Tuesday, 28 August 2012

"Bring the Noise" & "Enter Sandman": The Best Song Ever

The summer of 1991 (so, so long ago) was my first spent in Whistler.  I had a couple of jobs, like everyone else, trying to buy food and pay rent and my bar tab, and if I played my cards right, save enough to eventually afford a bike.  My supervisor at one job used to say that people in Whistler were downwardly mobile.  I had to agree, since in high school I couldn't wait to save enough from my jobs to buy a motorcycle and a car.  I now aspired to bike-dom.

So one of my service industry jobs was as a breakfast waiter at a major chain hotel.  It was a great job in that it paid tips, and the crew was fantastic.  We were besties, and couldn't wait for the shift to end, usually before noon, so we could hit the beaches.  Problem was, every morning, two suckers had the 'early shift', for which you had to show up at 0500 hr and start setting up the breakfast buffet area in the hotel lounge.  That meant dragging up tables from the basement boiler room, draping them, setting up chafing dishes, moving chairs and other tables out of the way, and then doing the nitty gritty, like setting up cereal and juice stations, etc.

Anyway, you may not know this but 0500 hr is really early.  It's like, only five hours after midnight.  It's 5 in the AM in Imperial measurements.  Heck, bar close happened at 0200 hr, you were lucky if you were home in bed by 0300 hr, and if you were really lucky you never actually made it home.  So you'd show up to work, you didn't shank it, but you weren't exactly rainbows and sunshine just yet.  The hotel lobby was deserted, the night auditors would nod at you as you shambled by and return to their vampirish duties, and you had the run of the place.  The lounge stereo was locked up, we couldn't access it, but the TV's were ours to use as we pleased, and the sound was fed through the stereo speakers.  We'd tune in MuchMusic and play it pretty loud.  Even though the lounge was open to the Lobby, we quickly learned to not care, and wait for a complaint before we turned it down.  The fact that it was way too early for guests to be up helped, and also that our audit staff were young and blasé.  We never got a complaint. We got bolder.

Now, I know I'm remembering this exactly 100% correctly, but every time that I was on the early shift, around 0515 or so, either Metallica's "Enter Sandman" or Public Enemy, ably assisted by Anthrax, belting out "Bring the Noise" would come on.  Invariably.  Without fail.  I'd swear to it in court.  It was like Erica Ehm had a sweet spot for me and knew I needed a pick me up.

So one of us would grab the remote and crank the volume from really loud to speaker-cone destroying levels.  Okay, that was usually me.  The floor would vibrate from the bass.  Very infrequently, a guest would walk by, agog at the sound, surely a portend that the world was coming to an end.  Then he'd see me polishing up the Frosted Flakes bin to ensure there were no smudges, I give him a big wink and a winning smile, and he'd walk away, shaking his head, fingers jammed in his ears.  Again, never a complaint.

If the walk or (eventually) bike ride in hadn't fully woken you up, Public Enemy and Anthrax and/or Metallica would finish the job for you.  These guys were our brothers in arms, getting us through a ridiculous sequence of chores for our pittance, they carried us sometimes, and I have nothing but great memories and appreciation for what is surely the Best Song Ever.

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