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I don’t think I’ve quite mastered the art of being a tourist. Some people are really good at it: my grandmother, for instance, plans frequent holidays for herself and her friends and always manages to visit dozens of sites and take hundreds of pictures and never fails to bring home a souvenir magnet. While I admire her dedication to the art, I’ve always preferred to take a different approach and – as I mentioned a couple of posts earlier – just pretend that I live in the city and go about my day as though it were just another day living in… Paris, for instance.

There are some major flaws in this plan. Namely, I don’t know the city. So pretending I do just makes my ignorance of my surroundings all the more obvious. Refusing to carry around a map or ask for directions just means I will get horribly, horribly lost. Not having a concrete plan for the day means exhausting myself wandering around aimlessly.

Eiffel and I can't get up

I was listening to this show on BBC Radio about a husband and wife who take separate vacations because they have different styles of ‘vacationing’. While the wife was content to relax on the beach, the husband always wanted to set goals for himself and go on ‘missions’ to keep busy. And I thought: I am just like that guy! Despite my determination not to do touristy things in Paris, I began to seek out the Moulin Rouge, the cafe when the film Amelie is set, Notre Dame, that really delicious Bethillon ice cream… and I found myself surrounded by tourist shops selling J’aime Paris mugs and Eiffel Tower figurines in all sizes. I went to museums in an attempt to ‘learn something’ – because, hey, that’s productive! I practiced speaking French because I knew, in the back of my mind, that it would be ‘good for my career’. What is wrong with me??

Over the last few years, all of my trips have been ‘working vacations’, meaning I was attending a festival and sometimes doing research, which would pretty much keep me occupied twelve hours a day every day. However, this summer’s trip to London was only a ‘working vacation’ for the first week and a half. After my visiting theatre troupe returned to Tunisia, I still had a month left to do whatever I liked – when I wasn’t working on my thesis (just submitted yesterday, by the way!) or writing job applications. So I went to Paris.

I feel like there’s always this expectation while on vacation to ‘have an experience’. Especially in Paris. In all the popular Amercian sitcoms, at least two episodes are dedicated to a visit to Paris. The lead character goes there for love, for work, for family, for a change, and comes back (see, no one actually stays in Paris – it would make America look bad) a new and revitalized person thanks to some life-changing event that occurs in this magical, yet challenging city. Often this life-changing event occurs when you’re just wandering the streets, which, frankly, puts an awful lot of pressure on wanderers like me.

Am I supposed to fall in love in Paris? Have some scandalous affair with some gorgeous person in a beret and striped shirt who will serve me baguettes and brie for breakfast following our hot nights of passion? Would I even want that? Am I actually resorting to insulting cultural stereotypes? Heck, the only people who actively hit on me were street vendors, and I’m pretty sure they were selling something. Ahem.

Marketplace

I’m really fond of the idea of being a word-traveller, a ‘jet-setter’ as some of my friends have put it. Is that like a ‘trend-setter’ – paving the way for new and exciting things, though through travel rather than fashion? It’s not as though I’m going to discover anything terribly new. I mean, the only important thing I learned in Paris is that ‘bistrot’ is actually spelled with a ‘t’ at the end, but they remove that extra letter outside of France because people pronounce it incorrectly so frequently. There you go.

Either way, if I’m going to do a lot more traveling in the near future, I think I’d better learn how to go about it properly. The problem is, I have ridiculously high expectations for myself and for the places I visit. Again, I blame sitcoms. Or maybe I just prefer the familiar: riding around on my bicycle down familiar streets, seeing familiar faces, knowing the best places to buy fruits and vegetables, being able to visit friends right around the corner.

Come to think of it, I might be a little homesick…

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Good morning, Paris!

beautiful window

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101 items in 1001 days.
To be completed by October 12, 2013 at 27 years of age.

