Saturday, 20 December 2008

Welcome to Canada

Land of snow, sledding, silly hats and scarves, pretty people, cheap restaurants and crafts. I've been home for the last three/four days but it feels a lot longer. Catching up with friends, shopping for poetry, decorating bad Christmas decorations, sledding in snowsuits, walking through a blizzard, eating more sushi than I thought possible... The days have been full, and wonderful. Last night, walking home through 20 cm of snow from Bay and Bloor, I was amazed by how surreal the whole thing felt. I haven't been back for a winter in 4 years, and while one part of me thinks there could not be anything more natural in the world than navigating my way through a thick layer of white powder and a bottom layer of ice, the more recent part of me thinks the entire experience should be relegated to sci fi or the delusional fantasies of a coke head. But there could be nothing more fun than being in a place that is easy - easy friends, easy food, easy life. When we got to the bottom of the hill I lay back, looked up in the sky, and I could barely believe how good it felt to relax on a bed of comfy ice. It might have just been in contrast to walking back up the hill.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

What's really going on in Greece

Hi Bloggy friends -

So today I have received two emails from friends in Greece telling me that the situation in Athens is completely different from how it's being portrayed in the world media, and that that portrayal has been really damaging to Athenians and to Greece. I'm putting one of those emails here, just so that you can get an idea of what is really going on. For once, this blog gets political. (Thank goodness.) If you agree, email the editor of the Guardian and the news editor at the BBC and tell them so. Here's the letter. This is from a well educated, urban hipster, not so unlike you and me...

Hello all, hope you are all well and happy :)
I'm sending this email in light of what has been going on in Greece at the moment. I don't know how long it will last or where it will lead. I do know that I would like people to understand the truth and not the media portrayal.

Indeed a cop shot dead a 15 year old boy in the center of Athens (Exarcheia district is a popular area btw and it happened just next to one of my favourite bars-just so you understand that the district is not at all a rundown-high-crime area). He shot him after having a verbal confrontation-the boy did not attack him physically- and only after the two cops provoked the group of 15 year olds. People started taking to the streets in an hour and the riots spread all over Greece later that night. That much is already accepted by the media all around the world.

The riots in Greece are not at all a mob attack, the people involved are not thugs. There has been indeed a few incidents of looting and its true that among the people there are certain individuals that are taking advantage of the situation.
No citizens have been threatened by the protesters and not all protests are violent. Strikes in many public sectors show that its the majority of people opposing an over conservative regime that has been leaning way too much to the right. The youth might be the more active protesters but older adults and middle aged people join the peaceful protests allover the country.

At the moment, police is using violence to deal with peaceful protesters, hitting already handcuffed children and repeatedly firing shots in the air when there is no provocation. The excessive use of chemicals is extremely dangerous to the protesters, the passer buys and the residents of the different areas.Two fifteen year olds that were arrested during one of the peaceful protests were handcuffed and attacked by 5 riot police officers who stepped on their heads, kicked them in the face and dragged them across the street by their hair...

I think it is important to know what is really going on. Its not a nation against a group of thugs. Its a nation against police brutality, conservatism, and a gonvernment that has been involved in a historic number of scandals.

Spreading the truth is a form of resistance to violence and apathy that we can all afford.


Monday, 1 December 2008

The Curious Case of F Lost Fitzgerald

Hollywood was never good to him. Anyone who read the Pat Hoby stories knows that. F Scott Fitzgerald practically serves as the posterboy for why too-talented prose writers should never move to Los Angeles. They'll suck you dry, they'll take you for everything you've got, and they'll never give you the credit you deserve. Now, nearly seventy years after his death, Lala land is sticking it to him again - with its adaptation of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

If you haven't heard about this movie yet, trust me, after it opens Christmas day, you will. It's a Brad Pitt/ Cate Blanchett vehicle being hailed by everyone in the industry as sure to sweep at least ten Oscars. I'd heard about it nearly a year ago, when I imdb'd my old friend Scottie and saw that one of my favourite short stories was being adapted into a film by David Fincher. But here's where things get hairy - Even though any fan of Fitzgerald knows the story well (they haven't changed the title, at least) Fitzgerald's credit for the project is being kept to a bare minimum. He hasn't even got a credit under "Writing" on imdb.

Call me sentimental, but hasn't our friend Scotty suffered enough at the hands of the film industry? Could the Hollywood that treated him so badly in his later years at least honor his memory by admitting that the strongest part of this picture, the concept, is his? I'm sure Eric Roth has done a sufficiently Hollywood job with his adaptation, (Eric Roth also wrote Forest Gump) but to see him take full credit (seriously, check imdb) for a story written by one of the greatest writers of the last century is so unfunny it makes me want to cry. I'm surprised the Estate are letting this pass. There should be a guild for dead writers.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Have you seen this cat?

Courtesy of Alison Lang's Facebook Album.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

A little less irony please...

I assume that the two or three of you who read this have probably already seen a Kate Bush music video from the 80s. (In a very unhip fashion I kept saying she was from the early 90s yesterday. Everyone present rolled their eyes, and rightfully so.) Well, Kate Bush is one of those musicians who has gone under my radar until relatively recently, so please humor me while I make discoveries that may already be very familiar to you. If they're new to you too, you're in for a treat. All of Kate Bush's dancing is fantastic, but the dance that really got me is in the music video to "Running up that hill." I was struck by a nostalgia for a time I remember so little I have a hard time saying whether it was the 80s or 90s.

What is this thing called irony? Why does the zeitgeist suddenly fluster, embarrassed, at something that could once earnestly touch people on an emotional level? I ask because this video, for all of its parodied style, is unmistakably beautiful. It will be interesting to see, in the future, if eventually videos like these may shed their post-ironic skin and become universal touch points for humanity again. Shakespeare was also unfashionable about twenty years after his hey day. Then I started thinking about all of the music videos that I loved so much in the late eighties - early nineties. They were so unabashedly serious - dramatic - even tragic. Madonna's Like a Prayer video, Aha's Take On Me video, Meatloaf's I Would Do Anything for Love. They all had amazing narratives, a nearly gothic sense of atmosphere that really captured my childhood imagination. And then, suddenly, music videos decided that they were entirely too frivolous to take themselves seriously. We were left over with these earnestly emotional and dramatic videos, and first we dismissed them, tried to forget about them, and then, trying not to give away too much, hesitantly stepped forward to reclaim them under the umbrella of irony.

I've always taken a bit of issue with my generation's love of irony - mostly because I wonder if it's a bit of cowardice. I wonder if, by claiming irony, we keep ourselves at a distance from our emotions - from the things that truly touch us, excite us, make us think. I say this because liking something "ironically" does buy the admirer a lack of commitment, a shield against criticism, because irony suggests a simultaneous critique and admiration. It seems fine and dandy, but imagine someone telling you that they were in love with you, ironically? Imagine someone being your best friend ironically? Or loving their dog, ironically? It's terrifying, because in the action of love, there is a dismissal that suggests that they will brush you aside as easily as they'll embrace you. That at any moment they might shed you like a skin. I've got to say, what we call irony is a kind of armor our generation has invented to deal with the way things are.

Then of course, there's an artist who encapsulates every aspect of the 80s we blush at, who is cheesier than brie, but is entirely beyond irony. He's invulnerable to it. He keeps the 80s alive and well, but only if you are willing to love him earnestly, as a fearless emotional leader. If you will stand by him, vulnerable to the jeers of those who just don't get it, the man is a moveable feast. I'm not talking Morrissey, though I could be. Check the link, for the sexiest pay off to this question in the form of a video I can't embed.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

A few acres of home

It's an age old topic on this blog: What does it mean to be a Canadian? I've been over it many times before - in a nostalgic list of things I like to do in Toronto, in a short story about taking the bus from Kingston to Ottawa, even in a list of "Shameful Canadians" - the very few Canadians whose nationality I hesitate to bring up in conversation, rather than feel compelled to mention as quickly as possible. But I gained a new kind of perspective on it today by listening to, strangely enough, an episode of the radio show This American Life called "Who's Canadian?"

