Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

David Topping’s Toronto Malaise

On Monday, I posted a link to a personal ad posted in the “Rants and Raves” section of the Accordion City edition of Craigslist, the free online classified advertising site. For the benefit of those who didn’t check out the ad, it’s titled

I LOVE TORONTO, DAMMMIT! and is a laundry list of things about our fair city that the author — known only as “Mary Fucking Sunshine” — loves. I agreed with most of the list, so I blogged it.

Yesterday, in the blog Torontoist — which bills itself as “a website about Toronto and everything in it” — an article covering “Mary’s” posting titled Concerning “I LOVE TORONTO, DAMMMIT!” was published. In the article, its author, one David Topping, appears to take great glee in refuting several of “Mary’s” points, calling Toronto a “giant dehumanizing city” in his closing paragraph.

Wondering where David’s Toronto malaise came from, I clicked on his byline, which led to a page containing his bio. The very first line told me all I need to know:

David Topping is not well-travelled; he almost never leaves the city he was born in.

“Wait a minute, Accordion Guy,” you might say. “You can’t take that bio at face value. We’re talking about hipster city bloggers, for whom irony and sarcasm is the default mode.”

That is a valid consideration, so I give you a quote from a series of articles that David posted (that I enjoyed), in which he photographed all the stations in the Accordion City subway system. He wrote:

I’ve lived in Toronto’s west end since I was born. I’ve moved twice: once, in grade nine, a block east of my old house, and, four years later, downtown to live in residence on the U of T campus. My Toronto — the part of the city that matters to me — has never extended further west than Kipling, further east than Yonge, or further north than St. Clair.

Therein lies the problem: his frame of reference against which he judges Toronto is, well, Toronto. Not even the whole city, but a subset that completely leaves out its eastern and northern halves.

Some Torontoist readers rightly called him on his familiarity-bred contempt of the city, to which he replied that when he visited New York City, people seemed friendlier. How many times have you been, David? Once? Twice? And did you venture anywhere say outside the Soho/Greenwich Village/East Village/Lower East Side box, or Park Slope?

As for this statement in the comments — “Or look at homelessness, for one; there’s a problem that seems way more persistent in Toronto than elsewhere,” — it’s only proof that he doesn’t get out much.

(Note that in the paragraph above, I linked only to articles about homelessness in the U.S.. If I really wanted to smack David about with facts about persistent homelessness, I’d pick Mexico, or even better, my home city of Manila…or lots of other cities off-continent. Ever been to a Third World country, David?)

David, it takes a bold man to wrote authoritatively on a topic of which he knows little or nothing. Have you considered a job at NOW magazine?


It’s .mobi Time!

Moby vs .mobi

Over at the Tucows Blog, I talk about these new .mobi domains.

The Attractiveness/Relationship Graph

[via reddit] Here’s further proof that everything under the sun can be expressed mathematically: the Attractiveness/Relationship graph (it’s not as complex as it sounds). To those of you who are going to waste the next couple of hours classifying people they know along the graph, I apologize in advance.

Physical/Mental attractiveness two-axis relationship graph.


Recently in the Tucows Blog…

Here’s a quick run-down of articles that have recently appeared in the Tucows Blog:

Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Burlesque (and More) for a Good Cause — Tomorrow Night!

Poster for the A.J. Pack Superhero Fund

Geez, it’s been a dog’s age since I last saw my friend Meryle. You may remember her from the photos from my 36th birtday hot tub party.

(You know, I’ve never written about what happened at that party when the cops came in. It’s not truly a party until The Man gets involved. I need to write about that sometime.)

Back to Meryle: among other things, she’s a burlesque dancer and part of Toronto’s very interesting burlesque scene. I’ve had the good fortune to do some vaudeville accordion bits at these shows, but the real stars are people like Meryle and Mysterion the Mind Reader, who work hard at keeping the scene alive and entertaining.

(Come to think of it, I haven’t seen Mysterion in a dog’s age, either.)

Tomorrow, Wednesday September 27th, Meryle will be performing a burlesque number at the Cadillac Lounge (1296 Queen Street West) for the “A.J. Pack Superhero Fundraiser”. This event will raise money for the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People (formerly the Young People’s Theatre). It gives inner city youth a chance to attend classes at this theatre that they otherwise wouldn’t have.

(It’s also a refreshing alternative to the usual inner city youth programs, which often are hip-hop classes, basketball or some mix of the two. Not that they in and of themselves are bad, but they shouldn’t be the only options presented to inner city kids.)

This should be a good show. The burlesque dancers and their vaudeville supporting acts take what they do seriously. Although their work is often contemporary, they’ve done their homework and are aware of the history of burlesque and vaudeville, and they know what makes a good live show. You’ll be entertained, and your money will go to a great cause.

Also on the bill are musician/songwriter/accordion player Kevin Quain (who’s got a great Tom Waits-esque sound), comedian Nick Flanagan and Mysterion, who’ll do some of his mentalist and magic tricks.

Cover is $25.00. The doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts very soon afterwards. If you want to catch Meryle, get there early!

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

“Woke Up This Mo’nin’…”

Although High Park is the neighbourhood in which the Ginger Ninja and I prefer to live — it’s a good balance between the niceties of the near-burbs and proximity to Accordion City’s gooey nougat-y centre — our current residency in a condo building is a temporary situation. The plan is to eventually buy a house and live a genteel upper-middle-class lifestyle punctuated with bouts of accordion superstardom and as little tsuris as life’s vicissitudes will allow. Or something to that effect.

(See? Reading this blog will improve your vocabulary!)

One of the downsides of living in a condo is that it really restricts the times when I can get some accordion practice. My old pad in the Queen and Spadina neighbourhood was a big brick house with high ceilings and great sound insulative qualities. My former housemate Paul and I could practice our acoustic instruments late into the night and wail, just like this guy:

B&W photo of a man wearing only shorts playing accordion in a living room.
Click the photo to see it at full size.

I look forward to having a little basement recording studio. Someday!

Photo courtesy of spill.

Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

"I Love Toronto, Dammit!"

There’s lots to love about Accordion City, and it’s nice to see that someone singing its praises got onto Craigslist’s “Best Of” section.