I've always been in the habit of dressing up for the occasion and if there's nothing in particular to celebrate then dress up anyway was my philosophy. If you've ever wondered what I look like well.. you may never know but I'm willing to admit this is what I looked like in 1972 in a picture taken in our loft in Montreal. Back then I collected and wore a lot of antique clothes and I'm sure the woman who originally had this black silk suit made would have spun in her grave.. or, maybe not.
I spent a number of years living in urban communal situations and although the Loft wasn't the first it really was a lot of fun and led to another and larger one a couple of years later in Vancouver - a place called Armadillo Arms. There'll be a story or two about that place but not today. The funny thing about writing stories is that even if you attempt to write what happened you find it's impossible not to color it with impressions because that's what memory is. The things we recall don't live in little color coded boxes in our heads but go through subtle shifts depending on current context. There are stories that don't fit the paradigm of beginning, middle and end because to do that properly you'd have to start at the beginning of everything and finish when the last star has died. Who has time for that? While I consider the next one to draw I thought I'd mention this commune thing.
Montreal in the early 70's was a city in deep economic trouble because the Parti Quebecois (a separatist movement) was gaining in power and new laws were being passed to make French the official language for education and business. Since a lot of American as well as Canadian businesses had their head offices in Montreal there was a mildly composed panic as they arranged to relocate to Toronto with the consequence of leaving a lot of property available. We'd been part of a proposal made to the Canada Council for an arts grant to be undertaken in the city so once the funds came through we got ready to go. There were lots of large and cheap apartments but we met the people who had the Loft and after an evening of getting to know one another we decided to take up their proposal. There were six adults and one child with everybody involved in the arts - music, painting, weaving, potting, sculpture and the place was big enough that we even had our own radio station. Needless to say there were lots of visitors so lots of stimulation without having to resort to television for entertainment. It was also kind of nice not having to cook every day and in my experience people share kitchens well.
I only mention this subject now because I believe it's still a pretty good idea. As things are now we live in a stage-managed culture where it's necessary for the benefit of the corporations to convince us we need at least one of each of their products. Wouldn't it be better if we could figure out a way to share?
Signed - an admitted hippy.