July 16, 2009 § 2 Comments

Well, as the Montrealers among you well know, it’s been a lousy summer.  The rain is near-constant and falls in showers, sheets, and occasionally violent storms, the last of which flooded basements throughout the city and unleashed a rumoured tornado.  The weather makes it difficult to commit to a terrasse, and even my balcony has lost its allure, being as often as not too cold and damp to enjoy.

The weather does have certain upsides: for example, it interrupts my neighbours’ renovation projects and sends their children scurrying indoors, leaving the alley beyond my window blissfully quiet.  But whatever benefits this silence confers are far outweighed by the feeling of being trapped within four unchanging walls.

When the sun peeked out the other day, I dropped everything and bolted outside with my camera, which, not being waterproof, I’ve had little opportunity to use.  On a whim, I decided that I would document the network of alleyways that Mile End is famous for, which had suddenly come alive in a burst of flowers and billowing clotheslines.

As the neighbourhood has gentrified, the facades of its buildings have lost a certain amount of their charm.  Wood has been replaced by aluminum and steel, which are sturdier materials but also less crafted and colourful, and the decorative flourishes provided by unsupervised tenants have slowly given way to the visual conservatism of owners preoccupied with design concepts and property values.

Still, you can see vestiges of the old Mile End in its alleys, which, by virtue of being less public, have been slower to succumb to renovation.  From the back, the neighbourhood is still a bit funky and lopsided, which is of course just the way I like it.  It means that people like me still live here.


Vila goes to a workshop; or, How to get ahead in a post-Fordist recession

June 9, 2009 § 11 Comments


Today, I attended a career workshop for PhD students who are about to be unceremoniously ejected into the worst academic job market in years.  It was, in a word, awful: a vague mish-mash of pop psychology and group exercises that offered little in the way of concrete information or practical advice, and entirely too much about finding one’s joy and being “free” and “creative” in the face of imminent unemployment.  To add insult to injury, the workshop leader clearly had no idea what it is that doctoral students in my field actually do, which is an honest enough mistake but which left her struggling to respond to questions tainted by years of critical theory and draft beer. « Read the rest of this entry »


May 19, 2009 § 4 Comments


March 28, 2009 § 1 Comment

Put People First, London, 28/3/09

From today’s G20 protests in London.

In process [1]

March 15, 2009 § 4 Comments

Moon 3

Sometime March. I avoid calendars; write single-spaced.

In process [2]

March 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

Moon 2

The line between fear and effort. Dragons queue for slaying.

In process [3]

March 15, 2009 § Leave a comment

Moon 1

Quiet lonely writing reeling. Drown in blue screen.


November 21, 2008 § Leave a comment


Icy scotch and ticker news
Wide, cold sweeps of days
pass without incident

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