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What to do when given a choice like that?  Any self-respecting non-masochist would readily choose option two: explain what is going on.  But here, as with most stories, context is everything.

Earlier that Monday (Nov. 22) I had been covering the preparations for État d’Urgence (State of Emergency), an annual event organized by the art and activism group Action Terroriste Socialement Acceptable (ATSA) or Socially Acceptable Terrorist Action.  The four-day event set up a 24-hour shelter for homeless people and provided the basics of food, shelter and medical attention.

The event’s theme was “Tout(s) Inclus,” playing on the fact that everyone was included, but also that the organizers were satirizing the idea of an all-inclusive resort.  A martini glass with a parasol was pictured on the cover of the event pamphlet and activities were to include concerts, workout sessions, haircuts and massages.

Promotional art for Etat d’Urgence

After finishing my live hit from the event site, I headed back to Concordia’s Loyola campus for a meeting and a few more hours of work.  I left for home after dark and got off the metro at around 8 p.m.  But my evening took a strange twist just as I arrived in front of my apartment.

Under the stairs that led up to the entrance of my place stood a man smoking the tail end of a cigarette, just next to the door of the ground floor apartment.  My assumption was that this was someone my neighbours knew and who was about to ring their door bell.  But as I got closer, I realized that the man had been looking through the garbage that was due to be picked up the next day.

Tall, with wavy light brown hair parted in the middle and a full complement of facial hair, the man in his late 20s or early 30s glared at me.

“You’re all smiles aren’t you.”

I hadn’t even noticed I was smiling, but after realizing it wasn’t my neighbour’s friend staring me down, the grin no doubt evaporated.  The man stepped towards me.

“I’ll give you two choices: either I smash your face in,” he said, as I tried to imagine what the next choice could possibly be.  “Or you tell me what’s going on here.”  That’s precisely what I wanted to know.

I wasn’t given time to respond.  The Heath Ledger lookalike with sandy brown hair came at me.  Exasperated, I told him I didn’t know and that I was sorry as I raised my arms to brace for a blow.  He pushed me back and swung at me, hitting my arms which I’d brought up to block my face.  I retreated as the man began yelling obscenities and charging after me.

I live on St. Hubert street, very near the corner of Ontario in the border zone between the Plateau, Montreal’s popular and trendy borough, and Ville-Marie, the downtown borough.  Around the corner from my apartment the Cheval Blanc bar and microbrewery buzzes at most hours of the day.  Trying to escape my bizarre persecution, I stumbled towards the bar, knowing that there are never fewer than two or three people smoking outside.

By this time I’d also flipped open my phone to call my girlfriend and explain why I was later than expected.  Thinking the jarring experience was over, I let my guard down.  But an instant later the man came around the corner towards me and yelling at me for calling the cops.  I quickly told my girlfriend that I was coming home, loudly enough so that my attacker would hear and know it wasn’t the police.

Instinctively I tried to ally myself with the two men smoking as the man approached. He was not deterred.  He bounded towards me, pushing and swinging fists, and I found myself calling out for help in French and English and yelling that I didn’t know the person who pursued me.  The smokers glanced sideways, didn’t move and didn’t say a word.  I can only assume fear compelled them to stay silent and do nothing.  I backed away as the man yelled at me to go home calling me a few more names for good measure.

By now, I thought I was home free and I dashed around the corner and over to the alley that led me back to the front of my building.  Halfway up the steps to my door he came around the corner and up St. Hubert.  “So that’s where you live!” he called out as he headed in my direction.  I didn’t wait.  I flew back down my steps and up the street towards Sherbrooke.

I began to feel I was in a nightmare, for only in a cruel dream had I ever been chased like this.  I walked quickly up the hill and glanced backwards.  The man was running after me.  I couldn’t believe it and I was suddenly gripped by a terrible survival instinct.  I ran.  I ran up the hill and turned sharply on Sherbrooke.  I ran to the next street and turned sharply again, being sure to look behind me as I did.  I ran wildly and broke into sweat, taking a lesser-known route back to my apartment.

I was frantic.  I called my girlfriend, explained quickly and told her I’d take the back door.  I ran into the yard, shut the gate and leaped up the metallic spiral staircase.  She had the door open as I hurtled in.  She closed it and locked it behind me.  Drenched in sweat and heart racing, I peeled off my clothes and began to explain.  With some perspective and some time between me and the incident, I’m able to write about it.

