I left Canada six months ago without a return ticket, not knowing where life would take me. I have been living out of a backpack, rationing food, sleeping on buses and railway station benches. I have written, I have photographed, I have filmed, I have run, I have swam, I have danced all night, I have cycled, I have froze, I have bronzed, I have planked, I have made 13 different countries know my name, I have coughed up blood and screamed til I was hoarse… After a very sad September, I just wanted to feel the Earth moving before my eyes again, carrying me with it to some unknown destination.
Today I move from London UK to Cologne Germany for the beginning of another great journey…
Don’t wait up.
All the beautiful Parisian street art that I have found on the theme of love and relationships. This is the urban art that really makes my heart ache. Most pieces I find are clever, witty, funny, political, or tongue-in-cheek. But this is the work that, no, I won’t say it uplifts my soul, but I will say — it simply makes me glad I have one.
Ah, Curtis Kulig. I do love you, I do.
Love me til I’m me again.
BleedingHeart has been having a field day on Dundas Street West.
i like street art that deals with matters of the heart, specifically a heart in sadness, healing, mourning, and hope.
stuff that talks about truth, beauty, wisdom …. these are the only conversations worth having.
i like believing love is one of the few magics left in the world. i heard in a movie once that only unrequited love can be romantic, and to a degree that’s true.
i’m not necessarily interested in romance (although i dare say, i do enjoy it so long as it doesn’t enter velveeta-ville), yet love, when it is rough around the edges, seems to bee the kind that attracts me more often than not. i like things that are struggles and have imperfections. i like feeling like i’ve worked hard for what’s in my life. if and when it fails, i can at least hold my hands up and say, “i tried.”
in every relationship i’ve ever had, no one can ever tell me i didn’t try… that i didn’t invest time and energy and heart and soul into it.
but my heart bleeds for no one. my heart is the strongest muscle in my body.
one sunshiney day in Trinity Bellwoods Park in downtown Toronto, an irish couple that had been together for three years were deeply in love and prone to romantic gestures worthy of a ralph fiennes movie. kelsie, whose heart was inextricably linked to callum, come ruin or rapture, decided to send her ginger-haired lover on a scavenger hunt throughout the park.
as he followed balloons, notes, photos, and scientific formulas that described the tapestry of their love, he knew that soon he would be in possession of a bottle of bubbly, a pain au chocolat, and the key-owner to his heart.
just another one of those wonderful things you can stumble upon in your city …. if you’re paying attention.
For me, Valentines Day is like the opening sequence of Saving Private Ryan, except every third person is a woman puking into her handbag, looking for her morning-after-Bacardi-breezer.
That being said, I hope your Valentines Day is full of …..
Ewan McGregor’s peen ….
… and not full of Richard Wright’s infidelity….
…with copious amounts of dancing The Lindler.
Mmmmmmm, Christopher Plummmerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrowr.
A few years ago, I backpacked around India for a month and blogged about a lil love affair I had whilst there. One morning in the small village of Pushkar, during the festival of Diwali, me and “Crewe” (I gave him that name on this blog to protect his privacy) climbed a mountain before dawn, and found a hindu temple at the top. We watched the sun rise over the village, and marvelled at the above Hindu monk who prayed during the event horizon. I took that photo from a distance.
Crewe and I still talk, and he’s now pursuing his dream of being an artist (so proud of him!). He painted this below scene, inspired by the photographs we had taken of the Hindu monk:
he’s started a tumblr under an alias, so you can check out more of his work here.
the horseshoe moustache is thankfully gone now (this photo of us was taken during Movember), so at least my chin can take a break this weekend.
Enjoy your weekend (and all the rug-burns that comes with it), munchkins!
when this blog was still hosted on blogspot, i quoted that Closer line in the footer. i downloaded the opening song by the devlins. i visited postman’s park where the Alice Ayres plaque actually exists in London. i never met any handsome doctors at the london aquarium, but i did have an affair with a man who lived around the corner from Whiteley’s in bayswater (where Anna has her photography exhibit).
and i started calling people “buster.”
my best friend is in his late 50s and lives in saskatchewan. he calls it the ‘Katch. he teaches at a university. he writes me emails about his prairie home (sans companion) and how it’s like the return of the rube from whence he came. i miss him. he always tells me about my life, he sees it better than i do.
today he writes, “Many times I wonder where my pal Christine is at. She’s an exploding nova.”
i haven’t seen him since the spring when he was briefly in toronto and took me out to dinner at Queen Mother. we talked about my love life. i think he wishes i were 30 years older, or he was 30 years younger, but we’re more than that. we’re soul mates still trying to figure out if we even have souls.
after dinner we went to go see a play about cosmonauts and their daughters on front street. he wanted to leave at intermission and i had to scold him like he was my son. then he saw the oozy theatre reviewer sitting across the aisle who was a thorn at his side for years. he nearly marched over there, fists clenched, lips pursed, nostrils flared, and brained him.
i emailed him when my health went south and begged him to come home to toronto. because i needed him. i was hysterical and inconsolable. now he’s returning for the winter holidays, and i’ll be in NYC.
