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 dystopic imagery furnace. Fake light and happy, grinding its pointy high heel into my eye. A nouveau rich 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 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 this 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 money.
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.