My open letter to the Toronto Public Library head honchos

Today I was disappointed to discover the music practice rooms in the Toronto Reference Library were complete duds.

What you call a practice room appears to me as a make shift room hastily put together by wooden boards and some glue. If this was an attempt to barricade sound, could the three walls at least meet the ceiling?

I suppose the ‘music’ in the TRL’s practice room denotes the two Casio keyboards awkwardly put together quite literally side by side. Surely no one will hear a peep with the headphones permanently attached. But could the TRL at least acknowledge how awkward it was for me to play away Fur Elise when a complete stranger was allowed to barge in and play the keyboard next to me? Surely anyone with any musical inclination can agree practice in its most blandest of forms requires privacy and space- the library’s traditional stacked study desk arrangement does not apply.

Being able to only play the provided keyboards in a room officially dubbed ‘piano/practice room’ completely disregards other musicians. Why can’t guitars, violins and other acoustic instruments be played inside without being in violation of having to be heard by the entire library? Why does the library give preference in accommodating keyboard players?

As it stands now there are no other public spaces for musicians to play in privacy other than the North York Central Library where a fee is charged by the hour. If the library is a resource for learning, I think it is imperative to dedicate at least a room as small as 7 square feet in at least one of the downtown branches to better provide for its music community.

I hope you will agree! And I think I should also let you know I will be posting this letter on my blog so my musician readers will also become aware of this issue.

Thank you,

Van Delsooz

Only in Montreal!

I visited Montreal for a week and two rather strange and related incidents occured, one on my first day, and the other on my last.

On my last day I was wandering around Old Montreal trying to find a decent place to eat, killing some time before meeting a friend who was supposed to drive me back. An older man walked towards me from across the street and started talking to me en Francais about constellations, what I should expect to see in the sky tonight and this week. I have no idea what prompted him to share this with me. Maybe because I was the only walking alone these narrow desolate streets and it looked like I had nothing to do? He didn’t seem like he was crazy, he was pretty well groomed and spoke eloquently.

I interrupted his space lecture and asked him where the closest fast food joint was. And he was kind enough to walk me there. This place is too complicated he said. It’s hard to find an affordable meal here as this neighbourhood is inundated with high end restaurants! Highly uncharacteristic of what this place used to be!

He asked about the Mandolin I was carrying and I told him where I was at in music.

When we approached the cafe, he left, just as sporadically he appeared.

On my very first day, I was by a punk rock concert to meet another friend in the thick of a young punk crowd. Another old man comes up to me out of nowhere and says, “Are you Iranian?”

“Uh, yes,”   ?!?!?!?!

He then shared his stories of Iran, how he was crossing the border alone to Pakistan where there is 12 KM of no mans land in between and how he ran out of water along the way.

Then he left as randomly as he appeared.

So random and so strange, but it’s all the charm of Montreal I guess.