Toronto #30

Labyrinth, free live music, Mod Night and IT! Here’s the latest blog!

Sorry guys! Once again, with the exception of last week’s Dark Tower review (which, with over 1,400 views, gave me the highest number of views for a post ever!), and a review for the amazing Baby Driver, I haven’t updated this properly in a while. At least, I haven’t been informing all you lovely people of what I’ve been up to in Toronto lately. About time I rectified that, I think.

Last month, I saw a couple of films at the Royal. The first was Labyrinth, which remains a true classic. Not only was that one showing for free, but it also had a live band performance right before it. It was by Hannah Georgas, who I must admit, I hadn’t really heard anything of before. I definitely liked her music, though. Very indie, very honest, and very cool.

Oh, and the best moment? Hearing her rather unique rendition of ‘Magic Dance’ from the Labyrinth soundtrack. Seriously, ‘Magic Dance’ in a distinctly indie rendition was glorious to hear!

The next film I saw was a 50th anniversary screening of Bonnie & Clyde. This one I hadn’t seen before. Unsurprisingly, I enjoyed it. Violent, but also with a great sense of humour. And the ending is as beautiful and heartbreaking to watch as they say it is. (Even if one of the greatest moments in TV series Cracker is Robbie Coltrane utterly destroying someone by telling them how shit that ending was.) Glad I got to watch that one on the big screen. (And not just because it was part of the Ladies of Burlesque series of screenings, either.)

While I don’t go to Cherry Cola’s nearly as often, it is most definitely my other favourite place in this city. Like I said, I try not to go too often – if you’re drinking, a night out can get expensive real quick – but it was Mod Night last month, so I had to go. And as ever, it was absolutely bloody brilliant.

Along with a cool ska band that opened the night, there was also regular mod band Blackdog Ballroom, who were as amazing as ever. I’ve seen a number of cool local bands in my day. But I don’t think I’ve come across one that nailed the mod spirit quite as well as Blackdog Ballroom has.

Oh, and one great little bonus? On the ceiling, classic movies were playing. We didn’t get to hear them, obviously, but it was a nice touch. Especially as one of those movies was Quadrophenia, in full. I must admit, I always get a craving for that film after a good Mod show, so it was good to fix that craving at the same time as watching great bands perform live!

Aside from that, there’s not really that much to say. I mentioned seeing the Dark Tower movie, and I’ve made my feelings on that very clear. I watched the amazing Baby Driver again, this time with the housemates, so that was awesome.

Once again, reading wise, I’m very much in a Stephen King mood. (No prizes for guessing why that is.) I’m not reading the Dark Tower again, as it’s been mere months since finishing my third entire read of the series. But I am reading the mammoth novel IT again.

I must say, I’m reading it much more easily this time around. I think it’s because I’m reading it on the kindle, as opposed to the paperback copy I had last time. Usually, I prefer reading a paperback, but I absolutely hated how small the font size was in my copy. Seriously, for a relatively slow reader like myself, there’s nothing more discouraging than feeling like you’ve been reading the same page for about ten minutes. Thankfully, this isn’t a problem I haven’t been having with my e-book copy.

Anyway, as well as reading it more easily, I’m finding myself much more absorbed by the world and by King’s storytelling. I love how King tells this story of childhood, adulthood and the horrors of both in one epic story. While I certainly enjoyed reading it before, I think I’m loving it so much more now. Definitely magical when that happens.

Obviously, I’m looking forward to the new IT movie next month. I love that it’s split the story in two, with one film focusing on the kids and the other film focusing on those characters when they’ve all grown up. (Of course, the second half being made depends entirely on how successful the first half is.) Honestly, with how huge and epic the book is in scope, splitting it in two is the only way to do. I hope it’s a good film in its own right, anyway.

Until next time, folks!

The Dark Tower (2017) Review (as written by a Tower junkie)

Finally, after years of waiting, we have the first adaptation of Stephen King’s magnum opus. But how well does it succeed for this Tower junkie?

