If it doesn’t happen nothing will cushion the blow.

Are bean bags really worth it? How much does a decent sized bean bag cost? $100? How many times will you really sit in it? It’s novelty furniture, no doubt. It’s the lava lamp of the seating world. You think it’s oh so snazzy and neat, that you’re gonna use it all the time. Then you shell out your hundred bucks and discover it’s cost you $10 per sit. Your friends might get use out of it once or twice and it’ll only remind you how blah-zay and dead inside you’ve become towards that legume themed pseudo-couch. You become actively agitated when people get enjoyment out of it, reminding you of the foolishness of your purchase. You think about what you could’ve done with that money (hint: 7.5kg of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups is a good call. Like this dude who transmuted his winnings from a $100 Magic the Gathering tournament into sweet, sweet nutty chocolate.) and you wither incrementally more each time.

At some point it became the hip thing for offices to have a couple of bean bags around the place. It became shorthand for a hip, youthful, with-it casual workplace culture. Thing is, fellowkids, bean bags are actually kind of a pain to get out of. In truth, they’re ageist fucks, discriminating against those hard of hips and joints. A workmate and I today trialled my bean bag bollocks theory. We’ve got two large bean bags at the end of our floor, so we each took a bag and scrambled to sculpt good butt grooves. It’s a weird angle for your knees. They have to be bent, they can’t just dangle. If you try it your back arches and then you’ve got all kinds of lumbar fuckery going on. You can plant them against a wall in an upper case L shape, but then you’re just trying to imitate a chair. Why the fuck would you even need the beanbag then?

So what I’m really trying to say is, I’m entirely justified in wanting this, right? LOOK AT THAT FUCKING THING. It’s 1.5m by 1.3m and 60cm deep. It could take all the hugs in the world. I could lie on it and snuggle. My girlfriend’s cat and I could hang out on it. It’d finally justify that unused sunny alcove in my room. I want it so goddamn much, but it’s so hard to justify the $500 price tag. The fact that I’m actually trying to justify it shows that it’s hit me on an emotional level that’s outweighing any logical decision making skills I have. A massive snorlax pillow is everything in life I’ve ever wanted out of a pillow/friend. What do I need in order to make this dream come true?

Could I crowdsource or gofundme this into reality? My offered funding rewards could be a salacious photoshoot with snorlax and I. Could I get the furry community to chip in? Do I need to find a sugar mommy? Or perhaps I could start some form of timeshare with other eager cuddlebuddies. Pooling our resources for a massive cuddlepuddle? Could I rent it out as one of those professional cuddle services? If I want it bad enough, I can make this work.

Any suggestions are welcome in the comments. There are very few ideas I won’t consider.


All of her stuff went yesterday, save for an oddly shaped cardboard box. It looks like it was made to fit a whiteboard. It’s the only thing left in her room and somehow I still managed to trip over it as soon as I entered. There was so much space to walk around in and still I stumbled on it, as if homing in on my own uncoordination. Her desk, bed and dresser have vanished (a tad melodramatic, I guess. I mean, I helped her carry them into the van) and it feels a simple tumbleweed away from feeling barren. It’s a little dusty and there are random bits of schmutz, but it’s a vacuum away from being filled with something else entirely: potential.

It’s strange, because my flatmate was planning on moving things gradually over the course of the month. My girlfriend and I would coordinate moving things from her place to mine in a similar fashion. Instead we have a room empty save for a cardboard box. Now it’s on us to maximise our resourcefulness and put together a plan. Thus far we’ve put the cardboard box across the empty window in order to guard passers-by vision below the waist. Step one towards a permanent no pants party. We’ve cracked out the measuring tape in an effort to buy a curtain rod for the first time ever. Hanging our own curtains? We fancy now!

There’s a kind of mental inventory being taken where we hypothesise the idea of planning a living space. I do not live in a planned living space right now. Things reside where they are because that’s where they were put. There was no grand design or organised chaos. My kitchen/living room is a motley collection of odd coloured things I’ve mostly picked up off the street. They fulfil all of my needs because those needs go as far as ‘large objects to rest smaller objects on’. I’m not a visual person, which is why my living space contains faded streamers that’ve been hung for the past two years. The walls are filled with pictures hand drawn by friends. There’s an untreated wooden shelf that I picked up curbside. There’s a comfy ratty couch that’s probably been sat on upwards of 30 times (in two and a half years). My chairs don’t match and my extendible table is already huge before its two leaves are added. Most everything is ugly and nothing is particularly functional. A planned, coordinated effort to make the living space workable and comfortable feels like a fun project for us to do.

