Ask Amy: April 2022

Need advice on love, sex, relationships, the music biz or have a confession to get off your chest? Ask Amy Billan.

Doesn’t Smell Like Teen Spirit

Dear Amy: I love my bandmates, every one of them, and each one has their own strengths and weaknesses. Our bass player has a wonderful smile, relentless beat and smelly feet. Maybe worst of all, she thinks it’s funny. We beg her to keep her boots on in the van and at rehearsal or just do something about it. I think she thinks we’re kidding because she just laughs when we complain. I can’t imagine being without her. I’m the drummer, so we’re tight, but it’s one more reason to dread van rides. How do I get the message through and stay friends? — Feet No Treat

Dear No Treat: How unpleasant. Sharing smells certainly is part of the bargain in a band. There are helpful products for such noxious aromas. You could come packing them. Fresh socks on the rider are always helpful. If she doesn’t care though, that’s not good band material, and you may have to give her the stinky boot.

Are awards worth winning?

Dear Amy: Grammys are coming up, JUNOs after that. Have you won awards or been nominated and didn’t win? What was that like? How important is winning an award for an artist? Do you set out to win them or are they just a nice bonus? Or are you too cool for awards at all and they’re just bullshit? — Worth Winning?

Dear Winning: Making art isn’t doing sports. Van Gogh was considered a failure during his lifetime and Stomping Tom returned all his JUNOs in protest of the awards. So many good beautiful things don’t win awards. Serena Williams wins because she is the best tennis player of all time, but Charlotte Cornfield who writes some of Canada’s best songs has no JUNO. I am sure being recognized in the industry of the game doesn’t feel terrible! And it’s good for business! I’m in a band that bellows from the stage “put your hands up ’cause you know you’re gonna lose.” The free champagne must be nice though! If I won an award for this advice column, I wouldn’t be mad.

I’m a Friend Without Benefits

Dear Amy: I’m living the life of a rom-com plot device. I’m the “friend” to an awesome couple, the straight guy that’s always over for dinner with one of my best friends and his awesome girlfriend who is now also a great friend of mine. Or maybe it’s a foreign movie, like Jules et Jim, not sure which one I am but you get the idea. We do everything together. Of course, I am attracted to the girl, and I imagine she is to me; we flirt and cuddle sometimes, but it can never go anywhere — it shouldn’t go anywhere. I’m just the guy who smiles magnanimously when they head upstairs at the end of the night. I love them and our time together, but am I just tormenting myself and I should pull off the bandage and spend more time alone eventually finding my own girl? Or keep hanging with my friends? I enjoy our time together, they make me feel good and maybe that’s how I have to feel to attract my own special somebody? Head out on my own or continue in my safe harbour? — JULES, JIM OR JERK?

Dear J: Society has made us feel like being in a couple is the ultimate end. It is part of a Disney world of corporate capitalist patriarchal handcuffs. There was a study that showed single women over 40 without children are the happiest people alive. Friendship is what buoys our days and celebrates our nights. Love isn’t binary. Enjoy the closeness you have with this friendship family and maybe try some swiping to the left on a dating app.

I’m Freakin’ Out

Dear Amy: I was already freaking out about the plague and the financial uncertainty. And my ongoing dread about the environment never subsides, just gets bumped by another crisis. And now there’s major war in Europe and it could get bigger. Thought that shit was our great-grandparents’ nightmare. How do you manage stress, Amy? Because I am truly freaking out.
— Just Want To Sleep

Dear Sleep: Helping helps. Crying helps. Instead of splitting yourself into all of it, maybe follow through with one crisis and then put your work and worry into helping that cause. Reading history helps. Looking at art helps. Making art helps even more. Talking to elders helps. Taking a break from the internet helps. There is help to give and there is help to be had — and also remember, it’s okay to be sad.

Amy Millan is a Canadian indie rock singer and guitarist. She records and performs with Stars and Broken Social Scene and has a successful solo career. Have a question for Amy?

You Might Also Like

Amy Millan headshot and

Ask Amy: Winter 2022

Need advice on love, sex, relationships, the music biz or have a confession [...]

By Amy Millan