Now I'm confident that anyone with an interest in the Canadian National Identity (and let's be honest, that could only, at max, be about 32 million of you, which by internet standards is comparatively low) should make the effort to listen to this episode. It traces the Canadian question from the perspective of Americans - who do really see Canadianess as a sort of quirky blandness, exotic in how incredibly unexotic it really is. For example, there is a lengthy debate in the program between Ian Brown, former host of the CBC radio program "Sunday Morning" and Sarah Vowell, (who Janet recently wrote a hilarious blog posting about) where Sarah seems to argue that what Ian sees as major differences between Canadians and Americans are negligible. It was amazing. I could hear Ian becoming defensive at the exact moments that I myself felt defensive. Although he's an incredibly smooth and confident speaker, I could hear the nervousness - that maybe, through sheer Americaness, Vowell might take our shreds of what it means to be Canadian away from us.

For example - when asked what he perceived as a "soundbite" for Canada, he said, "The true North strong and Free" which she laughed at, thinking he was joking, and then he quoted Voltaire's description of Canada, "a few acres of snow." I was incredibly touched by this description, but Sarah Vowell found it a really uninspiring national maxium. "A few acres of snow? That doesn't really make you want to get up and change the world?" She said. But of course I was thinking, well, we're Canadians. We don't change the world. We're defined by the fact that where Americans railed to change it, we sort of waited for them to get on with it and then fell in line. I mean, we didn't have the same problems America had. We didn't have slavery. And every problem we did have - women needing the right to vote, etc, the Americans and the British did us the favour of kind of sorting out for us. Am I saying this is a good thing? No. But maybe it adds to a kind of calmness - a lack of manic (both good and bad) behaviour, and a more subtle, evolutionary way in the Canadian national identity that (even if it's not necessarily positive) is a major difference between the two countries.
But this isn't something I'm necessarily proud of. I don't know. I feel the way you'd expect a Canadian to feel about it. Calm. Accepting. It was amazing to me to hear Sarah Vowell scoff at "A few acres of snow" when I'd been so touched by it - is it the zenlike quality of snow? Just that image of absolute stillness, of expanse, the deprecation in it as well, that just makes me all nostalgic and Canadian feeling?

And then I started thinking about what I do consider Canadian. The things I've written about on this blog as Canadian... and I started to wonder if these things might not be particular to Canada, but particular to me. In America, in England, in France, in Ireland, surely there are vegetarians, there are Indie bands, there are recycling kids wearing used clothes riding around on bicycles, maybe I just hung out with them more in Canada. Maybe I just feel more comfortable with them there, because in Canada I'm on my home turf.

I feel like I'm getting at the truth here and also veering further from it. Okay - this is what I mean to say - what I think of as "Canada" is not, I'll wager, what Stephen Harper, Alanis Morisette, Neil Young, or any number of other Canadians think of Canada. It is not a quintessential Canadianness. What I think of as Canada is linked with what is familiar to me, what I grew up with, it's as individual as I am, it's mine, I own my Canada. I mean, I can. All us Canadians can. It's such a non-descript country, we can all individually define "Canada" and "Canadian" however we want. And yet my own definition feels so inherent, so much a part of me, that it seems an inelluctable truth. Any national identity is like this I guess, but Canada, by the very virtue of being so pliable, so unfixed, is more so. Canada is a make-your-own-national-identity national identity - Which, my gosh, to me seems to be the most inspiring national identity of all. For all of the American talk of Freedom and Justice for All (Great Soundbites, to be sure) what can be more free, more just, more infinitely exciting than to come from a nation where you, you as an individual decide what that means. I don't think I'd exchange it for all the conflicting soundbites in the world.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

One day you wake up, and the world feels different

You were there. So was I. Where I was, it was about 6am. We'd been at a flat, at a bar, at another flat - following the results around like bees polonating. At every new television set, it just got sweeter. Barack Obama was going to be the 44th president of the United States.

I was watching the results on BBC, and as soon as the results rolled in, the station took a typically British approach to good news. "Oh yes, of course, this is a historic occasion, but can he really fulfill his promise? How will he deal with the millions of first time black voters who think the man can walk on water?" It seemed a distinct downer as voice over for those buoyant images of Americans celebrating. One commentator said as much, "Yes, yes, of course it will be hard, of course he has a lot to do. But for now, let's just sit back and enjoy a moment that is, if nothing else, symbolic." There was a moment of calm, and on tv, the confetti continued flowing.

Symbolic is the perfect word for it - Even with my own lurking doubts, contrasting Obama's flash with the loomingly dull recession - I found myself truly moved for the very first time by a symbol I had previously thought of as intensely irritating - The American Dream. Even a disappointed John McCain engaged in the moment's symbolic power, reminding that hissing right wing crowd that today America was delivering on its promise. Today America could truly say it was a land of possibility.

Symbols have the power to change. They change the way a country thinks of itself. They change a sense of esteem, a sense of core responsibility lurking very deep at the heart of a person's sense of nationhood, and their very sense of self. Engaged and inspired as we all were, Canadians, Europeans, Asians, South Americans and Africans alike, this symbol could change a sense of core responsibility worldwide. In 2000 it seemed that the world collectively had their hearts in their throats as we all watched democracy gone very very wrong. The feeling was like a bad ringing sound in the world's ear that got louder in 2001. We'd all resigned ourselves to it as an inevitable fact even as it was growing deafening by 2008. On Tuesday night the ringing stopped. And there was a powerful feeling that something had gone very very right. Democracy was back. It proved itself. And every person living in a democratic system in the Western World could suddenly hear their own voice clearly.

He can't walk on water - claims like those are a matter of faith. But Barack Obama has delivered the country something more ground-shaking, more integral. His team has shown us all that uniting and working together for a common goal does have results, results that pay off. Why did Tuesday give creedence to the stale cliche of the American Dream? Because finally, after eight darkened years, the Western World felt a sudden surge of hope. It was as light and indefatigable as the most ancient and guiding symbol of all... Dawn.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The Culture Wars

Janet and I are currently having a culture war, where we introduce eachother to a great piece of pop culture every day.

Janet's Offerings:

30 Rock (The Pilot and the Episode with Will Arnett)

Clark and Michael

And Gossip Girl

My Entries:

Dmitri the Lover (See older posting)

Vinyl Cafe

Seymour an Introduction

Jimmy Stewart (See three posts ago.)

You decide.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

A terrifying DH Lawrence line

From "The Evening Land":

"Oh, America,
The sun sets in you.
Are you the grave of our day?"

And that was several decades ago. Wowsas, the end is slow.

On the Fringes...

Hello Bloggy friends!

Has it ever been some time! First, I apologize for the Sarah Palin video posting that currently takes up the whole darned blog if you check it on a PC. It's just too hilarious to take down, technical difficulties aside. I stand by Head of Skate until it's in a theatre near you. But this does mean that the only way to save the blog is to up and post something, even if (as always) I have not so much to say.