Even more so, the idea of combining our shared aesthetic desires makes me feel like we’re creating a home together. As a team. The risk of having my girlfriend move into my place is that there’s an established order (so to speak) and it could be hard for her to feel like she fits. As I hope I’ve made it clear, there is no order and I’m not locked into anything about the current configuration. I’m thrilled to discuss and collaborate, to find solutions and opportunities. It’s a chance for growth, to learn and adapt. Because I love her and I love seeing how her mind works, the different angles and fresh ideas she brings to the same canvas. Moving into a shared space, the relationship itself is evolving and it’s only fitting that our surroundings reflect that. For such a long time I’ve put off notions of domestic design as boring, adult and compensation for personality in other areas. Really though, seeing my friends’ house as an extension of themselves changed that view. Our home doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be “us”.

Hence the importance of curtains, because clothes really don’t suit the decor.

Spectator tots.

Disclaimer: This one will get sexual. If that’s not your thing, leave now.

It might’ve been the music throwing me off. Upbeat and peppy mixes of general pop ephemera. I had no issue with them, but my brain kept trying to catalogue the songs being rotated. It could’ve been the lighting. Ambiance is one thing, but roaming blue and red disco dots have a habit of catching my attention. I guess the quiet murmurs weren’t helping as I lay there trying to focus on the task at hand. Maybe I was overthinking things, trying to engage with the right mindframe but being pulled away each time. Stay with her I thought. Wait, what do I look like right now? I’d adjust, flex muscles ever so slightly in an attempt to maintain a confident appearance. What’s she thinking? How’s she reacting to this? I grinned and slapped her ass cheekily. Do I seem confident? I hope I’m evoking some kind of competency here. She shuddered and smiled back. Still I failed to stir, nerves firing all around my body. I darted my eyes to the left and saw a collection of people reclining, watching. This really would be easier without all of them staringAt least they’re watching. I wonder what they think.

Lying back on a soft mattress while a room full of people watched my girlfriend and I fucking was an experience. It’s no secret that both of us have attention seeking qualities, so the idea had merit. She’s stunning, sensual and in every way intoxicating. Seeing her in the throes of passion is something else. I have a litany of body confidence issues and in an attempt to overcome them, have thrown myself at an array of challenges. There was Hysterical Literature, where my girlfriend and I took turns reading passages to a room full of people while the other went down on us. The Body Pride documentary saw myself and several others sit in a circle. Microphones sat in front of us while cameras watched us discuss our experiences dealing with sex and body image throughout our lives. Spectator Sex seemed like a good plateau to reach for.

I don’t know how often we talk about the damaging effects that toxic masculinity has on male sexuality, but I can tell you it’s a headfuck. Pun obviously intended. Being nervous, excited and a little stressed in a room full of people is a nightmare scenario when you’re trying to get it up. Even worse when you feel society demands that you go from zero to one hung dude in two seconds. If you don’t there’s clearly something off with you. A gorgeous woman is working her hands down your chest towards your cock, yet you’re doughy down there. She’s gonna work her tongue around your most sensitive areas and the idea of that isn’t exciting enough for you to budge? What’s wrong with you dude? You should be hard as a diamond. Your dick should be so rigid it could cut through glass, but you’re little more than limp. Jesus fuck. She noticed and worked in some descriptive dirty talk, saying just what she wanted to do to me, how much she wanted it. In most circumstances that would’ve been enough, but the stress of having to literally perform was dampening my desire. Worse, the fact that it wasn’t doing enough compounded any insecurities I already had. She took things slowly and caressed me, gently squeezing and whispering naughtiness. I pushed everything else into the background and focused on her. I begun to stir. She fostered my growth and gripped me eagerly. She turned her body and straddled my face while we worked away at one another. I’ve gotta admit, I was kind of getting into it.