Let me make one thing clear about the new Dark Tower movie: it’s not the books. It’s certainly not the first volume, The Gunslinger. And if I’m honest, I never really thought it was going to be.

Compared to so many other fantasy epics out there, The Dark Tower was always going to be harder to adapt than most. It’s not just because of the larger scale, or the fact that the author himself shows up once or twice in the story. There’s also the way it’s told.

With The Gunslinger, we’re introduced to Mid-World directly through the gunslinger’s own eyes. It’s a bit of a strange world already, but that perspective adds some distance between that world and us as the audience. Mid-World is almost abstract in that first volume.

It’s not really that surprising that The Gunslinger is seen by some fans as one of the weaker volumes of the series. It’s not terrible, far from it. There’s a great spaghetti western feel to that opening volume. But things definitely picked up in a major way with The Drawing of the Three. As I’ve written before, that was the volume that actually changed my life.

What’s interesting about the new movie is that it avoids telling either of those stories, at least directly. The Dark Tower uses particularly strong elements from The Gunslinger, it has to be said. But it also uses a lot of characters and places from later volumes, too.

This film essentially lets you know right from the very beginning of how different it is compared to the first volume by presenting Jake Chambers as the key perspective. This isn’t that surprising, really. Since he’s actually from our world, Jake makes a natural choice for giving the audience a key point of view on this strange universe. So it’s a change that makes sense.

Mythology: how much is too much?

In fact, the whole film is like that. There are a lot of changes from the original source material in terms of the story, but there’s a lot of key mythology that still feels the same.

Actually, that brings me to one key criticism I have for this movie. It isn’t that it changes the mythology of the original novels, but rather, that it arguably uses far, far too much of it for a ninety-minute movie. This movie features portals, the Breakers, “Low Men”, and a lot more. At the very start, it explains exactly what the Dark Tower is via a very unsubtle caption. By comparison, the novels didn’t fully explain what the Dark Tower was – or even why Roland was trying to get to it – until the third volume!

I’m not saying we should’ve had to wait for the third film to get the full explanation, but there were a lot of moments where the exposition got a bit heavy handed. I really wish this film had been given just another half hour, just to flesh things out a little better.

The ideas that King had in the novels, they weren’t original ones. Psychic kids, fantasy worlds, monsters from beyond, these had definitely been done before. However, along with a rather interesting mix of these ideas, King was also able to flesh them out and give them so much depth. That’s what made both the world and the story so appealing. Which is easy to do in a novel, but not in a movie, especially in a relatively short movie. So a lot of these concepts that I’ve adored in the novels have the risk of coming across as generic in the film adaptation as a result.

Trying to cram in too much mythology in one go were problems that were shared by the Stallone Judge Dredd movie and the Paul McGann Doctor Who movie, which were also both adaptations and fresh introductions to stories that were important to me. Once again, I’m given another example of how “less is more”.

However, that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy The Dark Tower at all. Far from it, really. In fact, now that I’ve got my key criticism out of the way, I’ll go into what I did enjoy about the film.

Great performances

First, there are the main characters. For the Gunslinger and the Man in Black, this movie gets them exactly right.

Roland is absolutely spot-on. He’s not given too much dialogue, which is what you expect from his character. But even better, he’s given moments of humour. I don’t mean that he’s suddenly joking and pulling witty one-liners before shooting up some bastards. That would definitely be the wrong way to do it.

But there are nice moments with Roland in our world where he really clashes, and the humour comes from those scenes. This was something that worked with the character in the novels, particularly when he was in New York with Eddie Dean. (One of my favourite smartasses of all time.) So it’s nice that the film at least doesn’t take him too seriously, even while Roland takes himself seriously, at least.

Elba’s performance is also great. When I was reading the novels again a few months back, I was picturing what his version of Roland would be like. I could actually see Elba saying these lines I was reading and how he would say them. And he didn’t disappoint. Seeing him in the film was exactly what I had imagined.

