Saturday, October 22, 2005
I was discussing with two friends yesterday whether or not the new and controversial dress code policy in the NBA discriminates against black players since it bans the wearing of large pieces of jewelry on the outside of your clothes as well as sweat clothes, hats and doo rags -- all of which are predominantly worn by black players. I don't think that it's a blatantly racist policy, but I think it's discriminatory in that the NBA seems to want to try to sell the sport to upper middle class white people who can afford to buy tickets, luxury boxes and merchandise, but who may be put off by the bling and would feel much more comfortable seeing players dressed in suits when they're not on the court.
We went to the Raptors game and I found something else that I thought was discriminatory. In the section that we were sitting in, you can order food and drinks and have them brought to your seat. I looked at the menu and saw that the largest beers -- 28 ounces -- aren't made available during NBA games. Why is it that you can order a beer that size for a hockey game or a concert, but not a basketball game? Is there concern from the ACC that basketball fans could potentially cause more problems than other patrons? But Jeff Ross told me that he was once at the old Boston Gardens to see a Celtics game in the afternoon and a Bruins game at night, and he said that a person could buy two beers at the basketball game and one beer at the hockey game. I guess the moral of this story is that basketball fans are perceived to be rowdier than hockey fans in Toronto, while it's the other way around in Boston.
The Raptors Mini Dance Pack came on to the court at the end of the first quarter. Aside from the girls' parents, who else in the crowd wanted to see pre-school dancers instead of the hot cheerleaders (sorry, Dance Pack -- these young bleached blonde ladies don't like to be called cheerleaders anymore).
Alvin Williams entered the game to much applause in the second quarter and I had to take a photo of him, just in case his knees (which have had multiple surgeries performed on them) fall off and he never steps on the court again.
The Raptors won the exhibition game and I was impressed by the play of Morris Peterson and rookies Jose Calderon and Charlie Villanueva. Rookie Joey Graham looked pretty good, too, but he's got to learn to pass the ball and use his teammates. We were sitting right above the tunnel that the players use to go to the dressing room, and talent-challenged centre Rafael Arraujo tried throwing his wrist bands up to some fans as he walked by. He missed, of course.
After that we went to C'est What, where I enjoyed a bison burger, several pints of the yummy house-brewed coffee porter, a few games of pool and the main reason why about 10 of us met at the club: to see Heather Morgan and the Company of Men. Heather's voice sounded great on her rootsy, folky, country murder ballads and other traditionally inspired tunes, and her new guitar player was excellent. Some of us wanted to hear more after Heather finished, but she ended on a high note and then we hightailed it to the Horseshoe to see Dave Wakeling's Beat.
I first saw The English Beat when I was in high school and drove with a friend from Stratford to London's Alumni Hall to see the band. There was an opening act that I'd never heard of because it's debut EP had only just come out, but I quite liked it. The band was called R.E.M.
I've subsequently seen the different incarnations of Wakeling's version of the Beat half-a-dozen times in the last few years, and I've always had a great time. I went to the show Thursday night and we were surprised to find out that, while there was an audible bass line running through the songs, there wasn't a bass player on stage. When I returned last night, I went to the stage and was happy to see a real live bassist standing in the back right corner. I took a photo of him and Wakeling to prove to Jordan that there was a bass player the second night. My friends and I were skanking at the back of the sold-out club, enjoying a set of both Beat and General Public favourites, including Rough Rider, Twist and Crawl, Stand Down Margaret, Best Friend, Tears Of A Clown, Doors Of Your Heart, Mirror In The Bathroom, I'll Take You There, Can't Get Used To Losing You, I Confess, Tenderness, Click Click and Save It For Later. Near the end of the show I moved to the side of the stage, where there was a really drunk, confused and somewhat slovenly character. I took his photo and he seemed a bit annoyed. I took another one a few minutes later and he was very friendly and shook my hand. He thought that I was Dave Wakeling.
I was hanging out in the dressing room after the show, and someone who looked suspiciously like the Unabomber (by wearing a big, deep hood and big dark sunglasses) came in to talk to Dave and some woman who looked familiar, although I couldn't place her. Luckily, no explosives went off. Leslie gave me the band's set list, along with The Proclaimers set list she had promised me from the group's fine show at Lee's Palace last month. Thanks, sweetie.
I got home around 3 a.m. and stayed up for another 90 minutes dealing with e-mails to help me wind down from an excellent evening.
Happy birthday JC.
np Leafs vs. Flyers