Life loves her little tortures.
mo’ staches, mo’ problems.
super scary blurry dance party avec allegra.
i fink i’m in trouble. you know that fing women do – where they over-fink fings? (thmile when you thay that)
i’m obsessing about the inconsequential non-sequiturs of life.
for example, last night after Mo’gasm, i did a lot of graffiti hunting and snapped some amazing photos, but my camera fucked up, and for some reason, half of my pics are corrupted, meaning i have to go back, retrace my steps, and find those rare gems again before they’re taken down.
OBSESS! CHRISSY MAD! CHRISSY SMASH!
that’s one little issue of many that i am rolling over and over in my brain as if it were a messy joint.
sometimes i can’t believe the things i allow myself to daydream.
wildly fanciful scenarios that aren’t based in any kind of reality.
it shocks me how courageous my imaginary self is (when it comes to matter of the heart), and yet how pussy-footed my real self is.
i’m cerebral ballsy.
cringeworthy but accurate.
my chin is red & raw to the touch.
totally worth it.
don’t worry, i like you.
i’ll kill you last.
earlier this year, i held a contest in partnership with Alliance Films to see the amazing film Submarine. i was going through a tough Summer at the time, and watching this film actually upset me a little. but then, i thought better of it, and went to Soundscapes a few weeks later to buy the soundtrack. and then i read the eponymous novel upon which the film is based (the book is infinitely better, but the film has a better ending).
i now have the film on DVD, and am currently reading dunthorne’s second novel Wild Abandon (which actually hasn’t been released to the public yet, i have a press & media copy). i listen to the soundtrack on long drives and sing as if the people in the other cars aren’t watching and shaking their heads.
maybe this affects me so much because of the period in which it came into my life. maybe i’m remembering the emotions it stirred, and i don’t want to let go of that.
or maybe, it’s just a really great story, a really great film, and a really great collection of songs.
It is clear that I must find my other half. But is it a he or a she? What does this person look like? Identical to me? Or somehow complementary? Does my other half have what I don’t? Did he get the looks? The luck? The love? Were we really separated forceably or did he just run off with the good stuff? Or did I? Will this person embarrass me? What about sex? Is that how we put ourselves back together again? Or can two people actually become one again?
if you haven’t spent the last decade watching Hedwig & The Angry Inch on a continuous loop like I have, you are missing out on the goods
in polynesian culture, wearing a flower over your left ear indicates marital commitment. over your right ear indicates availability.
or is it the other way around?
Click on the above image to read my Exclaim film review of Like Crazy, starring Anton Yelchin & Felicity Jones, which opens today. I always enjoy a good love story, and now that the season has turned into a colourful and crisp autumn, now more so than ever.
I saw the trailer in the cinemas a few months ago, and was actually really moved just by the trailer, so when my editor offered me this review, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on some of the love affairs I’ve had in my life, all of which seem to be mirrored in this film. Also, for whatever reason, a large majority of my ex’s have been Eastern European and therefore look redonkulously similar to Yelchin. Go figure.
Watch the trailer below:
well over four years ago (closer to five, now that i think about it), i moved to London, England. I did it on a whim. i had finished my Masters degree, and realized that i wasn’t really doing anything in my life now that that milestone had been accomplished. i had backpacked around europe and the UK for two summers in a row, and i liked it over there. so within a few weeks of getting my Masters, i packed up apartment, threw my shit in storage, bought a one-way plane ticket, and off i went. no looking back.
but there was a hidden impetus behind this move which i’ve never really admitted to anyone.
a few months prior, i had gone through a heartache, probably the first real one of my life. it had happened while i was backpacking across europe, and he was british. it was a brief but whirlwind affair that, had it not happened to me, i wouldn’t have believed that kind of passion was possible beyond the phoney-baloney scripts of hollywood pictures.
really, i moved to the UK so that i could do something incredible, something magnanimous, something big that would propel me out of the realm of melancholy. it was the beginning of a pattern i would develop as an adult — when your heart breaks, do something massive, something stupid, something huge to get over it.
