"cats & cakes"
Jumping from city to city should mean well-sought eyes and well-travelled toes, but it’s my heart that’s taking the toll. Every town and every day is a new emotion; it’s so much and so quick, it takes days to unravel and organize it all into a comprehensible mess. In all honesty, I spend a lot of time sitting and thinking. I am both excited and intimidated by the future. Just a little over halfway through this summer tour wishing for hints of my next step, and two things have been really hammering themselves in to my head.
Firstly, music is a must. I know I need to make music, and that isn’t limited to any genre or to what’s fashionable. How many actors do you know like being typecast? I feel the same way about music, I wish I could go from genre to genre, stretching, expanding, developing, growing without being labelled as a “sell-out” or a commitment-phobe. I listen to many genres and many genres inspire me, so why would I limit myself on the creative end? Diversity and collaboration is one of the would-be best parts of the industry, merging creativity, bringing together different perspectives. It may not be the best business strategy, but I’m not a businessperson at heart, I am an artist.
Secondly, but above all, love. Above music, pride, experience, wealth, stability, knowledge, talent, prestige—above it all is true, genuine love. When I started, I was already moved to silence by the love and support shown by my family and friends. As I made my way through Europe, I was overwhelmed time and time again by the kindness of strangers, and the depth of friendship.
I recently read an article countering the notion of seeing the world when you’re young, “free”, and unattached. I say if you are to travel, it is necessary to do so sleeping on other people’s couches, floors and guest rooms. It is absolutely necessary to be humbled by hospitality, and to be open to the overflow of gratitude you feel and the outpour of love that your hands, lips, sweat, and heart then try to compensate with. If you weren’t able to think of others enough before, then you won’t be able to stop thinking of them after having been shown complete trust by near strangers.
I don’t know what my next step is, but if I am to come away from this compelled to do anything, it is this: Whatever I do with music (or anything else for that matter), it would facilitate community rather than exclusivity, as so much of art and the subcultures that follow are prone to doing these days. I have always felt so stupid growing up thinking that I was such a poor judge on style, beauty, art, culture, taste, music, film, achievement—everything, actually, that I would almost create an opinion just for the sake of having one, so that I could hold my glass of wine with some feigned sort of confidence when I said, “oh, but I think..”.
Now I know, ignorance in this sense is bliss because at the end of the day, what do I remember more? Dressing well? Knowing lots of things? Singing in a cool band? Having 1.3m followers and 249 559 subscribers?
Or being so welcomed by strangers and friends alike; witnessing and extending kindness to the extent of awkward, but in a convicting and challenging way; experiencing and relaying good faith in humanity; feeling encouraged by those who believe in me more than I believe in myself; being despicable, but endured by people who think no differently of me when I am likeable again?
What am I, are you, is anyone, more moved and inspired by? What compels us to live? What is one language more universal than music?
Swimming with Swine on “Pig Island”
For more photos from “Pig Island,” check out the #swimmingpigs hashtag.
The nation of the Bahamas consists of more than 700 islands. While the tropical climate and pristine beaches are invitation enough to make the Bahamas a prime tourist destination, one island has a particular draw: swimming pigs.
Big Major Cay is a small island that is uninhabited with the exception of a few dozen pigs. Though quite popular, no one quite seems to know how they got there in the first place. Local lore, however, suggests they may have been the sole survivors of a nearby shipwreck.
As visitors come and bring snacks for the animals, the pigs have come to view visiting tourists as a dependable food source. As a result, the pigs will actually swim out to oncoming boats to greet them as they approach in hopes of a handout.
When I arrived in Edmonton on Friday, I was immediately told about the amazing poutine at this nifty, local eatery called The Three Boars. We made it a goal to drop in and have a taste sometime over the weekend. On Monday morning, it suddenly dawned on me that we had not gone for poutine and Krista, my host, was working all evenings until I left. (and Poutine alone is a very sad poutine indeed). We checked the hours, and were super relieved to find that they were open to 2am every night of the week (Google) or “Late” (their website). It became our mission then to have poutine that night after work.
