Oct 2012 29







Oct 2012 29

Should the news be free? Is it a right? Has journalism become so degraded that people aren’t willing to pay for it?

After Canada’s largest newspaper the Globe and Mail went behind a paywall on October 22nd, the Toronto Star is following suit. And just like the reaction with the G & M, people are mad saying they’re done with the Star and that ‘news isn’t worth paying for’ or they can ‘get the same info for free’.

Well, news is worth paying for and you can’t get the same info for free. We should support true journalism before it’s too late. Now I’m not saying you should go and buy subscriptions to both services, but why is there this opinion that information is a right?

The news, when reported well either online or in print is indispensable. It’s worth paying for. If we don’t support it, our information sources are going to fall further and further into question in a world where media is continually falling into the ownership hands of the few.

Let’s face it, none of us click on banners or other online advertising. So how do we expect these journalists to be getting paid? Are we going to let our news get reported by the Canadian Press or the Associated Press, or some other watered down generic service and not read an actual point of view?

I admit journalistic practices have been suspect with stories of plagiarism, phone hacking and a ‘dumbing down’ of what is worth reporting. But that’s exactly why we need to support this industry. Whether it’s supporting a paywall or buying a magazine or writing an email to say you really enjoy a particular writers’ work. The world is getting more complex and although YouTube and camera phones and social media all let you experience things in real-time, actually understanding what is going on is more important than ever.

I remember coming home from school and my dad would be reading the paper, and weekend mornings in our household meant sections spread out all over the place as we all devoured the news that was important to us. Me with the comics. My sister with the entertainment or life section. My dad read world events. And my mom would look for recipes to cut out. Yes, those days are over. But they shaped how I look at the world and the news. It’s important to understand our world.

Give it some thought.

Oct 2012 25

Is this bus fun? Well, maybe not when you grow up in Rexdale and you have to take a 45 minute ride on the Martin Grove 46 bus to get downtown to your favourite video arcade on Yonge Street, and… Oh, sorry. Channeling 1983 there.

I like this spot from Danish agency M2Film. It takes a tongue-in-cheek look at riding the bus. And I like that it tells the truth, but in a fun and compelling way.

Is the bus cool? Well, not exactly. But I’d feel good about this brand if I had to ride it.

Ossington before it was ‘Ossington’
Oct 2012 22

There wasn’t much to do on Ossington Avenue back in the early 2000’s. Unless you knew how to sing in Vietnamese at one of the Karaoke bars, the only option was the Lakeview Lunch. At least until The Communist’s Daughter and The Crooked Star opened up. But that was two years away still. I had moved to a decidedly uncool area.

So one night, my friend Shawn (who didn’t care I wasn’t cool) and I were looking to just hang out and have a few brown pops as he used to call them. And we decided on a place I hadn’t gone into yet. It was called ‘Baby Dolls’. A seedy looking strip joint that’s now gone, but it was above where The Saint is now near Dundas and Ossington.

We walked up the stairs to the second floor, not knowing what to expect. It was a weeknight but we still expected to see the area’s perverts and degenerates crammed together in Pervert’s Row. We arrived upstairs to find an empty bar with an empty stage. The only patron in the place was sitting at the bar, talking to the bartender. And they were speaking in Russian.

I wanted to turn around and leave, pretending that we were looking for something else, but the patron had already turned around and made eye contact with us, as did the bartender. So we gave them the customary ‘How ya doin’ nod — universally accepted in all languages — and we sat down on two stools.

No degenerates. No derelicts. And no girls. Some seedy joint this was.

One thing went through my mind — Russian Mafia. And we were going to get killed. But it was too late. The bartender asked Shawn and I if we wanted to order anything. Did we? We’d come too far and in situations like this when you’re 5 foot nothing like I am, I had learned that it’s best not to display your fear. So we ordered two beers and the two of us sat awkwardly trying to make guy talk with each other. But our conversation echoed throughout the empty place. I figured we’d just finish our beer and leave. Not dead, hopefully.

The bartender went over to the phone on the wall, picked it up and dialed. When whoever he was calling had answered, he started speaking to them in Russian. It was times like this I wished I knew how to say “Kill these horny degenerates” in Russian. He hung up. And the patron and bartender continued to talk.

Not more than a few minutes went by and we heard someone coming up the stairs. A woman wearing a trench coat entered. She was tall and wore heels. Pretty, but she had a look like she had hastily made her way over and perhaps didn’t get her makeup right or brushed her hair. She greeted everyone in Russian (of course) and threw her coat behind the bar.

Then she got up on stage and started twirling around the pole for our benefit.

We ordered another beer.

And that was Baby Dolls on Ossington. The real Ossington.

Oct 2012 22

Not sure how I missed this one — probably cause I was all Jonesed about the BodyForm stuff last week.

What a great idea though… JWT London sent a Kit Kat into outer space, just to help out Felix Baumgartner in his Red Bull Stratos project.

Smart. And probably didn’t cost a lot.

Great ideas don’t have to cost a lot.