Sunday, July 16, 2006

Odds and ends in La belle province

These are a few of my favourite things - dans la belle province

Le Bismark - eat it and weep.
Consists of a foot long hot dog wiener nestled in a custom-made white spongey sliced-bread-type bun, topped with a golden cascade of thick, slightly undercooked french fries. Your choice of toppings (I recommend lots of onions, with a side order of poutine for your dairy content, and a large Coke, no ice.) Window shattering belches guaranteed. Available at finer street-meat stands in the lovely town of Shawinigan, QC. Hand model and Bismark/poutine combo ingestor (she did it!): Joanne Hui

"Attention à nos enfants. C'est peut-être...le vôtre"

This comforting sign can be found all over small town Quebec. The caption loosely translates to: "Watch out for our children. This one could be yours." It features a once care-free androgynous child, fresh from an encounter with a speeding car. Bloody gruesome!

Notice how the child's left shoe is missing, and the sock has been slightly yanked from his/her foot. That explains all those single shoes I keep finding on the street. I've always wondered, how can someone just lose one shoe and not notice?

Restothèque - Somewhere off highway 138

Boogie on down to the salad bar! I made my friend Tod slow the car down and hold up traffic so I could get this slightly blurry shot of this great sign. Unfortunately, we'd already eaten, otherwise I would have enjoyed a bit of BeeGees avec mon 'amburger all dress, pas d'oignons. That stretch of highway between Québec City and Montréal (the longer scenic route, not the 2 lane speedway highway 40) is one of my farourite drives in the province. You see loads of the real-deal 'villages d'antan', small towns that still have many 100-year old houses right on the main drag.

Restrooms at Bar laitier Le Grizzly! Granby, Québec

I love the clash of artisanal woodworking, outhouse aesthetics, anthropomorphism, and 1950's B-movie poster inspired font.
Summer 2004

Friday, July 14, 2006

London calling

I was in London a couple months ago for a quickie holiday (England, not Ontario. It's amazing how many people ask "Ontario?". As if!) I spent a lot more time in pubs than in galleries, but that was due to my impeccable timing as a lot of galleries were between shows. I did see a fantastic exhibit at the Whitechapel Art Gallery called Inner Worlds Outside ( It had loads of Henry Darger drawings which were great to see in person.

This photo was taken at The Golden Heart, a little gem of a pub on Commercial Street, near Spittalfields market. It's apparently a YBA local - or used to be before they became tabloid regulars. Bet you that's Tracey Emin under that giant puppy head.

I also got to indulge in one of my favourite grotesque delicacies: HAGGIS. Thank you Emily and Christian for preparing such a fine meal of neeps and tatties to go along with that steamy ball of goodness. Mmmmm!

This was a shocker. Had some amazing Indian food at Sweet n' Spicey on Brick Lane (beware the hawkers who try to lure you into their far inferior eateries! This is the only place to go!) Lo and behold, emblazoned on the plate we'd just practically licked clean was the St. Hubert logo! (St. Hubert is the Quebec equivalent of Swiss Chalet, but better - that is to say, lots of family-friendly chicken-fries-n'slaw combo dishes. Your sort of typical Sunday dinner outing with the family when you just want good basic grub for a good price and there are no outside guests to really impress kind of restaurant.)

For more of my views of London, see my long-neglected flickr page

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Welcome to Cultural Flotsam!

Cultural Flotsam is a scrapbook, a junk drawer, a collection of miscellaneous stuff that's been floating around my head, desk, studio or hard drive, looking for shores to wash up on; hence, this site. Some of it is concerned with art, music, books, and popular culture. Most of it is just me blathering on about whatnot. Vive Internet!

My apologies to Miriam and Mel from Studio XX who taught me Dreamweaver and CSS last year. I tried. Really, I did. But in the end, my attempts to launch my very own site made from scratch were in vain. So although this may lack the true web-geek cred I was hoping to gain, it's a lot faster and très facile!

Hats off to friends who've inspired me recently through their presence on the web: Emily, Neil, Matthew, Paul, Julie and many others. Check them out in my links section.

À bientôt...

What the heck is flotsam?