What happened was shocking, an attack with unclear motivations, but more than anything a bizarre coincidence involving a person in a socially vulnerable position.  I can only guess that mental illness played a part in the attack, but perhaps also the misinterpretation of a smile by a person who rarely receives such an expression from strangers.

This brings me back to État d’Urgence (State of Emergency).  The event is meant to bring, “street people and non-street people,” together, according to co-founder Pierre Allard, and has been doing so since 1998.  This year, however, is likely to be the last État d’Urgence because Heritage Canada has removed $40,000 of funding that is crucial to the mainly volunteer-run event.

a homeless man pictured in promotional material for the Etat d'Urgence event

Come on down…it’s a party?

Held at Place Émilie Gamelin, across the street from the Montreal bus terminal, the event gives homeless people, “a break,” as Allard put it, from not knowing where the next night will be spent or if a hot meal is in the cards.  Such living conditions are fertile ground for the development of depression and other types of mental illness.

And faced with societal pressures like high unemployment rates, a push for higher tuition fees and a drop in funding for events like État d’Urgence, there may be no choice but to fall into a life like that of the man whose path crashed into mine that November night.

Listen to Pierre Allard, co-founder of État d’Urgence, talk about what the event means and its goals:

Standing in line to buy a t-shirt the atmosphere begins to sink in: driving rock music, a buzzing crowd, squealing wheels and a decidedly tough team cheer.  Welcome to Montreal Roller Derby.  Picture it: a flat donut of a track with five scantily clad women per side bumping and bruising to prevent the other team’s “jammer” from skating past them and scoring points.  And next Saturday night (August 7), the city’s Mile End neighbourhood will welcome people from all walks to watch local teams Les Contrabanditas take on Les Filles du Roi for the Montreal Roller Derby championship.

The all women’s league has come a long way since its first season in 2007 and though some things, like clever player names and cheap beer, haven’t changed, others certainly have.  “The skill level has improved tremendously and a lot of the people that weren’t necessarily athletes then have turned into athletes,” says league founder Alyssa Kwasny, who goes by Georgia W. Tush on the track.

Logo for Montreal Roller Derby, a roller waitress with a skull on a platter

Montreal Roller Derby

This year, the New Skids on the Block, the league’s top travel team, became the first international team to join the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) in the U.S.  “We went from a little road team, a little cutesy team from up north to a very competitive team,” says Cheryl Gladu, captain of Les Contrabanditas, whose player name, Ewan Wotarmy (you and what army) is representative of the league’s tough but playful reputation.  The “we-think-we-can” attitude is what roller derby is all about.  Gladu, who is also the communications person for the league, says, “The resurgence of derby is a do-it-yourself kind of sporting league and it’s one that’s run for the players by the players.”

And in Montreal people have taken notice.  The frequently packed house at Saint-Louis Arena lines up early to secure good seats.  Why not try the “suicide” seats directly next to the flat track? You might get to meet a player as they crash into your lap.  The key is not to knock over one of the beer can “beeramids” that rise up from around the track as the night rolls on.  And just behind the suicides, the kids run back and forth, making the most of the electric atmosphere and the open space.

With such popularity and a string of sell outs, the league is now toying with the idea of moving to a larger venue to accommodate its growing fan base.  What is certain, however, is that no matter who you are, derby is a whole lot of fun.  Thirtysomething fan Tanya says, “It’s very exciting and there’s so much to look at, even if you’re not looking at the girls skating. It’s fun.”  Tanya’s silver-haired mother Erika, attending her first derby, agrees. “It was fascinating, oh yes I loved it.  I certainly would like to come back.”  And with an atmosphere as entertaining as Montreal Roller Derby, you’ll certainly want to as well.

Check out the Sounds of Montreal Roller Derby with this rockin’ radio mini-documentary:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlUL8dX5-YA&hl=en_US&fs=1]

There’s nothing like taking a stroll through downtown and happening upon the stages of the Montreal International Jazz Fest.  You’re not sure what, but something drew you in this direction: the distant echo of open air music, the stream of relaxed people coming and going, and the concert lights, lending their glow to the summertime festivities.

The air is fresh and the backdrop of Montreal’s newly redone Quartier des Spectacles is bright and modern.  Set up in front of some rocking performers, what better than a cold beer to make the show all the more enjoyable.  And why not add a grilled sausage to put you in the right frame of mind.