The day passed in a rather anxiously uneventful way. Plans of songwriting and video editing were quickly pushed aside by news of rain and storm wreaking slight havoc at home, and constant thoughts of cheesy, beefy, gooey, potato warmth. 11pm could not come sooner. Finally, I heard the gate open and a key turn in the door and oh what I had to do just to keep from jumping up and dashing out the door. We were hungry, and ready. So ready to surrender our stomaches to an onslaught of grease and fat. I had eaten next to nothing for supper, so that I’d have enough space and thought to thoroughly enjoy the poutine.
It wasn’t too long before we left the apartment gushing and squealing at the happiness we would soon find. Then we turned the corner or “the fateful corner” as we now call it. There at the fateful corner were 2 stopped vehicles, a woman on the sidewalk chatting quite excitedly on her phone, and a man pinned to the ground by another man. From where we were, it looked like someone might be hurt, and Krista being a super-nurse, jumped out and asked if she could help. Turns out, said man under other man’s knee was on some sort of his own method of happiness, and was going around assaulting cars and cyclists. A very unfortunate cyclist and victim of his happiness lay on the other side of the street clutching her injury, so we went to check if we could be of any assistance.
Emergency vehicles were already on their way, so there was little we could do but help her get in contact with someone who might be asking for her. We found out where she lived, and were warned that it was “dark and in the trees”…It was really dark, and really in the trees. Out came our cellphones blair-witch-project-style to guide us up the walkway, and we were greeted by a skull hanging on the front window.
Poutine, I thought. Poutine will make this all go away. Poutine. Poutine. Poutine.
We rapped on the door, rang the bell, and shouted for someone to come to the door. After a few minutes of wondering if this desire for fried potatoes was leading us right into our mad and violent deaths, a light turned on and a very sleepy and disoriented man came out. He was too sleepy to be of much use, so we gave him the news and ran out of there realizing we were probably just as useless.
Off we went, happy that we still had all our limbs, and very much excited from our mini adventure that we almost barrelled into another car who clearly had no idea that other cars existed on the road. Finally, we pulled up to the “The Three Boars” only to find that not only were they closed, they’d been closed for hours!! Apparently, Google should not be trusted for store hours, and “Late” is actually “Not that Late”. That was when we dared to think that maybe someone somewhere didn’t want us to eat poutine. So we sat sulking and searching in the car looking for another place to satisfy our weekend-long craving, desperate for anything just a tad less sketchy than the pub we were parked next to.
Alas, it was a Monday night, and not much is open late on Monday night unless you’re craving a quick trip to the restroom. That’s when we realized that McDonald’s was probably (and sadly) our safest option. We drove up, stepped out, and placed our order for sandwiches and fries. Accordingly, the cashier left out our fries. So we placed our order again, grabbed our fries and drove straight back to Krista’s place. In the comfort of familiar walls and sweats, we caved and munched. The fries we chased after all night turned out to be cold; a weak and wilted wisp of the hot, crisp, and savoury dream we had nurtured all weekend.
So I write to you from Vancouver where I have just inhaled an entire serving of poutine from Mean Poutine at Nelson and Granville by myself. A day to explore led me right to Robson Square, Vancouver’s food truck hub, but I wasn’t in the mood for Mom’s Grilled Cheese or Feastro’s. So I kept walking until I found this “hole in the wall”, as one yelper accurately describes it, manned by a lovely woman named Soraya by day. We got to chatting and I found out that she had lived in Toronto for nearly 2 decades before moving here. She fried up my order fresh right then and there, and I was a little girl all over again when she handed me the goopy, soupy, mess. The beer battered fries were so crispy, so good, and completely drenched in the beautiful, beefy, aromatic mudslide of gravy. The cheese curds, or whatever survived the savoury lava, were chewy and squeaky, and the sprinkle of chopped green onions added a nice touch. To top it off, their crazy hours (11AM-4:30AM Mon-Sat) would have been perfect for certain late night snackers. The only thing missing was someone to share the guilt with, so I offered a fry to a pigeon who strolled by.