The Strawberry Fields Whatever Diet: Wolf Parade Vacation Edition


(Last week I went to New York City to see my semi-favorite band Wolf Parade. Here's some stories about what I ate and drank there.)

I flew to New York midday on Monday. The big excitement of the airport was that Stan Rizzo from Mad Men sat two barstools down from me at Gene Simmons's bar at the Delta terminal at LAX. I tried to think of something vaguely interesting to say to him but the best I could come up with was, "Umm, I write a blog and we used to write about Mad Men and one time Ted Chaough RT'ed us?", so in the end I left it alone. I was drinking a pecan beer and a coffee and Stan Rizzo drank a Stella; we watched the video for "Don't Cry" by Guns n' Roses on the big Rock & Brews TV and then I left and bought a Kit Kat for my flight. Then he was on my flight. We still didn't talk. I ate my Kit Kat and watched Mistress America for the third time and The End of the Tour and I forget what else.

I got to New York at like 9 at night and took a bus to Grand Central and pretended I was Serena van der Woodsen making her secret homecoming from boarding school. Then I went down to the East Village and met Michaela and her roommate Erin; we drank margaritas and walked over to Max Fish and drank beer and then went to Brooklyn, to Joe's Pizza, where "Rock and Roll Music" by the Beatles was playing and I ate this beautiful beauty:

The next morning we went to Pies 'n' Thighs and I got the fried chicken and waffles seen up top; it came with cinnamon butter and strawberry jam and the radio played Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Mos Def and "Feel Me Flow" by Naughty by Nature. Kate and I walked over the Williamsburg Bridge and into the city and then wandered around the Lower East Side a long time. The day was gray and sometimes drizzly but I didn't care because I was on my Wolf Parade vacation. I drank a million-dollar iced coffee from some boring coffee place and bought myself a Life Thyme Natural Market raspberry tollbooth cookie, in tribute to the time LJ sent me a Life Thyme Natural Market raspberry tollbooth cookie in the mail like eight years ago. We took the train back to Brooklyn and got drinks at the top of the Wythe Hotel, and I had some kind of tequila drink and then some champagne drink but I can't remember much about either. The tequila drink had lime sherbet, and I'd expected some grand scoop of bright-green ice cream floating atop my tequila but: no. Later in the night we met Kate's friend Tania at Rye and I drank beer, an IPA, I think, and Tania's friend brought us down to the basement and gave us all this free Uruguayan wine.

For dinner we went to Dokebi, which is Korean barbecue. We got bibimbap and scallion pancakes and fried tofu and I had a Diet Coke and then champagne. I hadn't gone out for Korean in so long and forgotten how much I love all the little side dishes in the little white bowls, which I just learned is called banchan. One of the banchan things was anchovies and I really wanted to love the anchovies, but...I didn't. I think anchovies are a smart food to be into; same with sardines. Yesterday I bought a tin of La Sirena sardines in olive oil, almost entirely because I like the idea of peeling back the lid and plunking a sardine down onto a nice piece of crusty toast and eating my sardine toast standing at the kitchen counter, reading the business section of the New York Times, in the middle of some crazy workday. In this dream I'm wearing a button-down oxford and my high school track shorts and reading glasses, which I don't actually own or need.


I'm Leaving

(ABOVE is a picture of a beautiful textile I feel deeply connected to made by a person named Sophie Henriette Gertrude Taeuber-Arp in the year 1918. I found out it existed because of the Women's Art Twitter which I am obsessed with. It is the lock screen wallpaper on my phone & sums up my general May 2k16 life vibe better than any song or sentence.)


I’m leaving.
        I’m leaving London, the city where I live, work, am, and go to sleep every night, among other things. This city is not my home but it is home to a life that I know very well. Soon, though- in July- I’m going to go back to my real home, in Canada: to a city where I’ve already lived so much. A city that is so much a part of me that even when I’m not living there I’m still living there. Toronto. The city I was born in. A city where I used to and now again will walk past the hospital I was born in every day and absently think “I was born there” and then keep walking and not think about it anymore.
        I know the map of my Toronto-life the the same way I know the basslines of all my favourite Beatles songs or how to write my name perfectly in my own beautiful penmanship. Toronto will feel different this time I know it but it will also feel the same. Weirdly, despite my generally being a person preoccupied with acquiring new things— friends, jobs, places, stories, men— it’s the same-ness of Toronto I want back the most. I do very little dreaming about what’s going to feel different.
        Maybe because I know exactly how it’s going to feel different. I’m going to be cockier and care less and say “lads” a lot and not have to wonder what it’s going to feel like when I move away to London.
        The things about Toronto I want back most are:

-the feeling of walking into the Queen & Bellwoods 7-11 on a summer afternoon, August at its disgustingly hottest, when I’m so happy because I’m vain and I know I’m getting tan. The feel of the air-con which I call air-con after living in London for two years but used to call “AC.” I want to buy myself a Big Gulp of Diet Coke and maybe one of those cherry crullers I used to be so obsessed with and feel my teeth crack into the icing

-to stand on the corner of Bloor Street and Palmerston Blvd very early in the morning and watch the sun rise over Honest Ed’s. Pop into the organic food store I have never known the name of despite my having patronized it over a thousand times I'm sure and buy myself an organic snack like maybe one of those honeyed granola bars with chocolate on top or a vegan peppermint Nanaimo bar or some dried pineapple rings which I always crave but then when I eat them they’re so sugary they literally make me feel sick.

