Friday, April 23, 2010


We've had bad trouble in Santa Fe with birds - usually towhees, whom I always suspect aren't very smart - flying straight into our windows, startling the cats considerably, and then landing, stunned (or worse) on the ground outside. I bought some black silhouettes from an on line source, which was a really bad idea - they seemed to have been cut out of black bin liners, and totally failed to stick. York University, Toronto, however, seems to have found some far more permanent way of sticking artificial bird outlines onto their windows: so permanent and unremovable, indeed, that they have become repositories for scratched graffiti, rather like large flat cactus leaves.

I always enjoy coming to Canada (though I'm always in hotels where people party up and down the corridors. Come to think of it, that's currently true of the US, too - I must just stay in the wrong hotels). It manages, at best, to merge all kinds of good British things (Penguin books, people wearing funky clothes, Cadbury's chocolate) with the better parts of American life (evidence? tonight's dinner at Pangaea, perhaps, which was wonderfully US/Canadian organic fusion; a functional cab system), plus the comfortably downtrodden (witness the peeling grey concrete of York - which, on the Keele campus, could well have been Keele, England) - plus the fun feeling of being abroad when one realizes that on certain occasions it's easier, indeed, necessary, to talk French, not English, even here - or the taken-for-granted Canadian-ness of the fact that I'm being picked up in the morning by a couple of married (to each other) women. I've always thought (major theme of The Transatlantic Indian, of course), that the internationalism and multiculturalism of Canada is never perceived of as sexy (except, perhaps, by Canadians) for the self-evident reason that it is Canadian - and that this is most unfair.

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