But as you step away from the vendor stands you won’t get far without bumping into a ‘duo-bin’, the Jazz Fest’s sleek combination of recycling and garbage bin.  “Generally, each stand is set up next to a duo-bin,” says vendor Karim Guennoun. “It’s absolutely [part of the organization].”

The rounded green containers dot the festival landscape and signs at all entrances and around the grounds encourage revellers to make sure they recycle at all times and before they leave.

Yves Archambault's artwork for the 2010 Montreal Jazz Fest

Members of the Jazz Net team, equipped with broom and dustpan, are there to keep the site clean and collect the bags from filled duo-bins.  It’s the job of partner organization Consortium Écho-Logique to see to the details.

“We sort the recyclable materials and we try to minimize the amount of material that goes to landfill,” says Olivier Gariépy, a green team leader.  “We receive bags of recyclable materials and we start sorting immediately and put them in the proper containers, be it plastic-glass-metal or refundable cans and bottles.”  The team also deals with paper and carton.  In 2009 the festival diverted 61% of its waste from landfill, recycling 33,661 kg of plastic, glass, metal, carton, and wood.

And this year the Jazz Fest welcomes a new member to the green team: compost.  “It’s a pilot project,” says Alexis Lavoie-Bouchard, grounds supervisor for the festival. “But up to this point it’s been a clear success that will be carried forward in the years to come.”

The festival has purchased compostable utensils and plates for all its food vendors.  Food providers and the festival’s employee cafeteria also have their own compost bins so as to divert as much waste away from garbage bins and ultimately landfill.

The festival follows in the footsteps of other Montreal events like the annual Rogers Cup professional tennis tournament held in August which debuted on-site composting for the tournament-going public last year.

Gariépy, whose Consortium group works with many events like the Grand Prix and professional golf tournaments, doesn’t think there is enough societal awareness of composting yet to make it available to the public.  “For people not to be afraid of composting, it needs to be made as simple as possible.”

“I think a cultural event like the Jazz Fest has to make an effort to limit the waste production and at least recycle as much as possible, so that everyone becomes aware of the waste they create,” says Lavoie-Bouchard, “but also to encourage the idea of…sustainable development.”

And there’s nothing like good music and a green message to help a cold beer go down.

The Sound of Silence

June 11, 2010

On April 2nd, Malika and I returned from northern Chile and our sightseeing vacation.  In planning, the highlight was to be our time in San Pedro de Atacama, a small town in the Atacama desert sustained by subterranean waters fed by the nearby Andes mountains.  In recent years, it’s become a tourist magnet whose number of visitors per capita could likely put many European hot spots to shame (so much so that legal limits had to be put on the schedule of alcohol sales and on alcohol-related public disturbance).

Overrun by tour agencies, restaurants, hostels, inns, hotels, shops and cafes set up to serve the transient tourist, one can laugh about the amount of North Americans and Europeans on every street.  At the same time, one must also feel for the local Atacameño people whose fortune it’s not clear has worked out for the better as a result of the infusion of tourists pesos.

Continue Reading…

Earthquake Redux

April 25, 2010

The sound of a seismic event is unmistakable.  I realize the earthquake has been a recurring theme of this blog, but read on and you’ll realize why.

On the scale of an individual human, the vibration is global, all encompassing.  Everything one can feel, see, touch, and hear is at first vibrating, then shaking, then convulsing, and then ceasing, on a dime.  The occurrence here has become incessantly intermittent, to the point of paranoia.  It shakes often enough to make one think it is when it isn’t (perhaps when a bus passes nearby), but with enough unpredictability to produce a schizophrenia that leaves an entire population with frayed nerves and on edge.

Case in point: on the night of April 4th, I was in Santiago staying at my tia Loreto’s house.  Sleeping arrangements had been made to accommodate me along with my three cousins, and just after 11 the lights were off and the eyelids gained weight.  The first images of sleep had begun to appear when came the vibrations.  At once, eyes open, adrenaline awakened.  One expects it to pass, so staying in bed is the norm.  It vibrates, then it begins to shake, sound emanates from everything.  Soon we feel it begin to subside, we can exhale, but suddenly it gains strength and in an instant, BOOM, we feel the shock portion of the aftershock.

