Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Purple Prose

Purple was her favourite colour — a sophisticated mix of cool and warm shades, she explained to the unrefined — the colour of royalty. Behr’s Mulberry vibrated on her living room walls. In fact, she filled her house with purple: indigo, lavender, lilac, mauve, plum and lots and lots of wine. Everywhere you looked: an extravaganza of purple — hard on the eyes like purple prose on the ears. Perhaps, we mused, she’s trying to match the three-day bruises on her arms. Perhaps we should have said something  — reported him. They buried her in a long-sleeved dress the colour of puce.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Purple Like Me

Not long after Rob Ford was elected mayor, my first small act of protest was to buy a Bike-Riding Pinko button from the bookstore up the street. When Olivia Chow ran against him four years later, our ward was one of only three to give Toronto a bright spot of purple among a sea of disappointment. Which was no surprise, really, since we’d been voting NDP provincially and federally long before the Orange Crush of 2011. Oh, and the leader of Ontario’s Green Party lives right around the corner. So yeah, I guess you could say it’s a colourful neighbourhood.

Map by blogTO. Glass by GraphicsFuel.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Something Old, Something Blue

Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau today stepped aside in favour of former leader Jean Chretien. The move follows the return of Gilles Duceppe to lead the Bloc Quebecois after polls showed voter ambivalence towards Whatsizname. Mr. Chretien did not comment on his campaign platform or what he hopes to accomplish if elected. “I just want to kick some ass,” he told reporters before wrestling a separatist to the ground.
     In other news, Chumbawamba launched its much-anticipated summer tour, the Colorado Avalanche announced the club’s return to Quebec City, and Microsoft announced it was re-rebooting its popular operating system, Windows 95.

Image: CBC

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Rime of the Ancient Hipster

So Kathy and I saw that lammy peacock on a rooftop just next to the bank. Was its presence here a feathered talisman for our neighbourhood? A haut-gammed albatross guiding us along our daily routines of foraging for organic asparagus and cheese made from Quebecois ungulates? And what would have happened if someone, say from Newmarket, saw it and shot it dead? Would he wear it around his neck too? Would our luck have turned? Would we have our very survival tested by devalued semis and unilingual children? Would my skinny brown hand never again hoist an ironic craft beer?
Photo by Hazel Smith.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Woman in Gold

After seeing “The Kiss” last year in Vienna I went on a crash course on artist Gustav Klimt. So I was excited last month to see his sumptuous “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” at an exhibit at the Neue Galerie timed to coincide with the opening of a film about the portrait’s history. The painting was renamed “The Woman in Gold” by the Nazis when they confiscated it from its Jewish owners. Why? Adele Bloch-Bauer was Jewish. The Nazis had a rapacious eye for art, and they could well recognize beauty, but they could not acknowledge it in a Jew.

Image: Neue Galerie, New York

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

50 Ways To Leave Your Dentist

Carol was cool, a woman dentist when there were no women dentists, and her boyfriend-receptionist was a tattooed biker with silver rings. But Carol got this new hygienist, a former oral surgeon from a former Soviet Republic, who cleaned my teeth with violent efficiency, as though I were out cold. Blood streamed down my cheek and that was that.
     Then I found Joel. He was an empath, flinching whenever I’d flinch, yet I liked him and his thin, tired eyes. Six months later, when I came back, he was gone. Joel quit, they said. I always thought he’d committed suicide.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


My dentist was concerned about a couple of brown spots he’d found on my lower-left canine. Decalcification, he called it and planned on touching them up with a bit of bonding material. No freezing necessary.
     To his surprise, though, they turned out to be cavities. He was preparing the surface, he told me, “and the drill just sunk right in.”
     And for all of the horror I’ve seen in the spit bowl, I think it disturbed me more right then to hear my tooth decay discussed as casually as I might describe the wood rotting away on my front porch.
Image by Linda Wilson.

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