International Record Day – Ottawa

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This past weekend, I spent with my best friend in Ottawa. On Saturday, was International Record Day across the city. My friend actually lives in the heart of the Village, and was within walking distance of all the record stores we shopped at over the weekend.

Before there were cell phones, we had land lines in our homes. Usually on the kitchen wall, and maybe in the living room. I happened to have my own phone in my bedroom growing up.

Before there were computers … Was there ever a BEFORE computers ???

Yes, if you grew up anytime before the early 2000’s. I did not get a computer until the year 2001. But I used one on a University Campus to facilitate my crash and burn SLIP.

What did we have to occupy our time, when we were kids ? We had friends, that we actually visited with, for hours and for me, DAYS at a time. Before there were cars to get you around, your parents had to drive you everywhere.

I thought a lot about this, over the weekend. When I go o Ottawa, we are partially disconnected from the world. Although we have our phones and an I-Pad to access the internet and Netflix.

For the most part, if we aren’t running around town, visiting museums or walking around the city, aimlessly, or eating, we listen to records …

What’s that ? You Listen To Records ???

Yes. My best friend has a television, and a stereo, and a Record Player. Over he past three years, he has built quite a fine collection of records, across the board musically. And we spent hours, over this past weekend, listening to the new records we both bought over the weekend.

With our phones, it is all too easy to download digital copies of music. In a flash, from a Pirate Site or I-Tunes, or from where ever you get your music, we all have libraries of music on our phones.

I purposely, do not have social media on my phone. But I have music. Enough music that while I am on Shuffle … I can listen to so much music, over hours of time, that not one song repeats itself.

When I was a kid, records were my life. Records were the life of many of my friends, growing up. We spent hours upon hours laying on the bedroom floor, staring at the ceiling, listening to records after school.

The best part of records was surely an opportunity to go see you favorite performer live in concert.

I spent countless hours in my bedroom, ALONE, with my records. I would draw. I loved ships. I would sit and look at travel brochures and I would draw by hand, ships on a huge sketch pad. There was always MUSIC playing in the background.

Back in the day, music was physical. It was something we owned with pride. Our respective record collections. My grandparents had a 78 rpm record player with those thick 78 pressed records.

The resurgence of records has been growing in demand over the last few years. This weekend we spent a good amount of time in many record stores looking for those records you could not find on ANY OTHER DAY, than on International Record Day in Ottawa. A One Stop Shop, Extravaganza.

I met men my age, (read: In their fifties) and some a little bit older, picking through record bins, looking for records of their youth. I watched men and women experience a joy that you don’t see very often.

I had several OH MY GOD moments, yesterday and today.

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I love old music. I cannot get enough of it. I have toms of old music on my phone that I downloaded digitally. On my birthday, The Big 50 we went record shopping here in Montreal, however, I don’t yet own a record player.

This weekend, I hit Record Gold with a find that just blew my mind away. Captain and Tennille records. FOUR of them. I hit three in one day, and the fourth one, the Very First Record I ever owned, back in the 1970’s … Pictured there on the right, in the display to the right of the record player …

I found a brand new Never Opened Def Leppard Hysteria, reprinted last year, 2017, double record set, that cost $30.00 less 20 % on sale. Everything in the record stores yesterday was 20% off …

I had several Oh My God Holy Shit Moments, finding records I had not seen in over thirty years. Folks far and wide are recapturing their youth in vintage record stores all over the country. We’ve decided to disconnect from our phones and re-attach ourselves to the past, once again, in records. The Age Old Practice of record playing.

There is nothing like the classic sound of vinyl records. Especially remastered works on stereo systems. Digital may be a choice for active people in today’s world. Listening to music on a record player is such a beautiful experience.

My life is painted in music. Every piece of music I have on my phone is connected to particular memories. And as we played our records, this weekend, we talked about where we were, what age we were, when we first heard that original music.

The best thing about music and records is, that it invites you to disconnect from the world for periods of time, doing nothing but enjoying a record experience.

My next purchase, soon, very soon … Is going to be a record player of my own.

