I've been inspired lately to start writing regularly to this blog. I discovered the blog of someone who I don't really know, but who has kept a blog for nearly 20 years and I thought, "Hey... that's something I'd like to do. That's something I'd like to look back on." For the most part it's probably going to be largely mundane and boring and "Hey I bought this bag of peas today" but that's kind of how I want it.
So here goes. The start of my (20+ years?) blog. (For reals.)
I guess I better at least recap a couple of things that happened so far this year, to bring me up to speed. I'll start with last night.
I met Margaret Atwood.
Margaret. Fuckin'. Atwood. HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS. An icon.
She was doing a book signing at the Eaton Centre to promote the new TV show based on her novel, The Handmaid's Tale. (Which looks amazing, by the way, and I can't wait to watch it.)
Her books were the ones that genuinely got me interested in reading outside of an educational space. (Other than Harry Potter but I mean COME ON GUYS who didn't read Harry Potter.) I, like many Canadian youth, read Oryx & Crake in high school and subsequently swallowed her entire catalogue whole. My favourite at the time was The Penelopiad, which I remember being wickedly smart.
Margaret gave a short half-hour speech about various topics relating to the book/show and then took a couple questions from the audience and then did the book signing.
Below are blurry excited photos I took of her as she walked by me and then a photo of the talk, and a photo of her autograph in my copy of the The Handmaid's Tale.
I'm really going to make a better effort to read more this year. I've already read Nick Cave's The Death of Bunny Munro (Sadly, I didn't really like this, sorry Nick!), Atwood's Hag-Seed (I enjoyed this, but I've never read The Tempest so I think I "missed" a lot of what it was talking about), and Nabokov's Pnin (The first Nabokov novel I've ever read, and I really fell in love with how he's able to describe mannerisms. I often found myself saying aloud, "That's such an interesting way to describe that!" to myself. Because I'm a weirdo.)
I'm currently halfway through Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis (a throwback recommendation from my pal, Ben Gordon) and REALLY enjoying it so far. It's set in Toronto, and is about a bunch of dogs that acquire "human intelligence" from a couple of gods that place a bet on whether any of them will die happy. It's wild and insanely original and I can't wait to finish it. (Edit: A couple hours and a bag of chips later, I finished it and I cried at the end. What a brilliant little novel.)
On another note, I've also joined a Mixtape Club. I got an invite from a friend's husband to be a part of a secret group with an aim to share playlists and essentially become friends with strangers over music you all like. It's been a great way to meet people and find new music.
On the topic of new music, I'm sticking to my New Year's resolution of seeing more local shows this year. Previous to January, my knowledge of Toronto's local music scene was practically nil. Like, I probably could not have named a single local band if you asked me to. I didn't like that feeling, and I love music, so this just didn't make sense to me. I didn't even know what half the venues of Toronto looked like on the inside.
I started off the year by attending a "Toronto Women in Music" show at The Baby G, with acts Nyssa, Peeling, Vallens, and Beliefs on the lineup. Jesse Crowe of Beliefs is actually my hairdresser, a wonderful person and (I can now confirm), excellent musician. I think she's got a billion projects on the go at once and totally does it while somehow also being the coolest person I know.
I also stepped into The Silver Dollar Room for the first time. I know. I KNOW. An institution. Which is now closing down. I'm sorry! The good news is, now due to my new-fangled obsession with local shows, I'll be supporting venues across the city much more over the next couple of months.
I saw The Highest Order play there on February 25, and it was SO GOOD. I became sort of enamoured with the music of The Highest Order over the holiday break (Thanks to a blog post from June Records, only the best record store in the city...) and jumped on the opportunity to see them live in a venue with such historical impact. Lesley and Cameron came along even though they'd never heard them before and I think they had a good time. The band played a double set, the sound was amazing, the room was packed. It was perfect.
I don't know how else to describe their music other than "folk rock that will make to feel so damn good." Buy their record. Love them like I do. Thank you.
The next morning Lesley, Cameron, and I woke up and I made a full english breakfast and we watched Star Trek episodes and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Just going to take this moment to say that Lesley and Cameron are the tops.
On April 5, I went back to The Silver Dollar Room to see Allison Crutchfield and Vagabon. There were two other opening acts but pals from TMC (The Mixtape Club) and I were busy having a pint at Trinity Common. The show was alright, but the sound fucked up and there was a ton of unfortunate feedback. And the sets were super short. I think Vagabon only played for 20 minutes. Still enjoyed myself though, and love the pop rock indie vibes of Allison's latest record.
I think I'm discovering that a lot of people don't go to shows just because they "think no one wants to go" but 9/10 when I ask someone if they want to come to a show with me, they say yes. Even if they have no idea who's playing. That's the way it should be!
What else has happened... not a lot that I can remember. I'm working on a big rebrand of a huge business at work that I can't talk about yet, and in general am trying to up my illustration game by drawing a lot more often and bringing a lot of my work back into the digital sphere.
This is already a pretty lengthy post so I'm going to cut it off here.