2 minute read


Yesterday afternoon ended relatively early; just after my last post, the drinks began. The highlight of the evening was being invited to join Liz and Joey (a.k.a. The Accordion Guy) on a jaunt around Accordion City. Much of the conversation revolved around the confluences and dissonances between the world of Accordion Guy and the physical places Joey inhabits. It’s not at all about the authenticity or honesty of Joey’s representations of Toronto, though, because those representations are infinitely emotionally honest. The slippage is more about two other issues about contemporary representation, I think: on the one hand, the kinds of imaginative activity that text provokes, as we create mental pictures of the characters and settings through which a blogger moves, and on the other, the ways that the places we visit always seem stand-ins for the places we already know. It’s no accident, I think, that Joey pointed out a stretch of Queen Street that serves as the exterior setting for the club district in the US version of Queer as Folk, and the “Speaker’s Corner” set up on the edge of the Citytv building, where folks record rants that are cut together and aired on the network (the outtakes of which appear on the video monitors in a bar down the street). The Accordion Guy’s Toronto is a multiply-mediated place, part edited rant, part television backdrop, part the figment of a reader’s imagination. (2.49 pm)


Walking home last night, I was thrilled to find a Kiehl’s on Queen Street — closed, of course, at that hour, but I cut out of the conference for a couple of hours today to zip over there and pick up a couple of things. Kiehl’s water-based sunscreen is the only UV lotion that my face can handle, but I lost my bottle a few weeks back in one of my travels. I’m now once again possessed of such sunscreen, but boy, did I pay the price. It’s not just a matter of the exchange rate, or the double taxation (8% national tax; 7% state tax); apparently just getting the stuff across the lake from New York results in an enormous markup. Seriously: $45 US versus $78 CDN (before tax). Yes, I’m aware that I could buy the stuff online and have it shipped to me. And yes, I recognize the irony of wanting to spend my dollars face-to-face while attending this particular conference. But there’s something so luscious about browsing the store, reading the labels, negotiating with the staff for samples, that I couldn’t resist. I’m attempting to rationalize the cost as a sort of stupidity tax: lose your sunscreen, you big dummy, and be prepared to pay up. (3.15 pm)

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