And when I’m not touring the world with Iron Maiden, or working on solo material, or flying commercial planes around Europe, or producing television programs for the BBC or fencing, I like to relax and pretend I’m someone else. The past five months of stories on this blog have been a playful effort towards creating a labyrinth of different fictions, falsehoods and identities. The challenge for you the reader is to glean the truth. That I’m Bruce Dickinson can be easy proved by looking into the parallels between the lyrics of Iron Maiden songs and the themes explored in the short-short stories on this blog.

  Here’s today’s story from the point of view of an audience member at an Iron Maiden concert in Vancouver.

 


 

making one little something an everywhere

 

   As we walk through the muddy heavy-metal parking lot my entire body is buzzing with the thrill of seeing Iron Maiden once again. “Grad 88,” one woman screams from the back of a pick up truck. I help Paul finish his tall can of beer on the final stretch down Renfrew and suddenly we’re inside the Pacific Coliseum where I’m amazed at the flora and fauna of hair drooping from head-bangers young and old. Twenty-three years ago, when Paul and I saw Maiden for the first time the Coliseum was packed to the rafters with teenagers in leather jackets. Now we make the steep hike to our seats in section 25, aisle 20, passing out of shape geezers older than us. The concert begins with the sold-out Coliseum shrieking as one beast to the start of Aces High and things are pretty cool but throughout the show Bruce Dickinson says Vancouver too many times. He puts the word everywhere. He’s like a pilot flying around and around a city, announcing the obvious. But the view still seems spectacular, expansive even. During Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner I want to tell Paul something interesting about Coleridge, the poet who wrote the original lyrics to this song 200 years ago. “Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink,” I catch in the screams near the end and I realize the song is over and I didn’t really hear any of the poetry under the crunch of the guitars. I let out a full bodied scream anyway.

    I try to remember Paul’s dad picking us up on that snowy night in ’85 and the slow drive back to Surrey but this time around I say good-bye to Paul and walk home alone along Pandora Street. I imagine myself as a 14-year-old walking the streets of East Vancouver after the show, trying to find Paul and his dad. How familiar would the houses have looked?  I try to imagine the present through the past, searching for insight into change but suddenly I’m home. Lisa is in front of the computer recording something with her guitar.  It’s past eleven and I have to get up at five-thirty but my ears are ringing and my body’s still buzzing. “I just started working on a song for our wedding favors,” Lisa says. It takes a second for this to register any meaning, “wedding favors”. Lisa walks into the living room and sits down on the couch with her guitar in her lap and I stretch out on the rug with my head sinking into a large blue throw pillow. A big glass of water rests on my chest.  I look at the wall and think about having to wake up and go to work in a routine that’s now into its second decade. Briefly, the routine feels as small as our living room but then Lisa plays some chords that she’s strung together. “I don’t want to sing yet,” she says but lyrics from the back of my mind are supplied for the moment: “And makes one little room an everywhere.” This line from a poem by John Donne surprises me and I want to tell Lisa that it’s for her but she’s playing and I close my eyes and listen to the chords of her nascent song. My desire for insight into memory and change is fulfilled with gentle waves of bliss.

   With her guitar strumming talent, with her puddle-sized blue eyes, with her house proud nature, with her supernatural love of horses, with her neurotic quirks, with her ardent devotion to family and friends, with her bird-song voice, with her concern for delicate details, with her snoopy nature that wants to unearth all the secrets of a stranger’s heart, with her laughter that giggles up in joy, with her gestures that articulate a deeply felt vision, with her love that I feel to my core, with her buried Irish brogue, with her turns from gentle to fierce.

   She makes one little memory an everywhere.

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