Cheesemonger tour day three: Olympia and Lance

I’m not really a timely writer. I don’t miss real deadlines, but I meander around my own projects rather than make sure they are done right away. For example, on my Pacific Northwest Tour reports, I left off after Bellingham and went on to other things. I’m coming back now, but –even though this is a blog and the “new media” is supposed to be all immediate and stuff – I think my entries are actually better when, like a cow, I ruminate on them awhile.

For example, my Olympia events… I could just be all, signed books at the co-op, read at a bookstores, entertained extremely drunk co-op workers, went to bed. All true. In fact that would probably be my post if I had taken pictures. Blog readers – in general — love pictures.

Instead, this entry will be a block of words. Oh well.

Grocery store events are problematic. Generally speaking, grocer shoppers are not there to buy books. Most grocery shoppers are doing a chore they wish they didn’t have to do, especially at an after-work time like the time I got to the co-op. Still their cheesemonger, Michelle Noel, took care of me and cut up some Gothberg Farms goat cheese for people to eat so I wouldn’t be lonely. I might mock it at times, but I love the Oly Food Co-op. Still, when I saw their tiny, awkward cheese cutting space I felt very appreciative for Rainbow.

The bookstore event (at Orca Books)was put on by Jon Quittner who is well know (in certain, very small circles) for his bands Mulkilteo Fairies and Behead the Prophet: No Lord Shall Live.* It was a really great event even if I screwed up the start time. I had driven the scenic route from Bellingham to Olympia and spent the first 80 minutes listening to a J Church mix CD in the rain and it made me sad and reflective. Many of those miles I had tears in my eyes.

I thought about Lance.** I thought about how he did really live his dream in many ways, packing in no-one-knows-exactly-how-many records in the years he was alive. I thought about how much I miss him. I thought about his partner and how she showed up for a book reading and I hadn’t even realized she was in town. I just reflected on the belief in humanity in his songs, how he was one of the few who could write political songs that were sweet and not arrogant or dismissive.

So, at the Olympia reading, I read the section of my book about “Cheese Cultures, Punk Subculture, and Reagan Cheese”. I dedicated it to Lance. I know that I choked up a little and I saw Jon and my old friend Becca were affected as well. Not so much the rest of the audience… I guess I didn’t express myself well enough in my dedication for the non-punks to be able to cross that gap. Oh well, those who know, know.

As I finished the reading, a few people came in at the time I had told them to come. They thought I was joking when I informed them they missed the reading. I gave them a pound of cheese each as consolation and they seemed to be ok with that. If they are reading this, sorry again!

After the reading I visited the other Oly Food Co-op location, ate decidedly non-Mission burritos, and fell asleep. This tour was exhausting!


** Lance Hahn, the singer, died a couple of years ago at age 40. Here was my spur of the moment obit.


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