A Stranger A Week – #66


A few months ago I concluded a project called A Stranger A Day made to overcome my shyness and talk to people. The challenge: talk to a stranger a day for a year of my life and try to convince them to let me take a picture and share a story. Since most tattoos have a story behind them, this was my conversation starter and a common thread that linked them all. Every week I have been sharing the story of the week here on Vancouver Is Awesome. With the year now over and 365+ strangers and their stories documented, I’ll continue to talk to a stranger every once in a while, and post a story weekly here on VIA.

Stranger #375 | weeklyish posts

Location: JJ Bean Yaletown

Coffee as usual, unusual neighbourhoods and quite a daunting day. I can’t quite remember what I was doing (this story was collected a few days ago), but life brought me to the shop for a cup. As I was waiting, I spotted this very unique piece. I immediately thought back to the days when the project was daily. There were almost no customers around the bar, so hoping not to step over some boundaries I told him a bit about the project and asked if he’d like to share the story behind a tattoo. To my luck, he picked the one that caught my interest —I still keep that rule of letting the stranger pick a tattoo to share. And I paraphrase:

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I’m a big fan of music. I’m personally not very musical, but I think that I enjoy music so much more because I’m not inclined to be musical. Anyways, I found this band called Showbread when I was in grade ten or so, and I started listening to them. They had awesome music. The album that I first listened to was a bit punky, rock, alternative, with a bit of industrial… a bit of everything. Why they are significant is because they are a Christian band and I am a Christian, and I thought Christian music was so lame for the longest time until I found these guys. They write songs about the zombie apocalypse and cool stuff like that, and they are also very strong, lyrically. Just the whole writing behind their songs is very thought out; they are very political too, so they’ve been my favourite band forever…

I then asked why it was crossed out.

…oh, this is the band symbol. It kind of has to do with one of the albums and their opposition to the corporativism in the music industry. ‘Raw’ is just a way they describe their music. Every album they’ve released has been almost in a different genre. They’ve also released a double album with a story that you read along with the album, like timed to the songs, and now they are on a label where they are giving music away for free, kind of to show people their music and what they are all about. They are just about to release an album that they are going to fundraise for themselves and shoot a whole music video for it… I don’t know, it’s just a cool band that has had a lot of influence in my life. So, that’s that.

I really appreciated him sharing this story. It’s awesome when someone or something (like an individual or a band) inspires you and/or influences your life. I don’t know, it gives me a little bit of hope for some reason —to see inspiring people, and most of all, to see people inspired. He had a very warm vibe. It was a great encounter. I then thanked him and went on my way —kind of repeating the story in my head and scribbling some notes on it. So here you go.

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Thanks stranger!

For the 400+ stories, check out astrangeraday.com