Canadian Empty
by Dan
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.



Sparks - "(Baby, Baby) Can I Invade Your Country"

Teddy was 13 and under the impression that he was much more good-looking than he actually was. He wore his wing-tipped jeans like they didn't fit like a rotten pear. He walked proudly with his chest sticking out in front, blissfully oblivious to his sinking hunched shoulders and his plunking, swishing gait. He spoke slowly, as if he poshly needed to taste all his syllables, taking no notice of his own condescending whine, nor the splay-toothed spittle that formed at the sides of his mouth. Despite having a voice like a seeping balloon, he enrolled himself in a local youth choir at the Briarcrest Community Center on Thursday nights.

He came into rehearsal for New Voices Youth Choir, always one of the first to arrive. He dropped his droopy satchel bag in the corner near the coat hooks and made his way to a group of three girls, chatting before things got started. "Hello lay-dees," his voice creeped out of his throat like it were an insect, like it had its own eyes. The girls always dreaded a talk with Teddy, but always seemed to forget that it would happen, the way you only take notice of a leaky shower faucet when you're actually in the shower; a problem that quickly gets itself forgotten, only to come back every time, with the pall and residue of an untended annoyance. "What-ever are you discussing amongst yourselves? Perhaps the weather?" The girls looked at him like a plate of left-out cheese, a sweaty, sagging, unduly proud pile, edges hardening by the second. "We're talking about how to get beer this weekend. So..." Two of the girls closed their shoulders together, a gate denying entry, but Teddy stood motionless, his hands perched high up on his waist, pulling his shirt up with his hands placed icky on his bare skin. "Oh. Beer. Myself, I'm more partial to cock-tails." One of the girls, the oldest, said with eyes firmly rolled, "Oh yeah?" The door opened and the instructor came in, sighed, and Teddy zeroed in on her; he had plenty of suggestions for new songs and special requests for solos. As he left the girls, he spoke without looking at them, "Yes. They certainly do take the edge off the day." One girl, the tallest, looked lazily at his satchel, sad and dolloped in the corner, and wondered what-ever could be inside.

[Order from In the Red]

Posted by Dan at June 17, 2011 11:32 AM

Oh god. I was this kid. This is exactly as it was.

Posted by Ryan at June 18, 2011 1:11 PM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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our favourite blogs
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Back to the World
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Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
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Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
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Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
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Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
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The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
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blue skies turn black
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