So here I type. First entry. Cigar between teeth gonzo style. This, however, is not gonzo journalism. This is simply me trying to organise my thoughts, which in and of itself is a proverbial strange trip. Let’s see; I can easily breakdown the thoughts that continue to run through my head into five basic groups: (1) Quarter-Life Productions, (2) Hacksaw, (3) the impending Euro-trip, (4) Work and other general ennui, and, (5) Everything Else.
(1) Quarter-Life Productions
QLP, to be less precise. Well, forget the details of the last two and a half years, how about the last two and a half months. Fuck. What a series of ups and downs. The rollercoaster simile does not do it justice, and thus nothing else will. Last weekend, we launched (Jason says “launched” in his business-like producer-speak, I say “premiered,” wearing my artisan/director hat) our third short film, The Year Without Hockey. The prophetic journey there had its potholes in the road. With a few days before we had to submit the DVD proofs to get them pressed, Graeme’s computer crashed, with everything but the films on it. Argh. And then we solved that problem, but then we had a whole issue where, two days beforehand, our venue tried to cancel on us. Argh. But it worked out. I even got a call the day before, while at work, from CBC RADIO wanting me to do a live interview. After about three hours of shitting my pants, I called in and was on the radio, talking about my film. One third of me felt too nervous and shocked to even react; another third of me felt on top of the world, like the clock on my fifteen minutes just began to tick; the last third of me felt like any second now they were going to call my bluff or realise that I was just lil’ ole me from North Delta playing “movie director” in my backyard with an old camcorder. I still haven’t heard what I actually said, and all I remember of it was hearing everyone I work with crowded around a computer on the other side of the room listening to my interview streaming live off the internet.
Hacksaw Literary Arts Magazine, to be more precise. The first issue is well underway (“well,” of course, being that oh-so-subjective term used to denote the fact that we’ve started, but still have a lot of work to do in order to be considered “finished.”). At that late stage of “quarter-life,” where QLP seemed really like the beginning of the solution to many of the mid-twenties problems, Hacksaw is a much different direction in which to take my rambling sense of art and aesthetics. The older I get the more I realise the truth in Joe Stummer’s words (see “Everything Else”), “Without people, you’re nothing.” I have been so incredibly lucky to find one person that perfectly compliments myself in making QLP the success it has been so far (“success” also being ambiguously subjective), that to find another that compliments myself in my crazy ‘zine stylings is just so insanely lucky that I feel an array of contractions. Usually when you start a venture such as this, like with any relationship, you usually get a gut feeling right off the bat as to whether or not it’s destined to burn out quickly or to be something long, substantial, and fulfilling. I’ve really only known Taryn Hubbard for less than a year, but she was one of those rare people you meet that you just really click with. I think a week after working together, someone else we work with said, “You guys are, like, the same person!” Day one of sitting beside each other at our menial file clerk jobs and we got on the topic of postmodern literature. The med student sitting beside us said, “I have no idea what you guys are talking about but it sounds really smart.” Not to say that we are, but we can rattle things off to each other without having to worry about context or backstory- those irritating nitty-gritty bits that usually plague a blooming friendship. We have so much in common: interests, histories, values, ambitions. Anyway, cut to several months later, after discussing everything we want to do with our allegedly creative selves, we thought, “Fuck, let’s just do it.” And thus, with a punk-rock ethos, Hacksaw was born. Now, the contradictions appear because everything’s just going so well. The endless riding of waves that swiftly break upon a rocky shore that pretty much sum up anything we try to do with QLP has me prepared for something to go wrong. Everything that seems too good to be true usually is. Where’s the fucking catch? I feel like I’m hunting around for it like a dog who knows he has a bone hidden somewhere in this backyard.
(3) The Impending Euro-Trip
On August 10, I’m going to Europe. For how long exactly is TBD. I bought a one-way ticket to Paris, and (as I’ve rattled off to several semi-interested people) from there I go to Spain, then Morroco, then London, where I meet up with my sister, Brianne. We board a bus to Munich for Oktoberfest, then on to Amsterdam, where I will celebrate my 25th birthday, and Bri was instructed by my mother to buy me a birthday “cake.” Then, we make our way through Benelux to Paris again to check out Disneyland Paris (the third Disney theme park Bri will have visited in as many seasons), then we bum our way out east, hitting up Italy, Greece and other southeastern countries before arriving in Transylvania, Romania, where we will be in the village where Vlad Dracul was born just in time for Halloween. From there we make our way north, through Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, etc, to Finland, where we have family. While in Finland, I will make a side trip to St. Petersburg in Russia. From Finland, we are going back west across Scandinavia to England once again, where we may or may not spend Christmas. This is the plan, but we know nothing goes according to plan. That might just be the fun of it. Needless to say, I’m a little scared shitless. There’s nothing like jumping in the deep end and learning to swim on the way up. Sink or swim. I’ll probably bellyflop, but that’s always a learning experience, too. I have also made attempts to wean my vegetarian stomach back into the possibility of eating meat. I’ve quarrelled with my ethics over this one, and have decided that as I will often not have any choice but to eat meat or starve, I don’t want “stomach troubles” anywhere in Europe, thank you. I’m also a firm believer in the saying you haven’t really been somewhere until you’ve had the food. Since I really want to learn about the places I’m visiting, in a see-how-people-live way, rather than a hit-up-every-museum way, I will regret it if I restrict myself in anyway. Bri has also used this trip to Amsterdam to similarly wean herself onto weed. I guess we all know our strengths and weaknesses. Anyway, this blog is primarily intended for just this trip, and I’m taking my laptop with me, yuppie-style. If I write anymore about it now, I will just freak myself out. I leave soon, but I have a couple of more weeks before I really need to plan stuff, right? Ha.
(4) Work and Other General Ennui
“I hate the civil service rules,” to borrow a more idealistic phrase from the Clash. Ugh, work. Overall, I like my job, but I often feel that I am simply a cog in a machine. Not even a deus ex machine either, but a bureaucratic, “I process noise-violation complaints” type of machine. I can’t really complain, as I only really have myself to complain to and even then I would want to tell myself, “Suck it up, Princess.” I hate people that complain about our job, but really they are getting paid twice as much as someone with the same job in the private sector, get better benefits, and don’t get in trouble when they take two hour lunch breaks. Our job is sweet in and of itself, and the people I work with are awesome. If I’m not happy, I can get a different job. But I am happy enough. So you want to be an independent filmmaker or start your own magazine? Lesson one: Get a good day job. Done.
(5) Everything Else
Last night I saw Gonzo, directed by Alex Gibney, the new documentary about Hunter S. Thompson, so pardon my reference earlier. I’ve also just got my copy of The Future is Unwritten: Joe Strummer, directed by Julien Temple, in the mail, and have watched that, too. I just finished reading The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town, by Marcus Gray, so needless to say, I’ve been listening to the Clash a lot. A lot. Now this is nothing really new in my life, but I do seem to go in phases. I’m either in a normal phase. Or I’m in a Clash phase. It comes and goes, but the cycles are never really that long. Anyway, I’ve also been watching a lot of old movies lately. I simply mention this because what I currently am watching, reading and listening to often tends to form a frequently referred to wrinkle in my brain. You can’t escape it. I need to get out more. Good thing I’m going to Europe. There’s no point in trying to form some sort of big-picture mentality right now, when it will simply all change in a month or so.