  1. host my own poetry series
  2. host my own radio show
  3. visit Paris
  4. visit my family in Spain
  5. visit another country in Europe (Italy)
  6. visit a country in Asia
  7. visit a country in Africa
  8. visit a country in South America
  9. go to New York City with my mum (or somewhere equally cool)
  10. take a good photograph of A.L.bion
  11. take ‘little w’ to a play
  12. write a poem in French
  13. write a poem in Spanish
  14. write a poem about Ottawa
  15. write an out-of-character poem
  16. record my poems properly
  17. perform in a play
  18. direct a play
  19. write a play
  20. work alongside a stage director I admire (Andy McQuade – La Chunga Jan.Feb 2012)
  21. have sex in a tree
  22. buy an awesome girly bicycle
  23. bike in London without killing myself
  24. complete a long distance bike trip
  25. complete and defend my thesis
  26. get a job with a festival (Canadian Festival of Spoken Word cfsw.ca October 12-16, 2010)
  27. attempt some form of busking (played my flute in London and made £1.50!)
  28. practice good posture
  29. practice speaking slowly
  30. pick up an English accent
  31. watch foreign films in 10 different languages
  32. volunteer with a non-arts organization
  33. go strawberry picking
  34. get a Brazilian wax
  35. tend a garden without killing anything
  36. go horse riding
  37. take a dance class
  38. take A.L.bion dancing
  39. work in a restaurant
  40. live with roommates  (3 of them, to be exact)
  41. live with a partner on equal terms
  42. take a beach vacation
  43. get my dad’s play Celestina produced in English
  44. read Don Quixote
  45. read all the works of Shakespeare
  46. memorize a monologue from Women Beware Women
  47. read 10 new books from the BBC list
  48. remember my parents’ 35th anniversary
  49. do my own taxes
  50. clean out my bedroom (my room at my parents’ house is now fit for guests, though a lot of my stuff is now in boxes in the basement)
  51. design my own jewelry
  52. order one of those duck dinners that requires 48 hours notice
  53. check out at least 5 new restaurants in Ottawa
  54. play mini golf
  55. buy an i-pod (Thanks, Dad!)
  56. hem my own jeans
  57. have a yard sale (with Bronwyn!)
  58. get a job with a theatre company in London (Second Skin Theatre)
  59. play tennis with my grandmother
  60. bake a delicious cake
  61. quit Facebook for at least one week
  62. write a blog entry every week
  63. comment on other blogs more frequently
  64. learn to use advanced ‘html’
  65. start up my haiku website again
  66. find my perfect working environment
  67. develop some photos and fill up a photo album
  68. do a political photo shoot
  69. buy a fish eye lens
  70. buy a video camera (my iPod touch has HD film – good enough)
  71. direct a short film
  72. go camping with friends
  73. don’t wear a watch for a day, on purpose
  74. tour the Canadian Fringe circuit
  75. paint something / create something large canvas-based
  76. buy a pair of ridiculously beautiful shoes that I may never wear
  77. walk across a pretty wooden bridge with Julie
  78. buy a yoga pass
  79. learn to do a proper cartwheel
  80. paint an apartment
  81. don’t get cable television
  82. own a pet fish
  83. donate a substantial amount of money to a local charity
  84. invent a holiday and celebrate it
  85. eventually stop wearing daily makeup
  86. try Ikebana
  87. attend a Cirque de Soleil performance
  88. memorize all possible Poker hands
  89. finish that Stratford Festival model
  90. visit Leah in Peterborough
  91. meet Simon Callow
  92. go outside everyday
  93. learn to drive on the left side of the road
  94. learn to fix my own bicycle (Thanks, James!)
  95. learn to jog without getting winded
  96. learn to dive into a pool
  97. give birthday cards to my friends and family
  98. get someone to take a really good headshot of me
  99. take part in a fashion show (Sassoon Academy – Oct 13, 2011)
  100. visit a Synagogue
  101. get caught…

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I’m not sure which title is more accurate. Probably the latter. Though I like to think of myself as a Londoner while I’m living in the city. I try not to unfold maps and wave them around in public (in fact, I’ve resisted buying a map to avoid that temptation altogether), and I try not to ask for directions too frequently. This, of course, has resulted in my getting lost on several occasions. But, hey, at least I’m wearing cute outfits while wandering around desperately searching for the underground.

I feel like I’m way overdue for a blog entry. My reasons for the delay are three-fold:

  1. LIFT Festival kept me busy! Oh my goodness, we’re talking about 12-17 hour days. Part of that is travel time: living in Upminster means it take 1-2 hours to get anywhere in central London. Also, there were a few complications with the company from Tunisia: set pieces and props arriving late, trying to organize rehearsal space, and arranging for media interviews in our few spare hours. Even after the company returned home, I was keen to attend other LIFT shows, including Home Sweet Home, Music for Seven Ice Cream Vans, Beloved and Haircuts by Children.

