence. After all, they’ve been going a lot longer than us, since 1989 in fact, which suggests that the daily Hive website, who reported that we’d been going since 1989, had just done some very lack-lustre Internet research and conflated the two bands. And then we turn up, a band with the same name. At first it presumably wasn’t a problem. We were way down the Google search pages. But then, as we got more popular, our Google search ranking increased, and eventually we were top, and then more and more articles and websites were mentioning our band, propelling the Canadian Young’uns further down the search results table. Then the Youtube videos came, then we signed up to Twitter, and now the Canadian Young’uns have to spend all their time on Twitter talking to our fans, because they’ve tweeted the wrong band.

UP until a few days ago, the only contact we’d had with the Canadian Young’uns was them tagging us in hundreds of tweets in order to direct someone to the correct Young’uns. But then we discovered that we were in the town that one of The Young’uns works in, and so we began to arrange a meeting. And today we fina lly met a member of the Young’uns from Canada,. The result of that meeting will be featured on a Young’uns Podcast at some point soon – yes, I’ll definitely get around to releasing one in August, I promise.

After our meeting with Don, we began our drive to our next port of call, an industrial town named Trail, where we were playing a free council-run outdoor gig that night. About two hours from Trail we saw a couple of hitch hiker’s. The last time we saw a hitch hiker was when we were driving through Australia (see this Dollop). We travel around Britain all the time, but I don’t think we’ve ever really seen a hitch hiker, yet whenever we’re in another continent we seem to see them. Given that we’ve been at the mercy of drivers ourselves, having stood at roadsides for hours, desperate for vehicular liberation (see this Dollop for a story about Sean and I hitch hiking in 2005) we are very sympathetic to the plight of the hitch hiker. And so we pulled over and asked them where they were going.

It transpired that they were trying to head in the same direction as us, and their intended destination was not far from our destination. We didn’t really have room for them, at least not in a conventional sense of the notion of “room,” but by piling bags and cases high on top of us, and with Michael’s reassurance that he could still just about see where he was going despite the magnitude of bags obscuring the view, we drove off, with our two new hitch hiker friends in the back..

Our two new friends thanked us profusely, as it was evident that we’d just rescued them from a terrible fate. There were large looming clouds ahead. A storm was coming, and the place they’d previously been standing, at the side of the road, with nothing else around for a couple of miles, would have offered them no protection against it. And Canadian storms are not something you want to be standing in the middle of.

We drove through a Canadian storm a couple of days ago, and it’s a harrowing experience. These storms are nothing akin to anything we’ve experienced in England. They are on a much larger scale. The fog is crazily intense and the rain beats down with a ferocity and volume that sounds like cascading rocks.

This storm wasn’t quite as big as the first one we experienced in Canada a couple of days ago. That was a memorable storm. The car was shaking violently and the visibility was practically non-existent. We had a hurried discussion in which we weighed up our choices. If we continued driving, then it was likely that we wouldn’t survive. The three of us decided that we weren’t particularly keen on the idea of dying. After all, we had so much to live for: Michael and Sean have long-term partners, and I have a daily blog to maintain. Our lives were clearly too important to others to risk a reckless trip through the wildest storm of our lives, so we did the sensible thing and pulled over.

Even with the car now stationary, it still aggressively shook with the wind, and the fog meant that we had no idea where we’d pulled over, except that it was off the road, which was the important thing. And so we sat there, while the wind swirled and whistled, the rain pelted, the lightning flashed and the thunder roared, and the fog utterly shrouded us. Eventually, the storm subsided, with an alarming quickness: ten seconds earlier the car was shaking and the rain/rocks were pelting, and then, the fog lifted, the rain stopped and the fog lifted to reveal gloriously bright sun. The lifting of the fog also revealed where we’d stopped and pulled over, and it wasn’t as sensible a choice as we thought. Directly above our car was a massive tree, now gently creaking and swaying in the breeze, although it presumably hadn’t been swaying and creaking so gently mere seconds before. We did hear a lot of unnerving creaking during the storm, but we just assumed it was the car. That tree could have easily fallen and Emily and Hannah would loose their partners, and even more tragically, a few hundred people online would be left eternally Dollopless. Fortunately, such unthinkable disaster was avoided, and we continued our journey.

But now, here we were, a couple of days later, in a car with two complete strangers who we’d just met seconds earlier, and who were giving us cause to once again fear for our lives. But I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.

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