The Jacket and the Shop Girl

Sometimes you will love a thing so much, you are bound to lose it. This occurs with both people and objects.

In this short story, retrieved from the archives (of my old South American blog), it’s both. It’s a story about the love of a leather jacket. But the real gem is the shop girl. There’s a sequel to this story, where I stand frozen outside her shop, unable to go back in and thank her. Even after two tall cuba libres – she was just too much gorgeousness.

These three friends lived for one month together in Buenos Aires, in a beautiful, safe and friendly neighbourhood called Palermo SoHo. One day, it had to happen, they all bought leather jackets, and each night they went out, they wore them together, and they called this ‘suiting up.’ They looked damn good. It gave them a sense of rightness, which lead to confidence. One of them was me. I looked good. I had always wanted a jacket like this. It fit incredibly, perfect.

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Dream for Toronto: Personal Essay

Sometimes you will be walking home, and will be so excited to get home, to get down on paper, or the computer, that thing that is so mercilessly boiling up inside yer’ gut. But then three people stop you on the street – and you have to eat – and your mom calls, and of course, you work tomorrow.

I threw on the switch to the fireplace in my living room, poured some water, didn’t have a cigarette (for I no longer smoke), and assembled the remaining scraps of what ever energy I was carrying with me, on the long cold walk east down Queen West. Here it is, below.

images of chair Harley Valentine

Harley Valentine's sketch book. More:

Dream for Toronto

Six in the evening, a Tuesday. The streets cold, empty of sun dresses, swinging with black Pea coats, snow-hugged puddles, crowded street cars trudging into the East toward a swallowed sun – and I am walking on the north side. A much better side of Queen Street West to be on, in the night, walking home from Dufferin to Spadina – the pilgrimage of café windows, gallery windows, London-style men’s shops, more cafes.

The first thing I remember is the art galleries. The Sunny Choi, the Roenisch, and the French man with the mirrors, petty drawings on glass. These fixtures – these dotted stopping points, from which I peer into jealously, hungry for the secrets of the great scene artists of the day. Thrush Holmes elsewhere is on the south side – so I will not tackle him tonight – for now: these three I envy, despise, respect. The shop girl in one is cute, though, and she smilingly tells me they are closed. Could have been worse.

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Airport love lettering

A few weeks ago I went to Las Vegas, and came home with a few new love letters for an upcoming project (due out February) with Harley.

I also finally got my wits together and cranked out a steamy fictional bio-pic type essay, of the self-doubt variety, that was just published in Hardly Magazine – a wonderful publication coming out of Toronto “for teens, by teens” (not really their tag line).

How did I end up a teen girls mag columnist? It’s best not to ask these questions. The salient point is that I love it, and you should take a look at it, right this second.

Hardly Magazine screen grab

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Harley Valentine is The Porteno


I was in Buenos Aires at the start of November – on a mission to finally write a short story that has been choking me since forever. The result: 8,000 words of shlop that I’ll probably never use again —

But surprising thing that did happen was I sat down one day, with a tall gourd of steaming hot mate and plugged out this essay, introducing to the world a concept I have been toying with for some time. I hate to call it a manifesto – so let’s not. Intstead think of it as a scratching at the surface of whatever it is that thing is, that all of us, here in Toronto, there in New York, down in Buenos Aires — all of us — are feeling, deep down. You know those salty oysters? Hang overs? That beauty?

Well something like that anyway. I wrote this for Harley, for the opening of his show. Message me if you want a print version, on glossy stock, with a nice cover pic.

legs and lore

Female form sculpture and New America show: from (click image for more)


Harley Valentine, back in Toronto, has asked me to write the introduction to The New America of the Sexualized Jesus. I can’t say I am a huge fan of the title, although I must, unfortunately, take responsibility for it. I wrote those words and shared them with Harley – although I never said them specifically together, or in that order. He’s taken them out of context, perhaps by accident, re-arranged them, “re-purposed” them. You can’t show anything to Harley without him immediately sharing it with the world. For example: just the other day he read all my intimate poems of adultery to a group of thirteen Icelandic princesses, as he stood stomping atop a long, hard wood table in an elegant, warmly lit bar downtown. They fled soon after.

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The Ball and the Swimming Pool

Sometimes it’s Halloween, and you’ve got no place to go, then all of a sudden you are sneaking into the great ball room of the Opera House on Queen Street; mingling with Broken Social Scene and getting into heated arguments (again) with Jian Ghomeshi as you pick the roast beef from your teeth…

Here’s a fragmental little story I wrote to celebrate the night. Note: it’s not even close to as monumental as was the rooftop pool of the exclusive Thompson Hotel bar by a certain long-haired artist friend. He even got written up in all the society rags for it (video is included below!)


This is where the night ended. Harley Valentine like a drunken sexualized Jesus, jumping into the infinity pool on the Thompson Hotel roof.

Here is how the night began:

We ate and drank well in Leslieville. The streetcar ride home was nice, talking to the couple from Paris in my terrible French. Drunk of course – but more bored than anything, and intrigued by a group of three school girls dressed like cats.

Harley stayed at the back – seemingly thinking about his life, unshaven, smiling every time I glanced back at him to see if he was enjoying the show.

We passed the Four Seasons and there it was. Stunning, sparkling tower of black suits, cream glittered gowns and gallons of rich wines, cold vodkas. The great glass cube beckons like a nightingale or a hungry child- something obvious. It was not planned for, but suddenly this is going to be the night.

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