    Music for Seven Ice Cream Vans

  2. I’m still working on my thesis. Nuff said.
  3. I’m applying for jobs in London. Man, I hadn’t realized what hard work that can be! I haven’t actually applied for a job in about 5 years: in Ottawa, people have been nice enough to offer them to me based on my prior qualifications. Also, I’ve been in school, so I haven’t had to worry too much about having a full-time job that actually pays a full-time salary. I’m really hoping for this Assistant Producer job with the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill. Check out the description: isn’t it so perfect for me? They have a mini outdoors festival on this week, and I definitely plan to attend/participate in some shows.

Gate Theatre presents DOMINI PÚBLIC

So yes, if I do find an arts job, I plan to live here permanently for at least one year. I’m looking forward to this adventure, but there a few things I’ll have to get used to. I’m going to provide a list of London quirks for anyone thinking of visiting or living here in the near future. Perhaps some fellow Londoners would like to add some items in the comments section. But for now:

  • People see theatre. Like, it’s not a completely niche thing. There is an audience for professional theatre. There is an audience for community theatre. There is an audience for children’s theatre. And there is an audience for weird little site-specific outdoor pieces that take places in obscure corners of the city. I love that people are aware of the arts around them. It is very inspiring.
  • The underground (and all associated forms of transportation) is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, the trains are frequent and generally reliable — except when there is construction, which happens every weekend and some weekdays. In those cases, some lines are closed entirely and you have to reroute your trip. And then the tube stops running just after midnight, even on weekends! Thankfully there are night buses that are in operation across the city. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I’m living in Upminster, which requires a long train ride to get home… which means my nights end before 11pm. Not much time for a post-show drink.
  • There is little to no public recycling. Plus most of the little Italian cafes charge extra if you want to “eat in”, so everyone gets take-out and just throws the waste in the garbage afterward. It makes me cringe so much.
  • Don’t bother asking for directions. Most people hardly know where they’re going, let alone where you’re trying to go. Just check the detailed maps at bus stops.
  • Bang Said The Gun satisfies my need for awesomeness every week. This loud and rambunctious series focuses on spoken word, but welcomes every other kind of art form and every kind of artist. The organizers were incredibly sweet with me, and they even added my name to the (competitive) open mic list even though I arrived a bit late – again, thanks to changes on the underground. Through this series, I found out that London is brimming with poetry shows, and I plan to attend as many of them as possible! Props also to Poetry Unplugged at the Poetry Cafe.
  • It doesn’t actually rain that much. Uh, knock on wood.
  • Very few people have commented on my accent. It seems like everyone in London has a slightly different accent, depending on the neighbourhood, or because they come from Ireland or Wales or Scotland or some other part of the world. Each accent is as individual as the people who carry them. It’s kind of beautiful, actually.
  • London to Paris by train takes just over 2 hours and costs £130 return trip – that is, if you book only two weeks in advance. Oh, by the way, I’m going to Paris for a few days in August. Yippee!

I plan to return to Ottawa on August 16. Until then, I’m going to discover some London hot spots! Keep you posted.

Shakespeare's house for rent. Anyone?

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When she spoke Arabic, her eyes lit up and her face glowed and her arms swayed with the musicality of her words. The language, to my ear, combines the smooth rhythm of Italian, the guttural sounds of German, and the serpentine hum of soft-spoken Hindi. Her instructor, a strong-willed young woman, stops the actress mid-speech to give her feedback on her performance; they slide between Tunisian (an Arab dialect? its own language? there is some debate over that) and French seamlessly. This is not naturalism, she says. Let your body dance.

Hobb Story - members of the company

I picked them up from Heathrow airport only a few days ago. Ten Tunisians belonging to or associated with the company APA that created the show entitled “Hobb Story : Instructions for Arab Love” presented this month at the London International Festival of Theatre. Many of the company members were visiting London for the first time, and boy were they excited. I want to visit the Big Ben! one of them tells me in French, which they all speak fluently. I have been recruited as a volunteer interpreter, host, guide, liaison to the festival. Within minutes, I doubt my qualifications for the position: which place has the best exchange rate? where can we find food at 11pm on a Sunday night? how do we get a taxi in this city? why are your French language skills so poor?

They never vocalize that last question, but my neurotic self knows that is just what they’re thinking.

I am reminded of this poem that I saw performed recently, and it hurt me to realize that I am the same:

I, too, only speak English. And it hurts me because, for all intents and purposes, I am Canadian. Born and raised in Ottawa, a city that calls itself by bilingual, where one’s livelihood depends on being bilingual because that’s where the good jobs are. Sure, I can say on my resumé that I was in French immersion for 11 years, that I have taken a directing seminar in French, that I directed a “bilingual” play; and all that is true. I understand French, yes, but do I speak the language? Perfectly, fluently, comprehensibly. Could I write a spoken word poem in French? Could I participate in French debate without stumbling, searching for words every few seconds?

