If I make through tonight’s TIFF Midnight Madness screening it will be the first time I’ve completed the full 10 film run in the 26 years of attending this festival. Either I couldn’t see all 10 due to work obligations or I’d fall asleep with exhaustion during the screening or I just walk out on shitty ones. Taking the week off of work was key but it’s the quality of the Midnight Madness programming this year that kept me in the game. Best I can ever remember. All films ranging from good to great. Now, I know you might say “There’s still one left” Well, I finally caught up on my sleep today, I don’t have to work tomorrow and more importantly… tonight’s screening is Sadako vs Kayako! Holy Shitballs Batman! #jinx
“It’s a sad thing, bourbon’s all around to stop that feeling when you’re living in a small town”
Starting with the first encounter. A smoky Toronto bar in the late eighties –The Horseshoe Tavern. I’ve been told I was at that one and that I really enjoyed it. Apparently, I danced to Small-town Bringdown. It’s still one of my favorite Hip songs. I really hated living in a small town.
“My memory is muddy, what’s this river that I’m in? New Orleans is sinking man, and I don’t wanna swim”
Jump forward two years and it’s the second date with my wife at their show at the Molson Amphitheatre. This one I remember. She was annoyed that we had to sit on the grass, just missing the awning covering when it started to rain. Not wanting to leave the show and of course wanting to be chivalrous, I removed my M65 army jacket (so wonderfully waterproof) and covered her with it. This may have been our first kiss.
“Everything is bleak… It’s the middle of the night…You’re all alone and the dummies might be right”
Now it’s 2001 and I was faced with my first mid-life crisis (there were more). I wanted to purchase a Harley Davidson motorcycle (so cliché I know). When I talked to my wife about this, she said “Can you pick something less dangerous”. And it just so happens, I had in my back pocket, an idea of backpacking through Australia for three months. Too rough a trip for her and all my friends either couldn’t get the time off or didn’t have the money. So I decided to go it alone. While my wife was supportive and understood this was something I needed to do, most thought me insane.
Now for the The Tragically Hip part.
I was a month into this adventure and suddenly I had an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, isolation and homesickness. I headed down to the beach in Noosa and sat at a picnic table debating if I should grab the next plane home. There must have been only one picnic table as a bunch of Aussie teens asked if they could join me. Aussie’s are super friendly this way. Much like Canadians I like to think. I was concerned though. Now, with all the other horrible feelings I had going, now I was going to feel OLD too. ARGH! One of them pulled out a portable musical device with external speakers and played…. wait for it…Music at Work and asked me if I had ever heard of The Tragically Hip. I’ve never been able to fully articulate the feelings I had that night but it gave me the jumpstart I needed to continue my adventure. Sure, I was still a little homesick but I certainly felt less isolated and lonely. I often wonder, what if this encounter and musical connection never happened? I would have missed two months of some of my best travel experiences.
Thank you Aussie teens wherever you are now and thank you Tragically Hip!
We have rented from the same people three times now. Cheap, well maintained and they all centrally located. Having a kitchenette will cut your overall trip cost by 1/3. Eating out in Paris is expensive. The flats on Rue St Honoré are the best.
- Angelina’s (I made sure all roads home led past this place for hot chocolate. Heaven in a cup for sure.)
- Mariage Freres (Made a tea drinker out me)
- La Maison du Chocolat (Chocolate at it’s best. Get the whole cherry dips, careful of the pits)
- Amorino Gelato (As good as anything you’ll get in Italy, In the Latin Quarter)
- Jacques Genin Caramels
- Fromages Laurent Dubois
- Au Pied De Cochon
- Bistrot Estrapade
- Pierre Hermé
- L’As du Fallafel
- Marché D’Aligre (Outdoor market in Paris. The best meats, cheeses, bread and local produce. Directions)
- Paris Pass (Save 100 Euros. Great value)
- Musee Orsay (You can do this and the Rodin in one day)
- Rodin Museum (Pick a nice sunny day for this. Most of the art is outside in the gardens)
- Louvre (You need two full days to finish this, go early, it’s immense)
- Musee Orangerie (You could stare at the Monet water lily murals for hours)
- Centre Pompidou (Modern art. In some ways better than the MOMA)
- Best of Versailles Day Trip from Paris
- Skip the Line: Catacombs of Paris Small-Group Walking Tour
- Paris Chocolate and Pastry Food Tour
- River Seine Sightseeing Cruise
- Moulin Rouge (Surprisingly not tacky at all. Worth every penny)
- Quartier Pigalle (Red Light, need to see it at night but be careful)
- Champs-Élysées (Shopping Mecca. Walk up one side to the Arch of the Trumiph than back down the other without buying something. I dare ya!)
- Pere Lachaise Cemetery (So macabre and beautiful, lots of art here. Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Georges Méliès are some of the famous graves to see)
- Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen (Best flea market in Paris and it’s huge. A little tricky to get to. Here’s how)
- Basilica of Sacré-Cœur (Great views of Paris. Second to the Eiffel Tower)
- Smallest Cupcake Store in Paris
- Angelina’s Hot Chocolate
- Paella in Paris
- Paris Metro Buskers