If there’s one performance that overshadows even Elba’s, however, it’s definitely Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black. In the original volume, he’s less interested in killing Roland than he is pushing him to breaking point, and comes across as more of a force of nature or a mystery than a man. In later volumes, he’s much more clearly out to kill him by any means necessary.

What I really liked about the film’s interpretation is that there’s a really nice balance between the two. McConaughey comes across as pure evil as Walter, and he has fun with it without taking away how sinister or deadly his character is. Again, how the character is written for the film also helps. One of my favourite moments includes the words, “Hello, there!” It’s a perfectly evil scene that gets this sheer force of evil exactly right.

I’m not gonna lie: I really enjoyed the climax of the film. It’s really cool to watch, and storywise, it’s pretty satisfying. I’m wondering if it will divide the fans though. To be honest, I’m wondering that about the whole of the film.

The Dark Tower is far from the worst possible adaptation of its source material, but its frankly far from the best, too. It gets a lot right, and it gets a lot wrong. Overall, I liked it and took it for what it was.

I do think it could’ve been made more accessible for a general audience, however. I can’t help but think that this is going to be a film that will appeal more to the fans of the existing source material than for newcomers, and for a blockbuster film, you definitely need to be able to appeal to a wide audience.

It hasn’t been very receptive to critics so far, but time will tell whether it makes enough to earn a sequel, at least. If a sequel is made, let’s hope that it builds on the strengths and drastically irons out the weaknesses of this opening installment.

Review: Baby Driver (Movie)

Last year I, like many comic fans, went and saw Suicide Squad. It wasn’t very well received, and frankly, with good reason. Among the film’s many key problems, one thing that leapt out was the soundtrack. It wasn’t that the soundtrack itself was bad. On the contrary, included on it were such classic songs such as House of the Rising Sun, Seven Nation Army and Bohemian Rhapsody. But, with the possible exception of the last one, none of them truly matched the visuals.

It made me realize something: for a film’s soundtrack to truly work, it needs to be more than just a great mixture of songs to release on CD. Even generally matching a character in terms of style isn’t good enough. For a song to really work on the film’s soundtrack, it has to match the visuals. There’s a real art to this, an art that’s usually almost invisible.

When it’s done well, and with a really great song, you don’t notice it, you just think to yourself, “Fuck yeah, this is a fucking awesome scene with a really fucking awesome song!” It’s when it’s done badly, though, such as in the case of Suicide Squad, that you notice.

With the exception of Edgar Wright’s new movie Baby Driver. This film isn’t a great example of how incredible a fusion of great visuals with a great soundtrack can be. It’s actually the perfect example.

Wright’s first directed movie outside of the comedy genre, Baby Driver is in many ways a familiar yet equally fresh take on the crime movie. Focusing on young getaway driver “Baby”, the film focuses on his involvement in several robberies, how he ended up in a life of crime and his dreams of escaping from it, as well as his sweet new relationship with the more innocent Debora. Like I said, this film uses a lot of familiar plot elements that we’ve seen in many other crime movies. So what is it that makes Baby Driver so different?

Well, there is one little interesting thing with Baby that makes the film a lot more interesting. Specifically, it’s his love of music. He is listening to his iPod(s) virtually all the time. And considering it’s mainly his point of view that we’re experiencing the story from, that means we’re getting a constant stream of great songs to listen to.

It’s how the songs are used that make this film, despite being outside of the comedy genre, that distinctly make this an Edgar Wright movie. It isn’t just that he uses cool songs to make a cool visual even cooler. It’s how every single shot of the film is carefully mapped out to match every lyric, every note, every single beat to perfection. From quick cuts to long shots, nothing is wasted, and you can tell that Wright has meticulously planned out every visual to match the audio completely.