-to be able to buy family-size jars of peanut butter which they don’t sell in England because people in England don’t care about peanut butter as much we do so I have to buy myself new peanut butter like every three days which is inconvenient

I want and need these things. I want and need my friends. I want to go back to them and bury my head in their laps but I don’t want to go back to them and am not very touchy-feely in person.
        I wish I could leave here and stay here. I wish I could do a thing and not do a thing. I wish I could both drunk-text and not drunk-text. I wish I could live two lives at once.


The Top 5 Hottest John Lennons of All Time


It’s so amazing when terrible things happen to you because it means you get to go on a bender. A terrible-ish thing happened to me about a month ago- I'm not even that fucked up about it, I mean I would say about 3% of me is extremely fucked up about it but then the other 97% is perfectly well; it barely qualifies as an excuse to repurpose my life into the extended bender that I subsequently have but that’s not really the point. The point is that, in life, you’re either on a bender or not on a bender, and I find I really hate it when I’m not on a bender. The last time I was not on a bender all I ever did was plan out future benders for myself to go on. Life is meaningless without a bender on the horizon.

        In 1975, John Lennon and his great pal & fellow genius Harry Nilsson went on a bender so fabulous that it was given an official name: the Lost Weekend. Lost Weekend-era John is my bender hero, except that he was really depressed when he was on his bender, and as a bender participant I try to bring a bit more of a sunshiney energy to the table. But I love how Lost Weekend-era John still had the good sense to channel his depression into being outrageous and loud rather than your classic boring sadsack. Rowdiness is at the heart of every great bender.
        John went on his Lost Weekend because his marriage to Yoko was on the rocks and she needed some space. I just read a quote from her about it; she said, “I was very aware that we were ruining each other’s careers and that I was hated and John was hated because of me. Can you imagine every day of getting this vibration from people of hate?” I really can’t, Yoko. That sounds rough. But the weirder part of Yoko’s coping with these hate-vibrations was that she sent John away to have an affair with her personal assistant, May Pang, the woman he is kissing in the photo. She engineered the affair.
        I don’t know, man. I don’t really relate to Yoko on this one. Like, I would never do that. It’s so weirdly controlling! If I were John I would have been like, “Okay, cool, fine, I’ll go to Los Angeles, I’ll give you your space, but can I please choose my affair-person on my own?” I’d be like, “I’m going to Los Angeles, man! A whole new city full of new and exciting possible affair participants! I’m not wasting my affair on your employee, Yoko.”
       I wish that I could have been Lost Weekend-era John Lennon’s affair-person in place of probably-boring May Pang who I doubt got into the bender spirit of things with the same amount of vim as would Laura Jane Faulds. If there’s one thing you can say about me, it’s that I can really hold my own on a bender. I never would have been a bender wet blanket and tried to convince John to take some time off being on his bender to, like, go to a flower market with me. To go drink a flat fucking white and eat a goddamned pastry. Fuck that. I’d rather die.
        Harry Nilsson would love me too. We'd be such solid bender-bros, but I wouldn't be attracted to him; I can tell. He’d be like, “You’ve really found yourself a perfect beautiful angel of a bender-soulmate, John,” and John would be all “Don’t I know it, mate,” and then he’d kiss me with a great deal of aggressive bender gusto like in the picture. I'd be like “Cool, thanks, I don’t even know what the fuck is going on right now” and pour myself another glass of champagne. Just kidding— Bender Laura doesn’t have time for “glasses”! I’ll drink that shit straight out the bottle, son.


Lately I'm really into rock musician dudes from the '70s who are hypersexual in a way that's kind of gross and embarrassing but also charming in its relative quaintness: examples would include this picture of Rod Stewart with his hand in his pants, or this other picture of Rod Stewart where he's wearing a goddamned two-piece swimsuit, plus Alex Chilton in "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It" when he makes all the dumb sex noises at the bridge. And in some oral-history book I read years ago, there was a bit where Chrissie Hynde talked about falling in love with Tim Buckley's first few albums, where he's so dreamy and folky and sensitive, and then being freaked out when it got to be the '70s and he turned into some filthy sex maniac. But I totally prefer filthy-sex-maniac Tim Buckley: I'd take his version of "Sally Go Round the Roses" over "Song to the Siren" any old day.

One of my top five John Lennon songs is "Well Well Well." The vibe's not quite filthy-sex-maniac-y, and it's actually way more romantic than sexy, but there's still a dirtiness to it - if only in the sense that the song itself feels grimy and sweaty and unwashed. I don't know when this picture's from but it's probably vaguely "Well Well Well" era, right?  Obviously he's got Yoko with him, but I like the idea of an alternate reality in which John Lennon is a lone wolf and just some non-famous guy with hardly any money. You'd go out with him a couple times and on like your third date he'd take you back to his disgusting apartment to eat Indian takeout and drink beer on the floor, and the lighting would be terrible (overhead and wicked harsh); the bathroom's a horror show and the shower has no shower curtain. But of course you'd be be in love with him, because he's smarter than everyone and funny as hell and wearing that beautiful golden shirt with the three-quarter-length sleeves - which is such a deep sleeve choice for a dude! His bed would be a mattress on the floor, a twin. He'd have some terrible cat. The cat would be named after someone in a Bob Dylan song. The cat's name is totally Brother Bill.

Are there any dudes making rock-ish music today that's hypersexual and gross but also mostly charming? The only sex-music-making guy I can think of is Father John Misty, but whenever I hear a Father John Misty song it makes me want to die. I like when the El Vy dude sings that line that goes "I'm peaceful cuz my dick's in sunlight," but he's probably just talking about sunbathing, and anyway I feel like he's mostly kidding. Please send me your modern-day sex music recommendations, if you can think of any.