I got a text from
Retro Radio drummer
Justin Jones the other evening,
telling me he'd seen my face
scrawled on the bathroom walls
of several beer-slinging
What fresh madness is this?
I texted back.
Had one of my sloppy visits
to the coolest suburb transmorphed
in the darkness of the night
to some kind of manic arts and crafts encounter session?
I don't usually tag when i get wasted,
but I have been getting into the habit of sketching
little Matisse-ish caricatures of my friends and servers
while ho-beauing it up at Toronto's tasteful, young
(hipness neither implied, nor denied) sud-spots.
But the shreds of information
passing as evidence
in this Hamilton caper were indicative of
deeper, more systematic troubles.
The very nature of the bea$t itself.
The reason why TO men, while sober
can no longer dance in front of others
(and many other ills)
Of course i am talking about
this year's cmw.
no big thesis.
Just the real stories.
as far as I can see,
nothing new is supposed to happen anymore.
The inevitable fresh fetishes
of culture and class clashes
will eventually simmer down
and all human cultural activity
will resemble Cmw:
a hollow attempt to impress upon
the attendee, voluntee, or presentee
(not to mention the still larger portion of the population
who choose to celebrate CMw by simply not going.)
that constant, terrible joy
with being involved in something
so hulkingly massive that it cannot
really be said to have 'thoughts'
but only vague lusts
and obscene hungers.
This horny beast swallows all.
It swallows attendance at any
below-the-radar aka real cultural occurances.
It swallows whole the time of those
who wanna grease palms and meet some geeks
part-time carnies on point for the Golden Ticket.
But especially and most totally
it swallows up the minds of those bands
who are involved in this virtual feat of imitating reality.
I was worried about Wool on Wolves.
I really love dancing to the grooves this band throws down,
and I was a little nervous to witness
the treatment and the reception that
my presumed port of call had to offer them up.
After Jones' message I scoured the dishpit for the evidence:
a brochure from the zine museum!
I must have teleported from Hamilton to the annex sometime during CMW....
a few days later,
when i get home,
i thrash about the papers
and boomboxes in my personal space
to find further evidence:
three small squares of card paper from Nota Bene,
each one bearing a small portrait of Justin 'JJ' Jones,
spectacles and all.
The first square is titled "cmw begins!!! guuuman!"
and has the wool on wolves email address written on it.
For the first time,
my compulsive impaired doodling
has become a convenience,
a fossil record of the week's endeavours,
the trail of slime left behind a floridean snail...
I gather some thumbtacks
and assemble the evidence chart-like on the wall.
Pages lie torn from notebooks,
the contents of every pocket i own
are scattered in a heap near the door.
These fresh clues begin to revive scarred tissues,
forcing both repressed pains
and indelible pleasures to the surface.
It's the last night of CMW,
and Nicks working the bar downstairs
at Crawford, which is open till four tonight,
which makes it less obscene
that we just wasted two hours of our life
at the Supermarket just so i could dance a bit
onstage and play some harpo-marx style drums.
We arrive with armfulls of gear:
a casio rap-man,
which our boy handily vanishes into an unused bar fridge.
The remainder of CMW is spent happily moshing
or dancing to the old soul-punk sock-hop mix upstairs.
I see ULTIMATE MOST HIGH
and try to talk to some other bands.
Maybe it was better at the supermarket:
Dalton says he got like four numbers.
The second portrait of Jones is in my hand.
on the back is scribbled
NMD vs CMW:
institutions and individuals alike
who choose the appearance rather than the actual fact
will be forever doomed to repeat cliches,
and will become oppressor and oppressed both,
most rich bitches and blessed poor poets.
Take heed, open mikers! Garage rockers!
Kids with bad hair and baby fat,
three songs in the bag
and nothing but dreams to get you through the night.
The system feeds on your energy,
your excitement and your naivete.
And it gives you NOTHING back.
Of course, you could always, if you decide that you Truly Beleive
and your partners/parents understand that you will be broke for a while,
but then potentially hit the big ticket,
Play the GAME,
and come pimp your sets at festivals like CMW,
a bigger, more credible form of SUPERNOVA,
all of which are canandian dreams of
CAREER, CLASS, and CULTURE.
Respect yourselves, boppers!
Ravers, dishwashers unite!
Toronto's thousand greasy corners
begin to warm up again when the beast moves on,
tru+living CULTUR starts to happen once again
in the frisky, sweaty glow of the springtime.
we were at the GUU Izakaya house at bathurst and bloor.
It was their second anniversary celebration,
so Sapporo was cheap on tap, and Jones was pleased.
Wool on Wolves would soon be joining us.
Sake was warm and I was in fine form.
Jones, however, couldn't tell his pork from a piece of fish.
The second highlight of CMW for me
was this busboy DIO from that night,
who played field with some mad beat boxing.
I tried to hit him up for an interview,
but my handmade business card
must have hurt his eyes to look at.
Instead, I sketch the linesmen in their open kitchen
and I pass the pictures to the manager.
People keep shouting and eventually i just want to go home.
I congratulate the proprietor on his success in Toronto,
hand him more sketches, and disappear.
Later that week,
I stand before the suite of pen and- sharpie
portraits of Justin Jones, pinned to my bedroom wall.
The last square in the tryptich
is dated and tagged
at the Ship in Hamilton:
a coy, cozy beer-house,
one; rock the casbah was playing while we ate lunch,
now, at the ship, vinyl single of same song is on the wall.
Two: meryl streep in julia and julia came up twice thru the day
was it the iron lady or iron man?
a young woman hands in a resume.
The staff is unimpressed,
but my partner insists that the girl has potential.
Beer-geekery is afoot and I go to the can to roll a smoke.
I empty my pockets in the spacious facilities,
and start drawing a self-portrait on the door with a black sharpie.
I feel my hold on reality beginning to slip,
...Memories and dreams blurring together...
It's coming back to me.
I'm on a GO bus,
sulking at Jones for not having brought his flask,
sobering up by the minute as the bus rushed us back to downtime toronto,
nice and early for Wool on Woolves early set.
Two kids from Oshawa in the seats behind me
are chatting each other up before the game.
A beautiful woman beside me watches porn on her phone.
The pieces fall back totgether.
Another CMW has been fully recontructed,
and immediately discarded.
See you next year : )