19th century adobe brick house with earthquake damage

Some of the damages to the 19th century adobe brick Urbina family house in Santiago, Chile (not the one from my story)

The house seems to jump, perhaps like a house in a neighbourhood being bombed might, and we all equally jump out of bed and into the hall.  As aftershocks go, it was minor (4.4 magnitude), but the proximity made it seem ominous, with an epicentre a mere 35 km away from Santiago.  Catalina, the youngest of my cousins, complains that she was just falling asleep, while my aunt climbs the stairs to check on us and exclaim that it’s enough already.  The sentiment is popular.  And it doesn’t seem much to ask in a country that was hammered by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake and that has been suffering hundreds of aftershocks, including one in mid-March of magnitude 7.3 (0.3 degrees stronger than the quake that struck Haiti).

The feeling, and above all the sound, brings on fear, perhaps panic and a realization of helplessness before the cycles of the planet.  These were my first days back from the north of Chile where, unfortunately, we can expect a large seismic event to hit in the comings months, if what we hear is right.

The Smoking Gun

April 17, 2010

The last time I wrote, it was the sound of my dad’s snoring that urged my pen on (yes, I’ve been writing in my notebook as a start).  Since then I’ve moved to another room, next to my grandparents, and out of range of my dad’s rumbling.  Of course, this only means that I have a new set of sounds to consider.

When I arrived in Isla Negra, I was made aware that both my abuelo and abuela had recently been ill, my grandma worse than Don Leo, and were still recovering.  The illness had left my abuela feeling weak and with little energy, though each day she’s been gaining strength and colour in her face.  My grandpa has been coughing heavily, bringing up the mucus du jour in a way that only the sound can describe (interested in what my grandpa is talking about? click here).  I had assumed that the cough was due to the remnants of a cold, but it persisted.  At the table, out in his workshop, and of course, in bed at night, the coughing (and the mucus) betrayed something deeper.  So finally, I asked my dad.

my grandpa peeling quince

Don Leo hard at work peeling and cutting quince

My grandpa, I learned, had been a smoker for many years, about 35 according to my dad.  I knew that he used to smoke, but I didn’t realize how long, and if today’s Chilean smokers are any indication, he must have smoked his fair tonnage of tar.  In fact, in his sixties, it led Don Leo to a collapsed lung, hospitalization and unfortunately, to what he suffers from today, chronic emphysema.  In the evening before bed, he inhales a drug that loosens the mucus from his lungs, which wells up overnight in coughs and throat clearings and which he must spit into a container.

My grandma’s cough has long since passed, but in any case, hers was a soft patter to abuelo’s bronchial lurch.  In light of such a story, news of a smoking ban ought to be music to the ears, though, when in Santiago, my cousin’s girlfriend tells me that bars that try to impose one inevitably fail.  According to her, in Chile everyone smokes.  That’s not quite right, but it’s tough to blame her when I find out that 49%, or half of Chileans ages 15-29 are smokers.  The latest numbers show that 37.4 % of Chileans age 15 and up are smokers.  Even more concerning are the statistics for youth.  In 2003, smoking levels in the 13-15 years age group were already the highest in the world at 33.9 % and in 2008 showed an increase to 34.2%.

In a country with a history of smoking and with tobacco companies well entrenched, it seems to be the perfect storm of a rapid rise in economic well-being combined with a lack of education on the subject and public health effort.

I can only speak for my own family, but of my parents’ generation, only 4 of 14 are smokers.  I must note, though, that one of them was my loving Tia Pelusa (Ana Isabel) whose death by cancer is very likely to have been related to her smoking.  So I cringe (and cough) when I see many of my cousins and their friends caught up in it and hope that the country, starting with its shining capital, will have the courage to stand up for Chile, stand up to pressure from tobacco companies or business owners, and put an end to smoking in public places (after all, if all bars have to comply, then no bar should be at a disadvantage) and help remove the smog from within its people, if not from above them.

The Latest: Yesterday, Chile’s newly elected President Sebastian Piñera, a right wing billionaire entrepreneur, announced that among the measures to raise funds for reconstruction, infrastructure, and social support in the aftermath of the massive earthquake, the tax on tobacco products would be raised from 60 to 67%.  The move aims to help Chileans suffering from the damage of the quake by targeting an industry that few will leap to defend, and may also result in a decrease in cigarette purchases, which can only help people move away from the harmful habit.

