Monday, March 29, 2010

You're A C*nt By The Way

It was recently the Glasgow International Comedy Festival and so, this past Friday some work colleagues and I went to go see The Penny Dreadfuls, followed by the notorious Glaswegian comedian and magician, Jerry Sadowitz.

Jerry Sadowitz is infamous for opening his appearance at the 1991 Just For Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, with "Hello Moosefuckers! I tell you why I hate Canada: half of you speak French, and the other half let them!" He was promptly knocked unconscious by an angry - and most likely French Canadian - member of the audience. Personally, I think it's a brilliant line.

I was warned before hand that Jerry's shows are extremely politically incorrect and to be prepared to be offended. I knew what I was getting into.

Needless to say, I WAS offended although not strictly by Jerry's routine. Yes, it was offensive and close to the bone and yes, it was extremely politically incorrect and graphic. And yet, there were moments of brilliance - especially when commenting on current world politics and war.

However, I was quite offended and made uncomfortable by Sadowitz's misogynistic rants about women. Halfway through his routine, he launched into an attack on women and how manipulative and horrible we're meant to be. It was quite upsetting. Even more shocking, however, was after Jerry spitted and ranted about what vile creatures women are, more than half the men in the audience clapped and cheered in agreement and approval. Not only did it come across as bitter and pathetic, but hateful as well. I felt like I was at some perverse Dave Sim Appreciation Society. While Jerry may have been hyperbolic for effect (although sadly, probably not), it was worsened by the men in the audience who cheered along in agreement. As I was sitting towards the front of the theatre, I felt liked turning around and giving all the misogynistic assholes the finger. Instead, I sat quietly and fanned the flames of my wrath.

Anyway, to give a minor dose of what Jerry's stand up routines are like, check out his onetime Channel 5 show, The People vs Jerry Sadowitz: check it out while you still can on Youtube.

Expat Voices: Life in the UK

Check out my interview with Expatica, about life in Glasgow as an immigrant. Hope it isn't too offensive!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sometimes St. Patrick's Day is Just St. Patrick's Day

In any other city in the world, St. Patrick's Day is a day for Irish and non-Irish alike to enjoy a tipple or two. Growing up in Canada, I loved St. Patrick's Day because it meant that McDonald's had their strange yet delicious Shamrock Shakes. Once I turned 19 - the legal drinking age in Ontario (oddly, I never got drunk until I was of legal drinking age) - St. Patrick's Day was somewhat like Christmas: it came once a year and was the only time of the year where you could get absolutely wrecked and it was perfectly acceptable. In Toronto, if you appeared drunk in public on any other day beside St. Paddy's Day, people would think you're either a derelict hobo or worse, a pathetic loser (Torontonians are notoriously uptight).

Sadly, in Glasgow, St. Patrick's Day isn't St. Patrick's Day; it isn't a day to celebrate Irishness regardless if you're Irish or not. Nor is it a day to enjoy a Guinness or two. And it certainly isn't a day to celebrate Ireland, even though Scotland has a large Irish diaspora and 10% of the British population has claimed to have one Irish grandparent.

In a (sometimes) religiously divided city (which, in reality, isn't even about religion anymore), such celebrations like St. Patrick's Day are politically charged. And in a city where everyone wants to know "which side are you on", you can't wish people a "happy St. Patrick's Day!" because you never know how they'll respond.

And you know what? It fucking sucks.

In any other city, like New York City - which has the largest St. Paddy's Day parade in the world, or Toronto or Boston, many people, whether Irish or not, manage to party without the ugly face of sectarianism or racism rearing its head.

Yesterday, I wished a friend a "Happy St. Patrick's Day" only to be told quite curtly, "I fucking hate that shit". Now, I am not saying that my lovely dear friend is anti-Irish and/or anti-Catholic - because she isn't. What annoyed me, however, was the fact that there was an assumption on her end. Or rather, there was an assumption that I was "celebrating" St. Paddy's Day because I was a Celtic-mad Provo. And perhaps it was naive of me to think otherwise. You see, sometimes I forget that I live in a city where people are fucking nuts.

And it got me thinking of that Ballboy song, I Hate Scotland, and I too thought, "sometimes I hate Scotland".