I am currently writing from a bookshop called Atlantis in Santorini in Greece where I am listening to 69 Love Songs and watching the head dude, Craig, pack up his life posessions in shoeboxes, and Janet, my partner in Atlantis crime and crime fighting, try and pilfer his ipod for goodness before he leaves. Being in such an idyllic and relaxed place has definitely given me pause to think - first off, being somewhere idyllic doesn't do much to change your mood. At the end of the day you've still got yourself to contend with, even in the best circumstances. I heard Brad Pitt say as much once in an interview, and I thought, "Wow Brad. That's deep. You're so lucky, you're a star, and yet..."

Nonetheless, I am having a nice time, with both myself and the setting. (That sounded mildly inappropriate.) I've been researching a play, though research is threatening to descend into procrastination, and dipping in and out of books that are unrelated yet related to the subject matter. I am a bit terrified about trying to write something weighty again. It's easy to become paralyzed by this kind of thing- but not worrying about money, or work, or really anything else does help to chase these things away.

Wow, way to get personal with the Blog. I really just meant to get Sarah Palin off my sidebar. Now suddenly we're like all best friends or something. I blame it on the Magnetic Fields.

Okay Bloggy friends. Til my next post. I'll try to keep it on a topic that isn't me.

PS: The image is from a photo essay I made of Janet absentee voting. Barack Obama's name feels especially good when a Greek breeze is blowing.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Terrified for us all Pt. Deux

It seems that College Humor beat me to the punch. Or should I say... rink.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Terrified for us all

Some time ago, my partner in crime and crime fighting and I had been joking, during the Hilary battle, about a great pitch for a movie called President Mom. We described the pitch to our friends - President Mom wins on a platform of family values, but is by and large considered too inexperienced to run... there would be a series of mom related disaster and high jinx until at the climax of the movie she wins over the party on their agricultural platform with her signature board room oat bran cookies. As the bad guys chew, and argue against the farmers, President Mom kindly points out that every ingredient in those cookies came from an American farm, and enchanted, the bad guys become less stringent on their brand new agricultural tax on Iowa and everyone wins. President Mom exits the White House to the cheers of the protesting farmers, and the skeptical Dick Cheney character shakes her hand, then, with a "what the hey!" elbow shrug, gives her a hug. More cheers. The poster would be a mom sitting at a desk, cookies prominently displayed over her files and papers, with the white house in the background, and her two children clawing at her legs under the table. Miraculously, Morgan and I were brainstorming this film well before Sarah Palin emerged as the keenest actress to audition.

This article is guilty of Michael Moore style hyperbolizing in parts, but its sentiment is right on the money. Since reading her Wikipedia entry I have been terrified of Sarah Palin - but strangely in awe of the marketing strategy behind the choice of her as John McCain's running mate. The Guardian ran a controversial opinion piece by Zoe Williams last March well before Palin joined the presidential ballot discussing how beautiful and stylish French politicians happened to be. I remember reading it after a female friend pointed out how appallingly sexist it was, though in retrospect it seemed to have been making an excellent point. How could America not have seen it earlier? In politics sex sells.

Although choosing a female running mate may have seemed like a drastic political move, it could not have been a sounder marketing strategy. President Mom, as Hilary pointed out, is not going to happen, but Vice President Mom feels as comfy to the American people as her hand knitted slippers. An attractive, supportive wife figure to the big old white male leader - this fits right into our oldest and most deeply ingrained stereotypes of the female leader. There were plenty of other Republican women who were much more experienced and looked better on paper for this job, but Republicans are voting for family values - and every family needs a mom. Naturally, this mom makes less than your father, is less experienced, and is Oedipally sexy. Of this I am certain - Sarah Palin was not chosen as John McCain's running mate on the advice of senior members of the Republican party, but on the advice of the best marketing team the Republicans could afford. Now, more than ever, let's hope that Americans don't fall prey to the plot of a sub par Hollywood Movie, otherwise known as classic advertising. Remember Hitler? He was quite the publicity savvy straight talker himself.

If elected, Sarah Palin will do everything in her power to give less freedom to the American people. This mom has a strict curfew, doesn't like your black friends, and insists that you go through with the pregnancy. She may make you cookies and take you to soccer practice once in a while, but ultimately, this mom will ruin your life. So call off the production, because the film that stars Sarah Palin does not have a happy ending.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


Another wonderful nugget of hilarity found through facebook stalking (checking out a photo album) for a friend of a friend. This time discovered on some young gentleman's first day in Paris. The bandaid makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, but hey, that's the gritty reality of the streets for ya.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Back to the Internet!

Hi Bloggy readers,

After working hard for a little while, I'm catching up on all the wonderful time wasting that I hadn't been able to do whilst being a good little Forest Fringe Worker - so this means watching all the Youtube clips that eluded me when live entertainment was so readily on hand in Edinburgh.

But enough of that - Here's a youtube clip that made me cry. How often can you say that?

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Space: It's there and we're going to Climb it

This is my entry in Andy Field's excellent Space Project called (you guessed it) "Space: It's there and we're going to climb it" for the Forest Fringe. He has assigned every single space mission to someone over the festival and is compiling the work he gets to present this afternoon at our ending party.

Video clip from Bling-Central's blog:

My Mission - STS 41-D

Weirdly enough, as a youngster I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. I was a precocious kid (I know, you're not surprised) and I also took most of my life advice from a popular and horrible television series called "Full House." When the music would start getting a little bit emotional, everybody's second favourite sitcom neighbour, orange lipstick wearing Kimmy Gibler would go home, and Danny would sit down in Stefanie and DJ's room and explain the what's what to them about life. I don't remember most of these life lessons, except for one that stuck with me. A wee monologue where Joey (Famous for the paper rock scissors catchphrase "Cut It Out" and, according to Alanis Morisette, for being gone down on in a theatre) explained the moment he knew as a child what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He said he'd heard his grandfather tell a joke, I think, and he thought, I want to be a Comedian. Okay, so as reverently as I treated this show and it's advice as a child, I thought that kind of drama would happen everywhere. And I was waiting with bated breath for the moment that I would know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The moment came - I was at my cottage in Ontario, looking up at the stars, awe struck, we are so small I thought, how is this even possible, look at All of those dots! And I thought Space. There is nothing else. Nothing else is important but Space. I want to explore space. Not to actually go into space, but to help space happen. (As though it couldn't exist without me.) So I asked my parents what the names of the people who designed rocket ships were (because I was a good little drawer as a child) and they told me "Aerospace Engineer." I committed the term to memory the same way I'd committed the only words I knew in my mom's native language of Hungarian to memory, and every time someone asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I wouldn't bat an eyelid when they raised their brow, impressed, that I said "Aerospace Engineer." This was a job I took to school with me. I thought I'd just go through the motions until I'd graduate and then finally, easily, take up my post at NASA and start drawing those rocket ships. Of course at 7 my ideas of rocket ships were as ambitious and impractical as my misplaced belief that I'd ever design them. For example, I was CONVINCED that I could take all my brother's lego and build a lifesize rocket ship in our backyard that would actually work. I heard later on that someone in the back gardens of United States was trying the same thing from a slightly (only slightly) less difficult material than lego. But magic was everywhere, and especially in rocket ships. I didn't know the secrets yet, but one day I would.

I think it was around grade three that I started to realize that I wasn't very good at Math. My teacher bought me a sketchbook, and when I told the class what I wanted to be she seemed skeptical instead of impressed. Maybe I should stick to drawing Lego spaceships instead of real ones. The rocket wouldn't sail through space simply because I willed it so, and equally, there was no magic trick to memorizing my multiplication tables. For some reason I thought my brain would decipher times tables psychically but it just didn't. I would guess numbers at random on tests with the confidence of Good Will Hunting and always, Always expect to be right exactly before the moment I was proved wrong. So bit by bit, the magic of space became a science, and NASA lost any possibility of its worst ever (though Maverick Visionary) Aerospace Engineer who worked entirely in Lego.

