Tag Archives: culture

If You Can’t Join Them, Beat Them (or Sex n’ Drugs n’ Drum & Base)

I don’t actually hate hipsters. The thing is, I kind of envy them. I would give anything to be one of them, but my parents aren’t rich enough, and I can’t conform enough to their individuality. Every time I go back home I’m reminded of how inferior I am. No matter how tight my pants are, or how genuine my cold disdain for humanity is it must shine through that I still thing The Black Keys are cool, that I work, and not at an approved profession, (I was unable to score the position of telepathically taking patrons orders at the local vegan brunch nook) or that I unironically think the Belushi Brothers are funny.

The last time I was home I was determined to get invited to one of their awesome, drug-filled snobfests. I hadn’t realized how bad the hipster epidemic had spread since I’d last been back, but I could almost make out the sneers as I walked down LoJo, as lower Johnson Street has now been renamed. I wasn’t off to a good start, especially since it was impossible to make eye contact with any of them. I checked to make sure I hadn’t accidentally worn my Gap sweatshirt by accident. I quickly realized I needed a little assistance if I were to make any progress on my way to hipsterdom.

Many Canadians associate the west coast with granola munching, pot-smoking, mountain trekkers, that and Asians. In Victoria, the hippies still reign, and not the burnt-out zombies roaming Height and Ashbury, leather belts permanently embedded in their skulls since 1962. These are hippies 2.0. They may not have a war to protest or anyone shunning them for their long hair, although their habit of not bathing does provide them a wide berth, but they still profess ideals of living off the land, AKA not working, free love, although perhaps with a little added protection, and drugs. Therein lay my connection. Alcohol is said to bring people together, but as far as hippies and hipsters are concerned, it’s drugs. I have a few hippie friends left back home, some of my friends would even consider me a bit of a hippie, but I failed to pass the crystal healing test, so I don’t qualify. Nevertheless, I still managed to get myself invited to a Cosmic Caravan Carnival. Before going I made sure to down a bottle of raspberry vodka, which I shared with some Swedish exchange students down by the harbor, but I was still relying on obtaining something in the stalls to keep me going through the night. I can only feign enthusiasm for electronic music unassisted for so long, let alone the accompanying spastic dance moves. After ingesting some organic shit labeled Scooby Snacks I was beginning to have doubts about the success of my night. I had trouble convincing myself that the ginseng and honey were eventually going to start to kicking in. It didn’t help matters when the friend who I had come with, and whose house I was expecting to crash at, started making arrangements with several of the girls gathered around him. They were obviously attracted to this free spirit, who wasn’t even letting the frigid weather stop him from baring his chest, with only a thin layer of sequins and feathers to protect him from the elements. When I realized that I wasn’t going to fit into his plans for the evening, I stood awkwardly between the crowds of multi-colored folks, feeling as out of places as I always did in my hometown. I weighed my options, I could find a park bench, preferably away from the addicts, to rest until the first morning bus, or I could finally find out how long it would actually take to walk home from the city to the suburbs, my estimate being between 2 and 7 hours.  That’s when a mustachioed boy approached me. He was wearing a coonskin cap, with a long feather earing dangling from one ear and the signature painted-on red pants. It was just a relief to finally have someone to talk to. He then proceeded to invite me to this after party that I had heard the others talking about as being impossible to get in to because it was sold out. As we started making our way, accompanied by his equally fabulously dressed posse, he pulled out a pill case and invited me to have my pick. I couldn’t believe my luck, and should have realized that he had ulterior motives for me, but I still had at least 6 hours to while away until dawn.

I had heard of this Sunset Lounge before, it was Victoria’s only after hours club, and it’s the closest we could get to a rave scene. Alternative seems like a half-ass way of describing it, just like calling someone who meditates occasionally, ‘spiritual,’  but I fail to find a way to sum up nicely the crowd I encountered there. That night I got invited to a swinger’s party, was confronted for advice on how to get rid of constipation in the toilet and given a pair of angel wings to accompany my flower child dance, which was finally accepted as a perfectly reasonable form of dancing.