It was touch and go, with my hardness wavering. I wanted to be on top. My own inability to go full alpha male had me craving some modicum of control or status. I lifted her hips and sat up. I picked her up and pressed her back into the mattress. I grinned slyly and begun to work my way down her body. If people wanted a real show they weren’t gonna get it from me. I glided across her legs, biting, licking and kissing as I went. A little teasing as I got close and pulled away, but I couldn’t resist diving in for too long. While I made a meal out of her, my cock retracted between my legs, hanging limp away from the action. While I drenched my fingers in her saliva I cast my thoughts around the room. I thought about my girlfriend and how amazing she looked with her hips thrusting, breath alternating between moans and short gasps. I wondered what the older couples thought of us, were we perky and adorable or childish and small? Were we sexy and desirable or sad to watch? Did that young foxy black couple think we were lame? Was anyone associating our intimacy with Justin Bieber’s Sorry, playing out through the house speakers?

I felt her getting close and forgot about everyone else. I was getting nervous, rushing. She brought me back. “Slow down” she told me, “watch how you’re working my clit”, “hook your fingers a bit more”. Things I knew implicitly, but found it tough to keep in mind in the situation. We locked eyes, I took a breath and slowed down. Responses started to come in waves. Short cries of pleasure, one after another. My hands were sopping. I continued to work my fingers while I took care of her clit with my tongue. Her back arched. Her volume increased and despite my tongue going at it, my cheeks strained with a wide involuntary grin. I looked up and she was spent. I pulled my fingers out slowly and came up to kiss her. Not sexually, but lovingly. I pulled back to look at her. Her eyes welled up and we kissed again. I whispered “so what happens now? Do we bow or something? She hugged me close. We turned to the crowd and smiled.

My mind chirped back up again. I know I just ate, but I could sure use a drink.

Undisputedly a case of missing persons.

A year ago I had a dilemma. My friend/flatmate was moving out of our flat, then dubbed Flat Dragonzord. I needed a new flatmate, but wanted to find the right fit. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a weird dude. I enter and depart rooms like a whimsical spirit, sometimes mid sentence. Invariably in odd states of dress. I eat odd things, like whole cans of peas. I’ll get on rants or tangents about my vendetta with Mr Smashmouth or my hatred of CDs/DVDs. I’m an acquired taste. To aid myself in this uphill climb, I posted this ad to Craigslist and Kijiji. I got a surprising amount of responses, so I basically scheduled them throughout the evening while my departing flatmate eavesdropped in the background. After each person left, he’d give me a rundown of what he thought. Helpful. Through some convoluted system I ended up with this weird bait and switch. I selected the ex-girlfriend of my previous apartment searchers, which I only deduced through small conversational tidbits. C’mon, she described herself as “friendly” and “neighbourhood” in that order, then came to the viewing with a Spider Man tee hidden Superman style under her shirt. How would I not have picked her?

It’s been a year since then and she’s starting the moving process tomorrow. So how’s it been? Quite possibly the best flatting situation of my life. She’s quiet, but friendly and always happy to chat. She’s smart and has a way of cutting to the heart of social issues with views I never would’ve considered alone. She knows stuff about things sciency and medical, since those are her fields. She’s super chill and, since we’ve got no sexual interest in one another, we’re fine walking around the place in our underwear. As someone who prefers zero clothes, it’s a boon and a half. She’s also Quebecois and as such brings a cultural perspective foreign to my own. I’ve never not enjoyed spending time around her. The ironic part is, for a flatmate I like spending time with, she’s barely ever here. Part way through our shared flatting adventure she met someone and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Fortunately her girlfriend is cool as shit, so my number of rad friends at home doubled. When they were here, anyway. My flatmate spends most nights at her girlfriend’s place to the point where she may sleep at home two nights a month. It’s basically been like having a place to myself with some friends who come around unannounced, but are always welcome.

We’ve had adventures too. For some reason I have a hard time finding friends who want to go out and do high intensity physical activities. She’s a derby gal. If I’m into doing something active, she often is too. We once spent hours messing around at Monkey Vault, the indoor parkour place. We tried gymnastic tumbles, we climbed and picked up as many jumping/grabbing/momentum transference tricks as we could until our hands bled. We went along to Pursuit OCR and raced around the track. Applying physics and strength we scaled the cove ramp, messed around with the agility ladder and bar wall. Having someone who’s into active activities has been a blast and prevented me from trawling for play dates on Facebook.

