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the kwokkie diaries: day 5

June 30, 2018 , , , , , , ,

Another amazing wall along Queen Street West.

Day 5: Toronto

I AM GOING TO SEE HERBIE HANCOCK LIVE. That is all. I’m not even a TRUE Jazz head. I’m just a nerdy muso whose love of learning encompasses all things jazz; a jazz-infused “Girl Friday”, if you will. I know people who would give their ears to be in my spot, metaphorically speaking!

This is a house-front. They look different here!

Steps taken: 19,788 mostly in my new favourite haunts of King + Queen Street West. Went back for a closer look at some of the funky and fabulous shops today, bought my FIRST piece of clothing; a pair of red, high-waisted culottes which I miraculously DON’T have hem. WHAT A WIN. They were from Frank + Oak, and I love that they are a Canadian-based clothing company. Explored Spadina Ave and the Chinatown precinct, happily immersing myself in the noise and mayhem on this hot + humid Toronto day, but also finding that my staying-power was only about 30 minutes before I started wilting after my morning of walking the streets in my new favourite neighbourhoods. Embarrassingly, I have been in Toronto for 2 days and spent a grand total of 5 hours in the downtown district.

My new high-waisted red culottes, which I rocked for the Herbie concert. Plus I have no more clean or dry pants right now. 

One memorable meal or food item: I had an amazing super bowl for brunch; or “BLUNCH”, as they like to call it. It was quinoa, sautéed kale, turmeric cauliflower, roasted capsicum, yoghurt, pickled carrots, hummus, and poached eggs. That kept me going until about 2:00pm, when I felt it was absolutely essential to stop for a salted caramel + popcorn gelato.


One special photograph: I found Adelaide Street! A little spot of home!

One decent coffee: I was back at Sam James this morning and it was still just as good.

Colourful setting just outside of “Mildred’s Temple”, where I had “blunch”.


One amazing moment: Seeing Herbie Hancock live! This man has spent SIX DECADES honing his craft. And he kicks my butt to the curb with every single note + idea that he comes up with. Warm + personable, he commentated between sets, introducing himself with heartwarming Southern charm as “Uncle Herbie”! But what simultaneously cracked me up and blew my mind was when he quoted “Watermelon Man” in the middle of “Chameleon” whilst originally embarking on a meandering yet intellectually challenging rendition of “So What?” It was all very “Jazz Inception”, with a motive within a motive within a chart.

And am I PROUD to be able to describe this to you as a classically-trained musician who has fallen deeper and deeper in infatuation with Jazz?!


The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts where the Herbie Hancock concert was held.

Look at the cue!

One unplanned detour/adventure: I didn’t cause this one, but it certainly ruffled me up. A few rows in front of us in the Herbie Hancock concert was a man hell-bent on videoing the entire thing. Despite numerous warnings + reprimands, he continued to video and ARGUE BACK with the security guards. When he finally put his phone his phone away, the whole section around him had been vacated by angry concertgoers, who had clearly had enough. And that man continued to be able to watch this amazing concert and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It left me utterly frustrated and with a bitter taste in my mouth; that people who were doing the right thing and enjoying the show respectfully had to leave, and this idiot causing all the fuss and discomfort was allowed to stay. I absolutely don’t like physical violence, but I was honestly disappointed he wasn’t removed. He DESERVED to be removed.

It also resonated with me so deeply from a teacher point of view; all I could see was the 13-year-old kid who had never heard the word “no”, or had it firmly enforced.

One act of kindness: I tried on a GORGEOUS dress today that I would have totally bought if they had my size. I loved it so much that I tried on a size medium, which of course gaped everywhere. As I was taking it to the change rooms, another lady coming out spotted it and exclaimed, “Oooooooh! Preeeettttty! Are there any more left?”

“No, sorry, I’ve got the last one right now and I’m about to try it on. I’m so sorry!”

“Oh, damn! No worries!”

When I realised there was no way I could salvage a size medium and make it work without looking like I was walking around in a glorious red + orange potato sack, I took it out of the change rooms and rather than giving it back to the shop assistant, I hunted down that lady + gave it to her to try on, and hung around to see the result.

It fit her perfect! She bought it, and was so excited that she asked to please take a selfie with me, so she could tell everyone about the little Aussie to helped her find her new dress!

20 minutes reading: A book that I’ve pulled from the bookshelf of the apartment I am staying, Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”.


30 minutes composing: I did this FIRST today before I left! So proud. Not composing, but editing for Year 12 Composing + Arranging. My poor Year 12 kiddies are feeling the weight of the deadlines, and it’s showing in the quality of their drafts!

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