Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Donnas Literacies

It was a blast to get a message from The Donnas fan club a couple of weeks back saying that they would be playing some kind of free concert in Toronto on the night of 4 April and if you wanted a chance to go then put your name into the pool for the draw. I was still in Oz when it arrived and, indeed, still asleep. When I checked mail first thing in the morning I dozily realised that we were scheduled to be in Toronto on the evening of 4 April in order to teach there the next day. Without looking further up and down the inbox I promptly emailed Michele she see what she thought about trying for tickets. That was redundant since she had already got the mssg from the club and put in for tickets, realising the dates were a happy coincidence.

Plane tickets looked kind of friendly. We don't book those, they are organised by the university. All going well there would be an hour or so to get from the airport to the venue in the heart of Toronto -- no small ask on a Friday evening on the Gardiner Expressway. In any event, there was always the question of whether we'd get tickets anyway.

A week or so later we had tickets confirmed and it seemed like a great way to start the summer. Up from Mexico on the Thursday and into a Donnas gig on the Friday night. As the poet said, "things could be worse".

For a while next day it indeed looked like they could. We bounced up to check in, having been bounced off the kiosk attempt at check in. "Hmmmmmm" said the check in person, "I am afraid that flight has been cancelled as a casualty of too much air traffic around Newark. We have you booked on the next flight". "When's that?", was our response. It was going to be too late by a bit. We hummed and hah-ed and fumed and carried on. But we *have* to be there by 6pm. We have business. Are there no other flights? Then, the killer intervention from Michele: "What about your code share partners?".

"Well, there is a flight with XYZ at 3pm and we could try for that, if you like". We did indeed like. But there was a snag. "We can't actually book it, you will have to go there and ask, and they will almost certainly say 'no' ". The counter is in Terminal 1 (we were in 3 at the time). "We'd like to try", we said. "OK, then I will print you out a paper. It probably won't work, but you can try".

We jumped the air train and got to Terminal 1 and as luck would have it got called to a counter by a man who obviously liked to help people. He fed everything in and it was looking super promising. And then he arrived at what looked like a snag. We asked what had happened and he said the other airline was supposed to have done X and Y but hadn't. "Oh", we replied, half innocently (I being the innocent half and Michele being the one with prior experience, who knew exactly what was going on), "we thought that was all done. Can you do it, or are we in trouble?"

It turned out there were seats on the plane, it *could* be done, and our new friend was going to do it. And he did.

But that piece of paper did not mean what it looked like. It was a request for seats that looked like a confirmation. It became a confirmation in short order because we lucked into a super efficient and obliging person who saw his job as being about getting people onto planes.

The concert was great. It turned out to be a session in the filming of a documentary called "Beautiful Noise". Something to look out for on television. The first band were a blinder, called "The Black Angels" -- kind of Brian Jonestown Massacre territory.

Between the airport and the venue was the excellent value Garmin GPS that fits in your purse and gets you to where you need to go if you know how to spell the start and finish addresses. With a bit of luck we managed that.

Wouldn't have missed the show for anything, even if it meant a sleepier than usual start to the next day.

Class went well.

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