I'm continually amazed at how lucky I am to have the job I do. Sure, it's a lot of work, I put in a ton of hours, but man oh man, the payoff is incredible. The fun that I get to have, the interesting things I get to work on are just phenomenal.
For example, earlier this summer on a day off, I was at the Family Festival in Westdale and there was a band playing on the stage central to all the family fun activities going on. They were quite good, very talented, and played a diverse range of music -- all fantastic songs. The band's name was Skirmish.
When the band broke after their first set I started chatting with the lead singer -- listening to the various songs they'd played in the first set made me wonder if we could book them for one of the special events we were planning at the bookstore. After chatting for a few minutes, I learned that the lead singer, Kenny, was none other than a Physics prof at McMaster. Yeah, kinda cool. A physics prof by day, a rocker at night. The bass player, Kari is also a prof and happens to also be an associate chair of the Physics dept.
After learning this, I just HAD to book them for some September Rush events (no, not the band with Geddy, Alex and Neil -- although having a Rush event at my store would be quite awesome) -- "Rush" is a term campuses use for those first few weeks in September when the school's population suddenly explodes and it's complete mayhem and madness on campus.
Because students have to line up to get into the store, go through the process of finding and carrying a big whack of textbooks and course materials, then get back into line to purchase these items, we're always looking for ways to make the experience a bit less tedious and perhaps even fun. We often try to get in free samples of product handouts to pass out to them and have installed Plasma screens near the cash desks of the main store so that for our 10 to 20 minute loops, they can be informed, entertained or at least distracted by changing images.
But this year, I'm delighted to note that the local Hamilton band Skirmish will be performing two sets of acoustic solo and acoustic duo performances at three of our locations during those first few days of Rush.
On September 2nd they'll be playing at T29 (Temporary bookstore location for 1st year Arts & Humanities texts) from 2 to 4 PM.
On September 3rd they'll be playing in The Tank (a large warehouse sized textbook store where all upper year texts are sold) from 1 to 3 PM.
And on September 4th, they'll be playing at Titles main store (where during Rush we will be selling the 1st year Math and Science texts) in Gilmour Hall from 3 to 5 PM.
Here's a video (featuring a musical track of the band covering the Spirit of the West song "Home for a Rest") announcing the event. I'm quite delighted that we're able to do this, but also particularly tickled that some of the students there are going to be shocked to learn that the rocker belting out awesome cover versions of some great songs is none other than the guy who'll be teaching them a couple of days later.
This week I'm counting how fortunate I am to work at a great place like McMaster University and that my role at Titles Bookstore allows me to work on some really fantastic projects.