August 16 – uptown cool

23/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. As my first year at UBC was finally finishing in April, I had my job at McDonald’s to keep me occupied but being the restless type, I ended up with a second job at Bootlegger (a jean store) in Lansdowne Mall. On my breaks from that job, I would wander into A&A Records and browse through the records and tapes. Often times I’d glimpse over at the manager in all his alternative glory – Craig was lanky, all in black, crazy awesome hair, extremely white skinned, pierced and amazingly stylish and I was fascinated that this “downtown” cool was here in the suburbs. He had a mesmerizing British accent and over the weeks, we struck up conversations about music. Of course, I was of the Debbie Gibson/Tiffany school of pop and he was listening to Bauhaus and other post-punk bands and I would, on many occasions, pretend to nod along to things about music that I had no clue about (and I know he knew this). Oftentimes, I would give recommendations to moms/grandmothers looking for music for their respective kids/grandkids and I guess that left an impression on Craig as one day he asked me if I would want to work at the store. I told him that I already had two jobs and he said that I could take shifts that would work around those. I was in heaven – a job in a record store!! Discounts! Free records and tapes!! I made sure that I worked as hard as possible because I was just so excited that I got a job without an interview and of course, I wanted to make sure you had made the right decision. A few months later, Craig told the handful of employees he was being transferred to the downtown store on Seymour. He told us there would be a new manager at the Richmond store. I was a bit devastated in that I looked up to Craig like an older brother (one that I never had) and resigned myself to the fact that I would be working there without him. However, a day later, he asked me if I would be willing to work at the downtown store when he took over. I couldn’t believe my ears! Of course I said yes and my eyes were opened (as I didn’t venture downtown) with all the things I saw and experienced while working at that store. I thank you Craig for noticing a straight laced suburban boy and offering him an experience outside his realm that opened the doors to him making other self-discoveries. I didn’t have any coaches/mentors growing up but you are the closest that came to one and I honour you for seeing something in me, putting me on the path to being comfortable in my own skin and being open to what life puts in front of me – thank you Craig.

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