There is NO LIFE without MUSIC or Books for that matter…

 

Thursday: Weekend Plans and News

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This has been a very interesting week, to be sure. The most anticipated book of the season was released on Tuesday. James Comey’s “A Higher Loyalty” Truth, Lies and Leadership.

I ordered a copy of this book, in March, after seeing it appear on the Indigo Website.

This week had been spent waiting on the mail, for many things. All the books I had on order arrived today, along with clothes I had purchased over the last two weeks.

Tomorrow I am taking an afternoon bus to Ottawa to visit my best friend for the weekend, and the 2.5 hour bus ride will be spent reading. There is nothing better than being able to get on a bus, and sink into a good book.

If you are political, in any way, then you would have spent good hours of time, in the last week watching James Comey being interviewed.

Being noble and honorable are words that have been spoken by people I have known in my life. Parents are supposed to be honorable and noble. Serving your country is noble and honorable. Dying for your country, in the pursuit of war, automatically makes one noble and honorable, because you made the ultimate sacrifice for your country.

There are very FEW Noble and Honorable men in the world.

If you had to choose between a President of the United States and a Public Servant, the Public Servant gets my vote on any day of the week. There is no doubt in my mind the nobility and honor that James Comey exhibits.

Read the Book …

The weather in Montreal has been shit for weeks now. It has been cold and miserable. Mother Nature does not know whether to make it snow, or make it rain. And we have not seen the sun, in as many days. Tonight, it was cold, and snow fell from the sky again this evening.

We have been told that by Saturday, temps will rise into double digits. It is sitting at 2 degrees on the positive side right now. By Saturday, they tell us it will be 18c, on the positive side, and as well, those positive temps will last through the end of the month of April.

Let Us Pray …

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Casey Neistat rocked a pair of tights from Dyno Tights the other day, on a run around New York City. I then went to Dyno and ordered a pair of my own. Those tights arrived in the post this afternoon, along with several books.

My Spring and Summer wardrobe is well appointed. With a couple more items on order tonight, I will be the best Athleisure model the rooms has ever seen.

I’m amid a read of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. There is a noble and honorable man if I ever met one. If you’ve never read Marcus’s writing, you should.

There is a thread of what my friends have read, going around. Books come into our collective mental libraries, each on their own. Someone reads a book, and adds it to the collective conscience to be read by others.

One of my tools I use to reach and teach, is through books. When several people, in my circle is reading the same book, over time, as life goes by, one begins to see and realize just what moves my friends, in how they live, treat others, and share on any given day.

We’ve all read The Spirituality of Imperfection. We’ve also all read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, The Big Book is also on that read list, Steps you see. Many of my guys are noble and honorable men. At least they all strive to be, each in their own ways.

I can see, in many of the books we have all read, pieces of each book, that exist in the actions and lives of my friends. That is a good thing.

I will be away from a few days. We don’t do TV in Ottawa. And we don’t spend time sitting in front of the lap top either.

More to come, Sunday or Monday.

Sunday Sundries: It Could’ve Been Worse

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I am home tonight from my weekend trip to Ottawa this past weekend.

It was WET, COLD and it SNOWED for two days.

Nothing beats spending quality time with my best friend and his girlfriend.

Time Well Spent.

Thursday night, I was packed and ready to go, ready to go so much, that I did not sleep Thursday night. At least, I thought I had packed everything.

Do I openly admit that I am getting forgetful of things, important things too?

Hubby was home on Friday when I left for the bus station. I left uber early, because I thought I would hit an early bus and get into Ottawa earlier than I had planned, to facilitate scheduling on the other end.

I figured just showing up and presenting a ticket for a specific departure time, would grant me passage on an earlier bus, it has happened before. I got to the station and thought better of taking chances, and so I dropped my luggage at the ticket office and paid for a ticket change. And got a seat on a half empty bus at 11 a.m.

It was a smooth ride out. Not too bad. I had two seats to myself on the way out. About halfway to Ottawa I got up to use the restroom, and while sitting on the throne of thought, I realized that I had forgotten my insulin at home.

FUCK !