And what about Spanish. I am Canadian. I am English. I am Spanish. My father was born and raised in Spain and teaches Spanish, writes in Spanish, speaks Spanish for a living. I can say that I received a Spanish subject award in high school – but that says more about my tendency to complete my homework assignments than it does about my fluency in the language. And I could blame my parents for not teaching me a second language when I was younger. I could blame my bilingual friends for speaking English around me to make things easier. But I could – and should – just as easily blame myself for not putting in the effort.

I’m currently writing one of those lists of 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days. Two of those items are: write a poem in French and write a poem in Spanish. That may sound simple enough, but the idea behind it is that I must become acquainted with both languages well enough that I can fabricate a well-written poem in each language, not simply an anglicized version of each.

I want to be able to tell that strong-willed instructor (also an actress, a producer, and supportive partner to the playwright) that I think she is extraordinary, that I admire her ability to do interviews in English even though she insists she doesn’t speak the language very well. I also admire all the things that she and her company are trying to accomplish with this play: by touching on issues of love, sexuality, and relationships, they hope to show a different side of the Arabic culture, one that is not often seen in the Western world. This is documentary theatre that includes real testimonials from Tunisians, with hints of fantasy and lyrical theatre weaved in.

And the Arabic dialects really are beautiful.

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Bye bye Canada!

Right now I’m sitting at the airport preparing for yet another trip to the old world. This time I’m visiting the UK for a really fun gig: I’m going to be playing “Host” to this theatre company from Tunisia that is participating this year in the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT). I’m meeting with the festival organizers on Saturday to sort out all the details. They’ve asked me to meet them by some “van” near the National Theatre. Sounds suspicious.

I return to Ottawa on August 16, and until then I’ll be spending time in London, acquainting myself with the theatre scene. And I may take a trip to France for the Avignon Festival and then check out the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

I’m going to rely on the power of the internet for suggestions, so here are a few questions I’ve been asking myself and haven’t yet had the chance to find the answers. If you are able to respond helpfully to any of the following items, please post your advice in the comments section below. Thank you!

  • I need a phone while I’m in London. Is there someway of “renting” a phone for just these six weeks and “borrowing” a UK phone number? Pay-as-you-go with text messaging would be perfect for me. I do have my Motorola phone from Ottawa, and I have canceled my regular plan with Rogers: is it possible to apply what I need to that phone? Could I also use this same plan in France and Scotland?
  • I’m supposed to take this Tunisian theatre company to some cool places in central London. Any ideas of places to go / things to see that aren’t too costly and would be interesting to French-speaking visitors?
  • I’ve bought an Oyster pass (weekly) for the underground. Is that the cheapest and most efficient way of getting around?
  • Am I allowed to take a bicycle on the underground, or is it merely frowned upon?
  • Is it crazy of me to think I can get away with biking in Central London?
  • I guess I need to find myself a bicycle first…
  • What are the regulations for busking in London? I’m thinking of trying my luck as an amateur flautist.
  • I don’t know anything about Avignon. Enlighten me.
  • I don’t know much about Edinburgh either. Except that they have this awesome Fringe festival.
  • Is it easier / cheaper / more convenient to travel by bus, by train, or by plane within Europe?
  • Should I refrain from speaking with a faux English accent? Sometimes I can’t help myself!

* I’m not actually a female pilot. I just think that it’s a really sexy term, and I’ll favour alliteration over correct definitions any day.

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Perhaps not as catchy as the original nursery rhyme, but check this out!

LIFT

I love love love it. Yesterday afternoon I strolled – large suitcase in hand – down to Trinity Buoy Wharf to meet with Mark Ball, the new Artistic Director of the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT). I was fortunate enough to have met with Mark this past January when I was in Vancouver for the PuSh Festival. He was happy to answer all my questions about festivals  in London and share with me me his professional life story. I was amazed to find out that he launched his own festival when he was about my age, which makes me feel totally inadequate and inspired me at the same time.

It was a short meeting this time around, as he had several more appointments that afternoon and I wanted to meet my Grandma in time for dinner. But it did give me the chance to see the main office (see photo above) – where approximately a dozen people work on various laptops across a long table – and learn about volunteering opportunities at the festival in July. I’m applying for a position called Group Host for a company visiting from Tunisia: it would involve meeting the company members upon their arrival, making sure they get around the city safely, and translating for them (they are a French-speaking group; guess I’ll have to brush up!) when necessary. Sounds like a great way for me to become better acquainted with London and with the international festival theatre community.

