Monthly Archives: June 2009

Music is my Boyfriend: nxne day one

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Every June  the North by North East music festival comes to town and Toronto is over-run with dirty facial hair, skinny jeans, open bars, and stellar music. There is a lot of good stuff this year. So I am pretty pumped. For each hour time slot between 8pm-2am for the next 3 days, I have an average of 4 bands I want to see. Clearly I need to whittle that down a wee bit. Or borrow Dumbldore’s time travel pendant thingy.

I’m really digging on dancey-happy-poppy-punky stuff right now, so tonight I am skipping my Creative Writing class to go see Jaguar Love and the The Plastiscines at the Mod Club. Funtimes!

Jaguar Love:

(bio care of nxne)

Indie pop with a edge – think Billy Talent crossed with Ting Tings, from Portland, OR. The Guardian describes singer Johnny Whitney’s vocals as “Robert Plant on steroids, or Perry Farrell after a sex change.” They’ve toured internationally, hitting major festivals in Europe last year.

The Plastiscines:

(bio care of nxne)

All-female 4-piece from France who sound like a cool combo of Blondie, the Ramones, and the Slits, with a bit of saucy pop tossed in. They’ve got a new album out, they’ve got attitude, and they’ve got beaucoup des garcons in the front row at their shows.

Tomorrow night I hope to hit up the Manitoba Music BBQ and hopefully most of these shows (this is my slimmed down list).

Chang a lang Silver Dollar Room 8PM
Share Clinton’s 8PM
Arizona The Boat 9PM
Boys Who Say No Clinton’s 9PM
The Details Rivoli 10PM
Sleepless Nights Clinton’s 10PM
Ume Neutral Lounge 10PM
Whale Tooth The Boat 10PM
Armies of You Hideout 11PM
Built By Snow The Boat 11PM
Kittens Ablaze Rivoli 11PM
Natalie Portman’s Shaved… El Mocambo (Down) 11PM
The Vibrants El Mocambo (Up) 11PM
Amos The Transparent The Drake Hotel (Underground) 12AM
Les Handclaps The Boat 12AM
Parlour Steps Cameron House 12AM
Arkweld Rivoli 1AM
Grand Theft Bus Clinton’s 1AM
Oh No Not Stereo Hideout 2AM

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Woman, bake me a PIE!

Here’s my dirty little secret: I wish I was a 1950’s housewife.

There, I said it! My dream is to swan around in pretty dresses baking apple pies and chocolate chunk cookies, and BBQ beef ribs and lamb chops all day long.

People look at me funny when I say that. Like I just spat in the face of all the progress women have made in the past hundred years alone. Like I stomped on the suffragettes and vocal feminists whose actions and determination have enabled me to lead the life I currently lead. This could not be further from the truth. I have a fantastic education. I have an awesome job. I have an amazing apartment. I am pretty much free to do whatever I want. And I remain forever indebted to these amazing women of the past who paved the way for me.

The fact that women only gained the right to vote in Canada 90 years ago is mind boggling (except in Quebec, they waited another 29 years until 1940). So, basically, my great-grand mother wasn’t a person? Women had existed for thousands and thousands of years, and for some reason because we aren’t as naturally inclined to do chin ups we don’t count? Seriously?

So, let it be known, despite my ambitions to be a house frau, I do most certainly understand the struggle, and appreciate every single advance made in ensuring equality for all.

When I mention my Betty Crocker dreams people also look at me like I lack goals and ambition. Having said that, I am blessed with a group of highly successful and ambitious lady friends. They are all super smart, and super creative, with amazing goals and aspirations which they are very much on track to achieve. They inspire me. They have high expectations of themselves.

It  saddens me in today’s world success is often measured by the degree you hold, the zeros at the end of your paycheque, the clout your company totes, and the number of cars in your driveway. And people continue look down on others for choices that matter little to them. When my want to stay in my kitchen and bake all day insights frowns, or when someone quips “She’s so smart, why would she be a hairdresser!” it makes me angry.