NO, Double FUCK !!

I called home and spoke to hubby. Then from the bus, I phoned my pharmacy here in Montreal, telling the girl on the other end that I was on a speeding bus headed to Ottawa and that I had forgotten my insulin at home.

That would be my insulin pens, my needles and my alcohol swabs.

Insulin comes in 5 pen boxes, and they cannot be split up. You can’t buy a handful of insulin needles because they come in a BOX too. I only had $100.00 in my wallet and $50.00 in the bank reserve.

Meanwhile, as the bus is almost into Ottawa, hubby gets a paycheck advance from his boss to cover my insulin if I needed to buy it once I got there. There was money in the bank, enough to cover the purchase. however, we were not sure if the insurance would cover another insulin prescription.

My insulin runs me over $185.00 up front. And usually it pays 80% 20%.

When I got to Ottawa, I stopped at the first pharmacy on the way to the apartment. They called Montreal and transferred my prescription to Ottawa. They ran my card, and the payment went through.

I had to buy an entire BOX of insulin, an entire box of needles, and another box of alcohol swabs. The grand total of that little forgetful mistake cost me $85.00.

That sunk my weekend into the hole right off.

Now I have more than eight months worth of insulin in the fridge, enough needles for months and months, and two boxes of alcohol swabs. Thank God sealed insulin does not go bad, if refrigerated.

Friday we hung out at coffee shops and played Backgammon. Rafa is a game player so we played games all weekend. I like Backgammon. We played two days worth of it.

Friday night after dinner we played a board game called PANDEMIC.

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I’ve never played this game before, but it was very cool. Each player picks a “role” from a bunch of cards. And each player has specific abilities in the game of pandemic. With all the players engaged at trying to stop pandemic from infecting the world, each player PLAYS against the GAME.

As each turn goes around, you draw cards from two piles. One pile of country and city cards, the other, pandemic cards that plague a city around the world. Each major city center is connected by lay lines to other cities in each region.

As the game progresses, each player works against the game to stop pandemic, but the game plays against each player as well, and each pandemic (there are 4 in total ) need to be cured, and cities cleansed. We lost that game, because at the end, the game forced the hand and we ran out of turns together.

This is a multiple player board game. We played three people, but with extension packets, you can play up to seven people at the same time.

Saturday we went to Wakefield, Ontario. A little town about a fifteen minute drive outside the city in the hills. It is a small community of artsy people. There is a town center with shops and stores, and a central hub Coffee Community Cafe.

I really enjoyed that visit. Rafa and his girlfriend are looking to buy a house outside the city to start their family and to bring the extended family into the house for a multi-generational home for their kids, in the future.

I have photos but I am too pooped to upload them right now.

Saturday it started snowing early, so that curtailed the traveling to a meeting. So instead we stayed in and watched Star Wars (Rogue One) a really decent stand alone Star Wars Movie. I had not seen it when it was in theatre.

Then we watched a Steven King movie called “IT”

I noticed while watching this movie that there were a bunch of pop culture references that have been used in SNL skits and other media around the tubes.

It was time well spent.

Everyone went to bed early, as Rafa and Megan were battling a cold between themselves. I brought a book that I have almost finished on the bus ride back. The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb. It’s a Vietnamese story.

I have been sunk in South East Asia for more than a year now. I’ve read a handful of books in that region, including the Shantaram Series by Gregory David Roberts.

Today, Sunday we hit another coffee-house and played more backgammon, before I had to head to the station for my return trip.

This time the bus was PACKED ! It had snowed quite a bit between Ottawa and Montreal, because the closer we got to Montreal, the deeper the snow pack was on the roads and in parking lots along the way.

I have a multitude of music on my phone. I picked one band. Linkin Park. They are my favorite band. And since Chester Bennington’s suicide a few months ago, I listen to them as often as I can. I had enough music that it played from the moment we left Ottawa until we arrived in Montreal, without repeating a single track.

