Russian Literature: Cadence Weapon

I want to tell a story about touring around and my relationship with Edmonton when I’m not here. It’s a funny story I was just thinking about recently. I was touring in Canada with Buck 65 last year around May. I played a show in Charlottetown, PEI, and I met a girl with a hat on that said Republic of Alberta. I thought this was hilarious, so I asked her where she got it and she said, “Oh, well my family is originally from Edmonton. I’m here for school.” The hat’s just something she had.

I tried to convince her to give me the hat and she did, she eventually did. It was really nice of her. And she had read an interview leading up to this tour where I was saying I never get anything cool from fans. And I would tour with other people and they would get all sorts of stuff. For example, I was touring with Final Fantasy, and he was getting Russian literature. You know, very thoughtful, specific gifts. So she mentioned that she’d read the article and said, “That’s too bad, so you can have this hat.”

Fast forward about a week and a half later. I’m playing in Edmonton at McDougal United Church, still on the same tour, and a guy comes up to me who I’ve never met. He’s like, “Hey man, I never met you before, but this is from my friend in Charlottetown.” The girl had mailed it to him. It was very delicately packaged. It was a Tolstoy book. It was a book of short stories. I laughed, because I actually did say Russian literature, and she literally...Yeah, I thought that was funny. It’s an interesting way of thinking how small the world is and how it always comes back to Edmonton for me, you know.

People have a certain way about them here that is very original. I’ve been all over the world and one of my favourite things is finding out like why people do the things they do - what makes people think a certain way - and Edmonton is very original in that regard. It’s kind of like family. Oh yeah, you’ll complain about them, but if anyone insults them you’re like, “Hey, back off.” That’s how I feel about Edmonton.

On October 14, 2009, Roland gave his first official reading to City Council. His 3-part poem titled Critical Mass explores the challenges of getting to work in Edmonton from 3 perspectives: a driver, a cyclist and a pedestrian.

Check out the video below to watch Roland's reading of Critical Mass.

Where Next?

Roland Pemberton

Photo of Rollie Pemberton

Roland Pemberton is Edmonton’s newest poet laureate. He performs as Cadence Weapon, and has released 2 albums, Breaking Kayfebe and Afterparty Babies. Roland also writes a column called Backlash Blues in VUE Weekly Edmonton. About being poet laureate he says, “I’m gonna use this as a vehicle to do even weirder things than before...try to challenge what is accepted as poetry.”

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