Other theatrical things I’ve done in London so far…

  • Attended Thomas Middleton’s Jacobean tragedy Women Beware Women at the National Theatre on Monday evening. This is a play with which I was not familiar, but I am so glad I was invited to attend because the production was truly excellent. Probably one of the best productions I have ever seen. This review in The Independent pretty much covers how I feel about it, especially the critic’s description of the final scene as “a bloodbath that makes the last scene of Hamlet look like a nursery game”. Furthermore, if you’re an actress looking for classical audition monologues that are not from Shakespeare, then look no further: the women have plenty to say in this story.
  • Attended a two-play reading at the Queens Theatre on Wednesday evening. This event was sort of hit and miss. The first play about two women struggling with complacency in Nazi Germany seemed unlikely, and the staging was pretty rotten all around. I think it would have been to the playwright’s advantage had this been a simple reading rather than a staged reading; it was difficult to give (anonymous) feedback at the end because I was so focused on the staging distractions. The second play was much better in all respects: reminiscent of an Alan Ayckbourn comedy with a darker twist near the end, as well as some fun analogies about life as a cricket game. But the winning performance of the evening was from an Irish poet named Matt Dunphy, who maintained such a warm relationship with the audience as he quietly, yet powerfully shared with us three poems entitled “This is the Land”, “Song for Returning Soldiers”, and “The Triumph of Love”. Apparently he has a myspace page, but I can’t find it. So if he actually contacts me with that business card I gave him, then I’ll get back to you.

I return to Canada on Friday (volcanic ash permitting…), but not quite to Ottawa: I’ll be in Toronto for the weekend to see Catalyst Theatre’s production of Frankenstein at Canstage. This is the show that preceded Nevermore, and I’m so looking forward to seeing the live production after having watched the archival videos several times. I may be one of those irritating people who sings along with the performers. Please don’t hate me.

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On my last day in Cardiff, I attended (and performed at!) a monthly event called Poetry on Tap hosted by local poets Ivy Alvarez and Mab Jones. A.L.bion has read most of my poems, but she had never seen them performed live – or attended any poetry show, for that matter – , so I was glad that she and her daughter (herein referred to as “little w”) were able to come along.

This particular show took place in a new venue this month: an upstairs room in a Louisiana style restaurant called Old Orleans, very much like Fat Tuesdays in Ottawa, where Eddie May Murder Mysteries performs. We stopped in to pay cover (£4, or £2 for open mic participants) and I signed up for the open mic, and then we went for a walk around the block to amuse little w until the show started.

Then something happened that sort of tainted this otherwise pleasant experience. Upon our return, we were told – and there was no mention of this earlier – that we would also have to pay the entry fee for little w, who, by the way, is only 4 years old. It seemed as though this request was being made only because attendance this month was much lower than anticipated; only a third of the chairs were filled. And, as it was explained to me, the organizers “had to pay for the room.” Having worked in publicity and event organizing, I completely understand how frustrating it is to have unusually low attendance. However, as I am reminded by Kris Joseph’s blog post on The Gladstone’s recent marketing controversy, it is never – and I mean, never – appropriate to shift the blame to your audience. Especially the ones who actually show up.

Another way of handling this situation might have been to pass the hat at the end of the show, suggesting that people throw in an extra donation to support this emerging showcase for local artists. That would have been a much friendlier approach and much less awkward than asking someone to pay an entry fee for her preschool age daughter who would be spending the whole time quietly drawing pictures in a corner anyway.

The show itself was really lovely. Ivy started off the afternoon by reading from her new book called “Mortal” about Demeter and Persephone, one of my favourite Greek goddesses. Then the feature poet Mike Jenkins – winner of, like, every poetry award in Wales – performed the first half of his set. I was really impressed by his reading because despite the fact that he was, indeed, reading off the page, he still maintained a certain theatricality in his performance and was able to engage the audience to the end. I’ve found it is unusual for a “literary poet” (as opposed to a “performance poet”) to have that level of engagement in performance, but Mr. Jenkins clearly values both the literary and the performance aspects of the art form. And he had the most beautiful Welsh accent.

After a short break, there was the open mic that consisted of approximately half a dozen poets. One red haired girl read a poem she had written about the opening of a new mall on Queen Street; her playful lines and conversational tone made me smile. Another poet near the end sounded like he was freestyling, his rhymes telling the life story of a pub crawler in a certain part of town. Truly entertaining.

