Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Last week, amid all the Hurricane Sandy madness, I flew out to New York. The trip had been in the planning for a few weeks – Nike were flying myself and a few members of Run Dem Crew out and doing some events around the New York City Marathon – but obviously, when Sandy hit, everything was up in the air. We didn’t get word that the trip was definitely on til 9:30pm on Wednesday night and we were on a flight at lunchtime on Thursday. Not really sure what we’d be arriving to see, anticipation built on the flight.
Sunday, October 5th, 2008
See, me and nature don’t really get along. I’m not one for bird watching or planting trees. I can appreciate a nice view of the country, but the thought of being stuck there for extended periods of time, makes me break out in hives. I like concrete. And smog. And rude people. Viva la City!
I live in downtown Toronto. My street, lined with prostitutes and the occasional crackhouse, is also lined with trees. I didn’t realise this would bring a veritable Noah’s Ark of wildlife with it.
The hood is home to leagues of city slicker squirrels and raccoons. The problem is that they think they run this shit. The attitudes on these little fellas is unreal. They’re up at all hours throwing parties, trying out their death-defying jumping from tree to tree stunts, walking the tight rope (the telephone cords strung between houses) and generally making a racket.
Most other places, when squirrels see humans, they scurry off, but not inner city squirrels. Oh no. They look at you and give you attitude. They may stop munching on their nuts for a second, but that’s all you get. If they’re in your way, tough shit, they expect you to go around them. They ain’t moving for your human ass. You know why? Because they run this shit.
The other day, as I was making a quick run to the corner shop, I saw a kerfuffle by a tree trunk. Upon closer inspection, it turns out, I had stumbled across some squirrel sex. Right there in broad daylight, up against a tree trunk. Brazen hussies. Legs akimbo, their fluffy squirrel tails swishing this way and that, it was a hot mess. I was appalled. Not only do I have prostitutes and crack heads to deal with, but now, there’s squirrel sex? I need to move.
But the squirrels come second in the pecking order, behind the raccoons. There’s no love lost between the two – it’s like the Bloods and the Crips. Raccoons swan around here like stray dogs. You don’t want to mess with them, because they’re vicious little buggers (or not so little, as the case may be). I came home late a few nights ago to find one chilling out on my doorstep. I waited patiently for it to move and it gave me a look that said ‘what, bitch?’ So I actually said, out loud ‘Umm, can you move?’ I can’t believe I was even forced to do that. I’m like Dr Dolittle up in this piece. I have to negotiate with wildlife to even make it into my own house. ‘If you move now, I’ll give you free reign of the trash cans out back for a week.’
For now, we’re managing to co-exist somewhat harmoniously, but I have a feeling, one day, one of these furry fellas is gonna push me too far.
I guess I can only be thankful I haven’t stumbled across any raccoon sex yet. I’m really not ready for that.
Thursday, August 21st, 2008
My gypsy blood keeps me moving around. I love Toronto, but I do miss the other cities I’ve lived in, for various reasons. If I could combine all the best bits from these cities to make one big mega-ridiculously-cool city, well, then I’d really be onto something.
Here’s what I miss about my homes away from my current home:
Things I miss about London
- My friends.
There’s just no one quite like them.
- Portobello Market
I love the sights, sounds and smells of this place. Rarely did I miss a saturday here. Start at the Ladbroke Grove end and wander through the streets to finish with lunch at Manzara in Notting Hill. Perfect way to kick start the weekend.
- Marketplace on Thursday nights
Great music, great people. great vibe. And the cheapest night out you’ll ever have.
- Roti Hut on Shepherd’s Bush Road
Roti for £2.40! And it’s the best I’ve ever tasted. I recently had a roti in Toronto that cost me $8. What kind of shit is that?! I realize it was Caribana, but c’mon Toronto, that’s just wrong.
- The ‘don’t be a sinner, be a winner’ guy
This dude would stand at Oxford Circus with a mega phone, trying to preach to passersby. ‘Don’t be a sinner, be a winner.’ was his line of choice. I always intended to get that printed on a T Shirt.
Can’t even reminisce about this one too much – it brings a tear to my eye.
Things I miss about New York
- 110th Street
and all the craziness that came with it.
- The Holy Trinity
Me, The Koom and Nat Nat – three in your face British chicks. We toughed it out together through thick and thin, when no one could understand us and when we just couldn’t get our heads around Americans. I don’t know how I would have made it through without them.
- Crazy people
New Yorkers are balls out crazy and I love it. People in Toronto preserve their crazy. If we had a higher proportion of craziness here, it would give Toronto a lil more zing. Let the crazy go!
- The Vibe
can’t be explained. It is what it is.
- The summertime
and the guys who play basketball on that court by West 4th, oftentimes shirtless – thank you.
- $2 pepperoni rolls in Coney Island
worth the 2 hours and price of a subway ride to get there.
Things I miss about Tokyo
- The hilarious situations that ensue from the language barrier.
Like one of my students who told me he was going to ‘eat out’ his wife that weekend. Several embarrassing moments later, I realised he meant eat out with his wife.
My partner in crime. It just wasn’t the same after you left homie.
- That certain someone.
He knows who he is.
My favourite area to just roam around in.
- The 7th floor of Tower Records in Shibuya
The only place to get english language books and magazines. It’s like Mecca when you first move there.
- The peace and quiet of temples and shrines
Proves that religion has nothing to do with it. I had some fairly profound moments in Japanese shrines.
- Heated toilet seats
Best. Thing. Ever! I fully intend to import these bad boys. With how cold it gets here in winter, a heated toilet seat that warms your tush and plays music could be just what the doctor ordered.
- Being a celebrity
Being a foot taller and ten shades whiter than the rest of the population garnered some attention. People would stop me in the street and take my picture, or sneak one on their camera phone while on the train. Frankly, I’m disgusted I don’t get the same treatment here in Toronto.
When I get ‘home sick’, I think about all these places, people and things. And I guess I’m pretty lucky I can.