This comic accurately reflects the first time my husband and I met Debs and Errol (we’re the two on the left in the first panel). If you don’t know who they are, allow me to introduce you to a wonderful world filled with narwhals, AT-ATs, beautiful music, fun lyrics, and playful banter. They are a geek band that has been together since 2011, though I only heard about them near the end of 2012.
I was brought into the D&E universe first by Errol and Manda, who is Errol’s partner in a production company they called WE Tangent. They wrote, produced, and starred in a musical for NaNoWriMo. (If you know anything about NaNoWriMo and haven’t watched this yet, do it NOW.) Then they had a streamathon on YouTube to promote the crowd-funding campaign to record the songs from the musical more professionally. I spent the entire 7 hours watching and interacting in chat with these people, and would get a little rush every time they addressed my comments from chat. (I feel this is a good time to mention that I am not just an introvert, but a painfully shy and socially awkward introvert. Online it’s not as bad, but I still often keep quiet unless I start to feel more comfortable.)
The first times I went to the Debs and Errol website, where Errol posted near-daily webcomics for years, I was too overwhelmed to stay long. After November (and NaNoWriMo) was over, and the musical had long-since ended, and I had exhausted all of the videos I could find online of Errol and/or Debs singing about NaNo, not to mention Errol irritating people, I decided to tackle that website. I started at the beginning and was introduced to the band more firmly.
I don’t remember exactly when or how I first interacted with Debs, but what I do remember is that she treated me as if I were already a friend. And that has been my experience with Debs & Errol as a whole. They treat me like a friend. I daresay they consider all of their fans friends. They have gained some decent recognition, and of course sought wider exposure when they could, but one of the biggest benefits (in my opinion) of never becoming too big is that they could still interact with their fans. In fact, in early 2013, my husband asked them if they would record themselves singing happy birthday to me. Errol took it a step further and they ended up rewriting lyrics from one of the songs from the NaNoMusical into the following birthday song for me!
Deb and Errol both live in Canada, while I live in the US, so for a while, I had to pass on their concerts, which were usually in Canada. One on the east coast of the US was still too far for me. But then they announced they were going to be in Ohio. I’m from Indiana, so that’s only one state over. My husband and I quickly hatched a plan to drive to Ohio and see them. The above comic was from that trip, in October 2014. It was only one afternoon, but we got to meet them, have breakfast with them, and see them in concert. I can’t even tell you how hilarious they are in concert. I’d seen some videos on YouTube, but frankly, I couldn’t always understand what was being said. Seeing them in person was better than I could have imagined. My husband and I discussed someday visiting Toronto, where they live, to see them again and maybe meet some others from the D&E universe who live in that area.
About 3 weeks ago, though, Debs & Errol announced that the band was breaking up. Even in this unpleasant news, I still found myself overwhelmed by the way they made me feel like a friend. I don’t want to sound conceited in saying this, but being included in their list of those they wanted to share the news with personally, before they announced it on social media, was more touching than I can say.
Along with the break-up announcement came the news of a farewell concert. Though I can’t say why they set the date for over a month later, it was perfect for us. My husband and I immediately set to work on figuring out what we would have to do to be able to travel the 7 hours to Toronto to be there for the farewell concert. And as soon as I mentioned it to Errol, he suggested that we could perhaps stay in his guest room. So we applied for passport cards, which just came in the mail yesterday, and now we’re ready to start making plans for that weekend. I am both delighted and anxious about this forthcoming trip. I won’t list the people I’m looking forward to meeting in Toronto, in case I leave anyone off, or add anyone who I won’t have a chance to meet. I know there are others from the States making the trip too, some coming from farther away than we are. It will be a whirlwind of a weekend, I’m sure, and I only hope I can handle it all. (Did I mention how shy and socially awkward I am?)
I took my time preparing this post for several reasons. I wasn’t sure if I should make one at all, as this blog is very obscure, and it might turn out to be a pointless endeavor. Several other people have made much more poignant and eloquent posts about this, and some of them even took words out of my own mouth (seriously, if I repeated anyone, I’m sorry). And I just wasn’t sure how to say what I wanted to say.
The odd thing is that, while writing this, it’s the first time I’ve experienced any strong emotions about the band breaking up. Don’t get me wrong–I love Debs & Errol and will miss them as a band like crazy. However, I haven’t been a fan as long as some, and haven’t been as engrossed a fan as others. I’m not quite geeky enough to appreciate all of their works, and I’m not outgoing enough to insert myself into their world more than I have (which, again, just makes it more incredible that we were invited to stay at Errol’s family’s house). I am also not the most sentimental person. Yet somehow, I find myself crying when I think about Debs gently breaking the news to me at 11:30 on a Wednesday night, or about how weepy and emotional that concert is going to be for everyone there.
I only hope that I can continue to be friends with both Debs and Errol, despite only being connected by the internet. At least then it wouldn’t so much like saying goodbye.
These are the posts others have made about this topic, in case anyone’s curious: