With the discussion of COVID-19 Stage 3 re-openings in Ontario and the related timelines, I decided to look through the list of businesses and services myself, to see what York Region might be able to expect in the coming weeks. And for those people who feel ready to participate in these re-openings, there’s a wide range of businesses for us to start patronizing again. But there is one significant hobby that is necessarily being left out by the closures… and probably for a long time. It’s the music fans! Some of the few remaining restrictions present in Phase 3 include “dancing at restaurants and bars” and “private karaoke rooms”. Concerts and live shows have gathering limits, and large outdoor events such as concerts are not permitted. And when you think about what these kinds of events entail, it makes complete sense that they won’t be permitted just yet. Some of my absolute favourite music-related memories are a complete nightmare in the COVID-19 age.
Music appreciation, music enjoyment, is such a communal experience. When you’re at a concert – the reverent hush of the crowd while the band plays a deep cut b-side it. Or the intensifying buzz and cheers as the crowd begins to recognize the opening chords of a hit single. It’s magic and there’s nothing like it. And for those of you who may disagree with my inclusion of “private karaoke rooms” in a live music appreciation post – there’s no greater compliment than choosing a song for karaoke! Pick a song that you’ve listened to a song so many times that you know the lyrics by heart, and then choose to share that love with your friends (or strangers). When you plan a karaoke evening with friends, you know it’s going to be about celebrating your favourite songs, or guilty pleasures, looking to impress your friends with your next song pick. Continue reading
I never dreamed about getting a letter to Hogwarts. Not really. Even though I followed Harry throughout Hogwarts when we were the same age, I guess I was happy enough in the present world to not need an escape. I completely understand everyone who did, though. Magic school is a place to reinvent yourself. In books, especially in the Harry Potter series, magic school is life changing for the child or person who felt like they never really fit in. Discovering that you’re magic or special in some way means you get to be a whole new person. You’ve been chosen! Either through hard work, or luck, or just destiny. Most of the time, books with magic schools have a clear delineation with the before – the setting is cold, grey, lifeless, the protagonist feels like they don’t fit in anywhere – and the after. For most people, Harry Potter and Hogwarts was probably one of their first introductions to magic schools – especially if they read it in their youth, like I did. It’s why Hogwarts sticks as much as it does. It’s also probably why Universal Studios, home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, saw a huge jump in admission once the Harry Potter Park was built – almost 10 million people visited the Orlando park in 2018. I visited earlier this year and most people were wearing their house robes and brandishing interactive wands, just for a taste of magic. Continue reading
As a longtime reader, I haven’t always put that much thought into how books are made and published. I don’t mean the mechanics of writing books – someone magically comes up with an idea and has the willpower to write down all 50,000-200,000 words (which basically sounds like science fiction to me). I mean beyond that. How does a book get published, and how does it get promoted? How does the bestseller list work? How does a book go viral and become the book that everyone wants to read that year? And, as we continue to have vital discussions about racism in society – how does systemic racism interfere with Black, Indigenous, and other racialized authors’ success in the publishing world? Continue reading