(Wherein our intrepid hero travels from the northern wastes of Canada to the rebel separatist’s stronghold, and thence the happiest place on earth)
Following my previous missive, a close associate, whose name – evocative of eastern rivers and nations – shall remain undisclosed, suggested that rather than distributing the tales of my adventures through the mail electronic, I ought, instead, to create a blog. The effrontery! The sheer obscenity of such a suggestion! To advise that I might file away my writings in some dark corner of the internet, to be easily overlooked by you all. And worse still, to convert me into a blogger. Scandal! Scandal I say! Rest assured, you’ll not rid yourselves of me so easily. The mere idea that I might hide my brilliant creations, when I stand before you at the very peak of my brilliance, at the very zenith of my exponentially growing magnificence, which each day advances to further heights, attaining greater zenithiousity as I march further north into the fields of my own spectacularity! Obscenity of the highest degree. Do not imagine that I sit here, wearing away my elegant fingers at the cruel keys of the cycloptican computer, bringing my frail self to the edge of exhaustion, the very limit that my poor mortal self can handle, merely for the satisfying clicking sound of the keyboard. Nay, and not for the edification of my most glorious ego, either. No dear friends, I do it all for you. I break myself upon the rocks of grammar and the sharp edges of plot development for your amusement. – And let us not forget the harsh mistress of character development. And do not think I do not know how few of you have viewed my images, and thus – by extension – perused (much less I dare expect, absorb) my artful prose. Truly, you would deny yourselves such grandeur, only to emerge from a bookstore some months hence with some dime-store hackery produced by some flowing-haired golden boy whose adventures in Peru you found too irresistible to avoid. Yes, I know the way of you! But fear not, dear friends, for I love you, still. Such is the weakness of my heart.
Or perhaps I’ve just been to one too many poetry readings.
“No land in the globe affords a more appropriate setting for stories of adventure and exploration, whether found in fiction or drawn from real experience, than the great Wild West of North America. Not the degenerate West of the present day, vulgarised by cattle ranches and mining camps, but the free, boundless expanse of virgin forest and prairie, the home of the whooping, scalping Red Indian, the grizzly bear, and the buffalo in its innumerable herds.”
Something which I forgot to mention in the previous eMail was an incident witnessed on the bus on the first day out and about. A real, honest-to-goodness Canadian dispute. Basically, this couple didn’t get off at their stop, because… well, I don’t know. I think they believed the bus was going to stop again where it had picked them up earlier on, about 10 metres away. Anyway, the result was the lady profusely apologising for not getting off, while the bus driver was similarly repentant for not reminding them that this was their stop (though considering that they had apparently caught the bus from there earlier in the day, it should have been pretty obvious). The dispute ended with the bus driver saying “it’s nobody’s fault, sometimes things just happen”. I’m sure I am entirely failing in my attempts to capture the bizarre over-politeness of the situation. Anyway, this is apparently the standard style of Canadian disputes, which made this sight all the more surprising. Apparently, fiduciary disputes are settled in the Canadian wilderness through the ancient art of van-painting.
Spending the first part of the day in White Rock, dealing with the many and sundry things that needed dealing with, like washing, and my accommodation in New York, I then went to have lunch with Emily, which, naturally, also involved a spot of shoe shopping, before boarding the bus to Vancouver. My plan for the day, having decided that the whole sightseeing thing’s kinda only fun for a little while, was to spend some more time in Mcleod’s, before wandering up to the art gallery for some art. Emily was heading in after work so that we could go see The Neins Circa play at the Media Club. So, long story short, come 6 o’clock, I’m being shuffled out of Mcleod’s, having spent the whole day there. Slightly saddened by the fact that I couldn’t find a book Emily had shown me there the other day, on advice for a wife (which was, I can assure you, most entirely splendid) I did, however, manage to acquire some real gems. Including The Romance of Modern Exploration, and The Art of Kissing , from whence the following magnificent passages come: “It is, therefore, necessary that the man be taller than the woman, the psychological reason for this is that he must always give the impression of being the woman’s superior, both mentally and especially physically. …And all of these are impossible when the woman is the taller of the two. For when the situation is reversed, the kiss becomes only a ludicrous banality. The physical mastery is gone, the male prerogative is gone, everything is gone but the fact that two lips are touching two other lips. Nothing can be more disappointing.”
“…the first thing he should do is arrange it so that the girl is seated against the arm of the sofa while he is seated at her side. In this way, she cannot edge away from him when he becomes serious in his attentions. …If she flinches, don’t worry. If she flinches and makes an outcry, don’t worry. If she flinches, makes an outcry and tries to get up from the sofa, don’t worry. Hold her, gently but firmly, and allay her fears with kind, reassuring words. Remember what Shakespeare said about “a woman’s no!” However, if she flinches, makes an outcry, a loud, stentorian outcry, mind you, and starts to scratch your face, then start to worry or start to get yourself out of a bad situation. Such girls are not to be trifled with… or kissed. It is such as they, in most cases, who still believe the story of the stork who brings babies as the consequence of a kiss.”
