I’ve been doing a string of essays for Medium’s subscriber-only strand (which features cool cats like Dave Eggers and Roxeanne Gay). The publishers invite all the authors to create audio versions alongside the text, and in their instructions tell us it’s fine to use a smartphone and a bit of editing software.

Bah. Iphones are for amateurs. Why use a mere phone when one of your oldest friends is an audio wizard at the cozy MAP Recording Studio up the road in Kentish Town? These are for posterity. As I always say, if you’re going to do something, do it right.

So fun to do these with Duncay Thornley, and to feel in a safe pair of hands – especially considering what a technological dunce I am.

This luddite right here is blessed to know so many technological maestros and musical pharmacists.

My work has its downsides – but it also has its upsides.

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The Germans do have a word for almost everything. I wish they had one for “that incomparable joy you get from wearing a stylish, one-of-a-kind jacket your mother made with her own hands that is older than you are”.

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Step 1. Stage a surprise birthday party for Dan Garber Garber.

Step 2. Have Kier Wiater Carnihan suggest the image of Dan be photoshopped onto Aphex Twin in the Windowlicker album cover.

Step 3. Witness Alexander Parsonage create said image in one minute flat.

Step 4. Enjoy a rousing discussion between friends over how to present it to Mongo. Mousepad? Cake icing? T-shirt?

Step 5. Settle on fridge magnets.

Step 6. Enjoy.

I love my boys. I love them so much.

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I should have some erudite thoughts on the Extinction Rebellion protest to share soon, but in the meantime, please enjoy my favourite sight at Waterloo Bridge today: a row of policemen having to carry out the wooden structure of a skateboard ramp. It was heavy and awkward as fuck – and graffitied – making the task look rather menial and humiliating for men who should have better things to take care of.

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This brought me great joy.

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I live on an old council estate in Clerkenwell, in the centre of London. Blissfully, Clerkenwell is a pocket of serenity in the middle of the city: to the east you’ve got filthy Old St roundabout, and Shoreditch, heaving with noisy kids and littered with nitrous canisters. To the north, bustling Angel and chaotic King’s Cross, and to the south, toursity St Paul’s. All’s quiet in this little enclave. Instead of a gritty centre square full of bored hoodrats looking for trouble, I’ve got a grassy courtyard – where they’ve fringed an old bomb crater from WW2 with flowers.

Not to say that the place doesn’t have those colourful charms of a council estate. When a mate came over for dinner six months ago, his eyes were as wide as saucers. “This is the exact same building I used to visit to buy crack when I was 16.” True story.

My favourite moment from the past few months: when Keith Flint died.

Normally, on a sunny day, you’ll often have three or four people playing music out their windows. But the day Flint was announced dead, just one dude with a kickass soundsystem blasted every hit out his window at max volume. Everyone else turned their music off, and all you could hear in the entire area was The Prodigy ricocheting around the courtyard, using the estate as a natural amplifier, everyone taking an hour to pay homage. It was such a London moment – and fucking beautiful.

One of the best things though… having what is essentially a private park to work in on a sunny day. Undisturbed.

There are downsides… but there are upsides.

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Seeing as how everyone is posting about International Women’s Day, I’d like to point out that my mom is the fucking coolest, and will forever be my favourite woman.

In the 1970s my mother had her own clothing label in Toronto called From Rags to Bitches. Brilliant name. My mom is the one on the right.

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She made those punk tops, shorts and skirts to last. As I write this, I have a load of those collared tops in my closet – they are still in excellent condition. These things are older than *I* am, and they still fit like a glove – and still look cool.

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She’s also a brilliant writer and badass funny.

When she read the first draft of my book, she summed up three years of work in one sentence:

“Most fun things in life are bad for you – but nothing will kill you faster than having no fun at all.”

When I appeared on Canadian daytime ladies TV show The Social in 2015 I quoted that line – and #zoecormiersmom started trending on Twitter. No joke.

