Ah, Hamilton, Ontario. A town full of rusted Pontiac Firebirds, unpleasant odors, and, on the evening of June 25th, sixteen thousand angry white men with combat boots and inappropriate leg tattoos. And why was I there, you might ask? To a certain extent it was to attend the sole Canadian stop for one of the larger Testosterone Tours of the summer, but mainly it was to remind myself that no matter how odd I look as I troop through the halls of higher learning dressed in biker hand-me-downs, there are at least 16 000 people in the greater Hamilton area who look exactly like me, except bigger and with more visible knife-wounds. Granted, some readers might find it objectionable that I am forced to identify with people who find drinking Colt .45 mixed with Jim Beam in a parking lot an acceptable way to spend an afternoon, but you take what you can get. Quite frankly, I'd rather spend a day with them watching WWF Smackdown while high on second-hand gas fumes than spend five minutes listening to one more bitchy little philosophy student tell me how taking bong-hits and playing hackysack somehow makes the world a better place. Or so I thought at the time…
Anyway, the reason I braved a 6 hour drive in inhospitably sunny conditions was to see the Extreme Steel tour, which is the kind of traveling rock show that date-rapes and gangbangs the Lilith Fair before passing out and throwing up Labatt 50 all over the place. Featured on the line-up were prog-rockers Skrape, funk outfit Static-X, folk-rock pioneers Morbid Angel, headliners and R&B giants Pantera, and, of course, original Woodstock main-act Slayer, which was the reason I plunked down fifty dollars of my hard-earned money for the show. The day's festivities began with a whimper, not a bang, as myself, occasional PULP contributor Bodom, Conan The Computer Scientist, Mr. Sculf*c from Crankenstein, and the Werewolf of Carleton all sat ourselves down in an un-air-conditioned automobile to take on the open road, Jack Kerouac style, by which of course I mean listening to Nirvana cranked really loud while I made the glow-in-the-dark skull on the end of my keychain headbang. It's the simple pleasures that make life worth living, really. While full of much fun and hilarity, the highlight of the car ride was the numerous Wendy's breaks held at nearly every truck stop we could find, where we played a few turns of Nightmare on Elm Street pinball, altered sex-offender wanted posters so they warned patrons about my friend Alex instead of French pedophiles, and fruitlessly searched convenience stores for fat chick porn to make the car ride go faster. It was at one of these numerous rest stops that we began to realize what we were in for, as we bumped into a group of gas station attendants from Cornwall, who continually pestered us about the concert they too were attending until we gave them three cigarettes and a shiny brass button so they would go away. It soon became apparent that the concert would be a celebration of simpler times, when a high school education was a luxury few could afford, and black Goodwrench Tire T-shirts were considered formal attire. But we didn't let that faze us, and we bravely soldiered on until we reached Hamilton, where the sheer intensity of the stench forced us to drive right back out and take a breather before re-entering the city. For those who have never been to Hamilton, let me state for the record that the entire city smells like an extremely large, extremely dead beached whale, but only for about two or three hours before you either get acclimated to the smell or pass out from trying to breathe through a wad of Kleenexes soaked in vinegar. But by this point, the excitement and anticipation had us so hyped up we barely cared that the city stank like an abandoned abattoir. We just made a beeline for the Copps Coliseum, where excitement, adventure, and severe bruising awaited us.
But first, of course, there was the matter of refreshments. As one of the truly most boring individuals in the Southern Ontario area, I'm not one for a lot of pre-concert partying, but it must be noted that I was accompanied by Mr. Sculf*c, whose blood is perpetually an equal mix of hemoglobin and the finest Canadian hops, so we made what was to be a brief stop at the nearest pub. Unfortunately, at least three hundred fellow concert-goers had the same idea, and what had from the outside appeared to be a fairly respectable olde English tavern turned out to resemble the basement of a house party in Mechanicsville on the inside, complete with broken beer-bottles, cigarettes butted out on tongues, and drunken skinheads slurring out chants about female anatomy every time a waitress walked by. Kinda like PULP staff meetings, actually, except that very few of us have neck tattoos. But is was in this intimidating den of debauchery that I discovered something. While I was having a gret time, I didn't belong there. Unlike many of the poor souls I encountered than evening, I am a very lucky human being. I'm well-educated, fairly intelligent, handsome, strong, well-hung, and made of solid gold, all marks of a privileged lifestyle. And, as I've learned in my university experience, it is one of the duties of the privileged to take note of the less fortunate, to mark their plight, and to ridicule it. It is all too easy to poke fun at the so-called 'white trash' of the world, the young and the toothless, the Daytona fans, the slightly inbred trailer brethren we all evolved from, and rightly so. After all, what's the point of being better than someone if you can't gloat about it to your snotty friends? I'd always been rather baffled at the strange and condescending looks I got throughout high school and university as I walked passed a gaggle of Capri-clad, Babylon-bound ladies with my arms full of Hammer Studios Dracula movies, but now I finally understand. They were just exercising their God-given right to look down upon me merely because they're better than me, with all their fancy "credit cards", "cell-phones", and "friends". And why am I continually chastised by others just because my idea of recycling consists of returning my aluminum pop cans to the ground from which they came by hurling them out my widow, or because my idea of racial equality seems to be surrounding myself with people of an equal shade of white? Why, because my complete lack of a social conscience makes me an easy target for those whose terminal cases of rich white guilt has made them champions of mother earth, of course. They're better than me, so they look down on me. Simple. So that's why it feels so good when I pick on people that can't defend themselves, like hippies, the handicapped, and midgets. Now that I finally understand that our entire social structure is based on a class system that takes into account political leanings, environmental practices, musical preference, and whether or not you can be called on your Fido, I'm ready to become a productive member of society, by lording my privilege over every one less fortunate than me, and embracing the elitist arrogance that is my birthright. All that remains is to sever ties with my past life, my trashy friends, my loud, obnoxious music, my over-reliance on the word "eh", and welcome my new life as a holier-than-thou, hipper-than-thou, white university student. And I plan on taking the first step tonight, by attending one of them fancy sit-down restaurants where they don't let you draw on the table cloths with crayons. Now if you'll excuse me, reservations are at eight, and I have to go wash my Goodwrench T-shirt.