“…your next step is to flatter her in some way. All women like to be flattered. They like to be told they are beautiful even when the mirror throws the lie back into their ugly faces.”
So, tallness, eh? Well, no problems there… eh ladies? So, from Mcleod’s I go to meet Emily, and we have some sushi for dinner, as well as picking through a vintage clothing store. (It was only with the strongest of willpower that I resisted buying a Rod Stewart belt buckle) before heading to the Media Club. (Stopping off at the Vancouver public library for some thoughtful ponderances) Three bands played, the best of which was definitely the Neins, whose lead singer came on stage carrying balloons in a green two-piece straight out of the 70’s, and a panda mask. It is a safe assumption to suggest that, whilst experiencing a wide range of emotions, and some tattooing , we had a good time. Then we wandered to Andrey’s, where we were supposed to be spending the night, only to discover that he was out gallivanting, the cad. So we caught an excessively expensive taxi back to White Rock, amusing ourselves on the journey with an improvised Disney & William Shatner karaoke session courtesy of my mp3 player. Suffice it to say, it was an epic journey.
Of the remainder of adventures in Canada, I shall do my best to compress the details, particularly as there are some 5,000 words following on my adventures in the United States. Suffice it to say I decided to buy the hat, though not before discovering an (inferior?) alternative at I Love Hats, the store where I was also taunted, as usual, by the whispered promise of a derby that almost fit. I decided to get a delightfully touristy photo of “ Authentic Vancouver” for your amusement, which was taken shortly before being approached by a fellow Australian suffering from grievous calamity at the hands of the authorities. Whilst I won’t reproduce his (somewhat incoherent) narrative, suffice it to say the best part was when he said ” you can tell I’m not on drugs“, having just told me he was from Byron Bay – hah! Right! Anyway, on with the show. I found more evidence of the government’s threats against a wasteful public, and spent some time with Andrey, who I don’t think likes me very much. In fact, I got the distinct impression he was trying to bore me to death with psychic boredom-rays. I actually felt like I was being chloroformed. We attended the midnight book launch of Harry Potter, operating on the logic that, after all, it would be probably the only chance I’d ever have to go to a midnight book launch. Emily, not at all into Potteralia, did her best to amuse herself with some of the more laughable merchandises, but suffice it to say that following my moment of triumph , and my telling the cashier “Actually, I’m just here for some Dan Brown… ” we bid a hasty retreat.
More documentation of the advertisements of Canadia, observe the TELUS monkeys; who stare at you with their beady little eyes, judging you. Strange talismans, and promises of “mountain magic ” led us to what turned out, disappointingly, to be a mountaineering store. Hardly any magic at all! We returned to the puppet store, for more puppetry, including more lurking puppets, a taste of home, and of course, the noble octopode. After encountering a terrifying frog creature, I practised my seductivity on a Canadian merwoman, but found her to be a bit, well, wooden. We went to the Vancouver art museum, where in the interest of winning a wager on outrageous behaviour, I photographed Emily in front of a Picasso in a bikini (fear not, art lovers, I triple checked that the flash was off before proceeding). Suffice it to say, the wager was won. You will not, however, see photos of this, as I’m not sure it’s entirely appropriate, and also, if I were to display these photos, I’m sure I would be obliged to display the images of my own public semi-nudity, which I can assure you, is not going to happen. It is useful to note, however, how little people react to someone stripping off into a bikini in the middle of a museum. Perhaps a useful lesson for the future? After an unsuccessful and lengthy search for Katsu Don, we ate a restaurant where I found my every move scrutineered by multiple portraits of the indomitable Frida Kahlo. Suffice it to say; it was unsettling. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my perogies with a zestful vigour.
We followed this up with some delicious plastic ice-cream, and I got some photos in my spiffing new hat by a gen-u-ine New York cab (such that I wouldn’t see in my entire time in New York). And had a conversation with a charming homeless man who extolled the virtues of my kind eyes (apparently, they’re pretty kind) and magnificent stature. We met up with Emily’s sister, (newly returned from South Korea) and her brother and Sonny, and went to Gastown, where I was promising them the mysterious delights of “Canvas“. – an art gallery I had found a few days earlier, where the friendly assistant had suggested that I return on Saturday, when they (supposedly) have bongo music, and what I was lead to believe was a generally bohemian atmosphere. I had hoped, naturally, to surprise the Canuckians with my discovery of an awesome bo-ho bar replete with bongos and berets. This of course, was entirely not the case. Instead, overpriced and unpleasant cocktails and deejaying were our fare during our brief stop. It was clearly some sort of yuppie trap, for yuppies. Of the photos taken, I can assure you, the joy displayed is entirely counterfeit.
Thus, on a high note, I shall end my account of travails in Canada, and begin with the epic that was my time in the rebel stronghold, The United States of America.