It seemed the ride back into Montreal was LONG … Because it was pitch dark by the time we hit the station here. On the way out of Ottawa there was a multiple car accident on the highway and several rescue trucks were on the highway and several drivers had stopped to help people who were hurt. That slowed us down for a bit …

I got home around 7 when all was said and done.

Everybody has a plan. Rafa and Megan are going to be married, down the line. Juan and Nadia are getting married in July this summer. Houses, Kids, Jobs, Retirement plans. It seems everyone has a plan.

Hubby and I don’t have a plan …

While in Wakefield on Saturday afternoon, we talked about PLANS and CONTINGENCY plans. We also discussed the fact that I might be entitled to inheritance from my father’s will. Because I am his first-born son. However, my family wanted to fuck me over and have the whole of my life, there might be legal grounds for me to pursue Legal Rights to inheritance of any monies in his estate.

Even if they deny me inheritance and write me out of their wills, which I am sure they have already done, the money might be there to be had. Even if it is resentment money and that money would be dirty money, that I might not want to keep, if I did win an inheritance law suit, it would be my choice what to do with it.

I am calling a lawyer this week, to get that ball rolling.

My mother will have a shit fit and my father will be choking in his URN. Because my brother had him cremated and sent to Virginia. Where my mother now lives.

It was a very fruitful weekend. Lots of serious discussion about the future. I spoke with hubby over dinner about exactly that … The Future …

It seems, that “A PLAN” is in the works. A new law was passed here in Quebec about employers offering an opt in/opt out choice of 3% of gross pay being funneled into a bank run RRSP … That’s a retirement plan here in Quebec.

We talked about having a fifteen year plan, because by then, he will be retirement age and I don’t expect to be living in this same apartment for another fifteen years. We’ve just negotiated another years lease here this past week.

More to come.

Friday: Ottawa Bound !

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The Rideau Canal (center) Parliament Hill (left) Chateau Laurier (right)

Sadly, I am missing the best night of the week. But that trade off is much better, the BEST weekend of the month, where I get to spend three days with my best friend in Ottawa.

I leave in a couple of hours, hoping to catch an earlier bus than I am ticketed for. Please pray for the station manager. The last time I made this trip, he let me go uber early. Hopefully, I get the same courtesy this time.

Not sure if the canal will be open or not this weekend, due to changing weather, not that I can skate any more with my serious back issues now. Aging SUCKS !!!

Will be back on Sunday evening.

There is snow in the forecast, so that might make the return trip a bit dicey.

UGH !

More to come.

 

 

Sunday Sundries: Ottawa Trip

 

It was very moving to see the First People’s of Canada led the parade ahead of our Prime Minster and his guests. The Indigenous community has first place of honor in our Pride Parades this year, both here in Montreal and in Ottawa today.

 

I am home from a Whirl Wind trip to Ottawa to visit my best friend.

I took an early bus out, because I arrived at the station earlier than I had anticipated, so they let me on an early bus.

Pictured above … The Pride Parade in Ottawa this afternoon. The Honorable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, fellow Parliamentarians, and The Honorable Kathryn Wynne, the Premier of Ontario, led today’s parade through the streets of the Gay Village in Ottawa.

You can see the Private Security AND the POLICE. And I have to say there was one particularly HUMPY officer on a bike … WOOF !!

As the Prime Minister marched past us, a counter demonstration was coming back at us from the wrong direction, chanting “NO COPS in the PRIDE PARADE …” As many Officers on their bikes were riding with them in the opposite direction.

There were TWO Counter COP protest groups in today’s parade.

If I had the chance, several of them would have had broken limbs, had the cops not been escorting them, against the tide.

Nuff said about those asshole …

Unlike last year, the sun was out and we got quite burned standing on the sidewalk on the sunny side of the street. We took up several positions as the parade came past us.

It was much bigger, and many more groups marched this year. Last year it pissed down rain all afternoon.

All of the Political Parties had groups marching. The Canadian Military Services also marched, and one of their buses was in the parade itself. And we thought this funny that the Military Band that marched in the parade was playing … wait for it …

IT’S RAINING MEN ….

By the Weather Girls. My bestie said to me as they came past that they should have been playing “In the Navy” by the Village People. Both songs would have been appropriate.