Maybe it's Scotland I hate
I know I hate so many things about it
I hate the way punishments are the heart of everything
I hate the way parents beat their children
I hate the way everything always has to be someone's fault
Even though some things just happened
Some things just happened!

I hate the way people bring up their children
To be exactly the same as they are
Just so they can justify the way they've lived their lives

I hate the way we expect to fail
And then we fail
And then we get bitter because we failed

I hate aspects of living in the west of Scotland. I hate the "us" versus "them" element that is deeply entrenched in some people; I hate being lumped into a certain category because of what team I like; I hate how some people subtly try to assess other people's class and form an opinion based solely on that; I hate how some people are resigned to live in a country that has some of the worst poverty in the western world. Most importantly though, I hate Orange Walks and wish they would fuck off.

And like Michael Moore said in his brilliant film, Capitalism: A Love Story, that I HIGHLY recommend, " I refuse to live in a country like this, and I'm not leaving".

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Maybe it's different for me - as a Canadian abroad - but I loved every single minute of the Olympics and indeed, when Canada won the Gold in hockey on Sunday night, I shrieked (and then cried) over the sheer relief and achievement. Maybe it's different because I am the only Canadian in my work and embody Canada for all my friends and co-workers.

When Canada does well, people personally congratulate me.

So, yes, I am a proud Canadian and although I didn't need the Olympics to reassure me that it's ok to be proud, it is nice to be reminded that we're pretty awesome.

Also, gotta love the shots of Gold medalist, John Montgomery, as he walks through the crowds of Vancouver and chugs some beer from a stranger's pitcher!
Thanks to Haz for this. LOVE IT!

told this guy where I was from
he said oh, Canada
kinda laughs it off, real funny huh?
yeah, uh, come on

uh, yea
from the land of the lost
Trans-Canada crossed
patriotic and a honor
with a hand on my heart

from the Greatest of Lakes
to the greenest of greens
to the Rockiest mountains
and everything in between

o-o-o Canada
oh you're no fan of us?
'cause our movie and TV shows are so amateur?
yeah, we laugh at off, that don't really bother me
look, we ain't serious unless we really gotta be

humorous attitude like Kids in the Hall
like Jim Carey, Mike Myers, yeah we claiming them all

it's the Great White North
home of the funniest actors
the brunt of the joke
with an abundance of laughter

the Red and White flag
keep it high keep it visual
people see Canada and get stereotypical
think we finish every sentence with buddy or bye
and if it ain't that its either dude, eh or guy

yeah we consider it people
and smoking marijuana
we consider it legal

still doing rap like the 1990's
but that's how we like it off timed and grimey

I know where I'm from and I told ya before
North of America hard to ignore
every time I go away I tell them for sure
I'm from Canada o-o-o Canada

(O Canada)
O Canada o-o-o Canada
(O canada)
I'm from Canada
o-o-o Canada

the Class makes a sick beat, we call it a classic (x4)

I've been around the globe and
heard the confusion
honestly a lot of y'all are ignorant and stupid

yes, we have microwaves, tvs and cell phones
unintelligent fuck we invented the telephone
we made Yahtzee
the light bulb, hockey
and bred the greatest player's Gretzky to Crosby
we all got at least one drinking buddy
and after one drink, all of us think we're funny

our national mascot's a damn beaver
O Canada we love our beaver
home of Hell's Angels the RCMP
home of Gordon Lightfoot and SCTV

the Underground Rail Road
Georges St. Pierre
right here is where he calls home

our health care system
y'all know its free
keep a girl banging with a full mouth of teeth
I won't even get into the music on the streets
they say hip hop is dead
naw its up north with me
I could do this all day its a part of my routine
but supper's almost done and tonight poutine

I know where I'm from and I told ya before
North of America hard to ignore
every time I go away i tell em for sure
I'm from Canada o-o-o Canada
(I'm from the east coast of Canada)
o-o-o Canada
(I'm from the east east east coast)
yo yo!
see I'm from Canada so sometimes the words come out of my mouth like this
get used to it

Monday, March 01, 2010


How to explain it to you Scots? It's kinda like if the World Cup was in Scotland and somehow,
miraculously, Scotland was playing England in the final.

And Scotland WON. On home turf.

It's kinda like that. Kinda.