When I was called to the stage, I was delighted to see that little w had decided to join me. It was a surprising turn of events, as she had indicated earlier that she wasn’t yet ready to perform. I suppose seeing me up there inspired her to give it a try. I placed her on a chair so that she could reach the microphone, and together we sang “twinkle twinkle little star” for a room full of people. I think it’s one of the loveliest things that has ever happened to me. And then I performed a couple of poems: Dear Volcanic Ash and It Speaks Volumes — since, let’s just say, I’ve been in a romantic mood these days.

It seems as though my performance was well-received: Mr. Jenkins was invited to award prizes to two of the open-mic poets, and one of them was me! I got to bring home some delicious Darjeeling tea and a little case for it. Hope I can smuggle this stuff through customs!

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found poetry: park bench

Yesterday evening, I took a walk through Cardiff and found the following inscribed in a park bench. I think it may inspire a poem one day.

IN MEMORY OF LUKE TANHAI AGED 13 YRS

LIKED BY ALL LOVED BY SO MANY

MISUNDERSTOOD BY A FEW

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This weekend the girls and I went on a quick train trip to the Bristol Zoo. The last time I was there was I was nine years old and had my face painted like a tiger, so says my mum. I’ve always said that zoos and farms and music festivals and camping trips and most outdoor activities are a hundred times more fun when you bring children along. This particular child was on a mission to find the penguins, which just so happened to be hidden in the most obscure part of the zoo. Thankfully we found them:

Yay Penguins!

Aren’t they adorable? We also visited with lots of other animals, photos of which can be viewed by following this link. By noon, A.L.bion had to return to Cardiff to take her little girl to a birthday party. I decided to stick around Bristol and attend Mayfest, a festival of “adventurous theatre for playful people”. Excellent marketing, I must say. I booked tickets (for myself and my friend John, who would be visiting from Truro) for a dance-theatre performance called “Love and War” that looked rather interesting.

Yay cyclists!

I spent the afternoon shopping (and sinfully spent a few too many pounds on the perfect summer dress…) and exploring the downtown core. I was terrifically impressed by Bristol in terms of being a cyclist-friendly city. There were signs all over, encouraging drivers to share the road with cyclists. I even saw one of those raised side”walks” especially for bikes. Unfortunately, it is bloody difficult to get around by bike in Bristol: the streets are incredibly steep; you would either break your back cycling up, or break your neck cycling down. At least you won’t get run over.

I also found it rather curious how many people were dressed as pirates. I wondered if it was “regional pirate day” or something. I asked one group of middle aged woman donning pirate attire, and they said they were on a scavenger hunt. Another group of twenty-somethings said they were celebrating a birthday. Strange.

Later that afternoon I met up with John at the Arnolfini Art Gallery and we wandered around the exhibits. I wish I had known ahead of time about this mini Performance-Writing festival that was happening all this weekend: there were films and spoken word happening in different gallery rooms. Also this weekend was an event that resembled Ottawa’s Centretown Art Tour: Bristol artists opened up their homes to the public for the purpose of displaying their art work and having tea with the participants. John and I only had the chance to visit one home that was made obvious by balloons on the front steps.

Yay tobacco! Uh, wait...

That evening we attended the Mayfest show at Tobacco Factory Theatre. By the way, the theatre actually used to be a tobacco factory, so that’s not just a ploy to get people to buy cigarettes – though I did find myself craving a spot of rose hips… I went to pick up my tickets at the box office only to discover that I had booked for the Friday night rather than the Saturday when I reserved them online. Bugger. The nice box office guy gave me a discount on the next two tickets I had to buy for that night. They can consider it a donation, I rationalized, as I gritted my teeth and grumbled that this had better bloody well be a work of absolute brilliance.

I didn’t have the chance to find out. As soon as the lights dimmed in the theatre, I was hit with a surprisingly vile dose of narcolepsy (my mother is convinced I was victim of a date rape drug; I think not), and my eyelids became heavier than sandbags and my head more flopped than a rag doll. I kept having to pinch myself to stay awake for the performance. Thank goodness the show was only 70 minutes. I do remember hearing loud music from Queens of the Stone Age and seeing flashing lights, a old fashioned bathtub rolled onstage, a cheerleader, and a performer in an impressively detailed spider costume. From what I experienced, the show seemed a little disjointed and missing the through-line that seemed to be implied in the show description. But hey, I was probably drugged, so I wouldn’t take my word for it.

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