We’ve had hints of this for years. The most obvious example would be the Don’t Stop Me Now scene in Shaun of the Dead, but even before then, (with the help of Simon Pegg’s and Jessica Hyne’s great script,) we had the best use of a phone and a clock ever in Spaced.

What’s even more brilliant is how aware Baby and even the other characters are of how an awesome song has to match with what’s happening directly. Moments like Baby needing to play a song from the start to match a robbery is a brilliant little moment that helps to make Baby that much more relatable.

Wright also makes sure to include a really great mix of distinctive characters. In a way, this is carried over from his comedy movies, particularly The Cornetto Trilogy. While the characters played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost would usually be the main focus in those movies, there’d be a few other characters who would stand out, too. (I’m still a big fan of David in Shaun for being the classic “enemy within” figure.)

However, Baby Driver might just have my favourite group of characters in an Edgar Wright movie yet. This is partly because of the shift from comedy to more straight-forward crime movie. While each of these characters may have their quirks, some of them are scary in how sociopathic or even psychopathic they can be. Some of these criminals could snap at any moment, helping to add a lot of tension to the film.

Of course, there are some really great performances too, which helps. Jamie Foxx is fantastic as “Bats”, who is so trigger happy, that you can probably guess what his nickname is short for. But my favourite performance is definitely Jon Hamm as Buddy. He comes across as really likeable. He’s not particularly close with Baby, but there are a couple of genuinely sweet moments when they have a conversation and can really relate to each other. You’re still reminded that he is an armed robber, and therefore not exactly a good person, but Hamm really brings a lot of charm and likability to the character.

While I’ve mentioned that this film isn’t a comedy movie, it still has plenty of great humour. Some of it is due to dialogue, some of it is due to some really absurd moments (my favourite example has to be the argument between the robbers caused by confusion over the masks they’re going to be using). And some it is due to, once again, Baby’s love of music and how well it’s used. “Was he slow?” is quite possibly the funniest scene in the whole movie.

Wright moving outside the genre of absurd comedy that he’s so well-known for was a risky move, but I’m glad he did it. In many ways, Baby Driver is very different to all of his previous films. The American setting, the darker tone, the number of genuinely tense moments throughout.

And yet at the same time, it’s in many ways very typical of his style. The perfect use of visuals to comedy, the great mix of characters, the sheer love of the genre.

Because of all of this, Baby Driver is one of the coolest crime films of the decade, and just might be Wright’s best film yet.

Toronto #29 – Niagara Falls

(I should’ve just called this ongoing blog “Canada” instead of “Toronto”, shouldn’t I?)

There’s a lot I need to cover in this week’s blog. Starting with something that I should have mentioned in the previous one – I went to my first baseball game a couple of weeks back.

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It was a Blue Jays game (of course). I can’t remember who the other team was. The game itself was interesting, though. Much more relaxed than hockey. Certainly, much less violent. Me and my mate had a good chat over it, which you can’t really do with hockey. The last half hour or so was really cool, as the game wrapped up and the Blue Jays won. Another thing ticked off the Canada list.

Last weekend was really cool, as I finally got to see my first opera! Well, actually, not quite. Back when I was in primary school, we went on a class trip to see Carmen at the Cliffs Pavilion. I have no fucking idea why, though. We were all about 7 or 8 at the time. Hardly the right age to appreciate something as tragic as an opera, especially if it’s in a foreign language!

And that’s one of the reasons why the opera that I saw last weekend was really special. Because for one thing, while it was entirely based on Puccini’s La bohème, complete with the original music, the lyrics had been translated into English. More than that, they had been modernized and there were a few references specific to Toronto. (My favourite in particular was someone getting a job at BMV Books. Gotta admit, that really is one of my favourite places in Toronto.)

The place we went to was also a pretty cool bar, with the performers acting on a slightly raised stage that was right next to the audience. So the whole effect was much more intimate than watching it at a theatre. It almost reminded me of when I performed improv back home, the performers were literally that close to the audience. So in some ways, it’s very different to your standard opera experience.

