Peter starts listening to dreary documentary podcasts at about 330 am. I leave him to it and stop by the pizza joint, armed with a gingered ale, mutton roll, and the heartening sense that I may at least recognise half of the people in attendance. Creature comforts in the city core. At the door, while talking to a local urchin, doppelganger Volet I'm greeted by none other than Russel Fernandes, party man and rock n roll animal, one of my first interviewees for the Tinderbox in fact. Russ is in a gravely expansive mood and explains the situation both concisely and amicably. There's no beer for us here! We have to leave! Always to the point, that guy...
> > Inside is too much, and even the back alley smoker's scene is a little tense for my liking. After making nice with some big boys, I have to walk away as they engage the owner in an exchange of nasty names and physical intimidation. But just up the lane, in view of the Triller tower, I am saved, decisively and wholly, from my own dwindling exchange of animosity and frustration with my poor lost lady. Into the morning and through the night, it's time to be surrounded by new friends and to flex the new muscles of my no-bullshit policy. A wish I wish....
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Max has just been watching videos of free climbers. His hands are sweating. Do you want a bite of my pickle? somebody says. Trip hop music and the omnipresent friday buzz, echoes of your words, the fading presence of your voice, face, curves and shadows.... Island party? Island party tomorrow? I have to work, I have to work... Me, Catt, Pete and Emma form a line across the floor of the patio, hours after the after was supposed to have let out. Peter has been reawakened and pumped for info: I listened to a documentary about a music festival in Lebanon. It's been going on for thirty years.
There's chatter and laughter, you're reading it backwards. They've been calling for flurries of cigarettes. I thought they were calling for rain? I was almost praying for it. Why didn't you dance? I tried to start the dancefloor at the dog. Limited edition, end of an era, a time for ritual actions. Call me anytime, I said. Ain't no place built for dreamers quite like Parkdale, said her back. Construct of fear, says Max. He told us that the van blasting radio broadcasts was more than a little accusational and preachy. And peep the fallout! A couple divided, he urging homeward bondage, she split, distraught, gave me a smoke for a five. It was payday, five for Nav, too. But Nicole deserves more, like a bottle of Jack Daniels.
Almonds are fucking delicious. This is the point of the night for becoming clear on your level of commitment. Avoid the sauce, save your stomach. Fatigue is doable, worth the rogues gallery. Dan has written all of the songs on the radio, paranoia is an idiot: why don't you smell it out? I sense it everytime you lose account. Where and when I bought it up. I'm just a worrier. I understand. This reminds me of the flight of the navigator. I'm about to be rushed by the Hudson's Bay company. We spell it Canadian Tyre. I have a Canadian fishing license. I'd like to show everyone my fishing license. Basically, I'm a stubborn fuck. I've got a licence and a whip. Did you meet Cornell? I'm not just saying this, I am: A badman Fisher. Hands down. How I do it? I imagine what the fish like to eat.
> > Max is in fine form and freestyles content effortlessly. I retreat to the quiet side and recline for the fading night, rolled tightly in waves of caring and comfort, growing certainty and precious intimacy.
> > > > > The important thing to remember when folding your host's laundry is to ask what the going rate is, to await her reappearance before rounds of shots, to be aware of enabling forces in all of our lives, to hold still enough to pet cats, mind grey-clad nappers on the kitchen floor. Who's paying the rent? That's a community concern. Who's being divisive? Well, there's two sides to that story.
Learning to play the angles is like riding a bike. Nadia returns unexpectedly. Four people on an air mattress is like a den of otters. Opportunities abound, in my privilege and blessings. The positive charges of chaos swirl like tendrils as I leverage myself, prioritize and escape from fatal situations. Used to wanna be so tough, I played up some dated bad attitude as much as I could, mustered bluster, mister. Talk turkey: Have I been anywhere near as terrible as I could if I were trying? And I have been terrible. Abusive, violent, suicidal. Threatening and manipulative. Losing my hat, I guess I smoked all my cigarettes, save the one she gave. Not till Sunday, under an otherworldly moon and sunset. Remember which topics are taboo, how real you can be, how to blame it on the boogie. Purpose, party, and privilege. No secret to that recipe for success. And room for all. No mandate, board, privileged email threads, growing sense of self-importance or social status, no need neuroses, nevermind what? Oh, that is: here in the Felliniesque morning of an urban village, time binders swill and steal, push back reality until it begins to serve us, learn to push where we had sat so softly listening, a profitable stance, one ear askance, at least until the way becomes clear. And that's why I keep coming here. Lost, I am surrounded; socialised, I find myself. In those hours we and the boys would have spent hashing out the big screen features or the tap selection, the DJ's hairdo and the french connection, the hours between work and work, between life and live, between one home and another, between letting go and being freed, between crying yourself to sleep and grinning foolishly, shaking your head at the blindingly self-evident beauty of a hu(man) being, at the childish masks of talented (wo)men, at the chatter of the brilliant, clear clarion laughter of the pure hearted, all set soon to become earthly exiles, rock gardens, train-flattened coins and spoons, rooms for rent and to spare. Time spent living with eyes open. Looking at, after, and taking care of one self. A fantastic symphony. A saga. A daily wage. Rehearsals. For what? So what? Only healing and healthy networks, the magickal trick words wend about is the simple, stunted connection of people; potent and plain. Make good things happen. Meet, greet, embrace. If you can. Stop for drinks and karaoke, pick up every artist's business card.
> Make Shit.
> > Make. Shit. Happen.
> > What else? All I have now is my friends and family, some scattered skills to market, an iron gut, and the ability to keep standing when all hope dims, as it does from time to time. Write rhymes. Study the ever-studded passage of time. Live a lovely life and learn hard lessons from big mistakes. Know your faults and limits, limit their reoccurrence. Let feeling flow, hardest one this. Feel and also know, stumble through parties, jams and shows like one devoid of all sense save smell and hearing. Scan the room, make portraits without pen or paper. Let dawn in. Brace...
> > By late morning, grey-clad ghosts are shifting, and all the couches are stacked with tired little teddy bears. Who's paying rent here? This house is full and it's time to go see another one. Family can make it possible to be in two places at once. (Thanks cuz) Here and there is always a friend trying to contact, to connect for a few moments over coffee or breakfast, sashimi or day beers, fun and fantasy, real talk and cuddles. The grey shroud was once a tent. It protected us from the sun and made the hum of the air into a massaging force. Maybe my back won't hold out all day, maybe the tent will fold. Worse things have happened to us both, I'm sure.