Throughout the night my new friend kept a constant check on me and repeatedly told me how much he and his girlfriend liked me. I should have known something was up, but I really did need a place to stay, and they seemed nice enough kids. The girlfriend seemed even innocent of the fact that her nipples were clearly visible through her white lace top.

Back at their place, after showing me a trapeze they had constructed for their acrobat act and feeding me some gluten-free cake and an herbal energy tincture, the girl began to set up a bed for me in the living room. The boy chirped in that that wouldn’t be necessary, as I would be sharing their bed with them. I received this news as naively as possible. Perhaps they wanted to continue our discussion on how best to raise a captive monkey, or maybe they were just trying to lower the cost of heating by sharing body warmth. As we snuggled into bed I was informed that they had chosen me because I was special. I wasn’t sure if I should have felt flattered or insulted that they would think I was that easy. I wondered what sort of vibe I was giving off that they would perceive me this way. Was it my kinky hair or the curious owl tattooed on my back?

The next morning, as I made my way to the bus stop, I realized that maybe I didn’t quite belong with the hippies or the hipsters. Maybe it was all just part of another passing trend, like the emos and goths, and all I had to do was wait a little while and make sure to catch the next one early. Hopefully the next fad would harken back to the puritanical days of the early settlers, with laced up collars and proposals before kissing, and maybe by the time it rolled along I would realize that I was getting too old for this shit.

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Boob Tube

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I remember as a kid encountering classmates who didn’t own TV’s. I pitied these forsaken children with their hippie parents who thought they were protecting their offspring from brain numbing rubbish. While instead they were unknowingly excluding their children from important cultural references for years to come. We felt it was our duty to invite them over after to school to catch up some mandatory viewing; otherwise how would they know which character to vie for during our lunch time Power Ranger playacts, or maybe it would be to our advantage, one less girl wanting to be Pink. I eventually became one of these kids. When I was just weaning myself off Barney and Sesame Street, ready for some harder stuff; to brave Goosbumps and maybe even test the waters of some dumbed down sitcoms, I was rudely forced into the company of those raw veggie eating, hand me down clothed, children of the Earth. But this wasn’t for any self-betterment on my parent’s part; it was, as usual, to save a buck or two. My father, always out for a long term deal, had made an investment in a satellite dish. This was not the satellite dishes that adorn the roofs of so many suburban houses; this was a satellite dish that sent messages to aliens. It was the size of a trampoline, and was probably why I was never able to get a trampoline; no room and no money. It scarred our backyard, despite my mother’s attempts to fence it off and disguise it in vines. Since part of the long term bargain was that we illegally picked up our satellite signal from our surrounding area, and everyone in the neighborhood was using cable our channel selection was limited and fuzzy at best. The only children’s TV I was exposed to being a promo for a Disney channel, which played the same episodes of My Little Pony every day, leading me to carefully rotate my viewing periods. Therefore, for the most part I grew up with the best of the oldies. When asked to make a personal profile in grade 4, I listed my favourite TV show as Green Acres. When we were given a colouring sheet of the Simpson family I mistakenly, and to the horror of the entire class, coloured Marge’s hair brown. A few years later, after we turned our house into a B&B, my parents finally conceded and got cable and I was eventually able to catch up with my peers, although mystifyingly Power Rangers was still off limits. My parents were convinced some poorly costumed villains fighting in broad daylight in a park was too frighting for me, little did they realize that it was in fact the martians from Sesame Street that haunted my dreams.