i didn’t have any friends or family in London. I didn’t know a soul.
that was a really exciting time for me. i was so bitten by the travel bug, that i had to move to the other side of the planet to satiate it. i was discovering who i was as a post-academia adult. i pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
and of course, when the fit hit the shan (see what i did there?), suddenly i found out what i was made of. i really miss those early days of wandering around london, not knowing anyone, trying to figure out how things worked…i was trying to jump into the flow of the creek without drowning.
that was the first ballsy thing i did that year.
the second was about ten months later when i filled out an application form to audition for a reality tv show, which we all know by now, i ended up being cast in, and shot a few months later, leading up to the television premiere a year later.
i’ve never admitted this on this blog before, but there was a hidden impetus behind this as well.
i had just gone through another bad breakup with an evil british male who broke my heart, but wouldn’t leave me alone. i ended it with him, but he knew i was still in love with him, and played on my vulnerabilities. as a result, for four months following our breakup, we were still in each others lives, weekly.
it was confusing, it was soul-destroying, pride-swallowing, and it made things more complicated and painful than they needed to be.
i was angry.
i’ve always told the story that as i was surfing through the channel 4 website one day, i found the call for applicants to the reality tv show, filled in the application without much thought or care, and sent it in.
that’s not entirely true.
i was actively looking for any and all call for applicants to any tv show i could find. i just happened to find the right one for me.
i was in the right place, at the right time, and with a stroke of pure, dumb luck, my wish to be on television somehow was granted.
why was i looking to get on television?
because FUCK HIM that’s why.
again, my heart was broken, and i really wanted to do something huge to show that my life was amazing, and he was missing out on the best part. he actually told me when i was cast in the show that he would sell our story to the tabloids. he never did. the show had really high ratings (so much so, that i was being recognized on the street, and it got a bit invasive), but it tanked with the critics, so the tabloids probably weren’t interested.
since then, the pattern has remained true. with every heart break that i suffer (and i always seem to be the sufferer), i go off and do something impulsive and beyond the norm. i force myself to do incredible things.
i can sit there and say that i live a life less ordinary, and that would be true. but the impetus behind each amazing experience i’ve had (global media campaigns, backpacking around the world, having my work published, winning awards, bungee jumping, acting in movies, et.al.) has not been comprised of the utmost purity.
but really, who cares about the “how” or “why” of it all?
my philosophy is — don’t worry about why
especially when what is right in front of you.
or even better….. who.
if you haven’t yet checked out the Motorcycle-Diaries- trailer-esque video of me hiking along the ancient Inca Trail, through the Peruvian jungle, to Machu Picchu, do it now.
i’m fucking endearing in it.
before i can blog about the experience, i need to blog about the amazing graffiti and street art that i came across in Peru. Peruvian street artists and graffiti artists really are brilliant. they are, by and large, engaged in politics, inspired by injustices, but also motivated by matters of the heart. poetics sayings, emotional images, and fire-infused couplings of the two are to be found all over the country. i took more photos of the street art than i did of the Andes i was hiking through!
after flying 10 hours (with a stop over in El Salvador) from Toronto, i was exhausted and smellin’ like Eau De Czech, but ready to photograph the art populating the night.
“ivo justice” i wonder if ivo is a man undergoing a trial? or incarcerated? at first i thought this said “no justice.”
LIMA (near airport)
Peru just elected a new president, and i think that’s him
i like this photo more for the scenery that compliments the graffiti, than just the graffiti itself.
zona, i’m told, was peru’s most famous footie player.
near Chinatown in Lima. this fatty with the scowl on her face wouldn’t move, even when asked, so i could photograph the mural behind her. she kind of looks like the guy in the mural. turns out her presence adds something to the photo
an accidental photo i took while zooming in a moving taxi. turned out pretty cool.
MIRAFLORES (area of Lima)
definitely political, just can’t make out the writing.
pulso danza, or “dancing pulse” was everywhere in miraflores.
hell yeah fuck yeah
brilliant. take the existing brickwork, turn it into a piano.
“revolution. if not now, when?”
surprised this wasn’t in chinatown
so much going on here…
“mi luz” means “my light.”
on the left, she’s been made to look mad. on the right, she’s eating a dick.
i like this sticker, of a young cap’d boy holding a rifle. sounds like a revolution to me.
brilliant stencil of the outgoing president. the old president was named “alan” but by putting a G in front of his name, and adding “del robo” at the end, it turns into the saying “knight of thieves,” which i think is a play on the saying “prince of thieves.”
nicely done, Tink.
i wasn’t going to photograph this at first because it’s just advertising a pub (as you can see from the drink in one hand, and the fork in the other). that is, until i noticed it’s exposed, raging cock.
sell fresh crazy someplace else. we’re all stocked up here.
you look like you was talking to me.
gringos ruin everything.
this was along the pacific ocean boardwalk.
