Me and You Went to Kowloon Tong

[youtube]BTpwETrBqIM[/youtube] Since I now live in Hong Kong, I might as well get to know the local music scene. My Little Airport, an indie band that does slight and amusing twee-pop ditties, is one of my favourite local acts. The simplicity of their music and lyrics belies a wry and irreverent take on life in […]

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Hot Day at the Container Port

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Victoria Harbour in 1915

When I look at old maps of Montreal, I marvel at how entire neighbourhoods have vanished and streets renamed. What’s interesting about old maps of Hong Kong, by contrast, isn’t what has disappeared, but what has appeared. The above map, which dates back to 1915, is recognizable in its depiction of Hong Kong, Kowloon and […]

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Grey Fall Days

Quiet, grey autumn days in Mile End

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Boston Beyond the Souvenir Stands

I’ve always had a certain fondness for Boston. It was the first truly large city I visited, the first place that was effortlessly cosmopolitan, the first place that buzzed in an important-seeming way that was absent in the isolated and suburban city where I grew up. I was properly obsessed with it. I visited about […]

Sheung Wan Graffiti

Street art in the lanes of Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Every Day is Laundry Day

In Hong Kong, every day is laundry day. I’m not sure why so many people wash their clothes every single day — do they really own that many shirts? do they sweat a lot? — but you can see evidence of it as you walk around: endless amounts of undergarments, shirts, pants and pillowcases dangling […]

Underpass

Underpass in Ahuntsic

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Evening Falls in Yau Ma Tei

Restaurant with papered-over sign Michelin Man, rest in peace Posters for theatre productions and “karaoke” parlours

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Reflections on Park Avenue

I’ve already left Montreal, but I still walk down Park Avenue in my mind. I start at Van Horne, the symbolic last street before the Canadian Pacific Railway overpass and the industrial area to the north. On the long block southward to Bernard, I pass a new Hasidic synagogue, a laundromat with Spanish signs owned […]

Observation Lift

In the Hopewell Centre on Queen’s Road East, there’s an “observation lift” take takes you from the 17th floor lobby (the building stands next to a hill so steep that it has street-level entrances at the first and 17th floors) up to a miniature lobby on the 56th floor. It’s actually just a glorified glass […]

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Electioneering in Plymouth, Michigan

An Obama sign in Plymouth… …and a McCain rejoinder Several days ago, American presidential candidate John McCain announced that he was suspending his campaign in the state of Michigan, and I breathed a sigh of relief. But he also announced that he was canceling a planned event in Plymouth, my hometown, and I was a […]

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Back Doors

Various alleys in Montreal

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Songs and Dances of the Underground

It often seems like the subway is treated as a metaphor for urban life in general. When we’re immersed in the optimism of economic expansion, it represents progress and vitality. In more troubled times, it becomes a symbol of crime, danger, aggression and alienation. Last winter, while browsing the shelves in Stephen Welch’s bookstore on […]

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