Nowadays, almost everyone I talk to chooses not to own a TV, and they say so proudly; they’ve been on the commercial-free wagon for 6 months and no low price cable package is going to tempt them off. I can understand, with computers you can watch what you want, when you want, and best of all, for free. (I just hope I’m not the only one prepared for this joyride to end abruptly any time soon.) The last time I was home and surfing the channels, after about, 3 years of being clean, I witnessed how far basic cable had degraded. I wouldn’t have thought it possible near the end of my TV viewing years, what with each new reality shows trying to top the others with ridiculousness and grotesqueness. I thought it couldn’t be beat after witnessing a bachelorette type show, where all the contestants wore wrestling style masks throughout, so the decision couldn’t be based on appearance, and it was hosted by Monica Lewinsky. Now the majority of the channels were devoted to shopping networks, there were a few more foreign channels and the few channels I was actually able to watch were ran the likes of Two and a Half Men, with whatever washed up cast they have managed to scrounge up at this point and dumb blonde bitches trying to tackle day to day tasks, breathing and so on. The only time I could stomach to watch was late-night.

Gone are the days of channel surfing, unless you constantly want to have your finger on the next channel button. And the sans TV option, is no longer the hippie family choice but the sensible one if you want to keep any wits about you. Let’s just hope that when our satellite finally does make contact with the outer realms, that it transmits Honey West rather than Honey Boo Boo, otherwise they may invade us for our own good.

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Never Never Land

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Remember platform sneakers and blue lipstick, playing Girl Talk with your girls, in a room adorned with posters of Jonathan Taylor Thomas and The Hansons, Much Dance 2000 playing in the background. Or munching on Cool Ranch Doritos and slurping back Orbit while watching  Jem or Darkwin Duck or TGIF. Maybe you recall painful waiting on dail-up internet or when cell phones where the size of your head.

I’ve barely completed the first quarter of my life (perhaps that’s wishful thinking, let’s say third) and I’m already being perpetually invited to walk down memory lane. I understand feeling nostalgia for your childhood; the carefree summer days, the creative possibilities that were viewed in every found object, slumber parties and first crushes, and the constant giddiness that was so easily stirred up, before cynicism crept into our bones. As we are making our transition to adulthood, much slower and reluctantly than previous generations, we say good-bye to our youth, make a clean break and move on to spawn youth of our own. Now, with Facebook and websites, such as Buzzfeed, I’m stagnating in nostalgia as I’m constantly reminded of every significant emblem or moment commonly shared by others of my generation. It can be fun to reminisce at times, but it’s also slightly disturbing. Should I be experiencing such bittersweet feelings recalling my past when it is just barely behind me. Not only is technology ruining certain moments I used to savor, such as the satisfaction when you finally remembering, ‘what’s-his-name, from that movie, you know…’ after it’s been bugging you (and as a result everyone around you) for hours, or running into an old classmate you haven’t seen in years, and instead of catching up on where your lives have taken you seen you last met, there’s no need, since you’ve been constantly updated on Facebook. But now the internet is messing with my memories; this has gone too far. Forty years from now I want to be walking with my child/grandchild/godchild (we’ll see what happens) and tell them how candy used to be 5 cents, we used to write with pen and paper, and didn’t have chips embedded in our brains that thought for us. Now, I stumble home from the bar with my friends and stopping at the corner store recall how 5 cents candies didn’t used to have taxes on them, how we should go home and youtube Strawberry Shortcake, oh my god, remember trolls, we could totally buy one off ebay.

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Eurovision (Some Pictures from my Travels in Europe 2010)

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Skopje, Macedonia

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Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest, Hungary

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Zagreb, Croatia

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Zagreb, Croatia

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Zagreb, Croatia

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Croatia

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Pula, Croatia

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Croatia

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Sarajevo, Bosnia

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Kotor, Montenegro

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Kotor, Montenegro

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Skopje, Macedonia

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Skopje, Macedonia

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Belgrade, Serbia

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Belgrade, Serbia

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Sofia, Bulgaria

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Sofia, Bulgaria

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Thessaloniki, Greece

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Belgrade, Serbia

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Budapest, Hungary

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Prague, Czech Republic

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Istanbul, Turkey

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Amsterdam, Netherlands (World Cup 2010)

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