BARRANCO (area of Lima)
Barranco is a totally bo-ho po-mo district of Lima, fulla artists and brilliant stencils. it’s celebrating it’s 139th anniversary, and it has a very colonial, european feel to it, but also a counter-culture atmosphere on the streets.
this “no la cagues” was everywhere. it’s a picture of the newly-elected president. “no la cagues” means “don’t screw it up” or “don’t fuck it up.” good advice for any new president. looks like the artist responsible for this piece forgot the “u” in “cagues” and had to add it in manually later.
here it is again. i think at the top the “jbo!” is the name of the artist. not sure.
love this wheatpaste. smiling winking dude holding a molotov cocktail, and the caption says, “agitate! protest! resist! … every man for himself!”
interesting opinion. “vandalism does not equal freedom of expression.”
so many areas of Barranco were stencil’d with the words “rubias no!” which means “no blondes!” or perhaps even “Not blonde!”
that’s right. LEAGUE OF AWESOME BRUNETTES for the win.
“call your old lady” meaning, call your moms, yo.
scary but cool face, done by someone named “kobi”
there’s that sticker again from Miraflores!
CHORRILLOS (area of Lima)
charlie chaplin! when i lived in london england, i lived in Elephant & Castle, the area where charlie chaplin was born and raised, so i feel a connection to the little moustachio’d man.
theatre masks submerged.
“forgive me if i hurt you, i love you.”
this was actually printed on a poster advertising family wares. it makes me think that very few people actually speak english in peru, because they may not understand what that means!
this is probably my favourite piece from all of Peru. it’s just a dude hugging a fish. but it’s strikingly lovely.
or is he hugging a bird? i can’t tell. i love how highly stylized the strokes are. brilliant wheatpaste.
mural dedicated to a young woman who passed away.
in Cuzco, I found the street art limited to sayings of love. as you can see from the below collage.
for those of you who don’t speak Spanish, “te amo” means “i love you.” (i mean, i don’t speak Spanish, but even i know that.)
i’m not sure what this is in reference to, but i like how the corn husk almost has grenade-like qualities. looks like a propaganda pic.
hey authorities! look! in 1664 someone ENGRAVED stuff into the side of a church. WATER BLAST THAT OFF!
this translates to “it’s prohibited to urinate on penalty of death.” i don’t know if this is graffiti or actually placed by the government (is the death penalty in Peru?), but considering that’s the ancient Inca wall standing there, it wouldn’t surprise me either way.
it’s michael jackson wearing an Incan wooly cap.
raymi, your powers are boundless.
this is deffo a government mural. going back to urination, it must be a huge problem in Cuzco. the entire mural said that in order to keep Cuzco beautiful, please don’t piss on the ground. AS I TOOK THIS PHOTO, i looked to my left to find a man pissing against a pillar. how ironic.
as we hiked through the jungle along the Inca trail, near the small but lovely village of santa theresa (there’s hot springs there!), we came to a bridge that had some incredible graffiti on it.
i think this Garcia guy must be commissioned, but it’s intricate and beautiful stencil work.
look at that gorgeous woman.
* * *
that’s it for the Peruvian graffiti, my next blog post will be about my travelling adventure expedition through the jungle, along the Inca trail, to Machu Picchu.
in the meantime, here’s a preview.
i’ve been back in toronto for a week now, and i have been enduring the spectrum of emotions from utter despair to euphoric bliss. people from my past are haunting me, and yet people from my present are treating me like tiramisu.
i won’t go into detail here, but i had felt obligated to contact some people from my past that i haven’t spoken to in ages. out of everyone i spoke to, only ONE person was amazingly supportive, kind, generous, and reassured me that no matter what, we are good friends (the rest were, as expected, bitterly cold and reserved). i wanted to reach through the telephone line and hug this person until my arms fell off.
thanks so much for being so kind to me over the years, sometimes i feel like i don’t deserve it. you are one of the meaningful ones.
then i spent thanksgiving weekend hugging and snuggling in trinity bellwoods park in between delicious ice cream licks and bike-riding.
so all in all, i can’t complain. life should never be about half-emotions, half-ways, or half-living. either feel the extremes or feel nothing at all.