Archive for April, 2010

East West North South

April 22, 2010

It started so innocently!

THOUGHT: “HEY!  Let’s get some Brazilian food…with our Brazilian friends!!!”

REALIZATION: “HEY! There’s a Brazilian restaurant just up the street, at Broadview and Danforth!”

PLAN: “HEY! …let’s…call them…and set this up.”

And so, yesterday at 7:15, we departed to hit up The Red Violin.  Good reviews online.  Loved the movie (…which is irrelevant). OH, text message!

“It appears to be closed.”

…and it was!  The restaurant was closed.  (NOTE: Two days later it appears it’s under renovation and has changed it’s name to ‘Rodeo’) We met up with our two friends, and one informed us that there’s a restaurant he knows of!  Except…it’s in the west end.  Lansdowne and Dundas.  Very much East to West.

You see, I live in the East End.  I’m an Eastender.  I don’t go to the West End.  I’m not a West End Girl.  There’s a weird wall, I put it somewhere around Bathurst Street, and I’m not used to breaking through that wall.  Last year I went to Hugh’s Room, and to Mitzi’s Sister…and both times it was strange and alien to me.  It’s like people spoke a different language, dressed differently…even the buildings look different.  East to West…it’s like crossing a border into an unusual country.

So I’m not all Toronto-centric…I realize this is pretty standard everywhere I’ve ever lived and probably pretty standard for most people.  In Erin, I lived on Main Street so I knew Daniel and OUR Dundas…but I rarely ventured much past Beckers.  In Guelph, I lived all over the place…except the West End (GAH!  It comes back again!)  There’s always a part of the city or town I’ve lived in that was…’THAT’ place.

I joked the entire trip that the West End was weird.  And it was!  It looked so strange.  So much…nicer…and more diverse…far more interesting stores and restaurants and houses.  ICKY!

So, we got to the new restaurant…and it was NOW A PIZZA SHOP!  Apparently we were Brazillianly Cursed!  Now we turned to Urban Spoon, a nifty iPhone app, that sent us to a place called Cajú.  It means ‘Cashew.’  NEATO!  We can’t possibly miss out a third time!

“We’re having a private party.”

Getting food had now become a seemingly unsuccessful adventure. At this point I was ready to assume that there was NO hope of Feijoada or to drink any cocktails made with cachaça!  The West End, it lies!

But the nice lady…she pulled two tables together in the front of the restaurant and served us anyways.  I mean, we had been ALL OVER TOWN (read: drove to the scary west end) and wanted to try this tasty food!

Where am I going with this?  Ummm…I guess I need a meaning, huh?  Erm…Brazilian food rocks, the West End is weird but far more interesting to look at than the East End (…I don’t know if I could move there though) and adventure nights are far more interesting than ordering in from the same ol’ place.

And also…sometimes I think you need to go through strange worlds and crazy adventures to get what you want.  We could’ve just gone to McDonalds, or ordered in from a local pizza place.  But instead I got a story.

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Old Songs

April 8, 2010

Last Thursday, April Fools Day, no foolin’, I went up on stage for the first time in 13 years with my old pal and bandmate Ryan McLarnon and played some old songs.  These songs were written in the mid 90s with our band Brillohead and were last performed around that time too. Brillohead broke up sometime in 1997 (I’ve previously said 1996 but I realize now that’s probably not accurate…though I may change my mind again)

In the time since Brillohead broke up I’ve gone to University, graduated, moved four times, ended up in Toronto, held five jobs, written a 300 strip webcomic, acted in dozens of plays, made hundreds of friends, been to San Jose and Columbus and Austin and Pittsburgh and Philly (you know…the really exciting cities), lived in Oklahoma City for four months, cared for a crazy part-coyote dog, ran workshops then coordinated workshops then took over a furry convention, and musically I’ve written about thirty new songs.

I like my new songs…but they all seemed kinda boring once Ryan and I reunited, with the goal of playing this show on April 1st, and started going over our old songs.  Ryan even has the original binder with our lyrics, song ideas, and notes.

It’s alien!  As you grow and mature your new creations are improvements, correct?  Not always.  I’d say my new songs are from a different writer than those old songs (which, it should be reminded, were co-written with Ryan).  Compare lyrics:

NEW:  “I want to go anywhere, you seem too far away to care, I guess the past is there, I’ll draw from memories even though they tear.”

OLD: “When I was younger, I needed it, it kept me warm at night, my little blanket.”

NEW: “Step on my  head, help me kiss the ground, step on my head, so I won’t be around no more.”

OLD: “I see a panda bear, isn’t that illegal I ask, the ringmaster says no one cares.  How can I help you out, can I walk the tightrope blindly?  Already got one, sorry…here take this broom and follow that gorilla.”

…I know, reading as text takes away from the magic of the song.  I’m not a ‘poet,’ I’m a songwriter, and that’s even a stretch imho.  I’m a ‘song-building-enthusiast’ I’d say.  For me, music is as much about having fun and making something than pouring out my soul. At least, it used to be.

So, we got on stage, and played three songs: Taking Too Much Time, Circus and So Much Time To Waste.  A strange thing happened.  My singing voice came back, it wasn’t my current ‘mid range indie warble’ but my pop-note bouncy one.  I wasn’t worried about what the audience thought…it was so much fun I could only assume they were having fun too.  And in a weird way I felt totally reconnected to Ryan despite having a little trouble hearing his guitar…we were pretty tight.

I joke before we start playing, after I tell the audience the ’13 year, old high school band, old songs’ story that the songs are still relevant today.  In a way they are.  It’s not like they were about the mid-nineties.  They were a universal theme that wasn’t all introspective and super-deep…it was more like…fun observation.

I’m not going to stop writing ‘new’ songs…but I think I want to get back to writing ‘old’ songs again too.  I don’t think I’ve matured and changed, I think I’ve just tried a couple of new styles…and now it’s time to bounce back into an old one.

It’s nice to think that those 13 years never happened.  Now I can be 15 again! (…I lie…I’m 19 now…don’t do the math…)

Check the video from April 1st out at my YouTube Channel: youtube.com/user/potoroo, and subscribe if you wanna catch more vids from future shows!