Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Great Red North

Late at night, we're with
friends attending the launch of Spirit
magazine. We're in a crushed bar, DNA, on
Adelaide. A native hiphop artist,
doing those hand gestures, as if he's
pressing air down. A baseball cap on
and a white towel under the cap.
He's a great mimic of black gang culture.
A waiter twisting through the crowd,
carries a grey plastic tray full of
empties above his head. A video screen
with poker. Am I the last to figure
out that native Canadians have a home
in hiphop music? The next act is
so American I have to ask: they are
Hispanics from Los Angeles, playing
the aboriginal card.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Haircut in the Snow

Snow hurtles us forward into
the year. At night, faces are lit
from below because of the snow.
Waiting for a streetcar at
the Spadina subway line. How
unfinished these underground
stations look. The raw cement
and railings, it's like looking
at the back of bits of furniture
meant to stand against a wall.
Like I'm inside the machinery
that makes cities. I've promised
that I'll leave the party after
two hours, but I'm enjoying myself.
I meet a woman who's a hairdresser.
Do I need a haircut. Oh yes. Well
where can I find you. You can't afford
me. Well what's a man to do. I could
cut your hair now. Right here? Yes,
Her apartment is next door. She fetches
her scissors. And while the food
critic and a group of women from
Montreal dance to Wild Cherry, I
sit in a chair and have a hair cut.
Her boyfriend comes over to check it
out. Remember, he says, youre ahead
of the curve.
I make the fucking curve, she says.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Now that the radiators are on

Noticed while coming out of the internet
cafe laundromat, the headlights on all
the cars. It was three-thirty in the
afternoon. This was yesterday. So that's
it for the light. It's downhill from here.
Have you seen all the destroyed heels
of teenagers' jeans? It's like theyve
busted the nerve endings in their legs.
With the cold I've made bread with yeast
and I put together a moussaka that reminded
me of my first trip to Greece, when I
was 22, and how astonished I was at
moussaka, that it existed and how I
could not figure out what was making
it taste that way and why the texture.
I met a man in Soundscapes last week
and I hadnt seen him in 18 years.
I had travelled through Turkey with him.
He said he had photos of me, climbing
the amphitheatre in Ephesus. It was
so cold in Turkey, and we swam in
the thermal baths, with snow on
the white marble.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A bookclub near Eglinton

She said her son used to be fair
and now he's got dark hair and
hair on his chest and he's big.
When he was small he was worried
he'd be short. She promised him
he'd be five foot ten. Now he's
five eleven. It's not like my
daughters. Perhaps, I said, you
werent banking on having another
big jeezly man in the house.
I'm eating cake after talking
about my book. I'm at a bookclub.
It's northwest of Eglinton. I
got there by subway and then
bus. It's on a street with big
independent stone houses with
a sidewalk only on the south
side. There are twenty chairs
crowding around the piano. And
I talk about The Big Why. Sometimes
I'm talking and I think, Michael
you are insane. You are completely
mad. I can sense my mouth opening
and closing and noise coming out.
There's a good question about how
the book is told in a modern voice
yet it's events that have happened
ninety years ago. And a woman says
Shakespeare did that. He wrote about
King Lear but Lear wasnt living
in the late 1500s. So I have good
company. But I'm not convinced
that they dont think a lunatic has
been set loose in the living room.
I eat the cake. And a woman
comes up to me, to sign her
book. You were great, she said.
We all liked you. I believe her.
I have to.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Giller night

Note to self after getting
out of bath: after polishing
black shoes, dont immediately
button your white shirt.
Some of the drinks spilled on
my tux: vodka martini, gin and tonic,
rye and ginger, Macallan's twelve
year old scotch. Our table had
a soft, silver tablecloth and a grey
box stuffed with red roses. The
chairs covered in burgundy slips.
Overheard: The bitter truth, I'm
realizing, is this dress is too small.
Telemprompters on the back wall under
a turquoise chandelier. A young man
with an earpiece kneels beside me.
I hear this: He's ready for mike-up.
Final note to self: Dont let anyone
ever film me reading aloud from my

Monday, November 07, 2005

Comments overheard in long rooms

I learned in Ireland how to use a cellphone.
Dancing -- that's bad music for the white people.
She's taking spurious offence in her slip with sequins.
Dull is good for caregiving.
Anything remotely criminal I can figure out.
When someone closes their eyes, their glasses should disappear.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Listening to Herman Dune

Dropped into Soundscapes on College
Street and listened to some CDs
on the earphones. Herman Dune. The
second track, Not on Top. Okay
I'll get this. And now wondering
about it. Four of the tracks are
lovely and the rest is a little
repetitive. We had a friend over for dinner
who saw the CD and said, Hey it's
Julie Doiron. So what's the connection
between Ms Doiron, a Canadian, and Herman
Dune (who appear to be from Leeds)?
My favourite song of theirs for the day
is, The Orange Hat, which sounds
like Velvet Underground when the
drummer sings. It's raining out.