I have come to understand that behind a reserved and calm surface, my husband has a punk rock soul. It rears its head when he can’t wrap his mind around an unfathomable wrong, and most often, in response to shitty people doing shitty things. I dig it.

Spending time in the company of punk legend Henry Rollins at his show at the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon has made me appreciate that attitude more than ever.

Brilliant. Irreverent. Engaging. Unrelenting. Henry Rollins is a genius at spoken word performances.

 

The audience was spellbound for the entire 2.5 hour show – no intermission and no water breaks. He says it interferes with his flow. His energy is astonishing, and his stories are thoughtful, always interesting, and often inspiring. I left the show ready to conquer the world!

It all started as David and I left our hotel room at The James to head out for the afternoon, when we noticed a big black bus outside. Sure enough, moments later, out popped Henry Rollins to walk/run towards the hotel in the -25 celsius temperature. As anyone with a punk soul would do, David shrugged and walked to the car. As any fan girl would do, I walked up to him and smiled and said hello, wished him a great show and told him we were in town specially for it. He smiled warmly and said “great, thank you” – clearly chilled to the bone without a coat. I told him to enjoy the cold, and then giggled as I ran to Dave at the car.

As we waited in our 5th row center seats for the show to begin later that night, we struck up a conversation with the young man from Finland sitting beside David. In Saskatoon studying Indigenous culture, he told us he was used to the weather as his town was in Finland’s far north near the Arctic Circle, and then he asked if Saskatoon had a punk scene. The conversation was awesome and fun, and made me think.. this is what I love about a Rollins crowd. Pretty eclectic.

When Henry started the show – just him in all black in front of a microphone – he began by talking about his very cold walk to the hotel from the bus. While he didn’t mention me and David, I knew he was thinking about us (because we are close personal friends now). Apologies for the terrible photos below!

 

Favourite bits:

  • Henry’s description of his trip to Antarctica and stop in Ushuaia in November 2015 (exactly when I was there!), and his confusion over everyone’s obsession over penguins. I also don’t really get it.
  • Henry’s friendship with RuPaul and his appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the rumours that they were in a relationship after it (which were hilarious and he revelled in – no homophobia here folks!)
  • “I put the punk in punctuality!”
  • “Twitter is the new American Haiku!”

The content of the show was varied and always interesting ranging from his fan boy encounter with David Bowie, to environmentalism, to politics (Trump and Brexit), to western privilege, to his counselling of a young female fan who had been assaulted.

Always thought provoking and open minded, Henry Rollins makes you think about the world and your place in it. I’m still thinking about it, and feeling inspired to light my little rebel fire in 2017 and see where it takes me.

 

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