At the exact same time, though, it was incredibly authentic. For one, those singers? They can sing. Really, really sing. Like, real opera level sing. (I even heard that at least one of the actors had performed in an opera on stage, which didn’t surprise me.) And it really was beautifully made.

Another thing I didn’t appreciate until afterwards was the fact that, despite being modernized and translated into English, it did stick to the exact plot of the original opera, as I later discovered when I read more about La bohème afterwards.

Overall, it was just such a great experience, and great to get my first taste of an opera when I’m finally old enough to appreciate it.

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Last, but definitely not least: I went to Niagara Falls Comic Con today. It was, I must admit, a very last minute thing. I didn’t bother getting tickets in advance, except for transportation, as I couldn’t really afford it until this weekend. Not to mention, there’s your standard last-minute anxiety that makes you think and think again about whether to go or not.

But I had to go. Literally had to. For one guest, and one guest only: Paul Fuckin’ McGann!

(Note: his real middle name is John, but to emphasize his level of awesomeness, “Fuckin'” just seems more suitable in this case.)

He was at the convention all weekend, but it was only today that he was doing a Q&A session with the fans. So being in the same room as one of my heroes and hearing a ton of great stories from him (especially with his voice – there’s a reason he’s my favourite Doctor, even mostly on audio) was too good to miss.

I’ll be honest, it was a bit of a journey up there, and I was afraid that I’d end up missing it. But I got there with just a little bit of time to spare, and in no time at all, I was sitting just metres away from someone who was literally one of my childhood (and adulthood) heroes.

I know what you’re thinking right now. “Never meet your heroes.” Because when you’ve built them up enough in your heads, meeting the real thing can potentially be disappointing. Certainly, it was what was going through my mind before he came on stage.

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But he was just brilliant. While I never asked a question to him myself, it was just so cool seeing how he spoke with fans. It wasn’t just that he was confidant and cheery, but he was really good at seeing if fans were a little nervous and helping with their confidence.

And he had so many good stories and great answers. He was friendly and really engaging with the fans. Even better was that he didn’t just answer questions about Who, but also about Withnail & I and 90s BBC drama The Hanging Gale. It was a really great, informative and entertaining Q&A all round.

My personal favourite moment, though? Getting an autograph from him afterwards and having just a very quick one minute chat with him. Yes, of course, I said he was my favourite Doctor (“I like you a lot!” was his response), but I also mentioned how great Withnail & I was. He was just a really friendly chap, and it really was just the coolest day. They say never meet your heroes. They never met Paul McGann.

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Judge Dredd: Mega City One – 5 Things I Want to See

As I’m sure a lot of you know by now, a new TV series set in the Judge Dredd universe has been announced called Mega-City One. I’m also sure that, for those that enjoyed either the comics or the 2012 movie, a lot of you are as excited as I am about this news.

Judge Dredd has been my favourite ongoing comic series for years. There’s just so much I enjoy about it. I love the characters, I love the world and the insanity of it, I love the commentary, and so much more. The fact that it can tell really great stories with all of these elements, while also including lots of action, violence and thrills is what impresses me the most. For over a decade now, it really has been a comic that I’ve been super passionate about.

The 2012 movie Dredd is an adaptation that I’ve enjoyed equally as much. Understanding the character in a far better way than the 1995 Stallone movie, Judge Dredd is portrayed as a completely uncompromising fascist bastard, and that’s exactly how you need to portray him.

The 1995 movie initially seemed to do that, but then it tried to add things like “emotions” and “depth” to the character. Which just didn’t work. The thing is with Dredd is that he works better as an idea or a representation of the fascist system than as an actual three-dimensional character. The impact he has on others can be more interesting than the man himself. I’m not saying you can’t develop him at all, but it’s rare when it happens in the comics. And when it has been handled, it’s usually been done right. Subdued and subtle, but definitely there.