We have some seriously good-looking men in uniform.

It was a good day, that ended in a Second Cup over coffee and conversation.

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Friday …

I arrived around 5 o’clock into Ottawa, and we had reservations to see Kontinuum.

Ontario is building a METRO system in Ottawa Proper. due to open next year.

There are two lines, A North – South Branch and an East West Branch running through downtown Ottawa, Several Stations will be servicing Parliament Hill, in the area, almost adjacent to The Hill.

Kontinuum, is a Multi Sensory, Light, Video and Sound show that was built to highlight the Metro System, under ground. The stations are not yet complete. So as we entered the System, we came in on One Side of the station, where we were greeted by a sensory overload light show that began above ground with a movie, sound and light show.

Over the next half hour we moved underground, into that station, as light, sound and video showcased the Metro System. On the Track platform, which hosted both sides of the station, like we have here, an inbound and an outbound track. Sound and light served both sides of the platform.

It was quite dynamic.

I have video of the tunnel, but this blog does not have video functions …

UGH .

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Saturday …

 

Saturday was a full plate kind of day. With my friends Parliament Hill Access, and an invitation from a Member of Parliament, we got in to see Parliament Hill, from the Inside. A beautiful day.

 

Parliament Hill is a beautiful building, with many different rooms. Every part of the building and every sculpture, column, room, carving and marble floor tile, has a specific meaning. Elements from ALL over Canada went into building the site. As Parliament Hill went up, and Canada grew into Confederation, and all the provinces and territories were at some point, all are represented in the building itself.

We saw the House of Commons, which is done in shades of green. Each seat in the room is party specific. The murals on the walls, and the wood carvings around the room as well, all have stories attached to them.

 

The Senate Chamber is Red. And also there as well, there are meanings carved in the wood, the murals in the hall, and as well, in both committee meeting rooms, that are used during the week for consultations and deliberations of House Business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Parliament Hill, we Toured the Canadian National War Museum.

The War museum is a HUGE building. And tells the story of the men who served Canada in all of the wars and conflicts, around the world, over time. I do not know, on my grandmothers side of the Canadian branch of family, if anyone in that branch, served in any military campaigns. I need to go look through my family tree. I do have one here at home.

The museum is beautiful and tragic. Sad and Sorrow filled. So many men lost their lives over the century. And the War Museum gives their stories, tells of their service, and honors their sacrifice to a grateful nation that is Canada.

At Parliament Hill, in the Memorial Hall, is listed every soul who lost his life serving our country. We saw the Peace Tower on my last trip.

Myself as well as my best friend, we are both immigrants to Canada.

Both of us Citizens of Canada.

One can get misty eyed while walking those hallowed halls of memory, and think of all those men, who took on the evil of war, many died, but also many came back. And Canada honors their service to our country.

It was an amazing experience. Last Summer when I went to Ottawa, we were both on the hill together, watching a light show on Parliament Hill, and as new citizens, together at the same time, ON the HILL, as they played Oh Canada … I wept.

That was the most important night of my Canadian Life.

I did not get a citizenship meetings, nor a hand shake, nor the anthem, when I got my papers in the mail, just a Welcome to Canada letter, from our Now Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, who was serving as Immigration Minister when I became a citizen.

As we exited the Museum, I said to my friend that, unlike many Canadians, we did not have any blood connection to anyone represented in that museum. But nonetheless, we were moved to tears in the halls, and we honored their memories, by sharing in this tour together.

We Honored all the men and women who served our Country.

Because War is not just a male oriented duty. Because we know that when a man went to war, his wife, girlfriend, family, and community did their fair share of service, IN service of the war and the men fighting over seas.

We all played a part in the success of the men who served, by doing what we could to serve the greater good, when it mattered. And in death, there are MANY memorials scattered all over Ottawa, for us to visit and REMEMBER …

Right across the street from the War Museum a monument to the Holocaust is going up. It will be another beautiful monument to the survivors and all of those who died in the worst genocide the world has ever seen.

