Just over a year ago, I took a walk along Toronto’s College Street and embarked on a fun little experiment: put my songs on shuffle, take a picture to represent each song as it’s playing, then see if I can tie the song and image together through words. Yesterday I had a little time to myself in my old home of Newmarket, where our boys were born, and decided to take a little stroll from lush parkland to dusty industrial sideroad. Here’s how it sounded and how it looked…
1. “Tumble in the Rough,” Stone Temple Pilots
This is a spot where we used to take the boys 10 years ago, when they were roughly tumbling little toddlers wobbling across this bridge to look at ducks and geese floating in the pond.
2. “Paradise City,” Guns N’ Roses
There’s the pond that bridge looks out onto. Is it paradise? Not quite, but it’s kinda pretty. Despite the floating gunk.
3. “The Dream is Over,” Van Halen
Honestly, I was a little stumped here. I thought it would be easier to find a dreamy location. In retrospect, some boarded-up facade might have been a better depiction of this song’s title. But if memory serves, they serve some pretty dreamy butter tarts at The Maid’s Cottage. (Apparently memory does serve, because I wrote that before zooming in and seeing the sign for their award-winning butter tarts.)
4. “The Fox,” Sleater-Kinney
It’s a pretty foxy church. Is it okay to say a church looks foxy? Am I about to be struck by lightning? Anyway, it looks like a rocket. And it’s so close to being perfectly symmetrical it’s almost infuriating, but also somehow satisfying.
5. “Destitute Illusions,” Jamiroquai
What can I say? It’s a pretty sad, destitute-looking little alley. At first glance, anyway. How fancy do you want an alley to be? I think it’s just the rusty stairs, deteriorating Domino’s Pizza box and random pair of black Crocs beneath the third step on the left. But what alley doesn’t have rust, deteriorating cardboard and a random shoe or two? It’s what alleys are for, no?
6. “Texas Flood (Live at Montreux),” Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
I took a random turn off of Main Street to see if I could find anything interesting. This is pretty interesting. It’s really just an industrial building, but look at all the fun angles. And what is it? Judging by one sign, maybe it was once an “olde mill.” The fencing company still appears to be up and running, but what about the rock-climbing business? That sign looks like it’s been falling apart for 50 years. How does this relate to this song, which I love so much? The shades of brown and beige, and the beaten-up sign just reminded me a bit of SRV’s well-worn “No. 1” Fender Strat.
7. “Dusty,” Soundgarden
Just around the corner from The Olde Mill was this lovely pile of dusty old electronics. The Sony on the right was particularly dusty and grimy. Look at all those sad flatscreens, barely able to hold themselves up, resigned to their fate to be ripped open for parts.
8. “Hello Operator,” The White Stripes
As this song popped up on shuffle, perhaps the last two remaining pay phones in Newmarket happened to be in my line of site. “Hello operator, I’d like to make a collect call to 1985, when people still used pay phones and that beautiful old yellow beast (is it a Mustang?) probably wasn’t much more than 15 years old.”