The 2012 film handled it well at the very, very end, when Dredd makes a choice that he wouldn’t have made at the start of the film. Otherwise, though, he is still a badass who still believes that what he does is ultimately right. By comparison, the 1995 film included the line, “You let me judge my own BROTHER?!?

‘Nuff said.

There were a few other things that I enjoyed about the 2012 film. I mentioned that Dredd was portrayed well. The same is equally true of Anderson, another character that I just adore for completely different reasons. Her character does feel real and fleshed out in both the comics and the film, and I really liked how both script-writer Alex Garland and actress Olivia Thirlby handled her.

I also really liked the “look” of the film. I’m not simply talking about the effects or the slow motion shots. More the whole style of it. On some level, it looked believably near-futuristic. On another, it had a look close to 70s cult classics like Escape from New York and The Warriors, and I freakin’ loved that. Even with details like the Judges’s uniforms and Mega-City One being given a more “realistic” design, that gorgeous cult look really helped to capture the spirit of the comics.

I’m mentioning all of these things because this is what the comic and the film have brought to the world of Judge Dredd. So what do I want to see from a TV series?

Continue reading Judge Dredd: Mega City One – 5 Things I Want to See

Toronto #28 – Ottawa

Hello again, everyone! Things have been quite busy since my last post. Particularly as I had my first birthday in Canada last week, and I got to experience my first Victoria Day weekend in a pretty epic way.

First things first: my epic birthday week. I got to spread a few things out over a few days, to really make it last. I bought myself some Doctor Who comics to enjoy (naturally), and I also sorted myself out with some Torchwood audios. The latter of which left me very excited for the upcoming season 5, although I’ll save those thoughts for Doctor Who Watch.

On the day itself, I got to have a late lunch with my housemates, which was pretty cool. Apparently, Ikea has restaurants. This was something I had no clue about. They do good food, anyway. The butter chicken’s especially great.

Later on during the day, I went to my favourite place in Toronto the Royal, and saw a little cult horror with Joan Crawford called Strait-Jacket. It was quite the interesting little film. At times, it was very melodramatic, but in between all the melodrama, there were also moments of sheer violence. It was interesting to watch, knowing it had been written by Robert Bloch, the same man who wrote Psycho. In some ways, they did share similar plots. As a film at least, Psycho is definitely superior, but Strait-Jacket was good fun to watch, at least.

The day after, I also got to watch Alien: Covenant. Definitely an improvement from Prometheus. Still not as great as the first two Alien movies, but worth a watch, at least.

Now, for the more exciting stuff! Monday 22nd was Victoria Day, which is a bank holiday over here in Canada for the Brits back home reading this. Me and the housemates got to take advantage of this by heading to Ottawa for the weekend.

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Overall, it was a really great time. I got to see a lot of sites, and I checked out a couple of museums. The Canadian Museum of Nature was pretty cool, which covered things from dinosaur fossils to volcanoes, but it was the Canadian War Museum that was the real highlight for me. I got to learn a lot about Canada’s rich history, particularly the events that lead to its birth as a country. Really informative and really interesting, I thought.

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And how was Ottawa, the capital of Canada and the latest city I’ve visited? Quite interesting, really. It really is a very bilingual city, equal parts English and French. Not surprising, really – not only is it right next to the province of Quebec, but having a mixture of English and French language would be especially important when politics is involved. It’s quite the contrast to both Toronto and Montreal – after all, both are much more aimed to one primary language. It’s been interesting visiting a city that has embraced both, really.

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Me and the housemates had such an awesome time. Along with the museums, we also got to go on a ghost walk. The stories were pretty cool, and it was a good excuse to see a little bit more of the city on foot. And we got to check out a couple of pubs as well, which is always important! It was just great to get away, explore and have some fun with my friends for the long weekend, really.

One more thing: I received some birthday gifts from my best mate back home. They were, in every figurative sense of the word, sweeeeeeeet. The Doctor Who Annual 2017 appealed to the kid in me, but the best one? A tea towel with the faces of the Proclaimers. As someone who always sings 500 Miles every chance he gets on karaoke, this was very much appreciated!

