I don't want to be seen as somebody who cannot let go of the past and is endlessly obsessed with the tiniest, cement speck of downtown Toronto's history or whatever. I mean, I never grew up there...I was always an hour or more away. And anyway, Jesse is already totally absorbed by it to an almost frightening point. He needs your help.
This is just a recollection that came back and pushed me in a few directions and had an effect on me in the most recent week or two. I woke up to some radio show playing old punk rock and I heard this song by all-girl Toronto combo, The Curse, called "Shoeshine Boy". I'm not sure I'd ever heard it before but it immediately flooded my brain with foggy memories of the killing of Emanuel Jacques and Ontario's own seedy Times Square, downtown Yonge Street. The only thing that keeps this post remotely on topic is the fact that we seem to all be into the grand and dirty cinema/culture centres of yore around here and we had a doozy in the 70s with Yonge and the area's grime was noticed and 'something had to be done' once it was brought to attention by the media via this tragic and grotesque crime.
My family would come to Toronto for a weekend each year. Usually we'd take in some event like a concert or game or whatever but to me it was the beginning of a love of Toronto street walking and record stores and shit. Like, Jamie Ufton at school let me know where the Record Peddler was on Queen East and Flash Jacks on Yonge and I'd go out to the Danforth Music Hall (or was it the Roxy?) to see the Led Zeppelin movie which played there on Saturdays along with a dull Jimi Hendrix documentary. Stuff that was very exciting to me at the time and still resonates that way. Anyhow, I remember one year (maybe the first) my parents were warning me to be careful and stuff and I had a vague but mostly uninterested memory of a grisly downtown crime in the previous year or so that I equated with the much larger and more known Son of Sam thing in NYC. In fact, I believe I ended up thinking that the killing of this young boy in Toronto was committed by the Son of Sam, albeit briefly. So, after hearing the song that is loosely based on the crime and stuff, I wanted to find out more so I went searching and got into the headspace of Toronto in 1977 or so. A fun time!
This was probably my favourite little page. They don't write stuff like this so much anymore, do they? I don't read a lot of newspapers so maybe they do but this feels antiquated even, you know? It's cool though for sure.
And I finally found the song I'd been searching for back when I posted about the CN Tower's slight stumble (and still recovering fine, thanks!) from stature a few weeks back. This song is a stunner so I suggest you download it right now...the B side can wait. Also, now I need to find Jamie Ufton and convince him to sell me his collection of early Canadian punk 45s. I'm sure he had them. Help me.
And as a filmic illustration, the ad campaign from the era that totally freaked me out and continues to do so and always will. What a truly creepy image this is. It's burned into me and would genuinely frighten the shit out of me when I saw it in the paper.