Saturday, May 23, 2009

R.I.P. Art of My Heart

I'm just waiting. Inside the fortress that is me. The only place that feels good.

I'm waiting for this wave of hyper-gentrification to run out of steam so that I can properly assess the situation. At the moment, even walking down the street feels like a blast from an overexposed dystopian imagery furnace. Fake light and happy, grinding its pointy high heel into my eye. A nouveau riche nightmare. Teenagers in brand new, sickeningly overpriced clothes designed to look "lived in." Street-tastic! Carrying Chanel purses (yes, high schoolers with Chanel), cell phones, and iced coffees.

They look straight out of the pages of InStyle (Star/People/US Weekly) magazine, so I can see why they feel entitled. That takes a lot of effort.

Mount Royal Starbucks where you'll get the snobby once-over just for going in to get a take-out coffee. They can sniff out non-upper-mid-class-yuppie status.

It's a fucking wasteland. Sorry, but it is.

The so-called alternative crowd drinking overpriced, artisanal beer, eating overpriced breakfasts in pseudo-retro diners, sitting around in carefully chosen "styles" being all alternative and shit. Talking about how to market their band. Hoping to be noticed, to get famous. Even the indy crowd in this town has a marketing veneer lacquered over everything.

No one just living their lives. It's all an agenda. Gotta be someone. Gotta get somewhere. Gotta play the game.

Calgary, Alberta. Schlepping phony Western Canadiana for kicks, but the mean, mean underlying vibe is always there. Vicious millionaires bulldozing soulful establishments and people's livelihoods in favour of clean, cleansed luxury for its clean, cleansed luxury-deserving patrons. A city run by and for young souls. You can throw in a few newly-minted mature souls just to give it that fake "artsy/cultured" thing. Garbage. Trying to lure the people who don't know any better into dropping their money on overpriced drinks and food, clothing and accessories. Paying for fake experiences with fake fiat currency.

The downtown mall has kicked all the real stores out in favour of luxurification plans handed down by Torontonian property management overlords.

Brooks Brothers is coming to town! How thrilling.

Spaces are empty all over town. All over the country. All over the world. Bulldozed livelihoods. Lost our lease. Lost our lease. We're closing shop. And in a way, the independents are relieved. Because trying to keep your head above water in this increasingly corporatized climate is bloody exhausting. They tighten the vice little by little. Priced out. Squeezed out. And when the death of the business finally comes, it's accepted with a sigh.

And so I wait for the bulldozer to run out of gas. Or to at least take a fucking coffee break.

I can see it starting. "Luxury" stores aren't lining up to fill those empty spaces. The spots are sitting empty. Stalled monster condo projects all over town. Massive, gaping holes left in the ground with fences all around. They got ahead of themselves, trying to build on phony foundations.

And here I sit. I'm not sure what things are going to look like or if there will ever be a place I can stand being in again.

Art of My Heart is dead. And every fucking brainless weasel in this town can go to hell.

All Art of My Heart articles.


Anonymous said...

Hi Willow;

What you've said here just broke my heart. Not because it shocked me but because it is exactly what I have been seeing in Vancouver as well. I understand completely.

You are not alone in feeling like everyone is completely out for themselves, that all the real heart & soul of humanity is draining away at a stunning pace. It feels like there's nowhere to run or hide lately. I walk around with my nerves on edge just thinking, to whatever or whoever might hear my thoughts, "Get me off this planet!!!"

I am ready to run away screaming from this city for the same reasons that makes Calgary such a sh*thole. I have never encountered such a virulent mass of shallowness and cold cruelty in my life, as I have living here.

I have always wanted to go to NYC (the "vanishing New York" blog is great—I also read the hilariously bitter "" blog). The real NYC is being corporatized, just like everywhere else, so I don't know how much better it would be to live there except that the real NYC natives appear to be fighting back, big time.

So… Is it perverse of me to actually be welcoming a worldwide financial crash, if only it will wake people the f*ck up?

Alex Jones, David Icke and others have said the crash is being deliberately orchestrated so the masses will be provoked into rioting. Then the illuminati elite can enact martial law. It sounds incredible but at this point I would not be surprised.

Whoah—"Riot" by the Dead Kennedys just came on as typed that. No kidding! :O

This is a really shit time for many of us, so hang in there. You're not alone.

Thanks again for the oasis of sanity!

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Hi Willow,

Yep, pretty much what happened to the charming and sleepy fishing village of Naples, Florida. It once was a quaint place with normal shops and buildings. I loved it.

Now Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Naples are suffering terribly from the manufactured housing bubble. Naples became nothing more than a place of endless banks, furniture shops and jewelry stores, and all designed to cater to snow birds living in Disney-like gated cities. It was terraforming driven by greed and disrepect for nature.

Now the area is just one big mess with very real long-term consequences. Mind you, the extremely rich will probably invest in these foreclosured properties and come out just fine. But most folks will not prosper. And sadly, the cost to the local environment/wildlife will mostly likely continue to be remain grim -- huge walled cities (gated communties)and endless shopping centres replaced farm lands and native habitat. The natural barrier around the coastal parts are gone, exposing much of SW Florida's delicate ecosystem to the ravages of the hurricanes and tropical storms.

Ya know, I find it SO interesting that human OVER-population is not a leading topic? I think tax incentives should be given to people to have fewer children, not more. Collectively we need to make better choices about the earth's resources and how we use them, and this included the number of people on the planet.

Willow said...

Fast forward to 2021:

"Visit Downtown Calgary's Luxury Shopping Centre - The Core"


After kicking all the indy stores out, they have rebranded themselves "The Core."

Really funny because there is no soul at that Core.

Hmm...I wonder how all that luxurification is going with oil prices in the shitter and now the orchestrated pandemic.

Oh, but these are luxury chains. They don't have to worry about such things.