Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Back Where I Belong

Ena Sharples. Maybe.

Dearest Friends, I have returned from Back East, where I had a funny old ten days or so. Funny, and absolutely knackering. Indeed, my head still feels hollow, like its very pith has been scraped out by a dull spoon.

And I'm not sure when I'll find the downtime to recover...

The businessy bits went well; lotsa "useful" meetings and a couple of dog 'n' pony presentations (yes, I remembered to make 'em larf) interspersed with drunken gluttony into the wee hours, all the name of "relationship building." But the whole exercise was a bit sterile.

The absolute highlight of the trip, however, was meeting up with hizzoner JC, a/k/a The Vinyl Villain, for a long evening of utterly enjoyable japery. What a splendid chap he is! Generous, highly amusing, and brimming with passion for that which is dear to him, most obviously music and his own dear wife. I owe a particular debt to him for sharing with me his Toronto, the one which he has come to know during his few months in-country. He led me down Queen Street and its funky wee boutiques, stopping at a cool-as-fuck bar for a few alky bevvies. We then headed up to Little Italy, where I dined on baked strangled priests at his favourite trattoria, thence to the small-but-perfectly-formed Soundscapes where we spent a good deal of time browsing the esoteric CDs, DVDs, and books on offer. And, as he so candidly and correctly recounts in his account of our meeting, we ended up on the patio of a wanky jazz bar sometime after midnight. Oh, and there was indeed nude life drawing involved, of an Ena-Sharplesish bent (see photo above). Thanks to JC, I've now somewhat modified my rather lackluster view of Toronto - it isn't all just bland downtown core and dead lake. Next time I'll know where to go.

Mouse Eat Mouse - Mair Licht (buy here or e-here)
Coz JC's Scottish, you know. And it was our mutual friend Colin who brought this gem to my attention.

Richard Cheese - People = Shit [Slipknot Cover] (buy here or e-here)
The jazz was truly yawnsome. And JC did poke fun at my metal tendencies...

On Friday it was off to Noo Yawk Ciddy for a weekend visit to Mother. The trip down was aggravating beyond belief; my flight was canceled, which meant I had to reclaim my bags and clear Canadian customs to "reenter" the country, since for flights to the US you go through American immigration just after checking in. Then back to check-in, revisit US passport control, another strip search at security, yada yada yada. But I did have some very interesting conversations with about half-a-dozen fellow travelers along the way, so it wasn't all bad...

And my visit? Well, Saturday was nice. At least the exquisite cilantro (that's coriander for you Brits) & lime martini with my lunch at The Modern was. And the rest of the weekend? Utter disaster. I shan't go into details, but both mindfulness and compassion abandoned me in the face of unrelenting emotional onslaught. Sigh.

Ned's Atomic Dustbin - Happy (buy here )

But it's good to be back, and I have the latest Contrast Podcast to look forward to! This week it's limericks all around, and I'm eager to hear all the poetry. You can download it yourself here, and check out the listings and comments here.