Life’s a snore

April 15, 2010

I hoped it wouldn’t come to this, that I wouldn’t have to get personal, but as I explained in my first post, sound is often intimate.  After I became accustomed to the neighbouring canine alarm systems, another nocturnal sound, far more local and disruptive made itself heard.

my dad and a neighbour's puppy

My dad and a neighbour's pup (aka alarm system upgrade)

In my first week on Chile’s central coast, I committed to helping my dad lose some weight over the next couple of months.  At first, I would simply observe his habits and interject to prevent what appear to be excesses of unnecessary fatty condiments, bread, sugar, and sweets.  Together, we would also monitor his weight.  My argument is that since he is fairly active and does regular and physically demanding work, that a simple shift in eating habits should produce a notable decrease in weight.  “Franco’s Gravity Experiment”, and my dad is on board.

Aside from a few complaints, justifications, or mutterings, the process ought to be rather silent.  The thing is, I’m most interested in a potential secondary effect.  They say — and I’ll refer to my medically educated Tio Sebastian on this — that a state of excess weight can contribute to that curse of the light sleeper, snoring.  So logically, a decrease in weight could also reduce snoring (less fatty tissue to vibrate in the throat, more muscle tone to control the muscles in the area).

Now I’m no saint when it comes to snoring, just ask Malika, but even she says that I’m not really that bad.  The fact is that anyone within earshot is liable to be violently awoken by my dad’s deep sleep growls.  One can imagine then, that sharing a small room with him is not overly conducive to a good night’s sleep either.  To save myself, I’ve moved to another room on the other side of the house, next to my grandparents, but as you’ll hear, their night time noises have a character all their own.

Update: a few weeks on and Franco’s Gravity Experiment has yielded no net change, though I’ve realized that it becomes increasingly tiresome to reprimand a loved one (for both parties) if the original commitment is not taken 100% seriously by both sides…and that I need to get some sleep

Release the hounds

April 12, 2010

A new sound has invaded my time in Isla Negra.  In this small coastal town, site of one of Pablo Neruda’s homes and where my grandparents have lived for the last 18 years, many people keep dogs as pets, but also as an alarm system.

As in Santiago, but appropriate to its scale, Isla Negra has its population of street dogs: those that roam the roads, paved and dirt alike, in search of a friend or more likely a bite to eat.  Nothing to fear, of course, these fellows are generally more docile than any dog you’ll find behind a fence.

domestic dogs versus street dogs

Domestic dogs / Street dogs

During the day, but most notably at night, the calming song of the ocean is interrupted by the canine alarm system, usually roused by one or more of their drifter counterparts passing in the lane.  Our neighbour here has a multi-level system, ranging from threatening to chihuahian in size and pitch.  And of course, all are activated at once, to maximum effect.

a pekingese dog

High pitch feature of canine alarm system

Luckily, the alert doesn’t last very long and most people are not stirred, which is more than I can say for the unfortunate Chilenos and Chilenas of the country’s coastal regions who fled low-lying areas after Chile’s second tsunami warning in as many weeks, on March 11th.

But beyond my half-serious complaints lies the issue of Chile’s dog population: the city of Santiago alone counts approximately 250,000 street dogs, according to a 2002 survey completed by the University of Chile.  The survey also corresponds with the beginning of the government’s attempt to deal with the issue through the Tenencia Responsable de Mascotas (Responsible Pet Ownership) project.  This, however, has moved at a snail’s limp toward becoming legislation and 8 years later now sits with the national congress.  Chile’s Ministry of Health has stated that dealing with street dogs is among its priorities for the next decade.

Aside from the cost of capturing and euthanising problematic street dogs (though animal rights groups claim that cheap, painful methods are employed), concerns arise from the potential spread of infectious diseases by dogs acting as carriers.  Also, in cases of disaster like the recent quake, regional emergency authorities have been accused of turning immediately to the destruction of animals that have been abandoned.  The question is, with reconstruction and getting people back to work and students back to school the clear priorities, will anyone sound the canine alarm?

Quakin’ all over

April 10, 2010

Since I arrived in Chile and especially since I got to Isla Negra on the central coast, I’ve been surrounded by sounds.  I arrived in Chile on March 7th, one week later than scheduled.  My flight had been postponed due to the movement of the Earth’s crust, no less.  In the early morning of February 27th, Chile suffered a massive earthquake which surged to 8.8 on the Richter scale, many times stronger than the seismic tragedy that struck the people of Haiti in January.

