Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday musings

It seems like a bit of a lazy hazy Sunday. Unlike last week when I decided to undertake that (failed) attempt to move my bedroom up to the loft, I have no projects to attend to today. (Except fixing my toilet. It doesn't seem to be flushing too well.) I do think I'll head out for the afternoon: perhaps take in a film (I really should see Borat since everybody is talking about it, but it pains me to pay the ridiculous admission charge for a film that I know won't be greatly enhanced by a large screen and a Dolby sound system; I'm still tempted to wait for it to come out on DVD in a few months, so I might go to the new Bond film instead, or Babel) and then maybe catch a set of the jazz at the Pilot.

When I was at the library concert last night (which was pretty good, although attendance was sparse and there didn't seem to be much "energy" in the room; also, the TPL must invest in a new PA system since its current set-up is about as good/shitty as the system the Toronto subway uses for announcements), I was chatting with my friend H., and we were both lamenting the current sorry state of live jazz in this city. There have been some high-profile club closures, such as the Montreal Bistro earlier this summer, but also some of the smaller venues, such as the Red Guitar Bar on Markham St., have shut down. Thankfully there will always be a few places (The Pilot, for one, and the Rex Hotel) that will feature local musicians, but I'm still lamenting the loss of the Bistro (and the Senator, which closed about two years ago) since it essentially ensures that no top-flight players will be coming to the city for week-long engagements. No Brad Mehldau, for example (although he might have already outgrown playing a smaller club; I was fortunate to see him play on two consecutive nights in Chicago back in 1999 at the Jazz Showcase) or Geoff Keezer (who I've seen a few times at the Bistro, including a quartet he brought to town in the early 1990s that included Christian McBride and a young tenor hotshot named Joshua Redman). Even a stalwart such as Dick Hyman no longer has an appropriate venue to play in the city. It's a sad reality, and one that I don't see being rectified in the near future. Unless someone is willing to give me a couple of million dollars to take a chance on opening and operating a jazz club... (Having my own jazz bar has long been a dream of mine, actually, although I worry that I have too many hard-drinking friends that would expect drinks on the house, thus putting me out of business in short order.)

In other happenings, it's Grey Cup day here in Canada. Which reminds me of something else I read in the Souster correspondence I'm going through at work: in one letter from the early 1960s, he writes about the Grey Cup taking place in Toronto and how the city was effectively shut down for the few days prior to kick off. Man, how times have changed! If memory serves, the last time the game was held in Toronto, it was a complete disaster: it barely generated any buzz and attendance was fairly woeful. Perhaps there are too many events competing for our attentions these days, but it seems the Grey Cup barely raises a ripple anymore in terms of the country's conscious. (And perhaps that's a wholly Toronto-centric view. I'm pretty sure it's a much bigger deal out west.) Back in the mid-1980s, I would almost always be invited to some Grey Cup party: to eat chili (which I don't really like, actually), to place a wager and watch the game. It was a big deal. Hell, I even went to a Grey Cup game, back in 1981 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. (My main memory was wearing some big goofy hat and freezing my ass off.)

Still, I'll probably watch some of the game. I'm not much of a football fan, but there's something about the Grey Cup that signifies "Canada." I can be patriotic when I have to be.


corvus said...

You asked a few posts back whether people envied your life. My apologies for going over this ever-so-old ground yet again, but when you talk about what movie you want to catch, followed by live jazz at The Pilot, all of it in the heart of the city... well, heck yes, I do!

I know we've discussed the grass-is-greener sickness at length (alright, not at length - actually it's a single very short discussion repeated frequently and virtually word for word) but I felt I had to say that. I know it's not all a bed of roses - or an endless variety of nighttime jazz sets, or whatever - but sometimes some aspects of the way you live really do elicit some serious envy on this side. Part of me is a repressed loner. Just wanted you to know.

I think this topic is on my mind because I recently spent some time with someone who describes herself as a loner. I reminded her that it really is a technical term and should be used with care, but she seemed aware of that fact and stuck to her guns.

But this is your blog, not mine, so... basta (I think that's "enough" in Italian). Who won the Grey Cup?

writer_guy said...

Is your loner friend single?

Have you thought about starting your own blog?