When I spent summers as a child at the cottage with my grandparents I had a simple routine: wake up, put on my bathing suit, cover it with a t-shirt and I was ready to GO! Sunscreen? What’s that? Sandals? For amateurs only. My feet were like leather, tanned and thick-soled from days of running down the dirt road to the tuck shop and from wading in the shallow, rocky beach. My hair was either wet or about to be wet. My Miss Piggy bathing suit was tied tight around my neck and sagged at the bum. I was equally happy playing with Amy and J.C., who were there every year, or with the kids who only showed up for a week or two. I had sunburned cheeks, and freckles and tan-lines and mosquito-bite scabs, and bruises from tripping on that one tricky plank on the dock. I was in bed by sundown, every night, and slept the sleep of the feral, lake-soaked angels. Read more
It’s been over a year since we started this project and now that I’m in the home stretch I’m less excited about getting to shop again and more excited about not having a camera following me around. I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. What I didn’t expect was that I would be so goddamned sick of myself.
So, assuming I’ve cornered everyone’s attention (and in some cases their homicidal ire) I’ll just get on with it. Read more
For many, many years I had to look good for a living. I also had to know how to mix a killer martini, carry a tray weighed down with fifteen pounds of glass and alcohol over my head through a crowd of inebriated morons trying to grab my ass, help drunk, crying girls use the debit machine, tell the party of fifty civil servants to quit switching seats so I can keep their orders straight, sell about $3000 over the bar in four hours without screaming and still balance my cash and credit card receipts at the end of the night. But mainly I had to look good. All those other tasks are secondary in the bar industry, which you already know if it’s ever taken you half an hour to get a drink from a ridiculously good-looking yet completely inept bartender. A bar’s function is to make money by selling alcohol. In order to do this successfully, a bar will try to keep the patrons in the premises as long as possible. An easy way to do this is to hire pretty people that are paid to be nice to people they would normally cross the street to avoid.
Mouthing the words ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ is pretty much the same as saying E=MC squared– if you don’t understand why it’s true and can’t explain it to others then it has less than no value.
It wears thin sometimes– the constant grinding against the whetstone of convention. And I often feel like ‘who the fuck am I to stand up for or against anything?’ I think it’s the inherent insecurity that goes along with even being slightly honest with yourself. Because I am profoundly aware of my many and varied flaws, the idea of certainty or even assuredness is slightly absurd. As well, there is the utter contrariness of my being: it’s starting to become reflexive, and I find that worrying. And it’s not just age or experience, I’ve always been suspect of conventional wisdom and the lax certainties it often provides, but I rarely possess the capacity or chutzpah to do what R.B Fuller suggested: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Read more
For many years, New Year’s Eve was the night I got to watch people with unrealistic expectations pay $50 to get into a bar (that on any other night they could walk into for free), get a dollar store party favor and a NyQuil cup half-full of cheap ‘champagne’ that would later be puked onto their good shoes while they wait 45 minutes for a cab. So just like Canada Day and St.Patrick’s Day, New Years Eve is a night where you won’t find self-respecting former bar staff (of which there are five) anywhere near a licensed establishment. The few years that I haven’t spent midnight kissing my sweaty bar-back I have spent in the company of friends in someone’s home. There are many advantages to a house party. The champagne is better, there are no annoying strangers at the next booth requesting ‘Sweet Caroline’ (bar staff hate that song*), no line-ups, no last call and everyone is there because they want to be, not because they purchased their ticket months ago and feel obligated to get their money’s worth. My BFF, Julie had the mother of all formal house parties several years ago that was catered, had a heated tent for smokers, and a horse and carriage for guests to take rides around the neighborhood. After all that excitement, several of us chose to doff our evening wear for bathing suits for a soak in the hot tub. Beats changing kegs and emptying slop buckets full of Guinness and regret any day. Read more
(We were lucky enough to entice one of our producers, Lawrence Buhagiar, into guest spotting a blog for us. Lawrence is not only an avid chronicler of all things popkultur but he has a background in both neuroscience and sociology– making him eminently qualified to write the following blogpost: Towards a Theory of the Leisure Suit Class)
Recently I came across an article in the New York Times written by John Ortved, a 28-year-old writer and former editorial associate at Vanity Fair, who lives between New York and Toronto, where he was born and raised. Ortved has worked for the likes of Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair’s editor-in-chief, contributed articles on television, film, fashion and comedy to The National Post, Now Magazine, The New York Observer, Interview and V. but is best known for his oral history of The Simpsons, published by Farrar Straus & Giroux. Ortved considers himself to be a student of popular culture, so I was perplexed by the lameness of his piece. The article titled, “For Guys, a Great Find Is Often Multiplied,” claims “women shop, men stockpile.” Women, we are told, see shopping as a social or even therapeutic activity, whereas for men shopping is simply “a necessary evil, a moment to restock the supply closet.” Read more
Tastemaker. Now there is a word I dislike intensely. The idea that someone could make those decisions for me is both repugnant and presumptuous.
But… what’s a boy to do in a world with information streams propagating like fruit flies in a lab.
“Christmas is gonna be tough”.
Everyone that knows about the challenge has said it to me at least once. I have not said it. My stock response is to nod my head, shrug my shoulders and say, “Yeah, it’s not gonna be easy.” That is a lie. I say it because not only do I know it’s what people want to hear, but because most people are genuinely trying to be supportive and I don’t want to go off on them with my ‘I-don’t-do-Christmas’ rant. So I’ll do it here. Read more
I was an imaginative child, but so was every kid who was born before Lego came in kits. More than that, I was a strange child surrounded by much older siblings and exposed to Devo and Monty Python far too young. Mum could tell you the story of how I was a fussy eater and the only way she could get me to eat spaghetti was on a towel on the floor under a beach umbrella. I don’t know why this appealed to me but perhaps it had to do with the 1977 Hawaiian sunset wall mural in the living room. It only worked for spaghetti apparently, but it’s proof that at an early age, home decor and my imagination were inextricably linked. The seed was planted like so many Chia-pets of the era, but unlike the clay trolls who sprouted hair within days, my seed would lay dormant for decades. Read more