Reports, both personal and official, cite that the ground in central and southern Chile shook for about 2 minutes.  When one considers this quickly, two minutes does not seem very long.  Years ago, I might have been guilty of thinking a similar thought.  When I last visited my family in Chile, no less than 3 tremors sent waves through this part of the planet.  Two were very short, maybe 5 or 6 seconds.  One, however, lasted longer and shook the ground in waves that moved my chair from side to side seemingly without end.  In truth, the “sismo” probably lasted 10 or 15 seconds.  But now I know what it is to feel that an earthquake is never-ending.

What I didn’t remember from last time, but what my grandpa and my Uncle Ignacio made sure I knew about, was the sound, which brings out the true sense of what it means to live through an earthquake.  The amount of noise was incredible, they explained, which is only natural when you consider that every last object, the building you sit in, and everything that surrounds you begins to vibrate with telluric force.

Television in Chile has been broadcasting videos from up and down the country, eye witnesses to the strength of the quake and the panic it incited.  And within 4 days of arriving in Chile, we’d already felt 3 or 4 tremors, ripples of the original giant.

On March 11th, I heard the sound again: the slow and sinuous rumble that made people in the region think that a second earthquake was underway.  A 7.2 on the Richter scale caused many to believe the aftershock was much more.  I’ve thought, at times, about what exactly would be the most compromising position to be in when an earthquake hits.  On the 11th I believe I was in it: on the toilet.

toilet I sat on during a large aftershock

the worst place to be when an earthquake hits (where I was)

As I sat there and spoke to my dad through the door, I felt relieved, knowing at least that I was pretty well done my work and could pull up my pants and jump outside without major incident.  Though the seismic event lasted maybe 20 seconds, I had no clear indication that it was not the beginning of the worst circumstance, but only the rumbling sound and the temporary movement of my throne room.

Halli Galli

April 8, 2010

The night before I flew to Chile, I had some friends over for a Chinese hot pot, a delicious send off prepared and organized by my loving Malika.  We ate until none of us could anymore, then Malika and I cleared the table for a game of Halli Galli, which we’re told means “fun” or “party”, in German.  Halli Galli indeed.

I lost quickly in the first round, but took the opportunity to try out my new portable audio recorder.  I had made what I like to call, “an investment”, and bought a relatively high-quality recorder to take with me to Chile, mainly to document the conversations with my grandparents.  I recorded the rest of the round as the others played — it’s interesting how quickly a microphone disappears and people feel at ease, faster than with a camera, I think.  The game went on, shrieks and giggles, pounding on the table (it’s part of the game) and cheers.

Then I found my headphones and plugged them into the recorder.  What came out was warm, full, crisp and as the recently retired host of CBC Toronto’s morning show has put it, “intimate”.  I was amazed and I instantly sought to share the feeling, passing the headphones to my filmmaker and writer friend Barnett to take the first listen, then on to the others.  The feeling was there, on their faces: surprise and wonder at the richness and perhaps the sudden upwelling of emotion I had also felt at the sound’s touch.

waveform of halli galli audio recording

waveform of Halli Galli audio recording

Maybe he was right, that host of Toronto’s morning show.  The image, the camera, whether still or in motion, seem to carry with them that distance which seems inherent in the act of looking.  But sound enters us, becomes part of us, and involves us in it; the intimacy is real.  I felt it in the moment the sounds of Halli Galli bounced upon my ear drums, but of course, I’d felt it before.

Malika says I’ve found my love in radio.  And she may be right.  She’s got a unique perspective on it all, of course.  She’s been there throughout my trials and errors getting my feet wet in the waves of CKUT, one of Montreal’s community radio stations.  And the feeling has kept me coming back; back to the portable recorders, the volunteer room, the production studio, and onto the air.

The feeling of hearing a good sound, of producing a piece you are excited about is something akin to the feverish bliss of having words flow from your pen in a flurry of language you had not anticipated when you flipped open your notebook.  The glide of the well-inked pen along the paper, the texture of the writer’s canvas itself, even that familiar scent of “blue” that you recognize as you raise the pages to your nose.  Halli Galli and intimacy, all in one.

Take a listen to what we heard that night, here.