Or, I should say, someone claiming to be Bryan Adams.
i came across your page while researching pineapple cultivation.
I wrote him back, because, COME ON, how could I not reply? I mean, I’m laughing at myself now, because you’d think I’d be cool about it, but instead my inner ten year old quickly and aggressively hijacked my emotions and was all, “Holy crap, Bryan Adams thinks my Internet Website is cool and wants me to keep smiling!”
And he did write back from what appears to be a legitimate account. But who can say? I’m not going to waste time trying to prove the email’s legitimacy. It’s much more fun to just believe that Bryan Adams, a Canadian superstar and photographer that I associate with a certain period of my childhood, likes my Internet Website. I mean, why not? It’s plausible. If there is one thing I have learned from a brief, ridiculous addiction (in the 90s) to the “Inside Star Closets” feature of a now defunct tabloid, it’s that celebrities are people too.
You see, 10 years ago when I started the site, I quoted a phrase on the about page that I believe originated from an interview with Bryan Adams. It’s been a long time and about a million people have said it since, but what (I believe) he said was, “Gardening is the new rock n’ roll.”
And now, ten years later and a completely unexpected life and career switcheroo later, and I am conversing via email with the originator (or I believe to be) of that quote. How oddly full circle is that? Even if it’s not the real Bryan Adams, although he claims to be and the content of subsequent emails come off as sincere, it’s still oddly surreal.
This morning, the newest email in my inbox was from The Person Claiming to be Bryan Adams, stating that he might have said that at a time when he was “…obsessing over Gunnera.”
Bryan Adams is a gardener.
It never ceases to amaze me, the people who turn out to be gardeners. Ten years ago we really wanted that quote to be true, although at the time I preferred to think of it as the new punk rock… subversive, D.I.Y, and artistic. Because when I say “punk rock” I don’t mean messy, pissing all over the place Sex Pistols type punk. I mean the punk rock of my teenage years: Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du, Big Black…. By the shear volume of people who are saying it, people still want it to be true. Perhaps it already is. These days, my generation is gardening more than anyone ever expected. And I like to think that the way we are doing it is all of those things I mentioned above. But of course, every generation thinks of themselves in that way, don’t they? We’re all the most authentic and the most subversive in our own minds.
Back to the Gunnera. Last night I had a dream that I was visiting San Francisco. I’ve been itching to visit my favourite spots there recently. And we still flirt now and again with the idea of trying to move there permanently. But I digress…. Then I woke up to an email about Gunnera. Not an obvious connection there for you, but the only times I have seen that plant in person was on trips to the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. I’ve made trips specifically to see that plant.
Have you ever seen it?
Gunnera is a massive, prehistoric botanical mammoth. I can’t help but associate it with heavy metal. And this is what I said to The Person Claiming to be Bryan Adams in a subsequent email. And amazingly, there was a brief email exchange. I will say this for The Person Claiming to be Bryan Adams: he’s very diligent about responding to email.
“Gunnera is an amazing plant. The name alone always seems to conjure up the idea of a Metal-themed garden. Sort of like the Bach-inspired garden here in Toronto, but the inspiration would be Slayer’s “Seasons in the Abyss” or Metallica’s “Fade to Black”. Oh dear, now I am off on a mental tangent planning this ridiculous garden.”
Now, whenever “Run to You” comes on the radio or “Heaven” turns up in a random dramatic television series, I will think about Gunnera, a brief, like minded exchange with someone who may very well have been the real Bryan Adams, and the imaginary Metal Head Garden.
And I will smile.
UPDATE: It’s the real Bryan Adams. For a garden writer, I’ve received some pretty odd, and at times downright creepy email so I was pretty skeptical that these emails could be from the real Bryan Adams. Why anyone would go to the trouble of pretending to be Bryan Adams (and creating a pretty convincing email account) is completely beyond me, but I just don’t know anymore. As Tess said in the comments, one of the beautiful things about the Internet is that it is in some respects a great connector, a democratizing force of sorts. You never know who you’ll run into and what you’ll learn about them. But there’s a lot of crazy, too. Still, I was too skeptical. And Mr. Bryan Adams is clearly a friendly fellow and a genuine person who also happens to be curious about growing a pineapple. At the very least I should send him a “Plant Geek” button as a peace offering because he is clearly one of us.
Well that was fun. So what should we do today?