She shares my love of food. We’ve gorged together on cheese, snacks and chocolate. We’ve been out for meals and stuffed ourselves silly. Through sheer inspiration and gluttony, we went to the supermarket and bought all the necessary (and excessive) components for an at-home sundae bar. Not merely chocolate sauce, she demanded, but caramel too. Sprinkles and crackle, maraschino cherries and bananas of course. Nothing was ever enough and that kind of commitment to indulgence is something I admire all too much. She showed me how to really host Halloween for kids with a chip packet, mini bar and something gummy for each child. If 100 kids showed up we could’ve catered them all (instead of me eating the excess over the next few weeks).

Best of all, she’s been an amazing person to bounce ideas off. If I’ve been depressed or anxious, she’s been there with logic and emotional nuance. Unsurprisingly I’ve had a ton to unpack and she’s helped every time I’ve talked, even if just supplying reassurance that I’m not insane. I’ve tried to reciprocate at any potential opportunity, but as it turns out she’s pretty well put together and has rarely needed the help.

Yet, she’s leaving. We’re each moving on to live with our significant others and couldn’t be happier about it. It’s not like we’re never gonna see each other again. We’re still gonna do game nights, meal nights and hang outs. They’ll just be in different places. I’ve been so fortunate to have her around for this past year and it’s way better to be parting on fantastic terms. I love her and I’m gonna miss her, but it really is all for the best.

Also her name is really similar to my girlfriend’s and that’s been hella confusing. I guess it really is for the best.

I’m not spineless or heartless. I’m just looking for someone to finish me.

I had a conversation a while back with a friend that made me realise how different sexual attraction is between folks. She mentioned the rush of seeing someone attractive and feeling flushed, filled with desire. I quirked my head and replied wait, that actually happens to you? I have no idea what that feels like. So in case there are other people who don’t do desire in the same way that I do, here’s how my mind wraps itself around the concept.

When I see an attractive person I recognise that they’re attractive, but I might as well be recognising that a flower is yellow. It’s an objective fact without further connotations. I don’t get sexual or romantic attraction without an understanding of who that attractive person is. I have no interest in fucking them because, well, I wouldn’t fuck a flower just because it was yellow either. There’s no instant tingling in my heart or nethers. I don’t get slack jawed or tongue tied, nor do my eyes protrude from their sockets. This isn’t to say that I don’t have shallow qualities either. If I do think that someone’s attractive I’ll start subconsciously searching for reasons why they’re the kind of person I’d want to meet. I’ve gotta work my brain, heart and dangly bits into alignment if there’s any chance of quickening my heartbeat. “Oh, you’re reading Tom Robbins. You must like words.” There has to be the seed of something or it’s all a wash.

If I start talking to them and enjoy the conversation, that’s when those butterflies of attraction kick in. They start blooming in my mind and I realise that they have a stamen (I’m kind of losing touch of this flower metaphor) and might want me to buzz over and make some sweet honey with them. If they don’t seem like my type, sexual attraction doesn’t even enter into the situation. I’ve got no interest in kissing them, let alone sleeping with them, regardless of how they look. I’m not creating any moral high ground here, but sexual interest based on physical attraction alone isn’t something I’ve found myself capable of. I’m not knocking anyone else, if it works for you, that’s great. Probably preferable, even.

It’s why one night stands are pretty rare for me. I’m unlikely to bring someone home unless that journey has been preceded by several hours of getting to know someone. If we meet in a bar and crash in bed together, it’ll usually be because anything that’d halt the conversation feels wrong. In which case it’s probably not gonna just be a one night stand (unless you find me abhorrent and smelly and never want to see me again). If it’s getting late and I’m not head over heels I’m probably more likely to grab your number and go for a second date.

The other side of this is that in other situations I find that I’m suddenly attracted to people I’ve known for a while. Maybe they’ve said something that makes me feel some kind of connection or commonality and attraction sparks. I’ll start noticing or admiring their features in ways I never noticed previously. It’s like once my brain is piqued it’s on the lookout for more reasons to keep these people in my life.

Then again if I’m drunk, my caveman brain is a lot less discerning. “Oh, you just pulled that dude’s spine out? You must be a Mortal Kombat fan. I can work with this.”

