Yes, when I was twelve I had an obsession with Bop magazine, and Tiger Beat, and just about any publication featuring Leonardo DiCaprio (hmmm story number two with a mention of him - no, sadly for him, I am not offering him royalties for the use of his name). In fact, I still have a couple mangled copies laying around my house, dated 1992. Those were the days of non-glossy, newsprint pictures and articles about random lucky girls who had won a contest, landing them on a date with Corey Haim, and onto the pages of Bop. I massacred these mags, cutting out every tiny square picture of my crush-du-jour and pasting them up on my closet door. Don't even get me started on the high gloss treats: the pull out, pin-up posters.
But NKOTB is another story. The Big Bop which I'm referring to now is of course, the purple monstrosity situated at the corner of Queen and Bathurst. This is a place I tended to keep my distance from, not being underage, or into hardcore music, but I must admit, I'm a little sad to see it's doors closed. This club was a monument to that corner, one of those places that has been in our minds eye as far back as we can remember. No more than a few months ago, I was standing on that corner, waiting (forever) for the damned Queen street car, and feeling very thankful that the clientèle of the Big Bop was there to provide me with some entertainment.
Though I wasn't a frequent reveler at this club, it somehow snuck it's way into my life more times than I can recall. From my first months in the big city, to my last months of raucous youth, this dirty purple beacon was there by my side.
Holy Joes. The tiny second floor hovel with a checkered floor and painted over windows. When I was twenty-one, I braved my jealousy, and ventured there to see a performance by my ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend, follow? That girl who was everything I wished I could be, a beautiful nomadic artist, with a band, and a hold on men's hearts. The girl I uncontrollably compared myself to through our entire relationship. I was so proud of myself as I put on my best non-jealous face and fought through it with the rest of her adoring fans, pretending to revel in how talented she was...but I think you know how I really felt.
The Reverb. The second floor (also a hovel) where I attended one of my first raves. Back in the day when the mere idea of staying up until sunrise in a dark club, listening to electronic music made me feel ill. I was far too ladylike for that kind of evening. However, there I was, high on ecstasy, for the second or third time, at the Reverb, surrounded by sweaty bodies and dilated pupils. I can't remember just how long I lasted that night, but hanging out on dirty old couches in the 'chill out' room, and avoiding the even worse toilets, I probably called it a night at the early hour of 4am, and took my pigtails and coloured bracelets home.
The Kathedral. The main floor (again, hovel...are you surprised?) This was home to many live band performances, most of the bands belonging to friends of mine. I recall weeknights, drinking beers in those most uncomfortable wooden chairs, surrounded by my best pals, especially A. Weeknights when weeknights weren't technically weeknights because I wasn't working anyway. Every night was a free for all, enjoying the hard, loud sounds of A's boyfriend's band. How romantic, we'd all say, as he screamed inaudible love notes into the mic for her, but that was their music. I remember spending Sunday afternoons here with my old roommate, but I was more a liability to him as he divided his time between rocking out, and saving me from being pummeled to the ground by floor punching, straight edge, hardcore kids. As much as he tried (and this memory lives on as one of the sweetest gestures really) I got my fill of bumps and bruises, and being thrown back crashing into the odd table or two.
So Big Bop: thank you for the memories. Memories I'm sure many of us in this city share with you. Though I won't miss pushing my way through your pink haired punks on an afternoon stroll, I admit I'll miss the entertainment they gave a prudish girl waiting for the streetcar, and the memories always awakened by glaring sunshine on dirty, purple walls.