I did have a moment, Let's call it a desperate moment, in the middle of my nondescript humanities degree where I wondered, sitting in the over decorated rainforest cafe with my friend Carolyn, whether or not I should go back to High School, start over, concentrate really hard, and become an Aerospace Engineer. We talked about how I'd do it, and for a moment we both seemed to believe in the magic of the plan, Maybe it was destiny, meant to be, I could look at the infinite tests more difficult than I would ever be able to handle and by magic, the job would come to me, but the Rainforest Cafe is not the place to change your life, and numbers never just come to you. Space is there, infinite, magical, but a blog entry is about as close as I'll ever come to climbing it. And if the rocket ship isn't made out of lego, I'm not interested.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Bloggy Update

I am writing from the madness of the Forest Fringe, with a paint party being created in the hall in front of me. As you all know, or do not know, I am running a festival with my good friend Andy, and so far it's been manic but wonderful... putting off some of the upcoming idears I have for the ole blogosphere. But if you're interested in seeing something that broke my heart it was so beautiful, check out this wonderful photo essay on the Forest Fringe. It will give you a better idea of what's going on here and why things are busy but very exciting. Also, if you're in Edinburgh come in and say hello. Even if we've never met before (0r met a long time ago at a video store:) I always like to say hey to new and wonderful people.

And according to heresay - here are the things that I really want to see this festival:

Architecting at the Traverse
- a play by the National Theatre of Scotland, who can basically do no wrong, and The TEAM, an amazing theatre group from New York. It's sold out for its entire run, but I reckon if you went along on a rainy day ten minutes beforehand you'd get some love.

Pornography by Enda Walsh (also at the Traverse)
- I want you to sing "I heard it through the grapevine" to yourself in your head. If I were really pretentious I would suggest that you be sure to sing yourself the Slits cover since it's better than the original, but I'm trying to keep it simple. So anyway, I heard it through the grapevine and it's meant to be good. That's what happened.

66a Church Road by Daniel Kitson (also at the Traverse) - Me + watching Daniel Kitson = occasionally soporific but wonderful effect. I think you'd have to be pure evil not to love this man.

And a show to see at our little venue (lives up to its hype)

The Night Flyer - The Tuckster described it as Quentin Blake drawings animated live as a silent movie. Basically you've just never seen anything like it before. But book in advance, we're selling out.

Okay, so that's my pick of the Fringe. The first three I hope to get to, the last I would watch every night if I wasn't manning our box office. But it's a fun year with a lot of great stuff, and Andy and I are incredibly grateful to Forest for the opportunity to do what we're doing.

Watch this space - I'm going to try to steer clear of theatre and remain random with my postings, but I've got less time to waste than usual. it's a nice feeling, actually.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Anastasia is leaving

The jerk. :( This is the blog posting that I am writing whilst at Anastasia's house and listening to sad music about how she's leaving. I love this jerk so much. So bad to love a jerk who moves to New York. And also so good.

Anastasia says she didn't know that was coming. Oh, wait she said she did know. How depressing. In fact, the first song on the cd that Anastasia made me when she left is actually called... Track 01. But I'm told that it's by an excellent band called Aurevoir Simone. Which for Pee Wee's Big Adventure fans is actually a quote direct from after the faked sex in the dinosaur. Anyway, a few Bruce Springstein fans are currently singing along to the Streets of Philadelphia and it's just one of those moments where people are drinking away their sadness over a good friend leaving. No one better to sing out the night then our good friend the Bruce. On the streets of Philadelphia. What a melancholy place.

Dmitri the Lover

Yes and lover lover lover lover lover lover lover come back to me.

Number one on my list of top ten things not to do in Toronto? Let's see, that would have to be go to any of the night clubs featured on the television show Keys to the VIP. Pourquoi, you dare ask? Bloggy readers may be well aware of the only reason that a literary nut would picket for book burning - a little book called The Game by Neil Strauss, which purports to penetrating the world of pick up artists, but can double as an instructional manual for the lonely or sex deprived. And putting my hometown on the map, famous Pick Up Artists live in Toronto - which they have been quoted as saying is "The Hardest place to pick up women in the world" (I assume they are excluding cities where women wear the veil) - where some of them act as a panel on the television show "Keys to the VIP", The Iron Chef of pick up artists. An experienced PUA is staked against an amateur and we see how many phone numbers they can get in an hour. I'm amused by this quantity versus quality policy - sleeping with a girl, I suppose, is far inferior to the endless telemarketing possibilities.

But in any subculture, there is always one man who hangs out on the margins... not quite fitting in... praying for the day that "Keys to the VIP" finally ask him for his number so that he can show them a thing or two about his unconventional (not always successful) techniques. This man is Dmitri the Lover. The worst PUA in Toronto. But before you get all weepy on me, listen to this:

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Speaking of the staggeringly fantastic...

I may have single handedly helped ruin Daniel Kitson's attempt at making a dvd by being sat directly in front of him front row when he filmed his last night of "It's the Fireworks Talking" at the Stand last Fringe, and being so tired that I kept falling asleep. Before you hate me for this, I had been running around since 8am at Forest, and desperately wanted to stay awake, but the harder I struggled the harder it got, until in the middle of the show Kitson just stopped and said, "You've fallen asleep about five times. I've seen you do it." And I opened my eyes, looked up at him, and having lost my inner monologue said the first groggy but truthful argument I could think of:

"Every time I wake up I'm happy."

To my confused and sleepy delight, he seemed charmed and told the audience, while I was cured of my narcolepsy and wide eyed awake for the rest of the show. But I later read an email he sent to his mailing list where he said that he wasn't going to release the video of that show because that performance was "unbearably disastrous." It was actually unbearably wonderful, but there you go, the guy's a perfectionist.

Anyway, in reference to my last post, here's a little taste of the greatest guy I think is working in theatre/comedy/story telling today. When theatre is this great and I can show you why rather than tell you, why the heck not?

Why I hardly ever write about theatre...

So very recently one of you bloggy readers (who also happens to be my partner in crime AND crime fighting) asked me oh so innocently where the PLAYWRIGHTING has gone to in a blog entitled "Confessions of a Playwright?" Scroll through recent posts and probably None of them are actually about what the blog purports to be about. Okay, you want to know, you want to know where all the theatre has gone? Or why I've avoided any sort of theatrical discussion? It comes down to a couple of reasons:

I mean, reason number one has just got to be Fear. There is a whole network of London theatre blogs that write about it well or not so well to varying degrees and to be honest I do get nervous about having to take a stand among them. Mostly because I rarely read them unless I like the writers style/am friends with them (both could be said of Craig and Andy's blogs) or have gone to see a show and would like to place it within the ever widening context of Internet Opinion. I am happy that other people are doing it but I just don't want to get involved unless I loved something, and even then I rarely feel my bloggy attempt would do it any sort of justice. Is this terribly horrible? This is just, maddeningly, how I feel.

The second reason is going to seem like a bit of a rationalization - which it kind of is, and kind of isn't. I haven't been writing a lot. This much is horribly true. I've thought about it, but at this point playwrighting is starting to seem incredibly terrifying for whatever reason - I'm waiting for that moment when I come back to it because I will be needing it desperately. But let's say I *were* massively successful and constantly playwrighting, I'd like to think that via the internet my top priority would always be to approach the medium however I feel it works best. In the case of a blog, I think the best thing you can do is look at it as a fun time wasting experience where we can share whatever culture we are collectively accumulating via the internet. A play *could* work via the internet, and maybe that will be my next bright idea, but as it stands, I think that short forrays into whatever I last did on youtube is as valid a blogging directive as any.