Frankly I’m shocked Uber hasn’t got a fleet of penny-farthing drawn rickshaws yet. What happened to capitalistic integrity?

Sorry, I lost myself for a minute there. I’ve been tumbling through time and it’s been quite the trip. I was checking out my girlfriend’s old Facebook photos because I thought it’d be neat to get a snapshot of who she was before we met. Also she was 100% babyfaced and adorable, which is quality shits and giggles fuel. Doesn’t everyone love a good round of Who would we be if we met back then? Come to think of it, in most cases my answers would’ve been buffoonish or drunk in an effort to hide crippling insecurities, so let’s stick with when we did. We’ve talked about it before, but I know she’s the kind of girl I would’ve developed a soul enveloping crush on in high school then failed to act on any of my feelings. It was a stroke of luck that we met once I was the right person in the right place (and hemisphere) to do something about it. Actually, that’s balls. She literally took me by the hand and made things happen, I can drop the unbecoming self-righteous rhetoric. That kind of stuff all comes out in the wash. How we met and who we were then matters not an ounce in a living, evolving relationship. Anyway, the point of this wasn’t to write yet another treatise on our relationship. I’ve got virtually every other entry for that.

No, I’m more interested in how it took me 29 years to discover the magical technology of photo albums.

I’ve eschewed it thus far and I’m not the type to take photos. Fortunately my friends were. Yes, I realise the rest of society has long held the secrets of time travel in those weighty glossy folders, but it still feels novel for me. With a scroll of the wheel I’m back at the time my two friends and I decided to arrive at a Disney themed birthday wearing identical Christopher Robin outfits. I’m reliving my 21st birthday. It’s evident that I’m so drunk pouring a glass of wine that my facial features are in danger of sliding off my head. The time we had a toasted sandwich party at the flat and forced each other to try increasingly ludicrous toasted sandwich samples. Nutella and olives was quite the taste sensation. Perhaps not a positive one. Shaving my head as part of an elaborate joke. The anthropomorphic fluff ball we made from my shavings.

The majority of photos are with the same friends. That core group of people who were instrumental in forming the “me” typing this. It’s theme party after theme party, whether “Rainbow Road”, “Hoedown” or “Worst Party Ever”. Beach holidays, batch getaways, Thailand and Australia, crossing the United States in a large RV (without any conflict driven manslaughter). So much alcohol. It’s weird to see us all age in reverse, for those layers of who we’ve all become to peel one by one. It’s strange to think that at each stage I felt so mature, like I’d come so far. Looking back now, see a bunch of kids. So cherubim and unaware, uncaring of where things are headed. My face has wrinkles that Leon at 20 didn’t see in the mirror. I also have knowledge that I lacked at 20. I’m wise enough now to know that I haven’t got a clue and that’s alright. It’s better than being a clueless know-it-all.

Man, photo albums are kind of neat. What’ll I try next?A penny-farthing?

We’re all adults here. Really, we are. It’s part of the entry criteria.

Last night I once again did something that I’d never before done in my 26 years in New Zealand. I visited a sex club. A couple of my friends were doing a porn shoot and spoken word, so I headed along for a night out. Going to a sex club is the kind of activity that seemed wholly verboten until I actually went. It’s amazing how quickly you acclimatise. The first time I stepped I of course had a quick “ooh, boobs” moment. Then I realised how rarely you see male nudity out in public. Dicks everywhere, which meant alternating between staring and trying not to stare and managing how I reacted verses how I thought I should react. After a minute or two shock faded and naked people didn’t seem particularly weird. I mean, everyone’s naked underneath their clothes, right? It was a lot easier to just look people in the face.

So in honour of this all new life experience, here’s a non-exhaustive list of things I’ve done at Oasis:

