We used to live in Aurora, until a little over eight years ago. Since I found myself in the area with a little time to spare yesterday, I thought I’d do my first “My Shuffled Walk” since October. So I put my music on shuffle and took a picture during each song I heard, and now I’m going to try to write my way into connecting the two. Wish me luck.
“Maps,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs
These signs appeared right across from where I parked at the Aurora Community Centre. I was struck by the beauty of the trail sign on the top left, because these things are usually much more dull and utilitarian, so that was refreshing. But I was also intrigued by the sign at the bottom: Women & Dogs Circle. What did this mean? There’s some sort of QR-code type situation going on, but you need a special app to access the information, and googling it doesn’t come up with much at all. Whatever it is, I thought this gorgeous song by a band with a bold and mesmerizing frontwoman paired well with the sign.
“Shattered,” The Rolling Stones
I don’t know what happened to this apartment building/condo, but there’s scaffolding up all around it and clearly something has fallen off and… shattered. I also love that they had their sprinkler system on, so you can see some falling drops of water in this image.
“Carol,” Chuck Berry
I’ve really got nothing here, but I was fascinated by this unkempt hole in the ground. I assume they’re eventually going to build something here, but who knows when? Does Carol know? Can somebody ask Carol?
“Wall,” Living Colour
There’s the obvious visual pun here. I took a picture of a wall. The mural is kind of iconic in Aurora, inasmuch as anything in Aurora can be iconic. No offense Aurora, you’re fine, you’re a great place to live. But I also liked that without meaning to I caught a bit of a “Pride” crosswalk in the shot, because this song is all about breaking down the walls that separate us.
“Transmissions From A Lonely Room,” Stone Temple Pilots
I don’t know if this cool old home is a residence or business these days, but it most certainly was a home at some point over the century-plus since it was built. I can just imagine some lonely teenager in like 1910 writing transmissions to her future self in her journal in one of the home’s many rooms. I’d really love to know what that room under the conical roof looks like inside.
“Rock or Pop,” Some Girls
While thinking about the musical genres this song, by Juliana Hatfield’s one-off band in 2006, it seemed like a no-brainer to snap a shot of this sign. “Purveyors of high-end audio,” whether your tastes are rock or pop.
“The Walk,” The Cure
As Chandler Bing might have said, “Could there BE a more perfect song for a ‘My Shuffled Walk’?” So I took a shot of the “shuffled walker” crossing a crosswalk with a “walk” signal above his head.
“Half Light II (No Celebration),” Arcade Fire
The Grammy-winning album this song comes from is called The Suburbs, and it’s all about growing up in the ‘burbs. What says “the suburbs” better than graffiti on a transformer while a local bus passes in front of a strip mall?
“You Never Know,” HAIM
Here I had to break my general rule of only taking one picture per song. These are both too perfect. In the opening seconds of the song, I noticed this HAKIM store and couldn’t help but realize that if you remove the K from the middle of the company’s name, you get the name of this talented trio of Californian sisters.
But then I approached this scrolling digital sign on the other side of the street and as it scrolled, my heart skipped a beat at the coincidence of the words “YOU NEVER” streaming by. I thought for a second, “Am I in some weird sort of Truman Show scenario where the universe knows the song that’s in my ears and this sign is going to tell me the name of the song?” Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the next word was not “know.” And my existential freakout was avoided.
“Country Yard,” The Vines
Man, I remember the “next Nirvana” type hype around this band in the early 2000s. “Get Free” was a great song, but I really wanted to like the rest of the album more. But that’s beside the point. This is a beautiful veterans memorial that faces Yonge Street. It really has nothing to do with the song or the band. I was hoping to find some literal vines somewhere because I’m about nothing if not visual puns. But maybe I was thinking about “Get Free” and the freedom the people memorialized here afforded us. Yeah, let’s say that.
“Back In Black,” AC/DC
Still at the memorial, this bulky tank with a big gun just seemed to scream “AC/DC.” This song is all about chugging rock and roll power, and a tank is a pretty good representation of that, I think. On a separate note, I took a closer look at the plaque on the tank’s side. In light of recent events, it was a sad irony to see that the tank was placed there in recognition of the 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel who served and 162 Canadians “who died in the cause of bringing peace and freedom to the people of Afghanistan” between 2001-2014. Obviously, thanks always to those people who served and died, but how tragic that that “peace and freedom” is now gone.
“Home Of The Brave,” Spiritualized
I felt a little weird taking this picture and I did it surreptitiously, just clicking the button with my phone down at my side. I feel anyone who partakes of these services deserves their privacy and they are most certainly brave for seeking help. So, home of the brave.
Do I really need to say anything? Thank you, Viva Transit sign.
“This Is A Lie,” The Cure
This is the Abbotsford Animal Hospital. Our dog Wrigley was not always the healthiest boy, and the people here certainly helped “cure” him when needed. He also “vacationed” there when we went away for a weekend. Another weird note: later last night, after hearing this song, my parents, my boys and I played a game called “You Are a Liar.”
“Eternal Life,” Jeff Buckley
They kind of preach a sort of eternal life there, right?
“Power Of Love,” Jimi Hendrix
Hey, look who happened to be on my t-shirt!
“Mrs. Robinson,” The Lemonheads
I really struggled to find a connection to this song. I looked for the name “Robinson” or “Mrs.” Anything to do with lemons or heads or Simon & Garfunkle or the movie The Graduate, whose soundtrack the original version of this song was on. But nothing. Gwen’s Hairtrix is a weird name, though, right? Maybe Gwen’s last name is Robinson. Here’s the crazy thing. Driving home last night down Yonge, just about 300 metres north of where I took this shot, was a sign with the name Irene Robinson on it. She may very well be a Mrs. Robinson!
“Sense Of Henry,” I Mother Earth
Here she is, Mother Earth in all her… glory?