{ David Tough ]

BA Johnston: Hobo 4 Life

Sparklers fizz in the dark, and friendly murmurs turn to whoops and cheers as the dramatic opening chords of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” blare on the house speakers. BA Johnston, a short and thick 40-ish man with elaborate facial hair wearing a ship captain’s hat and a polyester sweater, strides through the crowd to […]

Time to Get Woke to the Threat of the Slick Rich Guys

{Power/Lines] A few months ago I developed an unhealthy relationship with a photo of Bill Morneau, Finance Minister to the stars, in which he was beaming with what appeared to be genuine, astonished happiness, as his fellow Liberals applauded him and his dumb budget as if their seats at the cabinet table depended on it. […]

Syrian Refugees: Damascus to Peterborough

In an institutional stairwell of the New Canadians Centre (NCC), Natalie Napier presses Michael VanDerHerberg on the question of birthday parties. Two children who arrived in Canada in the fall are having birthdays—Anas is turning 14, and Sedra is turning 11—and Natalie wants to know if, failing other possibilities, the NCC itself could host the […]

The Enduring Madcap Spirit of Max Mouse and the Gorillas

Sitting in the side room of the Pig’s Ear Tavern on a Saturday a while back, Cris Cuddy was explaining to me that good rock music is in the performer’s delivery, the energy that comes off the stage, not the technical precision of the performance. He has a lifetime of music business experience, going back […]

Voter Suppression: Eyes on the Prize, People

{Power/Lines] Amid all the theories about what caused the disastrous outcome of the US election, one key factor that has been overlooked, and one that helps in particular to explain the wide divergence between opinion polls leading up to the election and the actual ballots cast, and therefore the shock of the result, was voter […]

Album Review: Tara Williamson – Songs to Keep Us Warm

The soaring cascade of breathy high notes with which Tara Williamson sings the lyric “Why? Cuz fuck ’em all” on “Islands of Decolonial Love,” the opening track on Songs to Keep Us Warm, is a perfect encapsulation of what she’s doing on her definitively accessible yet bravely independent album. Produced mostly by Jim Bryson, who lends […]

Establishing Shots: Film in Peterborough

I was living in Ottawa in the early days of Facebook, and primarily used the nascent social media network to teleport myself back to Peterborough and visit my friends. I was homesick, a sojourner in a strange, ambitious land, and I lived for any sign of my old scene and its doings, for any small […]

The Minister Monsef

The Minister for Democratic Institutions is teasing our photographer. It’s a balmy but sunless mid-November afternoon, and we’re racing through a photo shoot late in a day, full of the unnamed delays and logistical complications of life as a federal cabinet minister. Bantering, she issues light-hearted warnings that her expression might betray an uncharacteristic edge. […]

Album Review: Ptarmigan – Ptarmigan

The voice at the heart of Ptarmigan is Peter McCurtry’s—not just his delicate but energetic tenor, but the airy acoustic guitar or off-kilter banjo patterns that start off all but a couple of tracks on this album. All the members are great players (Aaron Hoffman on mandolin, accordion, and lead vocals, plus guitarist Sam Gleason, […]

Album Review: The Lonely Parade – No Shade

The Lonely Parade are both the best and the most important band currently on the Hunter Street scene. The uncanny rapport between Augusta Veno (guitar), Charlotte Dempsey (bass), and Anwyn Climenhage (drums), and the startling twists and turns of their arrangements, are undeniably the products of extensive practice and thoughtful planning such as no other […]