I was thinking recently about the dawning of the internet and also my early days as a writer, which led me to the memory of a BBS I sort of belonged to called The Powder Keg. It was a pretty small group of Toronto-based writers that somehow I got hooked into. I think at the time I was one of the youngest and least experienced writers on the BBS. But seeing as how I thought of myself as perhaps a writer, the confidence of youth propelled me onward.
Wikipedia mentions some interesting facts in its description of the BBS: “The BBS was also a local phenomenon, as one had to dial into a BBS with a phone line and would have to pay additional long distance charges for a BBS out of the local area, as opposed to less expensive local charges. Thus, many users of a given BBS usually lived in the same area, and activities such as BBS Meets or Get Togethers (GTs or GTGs), where everyone from the board would gather and meet face to face, were common.” Seeing the letters “GTG” makes me remember the occasional Powder Keg poetry night held at a local restaurant called Cafe May (now defunct) on Roncesvalles. I never went: I was too young, too shy, and besides, the aged cedar facade of Cafe May, and cavern-like lighting made it intimidating from the outside. The Powder Keg members/writers would do readings, peddle chapbooks, discuss each other’s work. I think the ringleader (SysOp) was named Ian, but it’s so long ago I can’t remember. He also might have had a beard and wore Birkenstocks with socks, and I probably had a foolish teenage crush on him. But remember, it was the early 90’s.
A few years ago, in the midst of some Dears media broo-ha-ha, The Powder Keg – which had before this moment had faded almost completely in my memory – made its reappearance. I received an email from a fellow Kegger,
James McNally. I recall we’d connected beyond just the BBS, we’d met at a vernissage or something poetry-related, and I think he was my only real BBS friend. Completely by accident he stumbled onto The Dears, then noticed my name in the credits. You can read the whole story on his blog. He reminded me of some 4-track demos I had made, and basically how I was so explosively creative in those days. That was before I grew up, which I hope to explain here on my blog over the next few…years?
Anyway, the topic of the past few weeks seems to be “Blasts From The Past.” I had another one explode in my face at Neptune’s 2nd birthday party this weekend, which I will save delightlfully for later…it’s related to my zine years. Yeah, that’s right. I had a zine, but that is another tangent to take on the story of my life.