Thing of the Week: The Night LJ Got Back To Toronto, "Your Summer" by Strawberry Whatevs

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: The Night I Got Back To Toronto

I arrived in Toronto last Sunday evening after an arduous plane jouney that, while arduous, was less arduous than anticipated— the itinerary the plane company sent me listed my Toronto arrival time as 10 PM, but they meant 10 PM London time, not Toronto time, which was confusing and irresponsible of them. Also, one of my two layovers turned out to not be an actual layover but rather just a brief interlude of plane chilling on tarmac for twenty-odd minutes during a crew-change in Halifax. But to give credit where credit is due, it was a bullshit fourteen-hour commute, the only bright spots being 1) the blueberry & Greek yoghurt-flav Tim Horton’s bagel I ate during my layover in Newfoundland, 2) the little caper I got to participate in with myself after briefly misplacing my luggage during the aforementioned Newfoundland layover, and 3) the time on my London to Newfoundland flight when a man passed out and the girl sitting next to me, who had evidently seen a movie in her life, took it upon herself to be the hero who stood up and shouted, “IS THERE A DOCTOR ON THE PLANE???”— when no one replied, she muttered “This is ridiculous” to herself— that was the highlight, not the man passing out. That was sad and sort of scary. I just really dug her “This is ridiculous”; it was so unnecessarily dramatic. Like, dude, it’s not ridiculous. There just happened to not be a doctor on the plane. You can’t blame people for not being doctors. You’re not a doctor either. Anyway, the man was fine.

Matt King met me at the airport and we had a cute little bit where I was waiting for my luggage to arrive on the conveyor belt and then the automatic door to the Arrivals hallway opened and we saw each other and I ran to him and we hugged and he said “I can’t go in there, and you can’t come out here,” and then he gave me a Grande iced BAM.
        I met back up with my disgusting heel of a cumbersome suitcase, who was named Barry, and Matt & Barry & Abigail (my other suitcase) & I commuted from the airport to my dad’s flat apartment. While walking Barry & Abigail from Union Station to my dad’s, Matt & I had a cool conversation about the lyric from Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys that goes “It seems like she forgot all about the library like she told her old man now,” the crux of our discussion being how fair it was of the Beach Boys to give Fun Fun Fun-girl the benefit of the doubt in the situation— “it seems like”— rather than straight up accusing her of lying. But the following day we realized that the next lyric goes “You shouldn’t have lied,” so it "seems" like we were giving the Beach Boys unwarranted credit on that one.
        At my dad’s I drank a glass of white wine and we listened to Rhapsody in Blue on his tricked out stereo system. I changed into the t-shirt Ivy gave me in Barcelona that says “New Experiences on Old Hardware” and announced that my t-shirt was a metaphor for how I felt about being back in Toronto. Matt and I peaced out, took the King streetcar up to Bathurst, and walked to the new Nando’s that just opened up on Queen Street West. Toronto felt clean and spacious. It didn’t look as ugly as I’d thought it would. I felt further away from London than I could have imagined while living in London and trying to imagine how being in Toronto would feel, I felt released from the weight of some shitty ghosts that had been mutely haunting my life without my noticing it, and it was summer, proper summer, and I said “I feel like such hot shit in Toronto.” Matt asked “How so?” and I said “Well, my hotness just goes further in this city. Like, Sienna Miller doesn’t live here.”

We met Kritty at Nando’s and there was a whole annoying debacle about their credit card machine being down. I was hungry and snapped into Type A personality restaurant manager mode so we could get our food faster. While we ate, I thought, “It’s so nice not to be the only boorish North American at the table who eats with her fork in her right hand.”
        We went back to Kritty’s and drank white wine and listened to rock & roll music and talked about whatevs in her backyard. I reacquainted myself with the drunk-rich-old-lady vibes of my beloved Canadian cigarette brand: Benson & Hedges Menthol Light 100s. Kritty referred to all people who read books as “nerds” and I felt very, very faraway from Southeast London. I felt like the shooting star emoji.

