Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Smells like secrets

But it's out! Having recently moved to Toronto from Ottawa, The Balconies had a CD release party at Lee's Palace this past Friday. The cover glows in the dark, the songs make your feet tap and the members are absolutely adorable, so check it out.

Arnaud Fleurent-Didier's "France Culture" is a nice look into his own family history. Video with English translation below. Keep looping, it's that good.

If you've ever had the luxury of attending an Arab wedding, there's one thing that stands out about the wedding singers: for 15 minutes, they will fidget with the same few notes on their keyboard-synthesizer and thank the crowd in the mic. Then, they proceed by playing a song that has nothing to do with any of the notes they played on the keyboard just seconds prior. Does it make sense? No. Why do they do it? I don't know, but it sure as hell entertains me and if requested, I'll imitate them for you [gladly]. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard Siriusmo's "Last Dear" because the keyboard-synthesizer sound in the song is so similar to the one played by Arab wedding singers it's ridiculous! Have a listen or watch the video below. It comes on at around 1:47. Honourable mention: Intro to Phoenix's "If it's not with you"

Monday, 28 September 2009


You wake up, a bit later than you should have, exhausted. Jump in the shower, finish, choose an outfit. Drink water, leave the house. Grab your bike and ride it to work. You stop at a café, pay $1.60 for coffee you know is worth $0.88. You get to work, turn your computer on, wait for it to load, stare at your colleagues, and begin working. You read the news and other websites that keep you updated. You think. Your phone rings, you speak, you resolve an issue because no one else wants to and you get back to work. You eat a sandwich, make a snarky comment to the owners. Your hands are dirty. You deposit a cheque, stare at your assets. You get another coffee. $1.95. This one is not worth more than $1.00. This place is overpriced. You drink, you walk back to the office, you salute your passing colleages. You sit and stare, you think, you can't wait to go home. Once the time arrives, you leave. You ride your bike back through the familiar road up to your house. You park it outside, check the mailbox. You missed a call. Your parents. You don't call back. You clean, you get dressed, you chat, you eat quickly, you bike to go volunteer. A pedestrian jumps in your way. You remind her you could've been a truck, laugh, and ride away. You see people, you chat, they laugh, you poster, you drop paste on yourself, you clean up at the library, you observe the people, you laugh, you leave. You get told by a taxi driver its illegal, you ignore him. You finish your volunteering. You think of a day in July, you go to a coffee shop. You write, you write and write. You hear ridiculous conversations taking place near you, you write and write. Your phone rings, you set up a meeting time. You fill your Rhodia with more words, you listen to songs, you write. A bald man stares at you, you stare back then away and leave. You meet a friend, you hug because its been awhile. He checks your id at the door, you pay for the ticket, you talk, she's been through a rough time. You keep your jackets on. You get closer to the stage, you watch the hipsters sway. You close your eyes and listen to the band play. You're both enjoying yourselves. You take photos. You look around for others you may know. You dance a bit, you go sit. You go talk to band members, you discuss mutual friends. You find out she's happy doing something you predicted and she said "never" to. But she's happy so you smile. You have a conversation with someone you met once a year ago. You sit. The next band comes on. Lead singer's pants and shirt are too tight for him. His hair reminds you of someone you don't want to think about but you do. You close your eyes, you laugh, you make jokes, hipsters dance. "Footloose" comes on. You dance like they do. You move closer to the stage, you listen to the other band. You're more nostalgic for home even though you're not sure where that is. You think of her, you understand why she did what she did and you smile. You leave, you hug goodbye, you ride your bike, you shiver, you think of June, you want to be home. A taxi driver yells at you, you tell him to keep driving, he's irritated. You're starving, you're home, you brush your teeth, change your clothes, realize you sound like a Bret Easton Ellis novel and go to bed.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Every problem is a nail.

"Has it been a year?" she asks me. "It feels as though it was only this spring. Where has the spring gone anyway?"

At the beginning of the summer, you opted to forget everyone. As the fall settles itself, you realize how much has changed yet how much of it feels exactly the same. September is a representation of a new page, one we must accept, whether or not we want to. Students go back to school, summer vacations are over, and the weather begins to cool down, although the latter never got warmer to begin with.

You recall your state of mind in the spring and how desperately you awaited the summer, one that with a blink of an eye, has evaporated. It's as though the summer never came. Instead you were trapped, an Ezra like moment, in an endless season of spring and provided with the ability to dream what could've been summer instead. What could've been trust broken on more than one occasion, what could've been of the relationships that we feel are everlasting that are instead, shattered in an instant, what could've been the feelings that are forgotten or, like dreams, those we put away to make ourselves feel better as much as it hurts, what could've been of the dreams that are shared, of the experiences that are made, of the tears that are shed, of the lands that are discovered where new memories are built, and of the others that are rediscovered alongside its reignited memories and what could've been of the transformed lives and the people in need of saving.