The unspoken genocide that took place right here in our Country was the eradication of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The Government, and we as citizens, are on the road to mending those very valuable relationships, and the people who survived that very hushed genocide of those who were here First. Which is why they are front and center of Pride Parades in Canada this year.

Every time I go to Ottawa, my visits are always educational oriented.

With every step in Ottawa you take, you walk on hallowed ground. Every stone in the ground, every building that is restored or maintained, every monument that goes up, every park you sit in, and every street you walk down, has a connection to the history of the men, women, and indigenous Peoples who inhabited this land, well before the white man came to this area of Ontario.

There are thousands of stories to learn, and to be heard. There are many, MANY lessons to be learned about the history of Canada and her people’s.

Ottawa is a city of Remembrance.

And we are making slow but serious strides to heal the rift that exists between its First People’s and what we took from them, and returning what is rightly theirs to begin with by honoring their stories and their people, from yesterday and today.

And tonight, I am a lot more grateful to the country I call home.

Because of the sacrifice of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect this nation and the world at large from the evils and horrors of war.

We also must commend all the men and women and their service to build this wonderful city of Ottawa, and its myriad of museums, so that no story goes untold, nor forgotten.

We Remember …

Downie takes to Parliament Hill to speak out for Canada’s Indigenous Peoples

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Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, July 2, 2017 6:57PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 2, 2017 8:23PM EDT

OTTAWA — Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie made a rare public appearance Sunday to bring attention to the ongoing plight of some of Canada’s young indigenous people, likening it to the same kind of pain young people suffered in the now defunct residential schools.

He told young people gathered at festivities surrounding “We Day,” the movement inspired by children’s rights activist brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger, that they can learn a lot about the history of government-funded, church-run residential schools, where indigenous children endured widespread sexual, emotional and physical abuse.

Standing on the stage set up on Parliament Hill for Canada Day weekend, Downie said that indigenous children in parts of Canada still must travel great distances to go to school, likening it to “the pain, the torture and the death,” suffered in the residential schools.

Indigenous leaders say children regularly leave to the nearest urban centre to get education and health care services not offered in remote communities. There have been cases where the young people have died because get caught up in risky behaviour because they lack community supports.

“It is still happening even though the residential school has gone away. Kids are still having to travel great distances to live and go to school,” Downie said, with silence filling the pauses between his words.

Downie is suffering from an incurable form of brain cancer and makes few public appearances, but has used those to be a voice for the country’s indigenous peoples and the harm caused by the residential school system.

One day after the country marked 150 years, Downie used his brief time on stage to speak about the “new” country that would be born in the next 150 years.

“Yours is the first generation in the new and real Canada. I love you,” he said to applause.

“You and yours, the indigenous, together will make this a true country now, one true to your word. The new 150 years, not the old one. The new one. Exciting and true.”

The path to reconciliation was a key theme of the Canada Day weekend in the nation’s capital, which saw a group of indigenous activists erect a demonstration teepee on Parliament Hill as part of what they called a “reoccupation” to bring attention to the history of indigenous people. It was removed on Sunday.

The federal Liberals have been the focus of political heat over the party’s sweeping promises to First Nations, amid increasing pressure to comply with a human rights tribunal’s order to properly fund First Nations child welfare services.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Downie and those in attendance that Canadians and their government must accept responsibility for “our failings” as the country tries to help victims and their families heal decades-old wounds.

“Gord, your work is a powerful reminder of all that still needs to be done to acknowledge one of the darkest chapters in our history and make things right with Canada’s First Nations, Metis Nation, and Inuit peoples.”

After Trudeau spoke, a school choir performed Downie’s song “The Stranger,” the lead track off his solo album Secret Path that tells the story of 12-year-old Chanie Wenjack. Wenjack died in 1966 after running away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ont.

Downie had previously performed the song at a “We Day” event in Toronto in October. This time, he stood to the side, appearing emotional at times, and tipping his hat to the choir when they all donned sparkling purple hats similar to the one Downie wore during the Hip’s last tour last year.

As the choir walked off the stage, Downie shook the singers’ hands and thanked them.