ROCK N’ ROLL REFLECTIONS By: Mark Brathwaite
My daughter’s name is Hailey. She is curvaceous yet fit, like her mom. I try to talk to her about the past...she doesn’t care! She’d rather listen to Eminem. He’s a pretty good lyricist, but I am out of touch with anything in hip-hop post 2010. Everything in the rap genre I owe to my daughter. I just can’t get into it that much, I think I’m too old. I’m just happy to not be a total embarrassment when her girlfriends are around.
My parents immigrated from Britain to Canada in 1951. They are nurses, and jobs in healthcare post World War II weren’t so easy to come by, so a fresh start was needed.
I know I’m luckier than most. I have a beautiful, 28 year-old daughter and a wife named Shelly I love very much. Sometimes I just call her Shell. To most I’m just a dinosaur. An old bird. But my family means the world to me and me to them. For us, gradually paying down to own this condo is enough. We’re in the West End of Toronto in an area called
“Liberty Village”. Over here, something is always happening.
It’s a great area. It’s June now and we hit the farmer’s market quite often. At the age of 68 there’s not much I want now. I’ve seen so many changes. The strum of John Lennon’s guitar in Liverpool filled me with enough energy to see this journey through.
I’m near retirement now and I will be done with working in 2022, two years from now. My daughter works as an accountant for H&R Block and my wife is a writer like myself. She works for the The Toronto Pub also and we met in 1975 at Maple Leaf Gardens on June 18.
The Stones were playing.
We locked eyes while Mick Jagger ironically sang the tune:
“I can’t get no satisfaction!”
Keith Richards let the guitar ring out with expert flair, while Charlie Watts pounded the drums. Ronnie Wood and Mick strutted like some damn turkeys all over the stage. We loved it. Shell and I were part of the presscore at the front of house and luckily we wore high-grade earplugs. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to communicate with anybody now.
After some flirting back and forth between us I mustered the courage to shout “can we keep in touch?” over the noise. She grabbed my pen and notepad, giving me her information with an incredulous look on her face. I think she didn’t know why she agreed to give me a chance at that moment. Quite honestly, neither did I because she is to this day way more attractive than I am.
I guess I have a certain charm. When you’re crazy enough to walk up to a gorgeous brunette colleague wearing a sexy black retro dress while you are wearing a light blue button up with glasses and ripped denim jeans, that takes some balls. While my wife and daughter are at work, I chose to write this. I never did launch my dream career as a fiction author but I count my blessings: I’m a paid, published writer and my family is doing well. To me, that's all that matters. Let this writing live as a record of my life and my happiness, even after I am gone.
Rock n’ Roll will live forever, and our spirits thrive along with it. I’m reminded of that every time I play Led Zeppelin IV in our condo.