Yesterday I was walking around the bookshop of the Royal Academy of Art when I found the most beautifully printed edition of a smaller volume by Kierkegaard. I turned to Stacey and just said, "Gawd, do I miss philosophy." I truly feel that even if my work ethic were stronger than it actually (no holds barred) isn't, I would be more inspired and have more to offer to playwrighting and theatre through looking at current affairs, philosophy and poetry than I would through focussing on theatre. Theatre to me is a way of funnelling through, of dealing with the fact that we're living and what that means to us. How many playwrights with depression write about characters with inner conflicts? Or playwrights from politically desperate situations write brilliantly about politics? No, no, it's not as simple as writing what you know, but it's working through what you know, reaching for more than you know, for what you almost know or what you need to know, and trying to get at something that maybe has never been expressed in theatre before - and the best place to find that thing could be through poetry, music, science, the news, or watching a delicate video that seems to depricate humanity via youtube.

But I've let myself go on - a cardinal no no of the blog.

I don't write exclusively about theatre because there's more to life - and theatre is our way of working through life. Also, for better or for worse, I can't change the title of this blog. So no matter how far I stray, playwrighting and I are kind of (thankfully) stuck with each other.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Christine Richey is a genius

The Chap - Mega Breakfast

At the shop again (of course, where else do I post?) and of our random musical selection I have been turned on to a blast from the past. About three years ago my dear friend from Antiquated Notions (my flatmate at the time) was indulging her record buying addiction when an attractive record store clerk recommended she buy a record. Now I don't remember much about the record other than the fact that it sounded like extreme Radiohead meets Broadcast meets Extreme Aphex Twin, sure, these are all good things, but in conjunction it was... um, a little much? We had the revelation that record store clerks (much like my latterday career as a video store clerk who would recommend obscure horror and silent movies only) have probably listened to so much music that their ears don't quite work anymore so they often recommend noise. I brought up an anecdote about having bought a similarly strange record called The Horse recommended to me by a record store clerk in Sydney, Australia, the debut album recorded by a London band called The Chap. My boyfriend at the time being a big fan of electronic music, I thought I would surely buy him this record and win the obscure contest forever, but once I was back home and played it for him, we had to agree that it was... for all of its hints of goodness... a bit much.

Now fastforward to today, when our newest shipment of music comes in, and I am listening to a record, quite enjoying it (though asking myself if anyone else I know would, or if it just sounds crazy) only to realize that The Chap have made their way back into my life, this time with an album called "Mega Breakfast." Considering I had a delicious breakfast with Stacey only this morning at the famous east end restaurant Saint John (I thoroughly recommend it, and breakfast cost me no more than four pounds) this seems like an eerily appropriate choice for the album title. But get to the point, Pearson... do you recommend this obscure musical nugget to your friends and the people?

I'll say this, I like the Chap more than I did in 2003, but working in a store that sells music does, technically, put me in a category where I would be inclined to.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

If you build it, they will come

Perhaps due to his penchant for Costner-isms, Andy Field so often puts things far better than I ever could, occasionally shedding light on facets of something we've spoken about that I didn't even know were there. This could be no better demonstrated than by his recent William Shatner Karaoke post on the Forest Fringe website. An idea that we came up with after watching the brilliant rendering of Shatner's Taxi Story (we turned to each other, nearly in slow motion, and said, "Shatner's on to something. By Gawd, all this time he's been on to something") and the gauntlet had been thrown. Shatner, in his own, mighty, Youtubey way, had boomed at us to keep the tradition of song monologuing alive. We are honouring his artform and bringing it on a step - I can't effing wait. If you are in Edinburgh, you must join us on the 19th to see Shatner's brainchild honoured as more than a simple novelty act, and inspiring a whole new era of karaoke performance poetry.

Playing us out is my vote for the next "Part of our Heritage" commercial:

Jimmy Silver strikes Internet Gold

At first we all thought it was a famous and often favourited internet nugget, until Jimmy Silver admitted that he had made it himself. Al said, and I QUOTE, "This is the greatest thing a creative friend of mine has produced in a while" with a meaningful look in my direction. I had to quietly agree, Jimmy has raised the bar. This clip is even more incredible keeping in mind that Jimmy can't bend his hands past a 90 degree angle and he did the whole thing in one shot. With a little bit of imagination a simple camera effect can be as or more impressive than CGI. Though Al did comment, "So, you spend a lot of time alone in the dark with your hands?"

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Shameful Canadians

Canadians are consistently rushing to remind anyone who will listen that some famous someone or other shares their heritage - Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Mike Myers, the guy who invented superman, the list goes on - yet for all of the Proud Canadians there are a strange sub category of famous people who we allow to pass under the Canadian radar in quiet shame. For your internet time wasting pleasure, here is my informal list of shameful Canadians:

1. Shameful Canadian Popstar: Shania Twain

Born in Windsor, Ontario, Shania has never impressed me much. What's with that video where she won't let anybody give her a ride in the desert? C'mon, I mean, who is she expecting to come by next? She's in the desert! The carbon miles wasted on all of those guys driving out to get her may make her single handedly responsible for the global warming crisis. Thanks Shania. Next we'll pick you up with your own series of Private jets that continuously grow in size and gas burning propensity until the Polar bears are all gone and it will be your fault. Also, she was responsible for launching Avril Lavigne (another bad Canadian)'s career. It was during some concert in the late 90s where Avril at the evil age of nine won the chance to sing onstage along with Shania while they ritualistically sleighed a monkey. Everyone present was wearing a black cloak and chanting.
There are many other Shameful Canadian pop stars, and I could make a whole other category for shameful Quebecois - that would be dominated by our friend Celine with Roch Voisine as her second in command.

2. Shameful Canadian Film maker: James Cameron

Who was cool when he made T1000 but then he had to become King of the World at sucking.

3. Shameful Canadian not even sure what she's famous for: Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson was born in Ladysmith, British Columbia and despite sucking for many many years has never succeeded at becoming an endearingly ironic figure. Think about this. George W Bush sent thousands of people to Iraq and I'd rather have him over for dinner.

4. Shameful Canadian Tycoon: Sir Conrad Black

I met Conrad Black once. I was working in an independent video store in Toronto and my good friend Mike was serving him. Conrad and Barbara took out ten rare videos, gave us a fake phone number and then never returned them. So to that, your Lordship, I say be you born in Montreal or no, I'd save Ferris before I'd ever save you. OH, and last I checked your late fee at Videoflicks is about 10,000 dollars and counting. Will Hollinger be paying for that?

5. Shameful Canadian I don't remember

Oh man, I actually am so shamed by this fifth one that I blocked out who they were - even though they inspired this post. Seriously, last night we were discussing someone shamefully, and I went "They're Canadian" and everyone quietly pitied me. But the memory of them now is completely gone, making my point perfectly - the best thing to do with shameful Canadians is to forget all about them.

Friday, 11 July 2008

The end of a class (era)

So yesterday was the last of my writing classes with the excellent Stephen Jeffries. The course went on for ten weeks, and weirdly enough I hadn't realized how positively it was affecting both my writing and the way I think about writing until the whole darned thing was over. I also hadn't realized that somewhere along the line the whole group had started to get really comfortable with each other. There were informal awards held and given out and I was awarded "Best Dressed Girl" which made me suitably pleased, but I think I owe that award to Bling Central and Antiquated Notions, my friends and style guides. (Also the ladies who have given me most of my nicest articles of clothing.)

