“Cormier? You’re a Cajun girl – you just haven’t been home yet.”

It is entirely plausible that New Orleans is my spiritual home.

The cuisine is incessantly spicy.

The music is impeccable.

Their manners are incomparable.

People pronounce my name correctly without effort.

You can buy cocktails to go.

The houses have porches, pillars and gardens, like where I grew up. There are streetcars, and enormous trees.

London is my first love, but I’ll happily have New Orleans as my bit on the side.


So, I know it’s intensely irritating when people post bitchy complaints about their phones; it’s a playing card-sized piece of space age technology. Glitches shouldn’t be a life-threatening disaster.

However. My phone is being a bastard. It keeps spazzing and presenting me with a variety of solid-state colour palettes on the home screen.

I call the current one “Beetlejuice”.

Trickster bullshit asshole phone.

Photo on 22-07-2016 at 19.04

Step One: Pack diligently for a five day work trip to New Orleans, making sure every tiny thing I’d need is in order. And everything that could get me anally probed by the US border cops (from tweezers to sleeping pills) are left behind. Go to sleep sensibly early to prepare for a 6am rise and a 12 hour door-to-door trip.

Step Two: Wake in the middle of the night, check the time, and discover that my new phone (which is on the fritz) had magically turned itself off. Plug in old-fashioned alarm clock, think “Phew that was close.”

Step Three: Get up, leave house at 7am, hop on train from Farringdon to Gatwick, chilled, calm and very pleased with myself for being so orderly.

Step Four: JUST to be extra sure, double check flight details. SHIT. Heathrow. Not Gatwick. HEATHROW. Bugger all.

Step Five: Spend a frustrated half hour on a glacially slow Southern Rail service, and begin to understand why it is the most loathed line in England. Curse myself and curse the transport system. Sit impotently.

Step Six: Change at scenic East Croydon, head back to Victoria right into the middle of a rushhour jam. Get a taxi to Paddington. Get the Heathrow Express. Call mother in a panic on the train, who assures me that I should still be ok for time.

Step Seven: Get to the kiosk in the nick of time, only to have the self-service machine have a digital seizure because it was unable to compute that I have neither an ESTA nor a Visa, yet am not an American citizen, but am still ok to fly to the US. (This always happens – Canadians don’t need the ESTA, but the American border system frequently spazzes at the concept of Canadians travelling to the US via the EU. Bless.)

Step Eight: In a panic, grab a Virgin Airways attendant who physically brings me to the back office – behind closed doors, into the actual admin office – to sort it out on the internal computer system.

Step Nine: Am given a ticket. Because I arrived so late, there was no room left in Economy. So I was upgraded.

Step Ten: Fly to the US, veins coursing with relief, with first class treatment and champagne.

I should be an idiot and head to the wrong airport more often.


Dear Santa: I know it’s July, but it’s my birthday next week. Could you make an exception for me in this case? I would love

1. A time machine.
2. Today’s event.
3. The chance to travel to 1985 and to show it to this man’s smug face.



OK, new idea:

Remember when Boris banned drinking on the tube – and everyone got hammered on the underground, one last time?


A typical photo I took of Brits in full swing, pre-drinking ban. (Sidenote. Everyone ignored the ban and continues to do so.)

We could rent an old school double decker bus – he loves those! – like a wedding party. Then drink copiously. Then park at his doorfront and puke everywhere, vomitorium style. He worships the Romans after all!


I’m sure a lot of people will be holding tearful candlelit vigils and drowning their sorrows tomorrow if the overall decision is Leave.

I however think we shouldn’t mire in despair – we should channel those negative emotions into creative, rebellious fury. Burning Man style.

The Bleachers, the tallest art car at the festival, built by my exceedingly brilliant friends from Vancouver and New York. 

Let’s build a badass art car with a thundering soundsystem and take it on tour round the country to all the districts with the highest Leave percentage vote.

I’m up for getting a flatbed Mercedes truck, stacking it with a towering array of subwoofers, and blasting the angriest, darkest and loudest German techno, Scandanavian death metal and hardcore Greek punk. We’ll have a bar with the finest Polish vodka, Irish whiskey and Danish Akvavit. (No scnhapps or red wine or whatever – it needs to be firewater that charges you up with righteous passion.) And we’ll wear badass things like Italian mafioso threads, Kraut leather kink and vintage Polish resistance fighter jackets from WW2.

The election results will probably send us to Kent, Essex, Yorkshire, and (I hope) the home counties – wouldn’t it be fun to rattle their windowpanes with a brilliant, blazing, party.

Who’s in?

I am, as always, hideously proud of my badass aunt Mary.


But it’s not every day that you see a bunch of adademics get together to write an entire book scrutinising and celebrating her badassedness.


I have a feature in The Guardian online today, and in print in the G2’s classical music pages on Monday, about the technologists, hackers and artists working to build instruments to help disabled people make music.

Deepest respect to Kris HalpinAdam John WilliamsRolf Gehlhaar and above all Vahakn Ma for their incredible work and inspiring me to write this – one of the most rewarding pieces I’ve ever worked on.

Accessible Tech: It’s not about charity – it’s about levelling the playing field to let everyone create the sonic magic that defines our species.

Last time I heard his voice, we were saying goodbye. “You are my hero,” I said. “HERO? What did I ever do,” he laughed.

“What didn’t you do?” I asked. I meant it. Beyond living life to the fullest, he always did everything he could for me – most of all, insisting that I never fail to believe in myself and my capacity to succeed as a writer, even if the struggle would be a long and impoverished one.

“Zo… this is so boring,” he said. I laughed. Even at the end, he was funny

But it was true – being unable to get on stage, read the news or even watch films was excrutiating. Mental inactivity was intolerable. He was ready to go.

But my grandfather Don had had a good run. And what I admired the most was how passionately interested he was in absolutely everything the world had to offer. One of the truest polymaths I’ve ever met.

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 17.56.27

This week, I heard his voice again when I discovered that the CBC has an archive of his radio show Morningside online – featuring episodes mostly from 1982, the year of my birth, which is pretty cool. It’s not every day you well up with tears in the office when once again you hear the most comforting voice you’ve ever known.

Here’s a gem, him interviewing bananas children’s author Robert Munsch, who was one of my favourites as a kid (I think most Canadians would agree with me on that one).


Beautiful. These will keep me in memories – and with gratitude in my heart for having been so lucky to have known him – for a while. Thank you CBC, not bad.

You know how frat boys steal road signs for their dorms? (Best I ever saw: a NO DUMPING placard on top of a toilet.) You have no idea how badly I want to nick this.



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