Thursday, May 02, 2013


On Sunday morning I woke up feeling like I'd been hit by a truck.

Two trucks. Trucks with seashell necklaces and beer on their breath and names like Trent and Kirk.

(I never saw them though, so I'm only telling you how I picture my hugging assailants in my mind. And I've given them names. Isn't that cute?)

I had to be back at the Brandt Centre by 1:45, and I groaned and sighed inwardly about it all morning. Upon arriving five minutes early, I clunked up the stairs as though my legs weighed a hundred pounds each and dragged myself back into that dreaded media centre where Rick Campanelli was setting up his one-on-one booth and the reporter from yesterday who hated my guts was sitting at her spot in row 7 fixing her hair. I smiled politely at both of them and remembered just at the last second not to lean against the wall, which was actually a thick curtain. I could take down the entire media centre if I wasn't careful. I paused. Say...

One of the PR students who I'd met the day before appeared at my side. "Hey," she said.

"I have a bad attitude about today," I told her. She nodded in agreement. A few of the students had left crying the night before and threatening not to come back. We'd mostly all come back. But no one really seemed to be pumped about it.

She poked my shoulder, "Well hey, maybe Michael Buble will come through the media centre today and you'll get to see him in person."

I snorted. "I met him already," I said. I told her my story.

"AH, no!" She was horrified. "You just walked? You could've said so many things right there!"

I hadn't thought of that. I really could've. Something snarky, to put him in his place. Something indifferent, as though I didn't know who he was. Something clever, something memorable. I'd wasted it. I'd tossed a perfectly good opportunity into the trash basket of experience, crumpled up and unsalvageable.

"Well," I joked, "The very next time I have a face-to-face run-in with Michael Buble and there's an awkward silence, I will absolutely say something. And it'll be good. Snarky, indifferent, and clever. Like in a movie. And it'll be quick and make me appear witty, because this time I'll be prepared."

So we planned out what I would say. All of it, of course, hinged on Michael saying the right thing, which was the thing he had said the first time, which was, "I'm Michael Buble." As though that's the only thing Michael Buble says.

Anyway. The day went on. I decided at roughly 4:23 pm to have a better attitude. From that point on, aside from a run-in with another reporter who didn't like the rules of the media room and kept trying to sneak off with an embargo list (a sheet containing the winners of all the Juno Awards for that night) that wasn't supposed to leave my sight, the day continued to get better. I made some friends and actually got a supper break and ate a massive piece of cheesecake and knew the answers to almost all of the questions thrown at me by the small village of media people of which I was the leader. You might call me Suzy, Queen of the Media Room. You might. I would.

 photo 430502_649657905060657_1455684905_n_zps7139c615.jpg And then the nominees started coming down and things got crazy busy and I was at my post listening attentively into my walkie-talkie and trying desperately (and mostly successfully) to keep from making any of the PR people angry and running mics and trying not to drop the heavy glass Juno awards and smiling what I hoped were professional-looking smiles until my cheeks almost ripped. I didn't feel so much like the Queen of the media room anymore; more like a worker ant with a broken limb, but it was still fun because I had my new and improved better attitude to fall back on.

Good times.

We had just finished up Metric's interview; I'd taken back the prop Juno from Emily Haines (who didn't look very much like Emily Haines in real life) and scurried out into the hallway to hand it off to the next winner when I ran into a man who was coming into the media centre from the stage area. I gathered myself, fumbling with the heavy glass trophy, and began to apologize when I realized who I'd run into.

Obviously, it had to be Michael Buble.

Awkward pause. He studied my face and smiled. I wondered if he recognized me. Last time we met I'd been wearing a puffy winter coat and had frizzy, matted hair from the wet snow that was falling that night.

I waited for him to condescendingly introduce himself again, but all he said this time was, "Hey. You're cute."

I furrowed my brow in confusion. That wasn't what he was supposed to say. Was that meant to be charming? Should I feel charmed right now? I didn't feel very charmed. I felt the way that I feel when creepy guys yell at me out of truck windows as they're driving past me on my way to the grocery store. And, I mean, why should it feel any different? Because he's a good singer? I opened my mouth and closed it again.

And then we were moving in opposite directions again, his PR people ushering him along down the corridor. RATS! Encounter number two in the trash alongside encounter number one.

NEXT TIME, BUBLE. I will have something so perfect to say that you'll learn your lesson and remember me always.

And that was it. I mean, Michael had his interview in the press room, we moved him along out of there, and we were done and the Junos were over and that was it. It was 8:57 pm.

I don't know what I thought would happen. Fireworks? The imminent self-destruction of the entire Brandt Centre? A high-five?


The media started packing up and clearing out, the last of the winners were driven off in their golf carts to their waiting limousines, and my supervisor stalked out of the room without saying one word to me. I found one of the other PR women in charge around the corner. She raised her eyebrows at me. "You can go," she said. She didn't give me a high-five.

So I left.

And when I got home I had that feeling of being so deliciously done. I had no more responsibilities, no more angry supervisors or news reporters or cameramen or self-important celebrities or deadlines or shifts or accreditations to confirm or interviews or pictures to take or anything. It was just over. I was giddy.

I know I make it sound like I hated it. And I did, maybe a bit. But it was good, too, and I liked it just as much as I hated it.

It was a cool experience to see behind the scenes of such a big production, to meet so many talented people (on both sides of the Somebody/Not Somebody spectrum) and get a taste of their crazy whirlwind world of promotion and public relations and all the stuff that goes into music that isn't music at all. It was good to be pushed and to try my hardest and it was probably even good that my hardest wasn't good enough all the time, because that made me try harder than I thought my very hardest was. It was valuable to have surprises thrown on my plate that I would've probably said no to if I'd been asked in advance.

I figure, if you have opportunity for situations like that, situations that push you and surprise you and teach you, you absolutely should take them.
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