Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers
Kate Brandt is forty-something, divorced and working part-time at the Mount Royal College library. A lifetime ago, she haunted Calgary’s punk rock scene, playing guitar in an all-girl band called Misclairol. The seedy downtown bars of the early 1980s where she performed are history. The National Hotel is shuttered; the Calgarian Hotel has burned down; and the Long Bar on Eighth Avenue is long gone. At a friend’s wedding, Kate reconnects with her old flame and fellow punk rocker, Niall. When they dance, she feels the familiar heat. They take their drinks outside the Hillhurst-Sunnyside community hall and catch up on the years. Niall, a lawyer's kid who grew up in the posh part of town, is still drifting. As the sun goes down, Kate tells him that, after a lifetime in Calgary, she’s decided to move on.
I used to defend Calgary when people would put it down. But a few years ago, I don’t know if it’s the city or me or what, I realized I couldn’t stand it anymore… It’s all about the money. It’s about driving your SUV for an hour from your half-million dollar 5000-square foot house in the suburbs to pay $25 to park downtown every day. People are stressed, rushed, grim. The place is like Toronto but without the arts scene. So why would an old lefty punk rocker stay here?