Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ivan's new reggae: I wonder why nobody don't like me...Maybe it's the fact that I'm ugly...

Giving up writing, for a while, I decided to take up my other trade and play guitar downtown. And already, as in literature, where you can develop enemies more often than not, you get critics. Nobody likes the fastest mouth in town, that is to say,you. And so now, switching mediums, you discover that you have an enemy on the local music scene. It's not that you're all that fast on the fingerboard, you're just loud, and damn persitent. Nevertheless, on both performance circuits, I have an enemy in either field. Hm. Does the enemy know what sort of person he stalks? Is he blind, lazy, or just stupid? In music, you know you have an enemy when simple, routine things are suddenly very difficult to do, like finding a plug for your amp, or even finding a mike.... Or somebody from the audience gets backstage and stomps real hard on your guitar case (Quite often the case is more expensive than the guitar). Damn. Playing for your supper is a lot like old time local politics, where once or twice I tried to run for office. Wow. Talk about a blood sport. It is suddenly hard to get a job in the media. You think it's paranoia... but for sure, a man with a Fedora hat and a dated Lincoln rolls down his window and yells, "The sweetest sound I can hear, Ivan, is your GO bus leaving town Nevertheless the enemy is playing with my empowerment. Artistic power, of course, always bows to financial power, but then you think you have the penetrating truth on you side. Then with the truth pointed out (The town is gone!) --everyone suddenly hates you. You, of course, have your supporting army, your own Anthill Mob, old students, fellow writers and maybe a goodhearted hooker or two. Charlie still has a sheen. But I have an enemy. What did the enemy have for breakfast today? Where does he sleep? Is he a drinker like me? Does he have a master? For years, I strove to be a master, but at Trinity College, all I seemed to achieve was a C. "The Polish mark," says my friend Stashiu. And yet, there was some slight vanity in graduating....At least from the former Ryerson Pyromaniacal Institute. And achieving standing at that institution with all the trees a wasps. "Teacher-smeecher" goads the Portuguese guy wanting to argue. And yet I have an enemy. this time it's in entertainment. I had finished a set. There had been applause, especially from the blacks in the audience. I asked the owner for a beer. He must have been a music critic, because he said "you can't have another beer. You are unsteady on your feet, and, by the way, you are smoking." Darn. I knew I had an enemy.This guy is standing on my neck, or wants to. He seemed to ignore the black guys when they piped in, "Play that funky music White Boy." Taking a line from old Woody Allen, "Some people have the insight and sensitivity of the average tree trunk. " I ask again. "Is he blind, lazy, or just stupid? Nah. Just an enemy.


Charles Gramlich said...

I have been amazed in my life to find that I've made a few enemies. Considering what a sweetheart I am, that seems highly unfair.

Anonymous said...

Enemies are kinda like warts.
They just show up.


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Yes. I don't understand it myself.
I am most good, most kind. :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Anonymous (Anne Bardawill?),

That's quite an insight.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

Three new articles to share with you this week:

1) One of my two pieces in this month's Halifax magazine is online. It's an argument in favour of renaming anything "Cornwallis," and other historic bastards too. It's at http://halifaxmag.com/2012/06/special/cornwallis/.

2) This week's sustainable city column wonders why our premier has flip-flopped from an anti fish farming guy to the biggest booster of this ecologically (including economically) destructive practice: http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/damning-salmon/Content?oid=3191231

3) And for those interested in affordable housing, this is a newsy piece I did on a Halifax housing co-op that is now owned by the province, and will no sadly longer be a co-op: http://www.openfile.ca/halifax/story/debt-forces-north-end-housing-co-op-transfer-half-its-properties-province

Thanks for reading.


Chris Benjamin is a freelance journalist, fiction writer, CBC News web writer/editor and columnist. He is the author of Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada, winner of the 2012 APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award and finalist for the Richardson Non-Fiction Prize, and the critically-acclaimed novel, Drive-by Saviours, shortlisted for Canada Reads 2011 and a ReLit Prize. In 2006/2007 he worked as a journalist in Ghana. He shared an honourable mention in the 2009 Canadian National Magazine Awards. Chris has also written for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Chronicle Herald, VoicePrint Canada, This Magazine, Now Magazine, Canadian Dimension, Descant, OpenFile, Arts East, East Coast Kitchen Party, Third Person Press, Nashwaak Review, Pottersfield Press, Rattling Books, The Society, University of Waterloo Press, Z Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, Coastlands, Progress Magazine, Rural Delivery and many others.


the walking man said...

Fuck 'em. When i was twenty I finally realized that there are people in this world who not only will not love me but actively hate me. So Fuck 'em.

ivan@creTIVEWRITING.CA said...


Seems you learned fast.

At the same age, I was told, in the Air Force, "Your problem, Ivan, is that you can't spot a prick in time." Hoo hah!

price per head software said...

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