I'm still procrastinating of course, but finding myself more inspired by the general idea of writing than ever before. I feel like there are all sorts of things I know I should be doing, that I've kind of absorbed like a sponge to water, and now it's just about making sure that I use those things when the opportunity comes up. I've also had a bit of a brainflash regarding the show we're devising for Forest Fringe, but more on that later.

The shop is quiet, the music from the cd player nearly sounds like a pleasant hum, and I just sort of want to dissolve into the day very slowly. I've got a lot of work to do - but at least now I feel like I know that, and like that's ever so slightly okay.

Just so everybody is clear on this...

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The Service Industry and the Finite Theory of Fun

I can't take credit for this - my old floormate in first year university, Jay, told me that in High School he wrote an essay on the Finite Theory of Fun. Basically, he suggested that there is a finite amount of fun to go around in the world - and that when I am having fun I am inadvertently taking it from someone else.

He said sometimes you can see the finite theory of fun - for example, if one person were to punch another person - and you were to use a fun barometer on this show in slow motion, you could see the person about to punch gaining fun through their fist and the person about to be punched losing fun, the fun is redistributing itself. Bruce Lee and a little imagination demonstrate the point quite well I think:

Not sure what that musical track is all about. But here we see Bruce steal fun in the tiny space of an inch. What a man!

Last night I was working serving drinks at a gallery opening, and the theory was working like this:

Energy - Freedom = Alcohol (-Fun + Fun)

Now I don't know much about the maths, but the -Fun is my fun in having expended the energy pouring the alchohol, but the +Fun is the fun of the people at the event provided by my energy and lack of (temporary) freedom. This equation can be applied to any job, from serving coffee to trying on clothing. Energy minus Freedom equals a neutral lack of fun on your part and gain of fun on the customer's part. However, this is occasionally subverted by rebel factors, like service people (think Pretty Woman) who are mean to the people they serve. Then the equation would go:

-Energy + Freedom + Rebellion of Social Mores = Bad service ( - Fun)

The clerk's laziness subverts the equation adding new factors to neutralize their fun (being lazy is neither fun nor unfun) and decrease the clients fun. VERY occasionally the equation looks like this:

Energy + Attraction x Service = Fun x 2

This is of course only true when the service person, for whatever reason (be it social or sexual) is attracted to the person they serve, which usually somewhat neutralizes the situation and can lead to friendship and other dynamics that defy the Finite theory of fun.

And in a perfect world on a perfect day of course the equation can always go this way:

Energy x Fun = Exponential Fun

This is a freak occurrence when service becomes fun and all members have fun - happens most often in fun service jobs like video store clerk on a slow but steady shift - or while working with a friend who makes the Energy social energy and decreases the loss of freedom - but the customer should never assume this to be the case. If you assume the person serving you is having fun and they are not, it will double their negative fun.

(I apologize to Jay and all of scientific endeavor for what has preceded these parentheses. Let us only hope that in the future an alien race does not log onto this post to try and make sense of the history of human mathematics. Because that would equal -Fun)

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Entirely Awesome

Two days ago a very exciting package arrived for me.

The package: 10 Cds sent to me by one Simon Borer of Toronto's country super band Entire Cities

The mission: Get them sold in Londontown.

Rough Trade hadn't heard their stuff yet and of course as soon as I brought in the record it took the manager a total of a minute and a half before he wanted many copies. Copies will also probably be for sale at lik+neon on sclater street.

So - for those looking for a new album that all your friends will think you are cool for owning first, check out Entire Cities Deep River in the UK. Since I am low on time today to blog, I'll play you out with this little number. Tamara Hope's voice kills me on this track:

I used to have a CBC iplayer embedded here but it was playing every time you logged in to the blog. Listen to Turbines on for the same effect. I will put the CBC iplayer back up once this entry can only be accessed in the blog archives for July.

Monday, 7 July 2008

All it takes is a little bit of perskeptive

Okay, admit it, in fact, if you don't want to admit it I can admit it first. Count to three, and the first person to say it wins. Okay, one, two, three - Say it -


Often. Is this the internet equivalent of doing something else to yourself? Should I cut off the offending hand that dared type my name into the search box? Surely what could be more of an expression of the ultimate vanity, greed (only seven hits? There have got to be more), envy, (Who is this brain surgeon who shares my name? Surely I'm more interesting than her. Who needs Doctors anyway?), sloth (I'll just check the next five pages instead of writing my dissertation), oh and probably wrath, lust, and that other one, the one I always forget, the one where you get to eat cake a lot - yes of course, gluttony, but let's not beat around the bush here lest that seven deadly sins joke get tiring (too late!):

Googling yourself is the new masturbation.

I want you to think about that.

But hey, it's okay, in a dark corner of your room, late at night, or bored during the day, after you've checked your email one too many times, you know, you do it, I do it - You do do it, right? Because anyway I do it. I mean, I do it if you do it. Or, so, uh, I mean I did it once, but like I had to for a CV, right, it's not like I, actually, anyway, I was just joking anyway. I can't believe you took me seriously. Gawd. Like someone else was there when I googled myself, it was at this sexy party and it was so rock star and.

(don't judge me. I've doubtless already brought you minutes of time wasting pleasure. But not that kind of pleasure. Wow, this just gets worse.)

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Lorrya at comcast, is it more than replica watches you're reaching out for?

Is it just me or are SPAM letters becoming more touching all the time? Lorrya at comcast so kindly invited me to a party today via hotmail, which I would have gone to, had her invite included an address, an allusion to a real party, and not been interrupted so rudely by her seemingly tourettic adoration of fine replica watches. I nearly gave up on Lorrya, thinking she was a fairweather friend, interested only in wristwear and worse yet, getting my hopes up about false parties, until she began to quote such beautiful elegaically moving poetry that I reconsidered my judgement. Who could resist the charms of such a deeply patriotic and hospitable woman, even if she does seem uncannily interested in cheap rolexes and Swatch? Maybe I should listen to her advice. Maybe what she really means is that a watch is symbolic of the decay of social interaction via the internet. Time used to pass by slowly, reverently, like a grandfather clock. These days, hotmail ensures that our lives are very quickly offering us Replica Watches and that's about it. Thank you Lorrya, for deepening my day. I'll check out that website about penis enlargement too, although I don't think it will prove all that relevant. And when is that party again? Those young Russian ladies sounded nice.

Lorrya's Actual Email:

If you are going to attend to the party in the weekend, be sure to order one of the rrreplica-rolexs-watch in this store. You will feel the difference in the way how people look at you when they see you have a new rolexs-watch.So change your life without paying thousands of dollars to a real rolexs-watch. Take one for a couple hundred. In the weekend party you will understand what i mean :-)

Raise your hands
When you want to let it go
Raise your hands
And you want to let a feeling show
Raise your hands
From New York to Chicago
Raise your hands
From New Jersey to Tokyo
Raise your hands I -
I've been out on the front line
Where you'll go down if you waste time
They'll walk all over you
But I - I ain't here looking for surrender
I'll raise the flag if you'll defend her
It's up to you

Thursday, 3 July 2008

When Youtube is about more than watching the comedy crimes of our era

Think of Shakespeare in his day, competing with bear baiting, theatre people considered the lowest of the low in society (how much has that changed) and yet, theatre was gaining speed - it was breaking boundaries - when the drunken crowd in the pit looked up from pick-pocketing and phelandering they saw Hamlet. Several years after the invention of film and countless shots of a man slipping on a banana peel the surrealists cottoned on that celluloid was as valid a canvas as any. It's late at night as I try to make this comparison - but there's something happening and it's happening on youtube. What started as a way to spend fifteen seconds to three minutes laughing at some kid in Romania getting a pen cap stuck to his eyelid (to the best of my knowledge this video does not already exist) has slowly but surely begun to expand. Videos crop up and say "Free Video content does not need to mean mindless video content. This can make more of your experience of life rather than make you feel as though you are wasting it" Fragile beauty like this are all the more startling among the videos of romanian pen caps and remixed movie trailers. So before I keep going, Watch this.

