June 30, 2010

There’s a few hot topics in the Toronto papers I’m having trouble caring about.

First, the HST.

Not being a parent or a home-owner, it barely affects anything I spend money on. I don’t get massages and I don’t subscribe to magazines. I don’t go camping, play hockey or golf. I don’t take trampoline lessons or die (funeral services go up 8%).

I do however get $300 back over the year in rebates. I’m having trouble being concerned. I suspect the whole “beating th HST” craze is a disguised stimulus plan orchestrated by the Feds to get Canadians out buying cars or houses or TVs or whatever it is that’s supposed to save the country. I guess I’m not very patriotic.  My $300 will probably go towards my monthly metropass.

Then there’s the G20 shenanigans

Apparently I’m supposed to feel my civil liberties have been impinged. I keep being told by the Internet that my right to free assemblage was at stake last weekend. That means the right to stand in the rain ineffectually holding placards which vaguely protest… something.

Nevermind the Black Bloc hooligans, I’m not sure anyone really knew what they were supposed to be protesting at the G20. People seem to feel the need to rage against the machine, but the machine is so complex I’m not convinced a single person really knows where to direct their rage. Countries? Corporations? Consumers?

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Backdoor Friends

June 29, 2010

Apparently there’s no ironic double entendre intended in this lovely objet d’art.

Oh Gee 20

June 25, 2010

For the last two weeks my manager has been trying to strike the fear of G20 into our commuters’ hearts. Apparently we needed contingency plans to deal with the inevitable transit disruptions.

It seems managers all over the city must have been saying the same thing because, instead of delays, this morning my train was almost empty. I actually got to work quicker than a normal Friday.

Part of me actually hopes something big happens. I’d rather $1bil was spent on security because some eco-terrorists actually want to blow up the CN Tower and not because it’s just a good idea to spend money to close the downtown core and keep people away from restaurants and hotels during the first official weekend of summer. 

I suppose I should actually hope they prevent and attack, and that the money was well spent, but I’d just be lying to myself. Admit it, Toronto, the CN Tower is a hideous eyesore and we all wish something truly interesting would actually happen here.

Look how excited we got when a few buildings quivered earlier this week. We’re dying from boredom here. Canadians are secretly hungry for our own 9/11 style tragedy. So much so we continue to milk an air disaster from 25 years ago. Canadians, especially a new generation not around for the heady days of the SS Edmund Fizgerald,  are desperate for the chance to say “I was on the subway when it happened” or “I could see the smoke from my car when I was on the 401.”

If it does happen, I really hope it’s after I’ve moved on Saturday. If the movers get stuck in traffic, it’s going to cost me money. And I hope they announce when it’s going to happen so I can watch it from the park in Etobicoke where I took the above picture. I also hope it’s after dark because I think that would look prettiest.

Packed + Intergrated

June 23, 2010

» My apartment is almost entirely packed up. Strange how an apartment always looks best with nothing on the walls and boxes stacked in random piles in various rooms. It’s not a very practical way to live. Stranger is how the same blank walls and piles of boxes look terrible when you’re moving in to a place. It’s not the first time I’ve considered life would be much easier if context didn’t exist.

» Yesterday, at a lunchtime office potluck, one of the summer students remarked the picture on my ID badge looks entirely different from how I look now. In the picture I’m clean cut but these days I have shoulder length hair and a full hillbilly beard. The other summer student said, “Why would you do that?” She then explained how I looked “exactly” like her ex-boyfriend from BC. Only I am “actually integrated into society.” He lives in Nelson apparently and is too “hardcore artsy and depressed”. She does a pretty good disgusted scowl.

Rape and plunder?

June 22, 2010

One of the first of many WTF flyers I saw when I moved to Toronto. I kind of want to know exactly what a “children’s pillage” is and if turned out to be a really bad idea. I hope wonder if looting candy shops and burning school principals at the stake were a few of the activities.

Fat Tony: Be Surmounted By Scorn

June 21, 2010

A certain amount of controversy surrounds Fat Tony‘s sole album Be Surmounted By Scorn. It’s actually a vinyl bootleg of an early demo-tape recorded by Atlanta punk-pop band Goo 69 when they were trying to break into the suburban white hip-hop market.

The band name here is more than a Simpsons reference, it is an in-joke playing off Goo 69 singer Tony Mulroney‘s infamous tabloid-fueled battles with weight gain. This has lead to speculation the album’s release is the work of industrious fans. 

Recording industry experts  have suggested it is more likely a marketing ploy devised by their management company, Hot Dogone Artists, known for their elaborate, often ill-fated, viral marketing strategies. They were behind the R&B singer K’ellee‘s disastrous PR stunt at the American Music Awards.

Goo 69 deny the album is their work at all blasting it as “the worst kind of audio-blackface.” Despite these assertions, studio engineer Rocky “Pop” Littlejohn has come forward claiming to have recorded the sessions in late 1997 and that Tony and the boys actually wore literal blackface during the sessions. He bolstered this claim with photographic proof though Littlejohn has been accused of “Photoshopping” them into a picture of his studio which also throws doubt on the legitimacy of the “blackface” in question.

Rocky “Pop” Littlejohn in his atlanta, GA studio with “Fat Tony”

controversies aside, the album itself is a passably mediocre attempt at party-jams laced with cheeky, not-quite-naughty lyrics. One generous critic suggested it was what you might get if “Vanilla Ice had been the fourth Beastie Boy but all they had to work with was a cheap Casio keyboard and a Partridge Family sample.”

It’s estimated only 500 copies of the bootleg were ever pressed. Most have appeared on eBay and gathering few bids. In 2003 New York graffiti artist Beekr went on a public mission to buy up all every single copy intending to  “burn them to hell” in Times Square on Martin Luther King’s birthday but whether this was an artistic endeavour, a public service or merely a boast resulting from two decades of inhaling spray paint propellant was never revealed as he appears to have abandoned the project.

Goo 69 have a new album due out later this year.

Things you see outside a pub on St. Clair

June 18, 2010

A cigarette smolders between his olive-skinned fingers with slightly less intensity than his eyes. If the plate-glass window of the pub had been solid brick, his glare still would penetrate into the room.

His expression almost doesn’t look genuine; a caricature of frustrated passion. If he were in a movie about a man spying on his ex-lover dining with another man, the audience would complain he’s overplayed the emotion. The anger in his eyes is too palpable, the nervous energy in his limbs too electric. The effect would be almost comical if it weren’t so chilling.

She must be an amazing woman to command this kind of passion. The mind paints a picture of a Mediterranean maiden of unsurpassed exotic beauty. Walking past him and looking over his shoulder, she is revealed. The inspration for the violent jealousy coiled beneath his skin like a snake in the shadows.

The World Cup is playing on the pub’s television.

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