Open Mic with Adrienne Pierce

"This Strange Place" Indeed


I am having a hard time typing this. Fingers with minds of their own. And after only three Guinness.

Tonight I went to the Green Room. It’s a club around the corner where my friend Adrienne Pierce hosts an open mike on Mondays. The sessions are an entertaining mix of established rockers, nervous-but-talented neophytes, and eclectic artists whose performances make you look about anxiously for a gong.

Adrienne is a tiny, quick-witted nymph who is gifted with song. She has an incredible ease with people, and I watch her work the room, greeting friends, strangers, and talentless open mike regulars with equal grace and humour. She could be an Ambassador. Or a bawdy house madame. But she is positioned perfectly in the middle: an up-and-coming Canadian music star.

Chris, the bartender, reminds me that my glass is getting empty. He is one of those great bartenders who knows when to get in your face, when to smile knowingly, and when to leave you the hell alone. Another pint, Chris. Thanks.

A blonde girl arrives and orders a glass of red wine. Her hair is held up and back in a clip. She takes off her puffy black insulated jacket, and lovely full breasts lean out against her blue sweater. She is writing something down in a notebook. This makes me happy, and I like her immediately. She could be writing, The best place from which to expel the anthrax would be from under the booth to the left of the stage. I still like her. I watch two guys approach and get shot down in conversation. I respect their efforts.

Local yokel Janet Panic arrives, with two men in tow. To the left is a Ross Geller look-a-like who talks during her set. Probably her boyfriend. To the right is a man who stole Freddy Mercury’s mustache; his hair looks like a dark brown electrical storm. Janet has no waist, but her legs and hips and ass and stomach have enough lovely thick curve that I can’t help but watch the space between her halter top and low-rider jeans. Janet plays her signature tune, “Lousy Wife,” and after a few words with Adrienne, leaves with Freddy Mercury Frazzle Man. Ross stays behind and chats with Adrienne; damn, I got them backwards.

I write a short note for Blonde Girl. It asks her to come read this. This journal entry. She will see here what I am thinking about tonight, about her, about the musicians. I will give it to her, folded, and say, “Goodnight.” Then I will leave the bar. She will be left sitting there, red wine frozen halfway to her lips. That would be perfect, wouldn’t it? It’s irresistable, isn’t it? But Blonde Girl is putting on her puffy coat and smiling kindly at the men around her. She shoulders her purse and humps it out of there.

I laugh to myself, at myself.

Adrienne returns to the bar and reminds me about the piece I wrote that she wants to turn into a song. I am still unbelieving, but we plan to have lunch to talk about writing it together. I suggest a title to her untitled song, and she loves it. She is so kind that I suspect she is humouring me. Her video release party is coming up next month. She still hasn’t seen it herself.

I want to ask her if she worries sometimes. If she doubts herself. Her dreams. Her talent.

But I have seen her. Heard her. And I want to tell her: Don’t.

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