March 12, 2009
happiness is love

Last night I went to see the Happiness Project at the Music Gallery (which is a fancy Anglican church on weekends). We were lured by the brief snippets played at BSS shows, and the fact that Laura Barrett was the opening act (!) So for over an hour, we watched experimental dialogue-songs played by some of the finest musicians I've seen in months. Seeing the Happiness Project left me oddly deflated, as I sometimes feel after a Friendly Rich show: worn out with wonder and dragging to return to a world of sub-trained players making noise masquerading as music.

I think my favourite part of the night (other than my front-row vantage and yet another opportunity to catch backstage glimpses of musicians) was seeing how many neighbourhood people made it out to the show. The album is built around the voices of the people in his neighbourhood, and a good many star voices were there to hear themselves transformed in public. Mrs. Morris, a voice that's lived in my head since August, was sitting two rows behind us. Vittoria was blushing directly behind us. And when the show was done, no hipster shuffle to the front; instead a mob of neighbours rushed up to hug Charles and congratulate him. It was grassroots in the best possible way: an elevation of the normal into the sublime and a beautiful gathering of music fans, Toronto scenesters and people who like to hang out on their porches. I felt happy & privileged to be there, watching it all with a huge grin on my face.

Laura also blew everything away, but I've come to expect that from her. If you don't like Laura Barrett then I'm not sure how I can relate to you. She's so innocent and sweet and winsome that I fell in love all over again, and the best thing was that Mason was right next to me, loving her just as much.

In less transcendent news, two of my students from last semester just got charged with over 200 crimes in connection with a crime spree. A crime SPREE! You'd think I'd have noticed something at the exam.

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Don't make me send out the Blake. He doesn't listen to *anyone.*