I feel very lucky to have met the sparkling handful of deep homies that came into my life in London- creating the relationships I’ve created with those people has been fun, and cool, because I like new things, and it’s thrilling to feel new to someone, to have a person feel new to you. Conversations are spent piecing together the puzzle of what that person’s life was like before they met you, and all your tiredest old anecdotes get a second wind. You meet each other and you’re not yourselves yet, you’re a picture of yourself, a picture of the other person, until eventually you’ve hit a point where you’ve said enough words to erase the picture and then the person knows you, you know them, and that procedure’s thrilling too.
         But there ain't nothin' like being back with the people who know you best. There is never new news, and everything everyone says is hilarious not because you happen to share fundamentally similar senses of humor but rather because your senses of humor have spent the past decade developing concurrently: they are literally the same thing. It’s not a cool coincidence that you’re able to have that ridiculous niche conversation about Fun, Fun, Fun; you’re able to have it because that’s the kind of conversation you have, because you’re Matt King and Laura Jane, and the dynamic has already been established. You never have to think about anything. Nobody cares.

We moved indoors, to Baby Pineapple Studio, which is what Kritty’s studio is called, and I played the bass for the first time. Since that night I have played so much bass, that’s my main vibe right now, becoming a bass player. In Barcelona Ivy called me a “latent bass player” and now it’s all bubbling up to the surface. I have worshipped the bass for fifteen years and I can’t believe how lucky I am, how cool it feels, learning to speak this new language. Basslines are snakey sneaky little stories that meander underneath the rest of a song, they are punchy and crunchy and don’t have to resolve themselves but when they do it’s a treat.
        After we left Matt King and I went into the Queen & Bellwoods 7-11 and I checked out all the cool beverage options I’d forgotten about, made sure they still sell those cherry crullers I’m so obsessed with (they do). I bought a grapefruit Perrier and drank it while walking back to my Dad’s listening to music I forget now. I listened to all the basslines and knew that in some amount of time I’d be able to make sense of those sounds the same way I can make sense out of letters and words and spaces. I thought of London and how scared and sad I’d been the last couple weeks, how irritated I’d felt by the inconvenience of having to uproot my entire life simply because of the cosmically arbitrary event of my Visa expiring.
        I didn’t have to feel like that anymore. It was over, the ghosts were gone, and when the sun woke up it would be shining. It was eleven PM in Toronto, the air was swampy and I didn’t need a jumper, which is called a sweater again. All my friends in London were asleep.      

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: "Your Summer" by Strawberry Whatevs, A Tulip of Pineapple Cider

I was going to write a thing about summertime and romance and rock-and-roll but instead I just want to share three things, the first being a passage from Life After God by Douglas Coupland. I underlined all these sentences when I was 16, and just reread them and realized it's maybe the most formative paragraph-and-a-half of my whole crazy life:

It's from a beautiful heartbreaker of a story called "Patty Hearst," which you can read here, excerpted in a 1994 issue of Spin with good old Evvers Dando on the cover. Beauty all around.

The second thing is this poem that a robot made by using words from Strawberry Fields Whatever's Twitter account:

If we were going to workshop this poem, I'd suggest making a few tweaks so it reads like this:

Covered in 1000-island dressing
Butters & sunshine raspberries
What else would I spend my time doing?
Stars, society, and bunnies

An extremely disgusting apartment
Paul Simon, Jack White, T. Rex, and MORE
*chill sommelier* movement
Kim Gordon in the Marc Jacobs store

Being the Norwegian Wood of her,
I'm just gonna be a DESSERTS-WRITER
Plus some cool news about Jen and Cher-
Shit, is there anything better

But it's basically all there. The robot poet really nailed it. The William Blake of robot poets, seriously.

Apart from "Your summer," my number-one jam of summer 2016 is "Higher" by Nice as Fuck, which is Jenny Lewis's new band:

Also I think my summer drink might be pineapple cider? I had a tulip of that last night at Mohawk Bend, and mid-tulip the bar started playing "Gates of the West" by the Clash, which is definitely some kind of sign. Pineapple cider + Mick Jones deep cuts forevs <3 <3


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  2. Toronto is such a nice place to visit I know this because my friend lives here and he always tells about Toronto