Toronto #27 / Montreal #1

Wow, what a weekend that was! After nearly 8 great months of living in Ontario, I finally got to see a bit more of glorious Canada by visiting Montreal. It was a long journey there – six hours by bus – but worth it. (Plus, I got to listen to quite a lot of Doctor Who and start reading Mr. Mercedes, so it passed by pretty well.)

Visiting Montreal was interesting. It’s strange to think it’s in the same country as Toronto, really. In a strange way, it feels more European. Not just because French is usually everyone’s first language over there, although that may have added to it. (Interestingly, I was told that apparently there are laws to actually ensure that virtually all public signs are in French. They do seem to love their French roots over in Quebec!)

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But there was also the city itself. From what I saw of it, there was a lot of great architecture. Whether it was something like Notre Dame or just a regular building in the right part of the city, there was a lot of really beautiful places to see.

It was was also interesting see how much the city changed. Sometimes, it unsurprisingly reminded me of Paris. But there were also times that, with its steep, cobbled streets and narrow roads, it almost reminded me of Edinburgh, too. Overall, you definitely couldn’t say that Montreal was similar to Toronto.

I got to see quite a bit of the city on Saturday, which was Free Comic Book Day. I got a couple of comics to read, including Doctor Who and Star Trek, which were pretty cool. There were a couple of cool things to see at the comic book shops – my favourite was seeing people dressed in full Star Wars gear, with one person dressed as a stormtrooper and the other as an Imperial officer. It was a gloriously geeky thing to see.

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We finished the day off with a visit to the Planetarium. It was really cool. Two different shows, both of which we got to watch on the domed ceiling with some commentary. It was really interesting stuff. One part of the second show was trippy as hell, but overall, it was really cool.

Sunday was spent exploring the city, particularly old Montreal. While I didn’t go into Notre Dame, I did get to see it from outside, and it looked really beautiful. We then went exploring a little more before checking out Mount Royal.

What a gorgeous view that was. Just absolutely amazing. You could see virtually the whole city. And it was a lovely sunny day, too. It allowed for some really great photos.

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Overall, it was a brilliant weekend. Partly because it was nice exploring somewhere new, but also it was nice to spend some great quality time with the person I’m currently dating. Honestly, it was just a really lovely time, overall.

 

Back in Toronto, on Monday, I got to watch the brilliant movie School of Rock. I actually hadn’t seen this in years. I had forgotten just how truly brilliant it was. I used to love it back in high school. I used to watch it again over and over, it was just such a great film. It’s one of those movies that could’ve come across as just another sickly sweet family movie, but you can tell that everyone involved had a really cool time making, and there was so much love to the genre of rock.

Seeing it again for the first time in so long was a pure blast of nostalgia, and it got me thinking about high school. About the boy I was all those years ago. High school wasn’t exactly the best time for me, especially in my later years there. This was less of anything external and more because of me, as I became increasingly unsure of what to do with my life and would eventually start to give up on it.

Still, as many mistakes as I made in high school, I did love it for one thing: the friends that I had made for life. I cannot begin to stress how important those friends are to me. They’ve stuck by me through thick and thin, and I’ve done the best to do the same for them. Those important friendships are easily the best thing I took out of high school.

As for my high school self? I wonder what he’d make of me now. I don’t think he’d have ever believed that he’d eventually do something as big and risky as move to Canada on his own for a couple of years. Mind you, he wouldn’t believe that he’d eventually try improvised comedy, or enjoy karaoke on a regular basis.

I felt really unsure of myself back then. In some ways, I still do. But I’m also feeling more confident than ever and really enjoying my life. It’s funny how you can be so certain how your life is going to be, and then find out that it’s not only so much different, but also so much better than what you expected.

Anyway, enough of that nostalgic nonsense. Let’s finish off with the School of Rock music video!