Folka what

Yesterday regailed all spectators present with the goodness of Folkadot an excellent folk music night on the first Wednesday of every month at the Green Note in Camden. I was there for the tunes, and to see my dear friend the VW read poetry while on his visit from Edinburgh. Excited puppy that I am, I feel I should tell you that Ryan has recently landed a job as the Scottish Library's Reader in Residence, which is no surprise considering the goodness of his writing. There are many pages turned down at the corner in the collection of his work that he gave me, but this one is probably my favourite, his poem that stuck with me the most. It's called "Coins":

I watched her put on clothes and then
drifted back to sleep
with my shovel, dirt and old friends

It was not a nightmare,
just a thought,
I am digging graves
I am pulling coins from the eyes
of the dead.

I recognize old college roommates,
coffee shop girls, Sunday friends,
poets, the first vegetarian I ever met, the runner who quit the team,
the pot-bellied boy who helped me steal the beers.

I have buried them all.
I buy high profile stocks and bonds with the currency of
friends who are now dead to me.

When it started, I used to cry. My eyelids were the wings of flies.
I knew, floods would come, like history,
to erase us all.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Pour tous les Canadiens que j'ai parfois aimer

Happy day of the Canadianess. Aujourd'hui, a few um, hundred (coulda been hundred) years ago, out of the rocks emerged a country, covered in dew and wide eyed as the moon - and the country was... Canada? It could have been Canada. It could have been Canada sunbathing on the shores of sunny Lake Superior, when it said, Hey, you know what, now I'll be a country. Oh, I just got a pang of the guilt spirits when I remembered that the only reason we exist as we do is because some french and British people with arrows and nothing to lose went across an ocean and killed a lot of people and stole a lot of land. Not the proudest part of our history - and yet that's the whole first chapter. Downer. Anyway, here is the truth, according to Wikipedia, of our dear Day:

On June 20, 1868, then Governor General Lord Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to "celebrate the anniversary of the confederation."[5] However, the holiday was not established statutorily until 1879, when it was designated as Dominion Day, in reference to the designation of the country as a Dominion in the British North America Act, 1867. The holiday was initially not dominant in the national calendar; up to the early 20th century, Canadians thought themselves to be primarily British, being thus less interested in celebrating distinctly Canadian forms of patriotism. No official celebrations were therefore held until 1917 – the golden anniversary of Confederation – and then none again for a further decade.[6]

This trend declined in the post-World War II era; beginning in 1958, the Canadian government began to orchestrate Dominion Day celebrations, usually consisting of Trooping the Colour ceremonies on Parliament Hill in the afternoon and evening, followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display. Canada's centennial in 1967 is often seen as an important milestone in the history of Canadian patriotism, and in Canada's maturing as a distinct, independent country, after which Dominion Day became more popular with average Canadians. Into the late 1960s, nationally televised, multi-cultural concerts held in Ottawa were added, and the fĂȘte became known as Festival Canada; after 1980 the Canadian government began to promote the celebrating of Dominion Day beyond the national capital, giving grants and aid to cities across the country to help fund local activities.

The name was officially changed to Canada Day on October 27, 1982, a move largely inspired by the adoption of the Canada Act, earlier in the year. However, many Canadians had already been informally referring to the holiday as Canada Day for a number of years before the official name change.[7]

So to revise my hyperbolized opening to this entry:

Aujourd'hui, a few (26) years ago, out of the rocks emerged not much except maybe a can of beer full of nice manners and good intentions, actually it more like washed up on the shores of a country that was already rocky enough, and someone had it in their minds to finally give a name to this beer drinking, fireworks filled, patriotic (but not too patriotic, because that's not our way) day. And then they made it official. Happiness for all ensued.

You're a dear old country, Canadia. Today I especially miss your rocky shores. In fact, for all your faults I love you to high heaven. And I rave about you often. Canada Day is partly to thank for that. Though perhaps not as much as this little government sponsored blast from the past. Enjoy:

Monday, 30 June 2008

Lovely things and a lovely weekend

Hi Bloggy readers,

It was a lovely weekend, including Spain winning a European football championship for the first time in ages, well, the times they are a changing. Watching the team celebrate at a lovely Spanish girl's flat over paella while she jumped up and down in front of the projector, I felt like things can always change for the better.

Also, Lilliput played me what he termed a "cheesy" song about me getting Vinegar in my eye on vacation six years ago, and I think the chorus will chase away any bad thoughts I have for the rest of always. If it's cheese, it's a parmesan from Italy that tastes great with everything.

I spent a wonderful time with my partner in crime and crime fighting and some lovely BBQ chez Charlie and Bling-Central. She took pictures- and I'm a basic need!

There were a lot of wonderful things going on this weekend that I missed out on due to having a cold on Friday and Saturday day - including work, the Southbank Freeze/Hide and Seek, which I bet was phenomenal, and my stupidly talented friend Ellie Buchan in Merchant of Venice. (Remember this name, because she really is destined for stardom.) But all in all, weekend Gods, (Also known as Charlie, Lucia, Bling Central, Lilliput, and my partner of always) I got to say Thank you.

Friday, 27 June 2008

How do I plead? Guilty with a cold.

I know, I know, I haven't written for the last two days. But I have a cold - meaning that I find everything very funny though slightly hazy. In keeping with this, allow me to share with you yesterday's highlight, a wonderful youtube whack the Tuckster shared with me via facebook yesterday.

Before you look at this link, allow me to explain the rules of Youtube Whack. It's very much like the popular Google Whack - you type two words into "search" on Youtube with friends, and see how many tries it takes to get you only one hit. Once you have the hit, you watch it, rate it at five stars, favourite it, and put up the most immature comment you possibly can in the comment box. To the best of my knowledge the Tuckster invented this game, but of course these zeitgeists are always hard to pin down. So here is the Youtube whack he recently shared with me. I'm guessing that the words typed in for this whack were "Unicorn Planet" and truly, I'll never feel the same about them when used in conjunction:

Since watching this genius video I have come up with a forlorn cover of the first few lyrics of the song to be played on Ukulele. In protest I've left out the lyrics about Tom Cruise and the Cadillac, but I may change this at some point. If you'd like to play it yourself at home, the chords go like this:

G .......... A .............F ..................Bminor
I'd like to wish for a planet full of unicorns

A planet full of Unicorns

A planet full of Unicorns


G............ D
Unicorn Planet!

You'll have to jig the melody somewhat and keep in mind that I learned to play from a little book called "ukulele for beginners" that is illustrated with cartoons of children wearing hawaiian flower necklaces singing "This land is my land. " If the publishers are reading, I recommend that the second edition include this new song.

Unicorn Power!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Rollercoaster Roars

Today was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, front and center from the Googly box I promised to ignore. It started with the ole Job Hunt, oh Gawd how I hate the job hunt. I am trying to convince myself that filling in application forms is actually flat hunting. I like my flat of course, but I also don't mind flat hunting. In fact, I have fun doing it. So I am trying to think of job hunting in the same way to soothe the anxiety. Even as I write,"Dear so and so, I am writing to enquire about blank job" I am pretending to write "Dear so and so, I am writing to enquire about blank flat." It's the same thing, in the end, isn't it? Putting yourself out there. But when you've got a very nice flat, the idea is much less scary. In keeping with the fact that the people who get good jobs usually already have good jobs.