Not everyone can meld their passions into their paycheque. And I don’t think people account for that enough. And when they can, sometimes it’s not “good enough”. Sure I love baking, but does that mean I should start my own bakery? Sure! Wait, I currently have no business knowledge. You love your friends and family? Let’s all be like Jon and Kate, and put ’em on TV! Perhaps not. If everyone could make a career out of what they are truly passionate about we’d all be writers, travel reps, golfers, bakers and sailboat makers. I am lucky enough to have a job I love, and time leftover to dream about one day making a paycheque out of my passion for baked goods. Some people are even luckier to have a job which is their passion. But some people get trapped following that much heralded “success” path, chasing dreams of bigger salaries, kidney shaped pools. Stress filled fourteen hour days leave little time for flower arrangements or monopoly tournaments.

I like to measure my life on a level of happiness. And if whatever you do makes you happy for the most part, then high fives all ’round. Be it mopping floors with your PhD in History with time to spare, or having dropped out of high school and working as an aerobics instructor, actors waiting tables, or in the case of my hot-shit-awesome roomie shooting for the stars and actually landing exactly where she wanted (yay!!!).

If it makes you happy, then I’m happy for you!

And, I’m most happy in the kitchen, with my pink mixmaster whirring away.

So stop giving me the stink eye.

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Places I’ve been Part One: Paris, mon amour!

Every June, like clockwork, I start pining for Europe. Each year the trigger is different, but come June, something sets me off. My heart starts to yearn for lush green grass, winding rivers, bridges, cobblestones, patisseries, red wine, little alleyways and the scent of a city with an ancient history. Last year it was the perfume of the blossoming trees, two summers ago it was a particularly good French tart. This year it was Camera Obscura‘s video for “French Navy”.

Oh Europe! Oh love! This video is how I like to envision all my future love affairs. Kissing and frolicking my way around Paris and Rome with some charmingly cute boy. Two hipsters in love; prancing along the Seine, tumbling around with the Pantheon as a backdrop, picnicking on a fresh baguette and  sun warmed brie, tartufo for dessert.

It’s been six months since I was last on that side of the world, two years since I was last in Paris, and four years since I lived in England. Europe is in my bones. Paris, especially, I cannot shake.

Obligatory Eiffle Tower Shot
Obligatory Eiffel Tower Shot

My first time in Paris was what Hollywood told me dreams were made of. My boyfriend, at the time, had treated me to five glorious Parisian days. And I fell in love with Paris even before I stepped off the train onto the Gare de Nord platform. We stayed in a cute hotel in Montmartre, right by the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. Each day began with a fresh croissant and a glorious cup of French coffee. We wandered the streets with only some semblance of a plan. We hit up all the traditional tourist spots eventually (though, I have to this day never made it up the Eiffel Tower), but you don’t need to be part of the tourist flock to enjoy Paris. In fact it’s better to just sit at a cafe and be part of the city, which is exactly what I did on my second trip to Paris. I meandered through the city, perusing used book stores, reading my finds in some random grassy space, or on the steps of some beautiful building.

The French way of life is something I covet. Fresh living, fresh eating. Picking up  ingredients for dinner on the way home from work. Cute boys running around town with baguettes in hand. Leisurely sipping wine al fresco at one of the many cafes, with tables and chairs sprawling into the sidewalk. Lights warming the evening with their glow. The distinct lack of sky scrapers. Small flats with incredible views. A pace of life slow enough to fully savour every moment, to completely indulge all the senses. History. Charm. Beauty.

I don’t understand how anyone cannot instantly fall in love with this city. It’s no wonder at all that Paris attracted so many creative thinkers and amazing artists throughout the century. Paris is flooded with inspiration and beauty.

If my French were up to scratch, I would move there in a heartbeat.

(note to self: enroll in French class.)

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