Friday, October 06, 2006

989: WE'RE NOT OCAP, BUT WE ALL FLOAT ON OK

Action-packed Psychogeography walk this week...

Warden in Brown Old Ties Did You Call The Wrong Company?
We started at Warden station, heading out to a trail of old ties behind the tracks. We headed southwest, winding through an open field before following the subway tracks by Warden Woods.

Nature Trail
Well-hidden sign for a nature trail that appeared to be overgrown. We soon ended up by an apartment complex that, if not for a small connecting road, would be cut off from the rest of the city by the subway tracks.

Ruskie Playset?
A lonely playset at a schoolyard. The other odd find here was a exhaust pipe that resembled a sawed-off concrete streetlight, which vibrated loudly.

After leaving the grounds, we were stopped by a janitor/superintendent/whatever who was convinced we were up to no good. He was positive we were members of OCAP (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty) observing the neighbourhood to stir up trouble later. A group of 11 twenty/thirtysomethings on a group walk snapping photos - definitely fishy. He was convinced we were hiding something ("bullshitting"), which makes me wonder what he had to hide. What did he not want us or the city to know? In a way, suspicion was understandable, but it also lent credence to stories about people arrested in certain US suburbs for the act of going on a walk.

We continued on, ending up on Danforth and a long string of interesting businesses...

Really Cheap Gaz
Cheap, cheap gas (or is it gaz?)

Chopstick Foods
Old-school Canadian Chinese food you can trust.

Kick It!
The roof can't contain the power developed within.

Neon Sensory Overload
Neon sensory overload.

Noah's Ark
The walk wound down at Dawes Rd., an area of the city once known as Coleman's Corners. We stopped at Noah's Ark for a drink (National Post article).

It was karaoke night, which two members of our table were brave enough to attempt, though a couple of us dithered. Our song selections? Modest Mouse's Float On and Paula Abdul's Straight Up.

TPS Sings! Big Book O' Karaoke
The song selection was among the deepest most of us had seen, crossing all eras and genres, from spirituals to current top 40. Surprising songs lept each with each page - The Dead Kennedys' Too Drunk to Fuck (alas, no Holiday in Cambodia...)? The Move's Fire Brigade? Lesser-known tunes from shows like Hair (i.e., The Air)? Motorhead? I suspect there was a British edge to the selection, given all the tunes by groups that never made it that large on these shores in the 60s and new wave/punk pics from the late 70s.

There was also tons of countryish material, which suited the crowd (brief web descriptions describe the mood as East Coast). Singers ran the usual spectrum, from excellent to tone-deaf-but-giving-it-a-good-shot. A few oddities along the way, like the guy who tried to imitate each of the Traveling Wilburys, mostly Roy Orbison, on Handle With Care.

The vibe was friendly. We were much younger than most of the crowd, but we weren't treated like intruders. Couples danced on the floor, with one person at our table receiving an invite. A birthday was celebrated. Regulars joked with each other - at one point, a mini-jury assembled in front of the stage.

Roses for the Subway
One patron bought all the women at our table roses from a wandering flower seller. He didn't receive any reaction, but they made for a photo op on the subway ride home. - JB

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