Though I did do some work on the forestfringe blog that I was some proud of, in fact I enjoyed this work so much that it fed into my job hunt anxiety and suddenly I wondered about a bright future in graphic design. Graphic Design! There was a hilarious post on msn outlining the 50 coolest jobs and graphic designer was right there along with... of course... writer.

Also came up with a good idea for a film - but of course I can't tell you about that here.

The real down came when I realized that I'd forgotten a friend's birthday, and was meant to be at a restaurant twenty minutes ago.

Maybe I shouldn't tell the blog such things, but oh man, it was not a good scene. On top of which my partner in crime and crime fighting was supposed to come, but he's sick, I just sneezed because he's gotten me sick, so the text sounded even worse when I wrote, "I'm sorry, I forgot AND I'm sick." Both of which are true, but in life you've got to pick one excuse and stick to it. It's a funny thing about fiction as well - nothing is ever allowed to be as complicated as it is in real life. If any character, for example, had as many exes or almost exes as real people have, you'd definitely think they were hella promiscuous. Maybe I'm going to start writing characters with pasts that are a little *less* tame. It is one reason I love Ramona Flowers' Seven evil ex boyfriends in the Scott Pilgrim series, though most of them she didn't even really date because it was in grade seven or something. Still, seven, that's like, a lot, yeah? (Is it, though? Is it?)

And then right back up when I saw some lovely pictures of my Canadian friends in Toronto wearing large underwater goggles indoors and generally looking great and pictures of the Brick Lane Sale. Nothing to save your day like getting back to these fine kooky Canadian roots. Case in point, the lovely lady who makes cookies on Brick Lane side by side with moi and the advice booth. Oh Canada! (She yells from her seat front and centre as the roller coaster swooshes back down and then levels out. Admit it, It's Fun.)

Tomorrow I will definitely go running.

Monday, 23 June 2008

It's Back and it's still Forest and it's still the Fringe and it's Better than Ever

The Forest Fringe returns, as promised, bigger and better, with more crazy stuff, more shenanigans, more planned and unplanned dances and games and plays and happenings and confusing wonderful strange and bewildering and absolutely sensical things. I can't effing wait. I wanted to give you guys a sneak preview of the logo, and the new blog - - check this thing out for excellent postings coming soon to a googly box near you.

You know I think the slow internet connection in my room is responsible for at least 8% of my lethargy. Definitely. At least 8%. I would say that not being sure which side a % sign goes on a number is presently responsible for at least %0.000005 of my hesitance in letting it all hang loose on the blog. Oh, but writing it down is now responsible for 92.3% of my enlightenment as to which side that pesky sign *really* goes on. Okay. Great. Excellent blog entry. At least 12% excellent. The other 88% has got to be blamed on the bad internet connection.

And so we come full circle.

Oh, one other thing, for all you burgeoning writers - try fitting this into a narrative... Walking home today I happened upon not one, not two, but three, or maybe even more than three, there were shards involved, broken English Language Records in my extremely multi cultural courtyard. I felt momentarily affronted, and then thought, Heck Ya! Hang the DJ - because the language he constantly plays says nothing to you about your life. I also started to secretly hope that whoever threw them from their window in an angered moment was seriously little and sweet - like the lovely old lady who nods hello to me in the hallway every morning. "No More English Language Records!" And she'd smile a smile that could stop time or skip a record. Good for you, lovely old lady. Good for you!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Arresting Development

Today had many highlights, not least of which was that it turns out the day *after* summer solstice is secretly a far better summer solstice. You can't always expect the longest day of the year to be the nicest, but June 22nd kicked it well. It was a beautiful, breezy, summer day, and best of all it just kept going. We started with Columbia Road Market with some new and old friends. Sunday mornings on Columbia Road are one of the great East End anomalies. Definitely check it out - but go before 12 if you possibly can. Even if you're hung over, the music and sights and food laden court yards will soothe your worries away.
The day kept getting better at Bling-Central's Brick Lane Sale, which the Advice Booth made a little appearance at. A very nice man on a bike stood behind a chain link fence and gave his opinion on problems like some mysterious voice from heaven. I would type something like "the guy behind me on the bike thinks he really likes you" - it made the work easier, more hilarious and generally more wonderful. You can't write this stuff. Also, a lovely Montreal based girl was walking up and down Brick Lane selling cookies for £1. So of course I bartered some advice for a cookie and got some of that sweet baked goodness while she sang the "C is for Cookie" song. (My advice. If you're going to be Brick Lane wacky, go all the way. Or if you're going to ask a booth on the street for advice, expect that kind of advice.) The day was rounded off, of course, by my new favorite addiction - Arrested Development. This television show is genius and gets better the more you watch it. Current favorite character would have to be Buster. Blame it on my recent grad school panic attacks, brother.

Also got some great advice from Mademoiselle Bling (who incidentally took the picture accompanying this blog) - for the first time I sat on the other side of the booth and let some friends dish out some of the good stuff. I've gotten advice at the booth a couple of other times, but usually with my partner in crime and we'd ask jokey questions. This time my bling central lady dished out the real deal stuff, and it was great. Her top tip - swim early in the morning or go running. And apply for jobs at Rough Trade or somewhere out of the house. Get away from my beloved Googly Box. Change the rhythms of life. Less R and B, more Rock Steady. Anyway, thank you sunshine, it was a beautiful day. And thanks to Bling Central. It was a great sale.

Side note: My partner in crime and crime fighting was sick today so could not advise with me. I missed the socks off of him. Literally. I got home and he was all like, "Where are my socks?" And I was all like, "I missed you."

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Zombie chops

True to form, here is the third day in a row that I keep my possibly unreasonable promise to write every day. Now I want to clarify for a moment - this was not a *promise*, (ignore the first sentence then) more of an attempt. A good ole college try. But I'm still good ole college trying. So here we are, day three, what goes on in this brain.

Okay, well for one, I've been working at Toynbee Studios as an usher this week, and truly the live art that is put on there at the moment Must have been engineered by the Negaverse. (If you got the reference we are equally nerdy, and therefore I need not feel any embarassment whatsoever. Huzaa!)

Picture this - a screen which occasionally flashed an existential German Film, some people dancing behind the screen, and a sound like being in the middle of an engine tank or a crazy person's brain that just keeps droning and droning and droning, interrupted by an occasional person dressed all in black singing a disturbingly off key version of "I'm beginning to see the Light!" with black soot in his mouth, or the entire company doing a squatting dance with large black holes sewn onto their pants right about where their anuses should be. Did I just write Anus in the blog? Yes I did. This is the kind of show that merits writing Anus. Anus Anus Anus. Gawd if I weren't being paid to steward I would steadily be losing two and a half hours of my life for watching the thing, but luckily I am being paid, so tonight I'll bring an ipod and put it all the way up, then lay back and listen to Paul Simon or someone equally pleasant while the dancers continue to do their zombie like movements and their anus inspired squatting dance.

I want you to think of a general London Malaise - think of the worst possible feeling that being on the tube in rush hour unemployed could possibly give you, amplify that by ten and then turn it into a performance and you would be me last night. Looking around a filthy and dark auditorium (popcorn and coke cans on the floor are part of the show) at all of the other people watching, while outside there were the occasional sounds of sirens and people screaming, the other people in the dark kept watching, they just kept watching, like the whole city had to be dead inside. This was like some odd nightmare to which I never want to return. I had a dream about fighting zombies last night the show had effected me so fiercely. I'd rather fight zombies than watch this show again. Anyway, was trying to be impartial since I am being paid to usher the thing, but sometimes performance is an obstrusively bad thing.


Sorry. The ringing hasn't stopped yet.