Thursday, May 14, 2009


There's a silver lining for Black Cloud Polly: Fleetwood Mac says it'll make up for cancellation with 'unforgettable concert'


Black Cloud Polly finally found a silver lining.

Polly, a.k.a. Pauline Doucette, earned her nickname in her hometown of Summerside, P.E.I., where her rotten luck is legendary.

But that all changed yesterday when her lifelong idols, Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, sent her a personal message through Sun Media, promising her "an unforgettable concert experience."

This week's trip to Edmonton to see Fleetwood Mac perform at Rexall Place last night was supposed to give her a break from all the hardship she's endured in her life.

Instead, it seemed like the hardship followed her.

The concert she had been waiting her entire life to see was postponed due to an illness in the band.

"She was just crushed," said best friend Shannon Doyle, who moved to Edmonton three years ago and got her the tickets. "She'd worked so hard to save the money for plane fare."

Doucette, 45, said she's been a huge fan since she was seven years old, but has never had the opportunity to see Nicks perform live.

But when Sun Media contacted Fleetwood Mac's spokesmen yesterday to tell them Doucette's story, they passed the word on to the artists.

Last night the band issued a brief statement:

"Fleetwood Mac's heart goes out to Pauline Doucette and her unfortunate circumstance. We are taking steps to accommodate her needs for an unforgettable concert experience at a future date on the 'Unleashed' tour."

Spokesman Eve Samuels said the exact details have yet to be worked out, and she couldn't say anything more last night.

Doucette melted into joyous tears after hearing the news that her idols had taken an interest in her, uttering, "thank you. Oh my god. That's amazing."

Doucette, a single mom trying to get by on a disability pension, spent four months collecting nickels, dimes and quarters to pay for her airfare to Edmonton.

But after hearing news of the postponement, she lamented, "I don't know if I'm going to have enough time to save change for the plane ticket again."

Doyle, who has known Doucette for 12 years, said everyone in Summerside knows what a big Fleetwood Mac fan she is - and how plagued she is by misfortune.

"Whenever I left the island, she'd ask me to look for Fleetwood Mac stuff - T-shirts, hats, anything I could find," he said with a chuckle.

Her rabid fandom is a happy distraction from a hard life.

Eight years ago she slipped into a mysterious coma for two weeks. It turned out to be encephalitis, the same disease depicted in the Robin Williams/Robert De Niro film Awakenings.

"When I finally started to come around," she recalled, "I didn't know how to do anything, so I had to learn everything again. I was in a wheelchair for six months and had to get a speech therapist to talk again."

Then, just as she was ready to resume her life, Doucette was in a car accident that left her with a brain injury and short-term memory loss, leaving her unable to work.

Doyle said bad luck just seems to follow her.

"Summerside is a quiet, laid-back place with almost no crime," he said. "But if some car gets randomly vandalized, you can bet it'll be hers."

But Doucette doesn't want to be considered a "pity case." When times get tough, she turns to her favourite musician for comfort.

"First time I ever heard her sing, it was so inspiring to me," Doucette said. "I don't know, something about her just inspires me. That's the only way to explain it. I live for Stevie Nicks."

Her daughter Jessica bought her a black, bejewelled rosary because it looked like something Nicks would wear.

"I had it with me on the flight," Doucette said, laughing. "I know some people think that I'm silly. It's even on my Facebook profile that my lifelong dream has been to see Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks especially."

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