Love you to pieces Martha Harron, you irreplaceble you.

I made a vat of stew last night, and instead of using beef, I used a bag of vegan meat substitute mince left over by an old flatmate. Not because I’m doing Veganuary, just because I wanted to use up old food.

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Said to my mum via text: “It’s just not the same… It’s like with gluten-free bread: it’s like somebody has sucked all the joy out of it.”

Then I woke up this morning with a stabbing stomach ache – it was like I’d been digesting concrete all night.

… THEN I read this in today’s Guardian: (I LOVE Bee Wilson’s writing, and you should too.)

“Half an hour after lunch, I started to have griping stomach pains and a horrible junk-food aftertaste. When I looked up the ingredients, it occurred to me that had they not been marketed as quasi-meat I would never have chosen to lunch on “pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavours, gum Arabic …”

Clearly not everyone reacts to the Beyond Burger this way. Plenty of vegans will have enjoyed it without any ill-effects. But I can’t help feeling that the novelty of these products means that their effects on human digestion are relatively untested.”

I’m totally convinced. Fake meats always did strike me as excessively processed, and in general I dislike processed food. Next time I’ll just use mushrooms or something for bulk.

And I’m going back to my old philosophy: the only things made in a factory or laboratory I will put into my body are drugs.

Just remembered that today is the three year anniversay of the night the restaurant beneath my home went up in flames and I spent the evening in a filthy motel wearing the ideal coat to make me look like a cheap whore. Good times.

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I miss him all the time – but how many people are lucky enough to have dozens of radio and TV clips online to enjoy anytime they want to hear their hero‘s voice again?

There are so many wonderful clips of my grandfather Don Harron on the CBC archives – but this one is probably my favourite, in which he remarks on what he called “the absurdity of the world”.

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Don Harron: “I happen to think that humour is very serious. It’s like poetry – it says things in a much shorter way than prose and even fiction… That’s the ideal I aspire toward – to say something with the minimum amount of words in the least amount of time.”

Peter Gzowski: “People say many of the great comedians are actually quite sad people.”

Don: “I don’t laugh much. Valerie and Don each have a laugh, but I don’t really have my own laugh. Every week I have to do two editorials as Charlie, and I look through the papers, and I have to make them funny. But I have to tell you, the agony I go through as I see the disaster and the absurdity of the world. I once told you that I thought the world was absolutely absurd, and I still have no reason to change that opinion.”

A truer word was never spoken.

I’ve always thought that only the smartest people can see how mental we humans are. Only the ignorant and the deluded are capable of thinking things are just fine.

But being aware of the insanity of the world doesn’t have to be paired with a depressive or misanthropic nature – far from it. Don lived life to the fullest, and did more than almost anyone I know to help other people.

Without question, I think I can thank him for inspiring the mantra that has inspired all my work:

“Cast the light upon the dark to make the world a better place.” – ZCC

 

Everyone likes to shit on millenials at the moment. Yeah, the selfies, phone addiction, saccharine synth pop and whatnot are annoying.

But you know what’s more annoying?

Arrogant, selfish baby boomers.

In the 60s they were all about drugs and sex, then in the 80s they were all about regressive taxation policies, trickle down economics, deregulation and neoliberal bullshit. There’s a reason they’re more accurately termed the “Me Generation”: all they ever cared about was themselves. They squandered our resources, enjoyed cheap education and job security, and then left their offspring with astronomically high tuition fees, no employment prospects, climate change and more.

Fuck. Them.

American Millenials – do your duty and VOTE. Prove those asshole boomers that you’re not the self-obsessed politically disaffected brats they make you out to be. Because guess what? In a lot of states, you now outnumber those pricks:

There is strength in numbers. Take them down. As a friend, said when I lamented that boomer assholes had voted for Brexit: “MULCH THE OLD!”

And one last thing: voter turnout by age group in Canada is lowest among people under 34. Pour some cold water on Canadian smugness and do better.

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