And like you needed a vacation back in May, you were provided with the opportunity to take one. So you set off on a plane and crossed the Atlantic, something you had not done in seven years, and began your voyage. It was short, ever changing and temporary, like everything in your life it seems. Maybe that's why they call them vacations. The news, now more than ever before, depresses you terribly. Your ability to concentrate, to write like you want, is removed, unable to figure out how, just weeks prior, you were able to do it.

For a brief moment, you felt genuine happiness. There were dates to look forward to, but those are all but gone as you slowly woke up from a four month sleep. Wait, next month will mark a year since you've moved. Congratulations, you're thinner than ever and realize there's actually nothing to celebrate, or no one worthy of celebrating it with, it's just life, although if you told your roommate she's more likely to be happy for you than the previous one. Wait, but you received two pieces of good news the other day, but you don't bother looking for contacts to tell, you keep this news to yourself. Your inbox has text messages in it, some old, some new. Most of them seem to be copies of previous ones, canceled plans, back and forth running after others, not worth the time, mainly because, you made those plans to pass the time, they weren't the messages you were looking for anyway. The phone calls you missed are insignificant, just like the names and subjects of the emails that flood your inbox. You grow tired of the canceled plans, running after people who, in the end, probably wouldn't run after you. Favours. It feels like favours, doesn't it? Fini!

Oh how you feel like a brat, someone who appreciates nothing, but you know that you only need direction, a direction that has never been provided to you but one you needed to consistently rely on yourself to find. You continue to doubt your abilities and wonder if hard working people get anywhere in life.
"Why don't you just forget this idea and focus on what you have right now? Do you really want to leave all of this? You're looking into something completely unknown and dangerous, do you really want to do that?"
And as your father he tells you this because he knows it's safer, but he doesn't mean it, you sense it. He's afraid, but he's done it, he wants you to do it, but he's afraid, and so are you, although you tell yourself it's not because it's all material, everything you're leaving. And that's what you learned in this dream of a summer - you are able to let go of anything that has a material worth attached to it, but people...people can't be dropped. You care too much and maybe it's because you have a heart, but you realize that not everyone does, but it doesn't mean you stop caring, mainly because you can't stop. And you don't know what you can save them from, but maybe you need to accept the fact that you're in need of saving but no one will save you.

And there you are, with a ticket in your hand, figuring out the misery that is your personal life plan. And four months ago this is where you wanted to be, and where you are is fine, but you think back to the dream of the summer and realize that you can drop it all, anything material. Right now you're safe, and how's life an adventure if there's a safety net behind you? All you want is to run barefoot on the cobblestones in the streets of the old city, to observe the beautiful people passing Rivoli, and taste the salty water of the sea. And all you want is to save them but you don't know what you can save them from.

*the title of this post is inspired from an Abraham Maslow quote

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Eid Mubarak

Some gift ideas for your muslim homies...

from: muslamb
from: Waafia

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Elia, Hiam et Dima

I've stated it before and I'll state it again, I don't care for celebrities. Frankly, the line ups in front of theatres and hotels amuse me. This week at TIFF however I got to be in the presence of people in film I admire, and are a different kind of celebrity (if even to be called celebrity since they are not known at all).

At the Toronto Declaration discussion Monday night, I bumped into and got stared at by my country's own, more charming version of Buster Keaton (read: Elia Suleiman whose new film The Time that Remains is being screened at TIFF) AND, AND...wait for the screening of Chaque jour est une fête (Every Day is a Holiday), I met one of my girl
crushes. Although I could not tell her that I find her ravissante in front of the crowd, I did, when given the chance to come face to face, tell her how much I've been wanting to meet her. I also took a few minutes to admire her beauty up close. I'm talking about Hiam Abbass - the woman who makes wrinkles so elegant. I also got to share a laugh with Chaque jour est une fête (Every Day is a Holiday) director Dima El-Horr, an absolutely adorable and brilliant woman who directed an excellent and highly recommend film too! But before I end this post, I have one comment for TIFF movie goers who are about to go see a non-Hollywood film discussing Middle-Eastern issues: please, do yourself a favour, read the synopsis and research the situation before you ask unnecessary questions that are a complete waste of time (read: "How did the women survive without water?") Such silly questions can be answered by a) reading the synopsis and realizing that it mixes realities of life with absurdities, and b) realizing the film took place throughout an afternoon, not even a full day. Therefore, humans are able to survive approximately three days without water. Furthermore, when addressing the director with your questions, keep in mind her first language is not English - she was clearly fluent in Arabic and French and tried her best to answer you with her English, if you don't understand her explanation, be nicer about it. Oh and don't forget, TPFF starts on September 26.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Put your hands where my eyes can't see

My friend Danielle Meder likes karma...of the good kind. She's featured my blog on hers countless times and introduced me to many people when I first came to Toronto. It was only natural that when she sent me an email last week wanting to feature me in her Fashion Blog Karma section, I was honoured. Check out my interview with Danielle where I discuss blogs-magazines, the difference between Toronto and Ottawa, and national vs. regional fashion weeks.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

"I wonder what's worse...

not having cigarettes or not having a light?" "Not having cigarettes, because someone will always give you a light."