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Just back from a conference in TO. Had the best of fortunes to meet up with an old friend (not very descriptive that; actually a beautiful young woman – the friend part still works) who took me first to see her new publishing digs and then for beebimbob just off Chinatown, then we stumbled into the Silver Dollar blues bar where I heard Jack de Keyzer for the first time. Amazing live band…he pulled off a pure James Brown take one cut (huh! un huh!)…and a long set it was, and then we were off to espresso cheesecake and always between long long walks in the perfect night air down wide sidewalks…a real downtown in contrast to hometown River City E-town. Walking around that town then and later I was thinking of the signposts of the big city in contrast to the home burg and came up with: wide sidewalks, more streetfood, people outside of restaurants trying to pull you in, more destitute everywhere, bagged garbage in the fronts of buildings, more public sculpture, taller first floors. Also was struck by the greater democracy of allowing people to smoke in patios. I wasn’t smoking but sitting in the sunny brisk outdoor quaffing a brew, the increasing rarity of outdoor cigarette smoke has made me appreciate it a bit; it just felt better than the encroaching nannyism of home.

Its fashionable to hate this city but I loved it.

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