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Posts Tagged ‘rant’

This post will not be music-related. Instead, it will be a rant about something that happened to me earlier today. I tried to shrug it off, but some forms of ignorance and close-minded-ness gets under my skin. Unfortunately, this incident is one of those cases.

I’d like to start off by saying, I have tattoos, and when I wear a t-shirt, they are visible; 3/4 of my tattoos are covered, even in a t-shirt.  I’d like to note that they’re not vulgar, rude, or particularly unpleasant on the eyes. I have roses, birds, and a simplistic, black-outlined, borderline cartoony, piece inspired by the street artist Know Hope.

I was walking to the subway earlier today, and I noticed a middle aged lady staring at me as she walked by, quite obviously in disgust. As she walked past me– and by “past me,” I mean a few steps to my left– she was still in my peripherals and in my full view if I slightly turned my head. She scrunched up her face, shrugged her shoulders, and shook her head as if she had just eaten a cockroach. It was just her and I in that hallway. I had just showered, and besides the tattoos, I’m a very clean and polished man. I may be jumping to conclusions, but I can almost guarantee that it was my tattoos that she was so visibly disgusted by.

I have a full understanding that not everyone likes tattoos, and I respect that; however, in today’s society, and within Toronto — one of the most multi-culural, diverse, and open-minded cities in the world– people should have the decency to keep their opinions and apparent disgust to themselves. She had short, bleach-blonde hair and pastel, outdated fashion (like she stepped out of the 80’s) that I didn’t agree with, but I didn’t make a face as if I ate a lemon because of it. Everyone should respect others’ lifestyles.

What bothers me most is I have very specific reasons for getting the tattoos I have. My most visible one (roses and a heart) I got on the 10-year anniversary of my mother’s passing; she died from a long battle with breast cancer when I was 14. My second tattoo was inspired by a street artist that I would pass everyday on my way to work when I lived in New York City, and now I always associate that artist with my time in New York.

What I’m getting at is, when she scrunched up her face at my tattoos, I took it personally. She was really scrunching up her face at symbols of the most vulnerable time in my life (my own mothers death) and the best time in my life (living abroad in New York). She had no right in judging me just as much as I had no right in judging her poor fashion.

To the lady that shot me a dirty look, I’m not asking you to like my tattoos. Just be more subtle next time.

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The view of Toronto from Sound Academy

The view of Toronto from Sound Academy

Sound Academy is a Lone Wolf! 

Toronto has an amazing and diverse music and arts scene. When it comes to music, Toronto is a hot spot for bands, and the city hosts several festivals such as North By Northeast (NXNE) and Canadian Music Week (CMW). They’re able to do this because the city has a hardy amount of music venues, halls, theatres, bars and stadiums. However, for mid-sized bands who can’t quite sell out stadiums yet, there’s really only one option; the Sound Academy.

Ask any avid concert-goer in Toronto what they think of the Sound Academy and chances are they’ll have nothing good to say. Think I’m over-exaggerating for the sake of this rant? Check out their Yelp page! You wont believe how many friends/acquaintances I’ve heard say “Even if my favourite band play’s Sound Academy, I wont go.”  Truth be told, if so many of my favourite bands hadn’t played Sound Academy, I’d probably never step foot in the venue.

Bands I’ve seen there: Alt-J, Two Door Cinema Club, Interpol, Refused, Death From Above 1979, Foster The People, Beck (w/ MGMT), Hot Chip, The Shins…shall I go on?

Sound Academy's  floor plan

Sound Academy’s floor plan

Let’s get the boring stuff out-of-the-way: For those who don’t know, the Sound Academy is a general admission, open concept, music venue located along the shores of the Toronto Harbour. It has a capacity of 3,230 occupants. The nearest mid-size venue would be The Guvernment Complex, which is made up of nine rooms with a total capacity of 10,000, the largest room being the Kool Haus at 2,500 occupants. To be fair, there’s also Massey Hall (2,752 capacity) and Roy Thomson Hall (2,630 capacity), which are amazing venues in their own right, but you’re confined to seats, have obstructed views and they’re more suited for quaint musical acts and theatre.

The next step up from Sound Academy would be the Air Canada Centre (ACC), whose capacity ranges from 5,200 to 19,800, or the Ricoh Coliseum at a measly 9,250 occupants. Lastly, let’s not forget the Molson Amphitheatre at a skimpy 16,000 person capacity. Can you see the conundrum here?

The issues: When it comes to the Sound Academy, most of the problems arise from its inconvenient location, its mediocre sound system, and its sight lines (or lack there of). However, the venue has cornered the market for mid-sized venues, and is kind of  a lone wolf. I’m sure during the summer Sound Academy has some stiff competition, but that’s only because any park, square, grassy area, or open space in general, becomes a music venue. However, this is Canada we’re talking about, the weather is crap most of the year! So, besides summer, Sound Academy has us by the balls!

Conclusion: As a picky pants concert-goer, I would choose Sound Academy over the ACC or Molson Amphitheatre any day. I’d rather see a band play two back-to-back Sold Out, jam-packed, intimate shows at Sound Academy than one distant stadium show.

To me, it’s about atmosphere, and that beloved atmosphere is often lost in larger/seated venues. Also, let’s be honest, this issue wont be solved any time soon. It’s an overpopulated city with limited space. Do you think it’s coincidental that the only mid-sized venue is located in the middle of no where, beside a drive-in theatre, a go-cart track, a Chinese market and among industrial plants?

Disagree? Did I leave anything out? Feel free to comment! 

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