The day is hot and bright and Halifax is alive with morning light as I’m walking the inclined downtown streets: Prince and Argyle, Sackville and Grafton; heading for the Citadel. It sits above the city with grassy hillsides, stonewalls and black cannons. An ancient bastion of defense built in a time when England and France were fighting for dominance over the realm of what would one day be called Canada.
As I surmount the lush hillside and enter the stone archway of the front gate I think of my grandfather. He did some of his WW2 training here. He was in the RAF 42nd Division bombers and survived an astounding 90 missions firebombing Berlin and the annihilating the Rhineland, (the average lifespan of a bomber crew was 13 missions). Am I stepping in the same place he once stepped? I wonder. Where did he sleep? Did he perform drills over there?
The Halifax Citadel was first established in 1749. Over the years it fell into disrepair and was rebuilt four times. The current incarnation of the Citadel was named Fort George after King George who was determined to build a permanent military base in Halifax to defend against the French. But not once, in all of its storied history, have any of the four versions of the Citadel been attacked. The soil here has never tasted blood, and yet it was instrumental in the defense of the city. Read the rest of this entry »
Côte-des-Neiges is a multicultural neighbourhood with some of the cheapest rents in the city and at least a dozen cafes. Its an underappreciated area, but it has a lot to offer including the very hip Caravane Café located just around the corner from Metro Côte-des-Neiges .
Caravane Café is in a restored Victorian home. The front porch serves as a nice to place to sit on a sunny day and chat over cigarettes, and the terrasse is big with lots of seating and plenty of sun. Thanks to the flatscreen TV mounted on the side, it also isn’t a bad place to watch the game.
Its proximity to the Université de Montréal means it’s a popular student hangout, so if you go there during the school year you might have trouble finding a seat . Over the summer it’s a little quieter, but there are still some crowds, and you often see lineups reaching out the door. Read the rest of this entry »
Ever since high school I’ve wanted to be a writer. I wanted it so much that (as you can see) I became one, but when I was younger I always envisioned myself writing novels and not short articles and web content. My bookshelf is loaded with complicated literary works like Ulysses, The Alexandria Quartet, and The Sound and the Fury, and I have always been fascinated by the craft of writing and the power of words. Every book I read adds to my style repertoire, and over the years I have read quite a few books that have had a heavy influence on me. My writing style has grown and matured undeniably, so why not buckle down and write that big novel?
As a matter of fact, I already have. I’ve written two novels; one on my computer and another on a typewriter. Both are historical novels. Both manuscripts reside in a drawer in my office collecting dust and both will never be read by anyone but myself. They are shit. That’s fine, because all first drafts are shit, but now that I understand what the process really is like for not only writing a novel, but also finding and editor, an agent, and a publisher, there is no doubt in my mind that I don’t want to do it. To put it bluntly, it’s just too much work with no financial reward. Read the rest of this entry »
On Saturday evening I was walking down Saint Denis in the Berri-UQAM area when I could have sworn I saw the infamous pick up artist and woman-hater Roosh V. He was sitting on a wooden terrasse talking with a dark haired woman, and in that brief moment he looked up at me and we made eye contact. “Was that Roosh?” I thought as I passed. “No, it was probably just some guy who looked like him…” and on I went.
Turns out it actually was him. He’s currently on a speaking tour and was in Montreal for the second last stop on his circuit. The final stop is set to be in my hometown of Toronto on Aug 15.
I first discovered the appalling and outdated views of this man in 2013 when his blog post “15 Reasons Why Toronto is the Worst City in North America For Men” went viral. I was living in Toronto and single at the time, so of course I wanted to see what this was all about. Around this same time I developed a morbid fascination with pickup artist culture, but Roosh sets himself in a class of his own with shockingly misogynist views on gender roles and sexuality, coupled with a long history of looking at women like sexual commodities and not fellow human beings. Read the rest of this entry »
Frustrated with the difficulties and subjectivity of the literary publishing industry, I thought it better to take matters into my own hands. So a couple months ago I created and printed my own chapbook. To promote this work I’m seeking out venues in the city where I can do readings and possibly sell a few copies, but I would be short-sighted of me not to make my chapbook available on my website as well.
So here and now I’m offering my chapbook as a free PDF. Click the link below to start the download. Once you’re done reading it, shoot me an email and let me know what you think! An artist can never grow without honest feedback.
Please enjoy :)
FREE DOWNLOAD: Signals in the Fog_Chris Riddell