  • Had sex. I guess this should’ve been a given, being a “sex club” and all. Most of the time I visit it’s with my girlfriend and we find ourselves sauntering up to the third floor for a bit of one on one action. We’ve yet to share bathing suit areas in the back of the Pussy Wagon (yes, a replica back-of-van in the style of the iconic Kill Bill vehicle), but we’ve stained most of the other surfaces. Psyche, everything’s covered in easy to clean vinyl, so no evidence was left.
  • Practiced pole dancing. I think Human Flag is some of the coolest shit out there (but holy shit that push/pull is tough). I’d love to be able to get a decent hold time (I can currently get maybe 1-2 seconds on a descent), so if it’s a quiet night at Oasis I sometimes practice on the stripper pole. It’s mostly fooling around, but I think knowing a couple of tricks would be pretty neat from a physical standpoint. You never know when those kind of skills will come in handy.
  • Hung out with friends around the pool dancing to Lauren Hill. A relaxing all day Sunday adventure where my friends and I just happened to be naked. Yes, some people in the background were fucking. Even, some of my friends were fucking at different points. Who cares? It was chill as hell (the ninth circle anyway).
  • Watched live porn being filmed. It’s kind of cool, but considering half the acts I’ve seen have been friends, it’s more adorable than erotic. It’s great to cheer people on and I assume to get up in front of a room they have to possess some form of exhibitionist tendencies. Why not stoke that ego?
  • Had my first threesome. A wonderful, sexy and gratifying experience. It just so turns out that the other participant and her boyfriend have become some of my favourite people.
  • Played a Magic the Gathering draft. Most people were kind of new to the game, but it was hugely entertaining to play the game I love in my birthday suit. I also walked away with a ludicrous amount of value worth of cards. If I’d sold them off, I would’ve made money on my entrance fee to Oasis. Wait, why don’t I have naked Magic days at my own house?
  • Showered copiously. This is gonna sound dumb as hell, but one of my favourite things to do at Oasis is use the shower. Large shower heads, good pressure, really warm. A massive supply of products that make my hair smell fruity and delicious. If I can walk away feeling warm, clean and smelling like a fresh clementine, what’s not to love?
  • Ordered takeout from surrounding businesses. The best part being that the big greasy burger and fries? I devoured it buck naked. Sauce running down my arms, delicious feast filling my eager maw. Hedonism incarnate.
  • Exchanged puns in the hot tub. Somehow I continue to find like-minded punters who share my lust for words.
  • Performed for a crowd. In the vein of Hysterical Literature, I read aloud from Jitterbug Perfume while my girlfriend went down on me in front of a room full of people. Switching it over, watching her squirm and writhe was a special kind of heaven.
  • Met my good friend’s fiancée. I still find it cute that we first met naked in a sex club. He’s a top notch human with a similar predilection for wordplay. He’s one of those people that makes you regret that conversations have to end eventually. A perfect match for his partner, easily one of the most important people to my life here in Toronto.

You know what I haven’t done? Approached people for sex. Awkwardly gawked at couples in the act. Touched people inappropriately. Participated in a Rock Band night. Some of these are more desirable than others.

Why am I even making a racket? Love means nothing in tennis.

Do you ever find yourself watching things and not know why? My girlfriend and I checked out the trailer for Judd Apatow’s new Netflix show Love last week and I felt myself entirely whelmed. It didn’t look amazing or terrible. It didn’t even look necessary. A relationship comedy about two middle class white folks in L.A. I resolved I could skip it without missing out. Cue a bored Saturday on my bed cruising Netflix and the show stared back at me from the banner. I had nothing to do and to assuage guilt over watching mediocre television, I checked a few reviews. The praise was favourable and hinted at depth couched in the middle of the series. I loaded up the episode and watched. 40 minutes later I looked back and the clock and figured what the hell? I had nowhere important to be and had the time. I left the house three episodes deep, wondering what it was I actually liked about the show.

It’s not slapstick and I think that’s a big pull. In fact the show feels even keeled, not front-loaded with a whole lot of drama or high-stakes. Hell (ever so slight spoiler), the characters don’t even meet till the end of the first episode. There’s something to the slow pace and relative down to earth nature of the plot that feels endearing, rewarded. It’s not treating the audience like idiots and stabbing us in the face with blunt points. We know they’re gonna get together, but how well is that entanglement crafted? The central characters, Gus and Mickey, aren’t particularly likeable, but they have their charms. They both carry their baggage and they aren’t flat out handed things on a platter through plot armour. They’re called out for their bullshit by their friends and co-workers on a regular basis which gives the series somewhat of a tangible quality. In fact, the secondary characters seem to flesh the show out a ton with occasional flashes of depth. Sure, caricatures exist, but they don’t stay two dimensional for all that long.

Honestly, I don’t know what to expect from the show. I haven’t placed the bar high, so it’ll be tough to be disappointed. I certainly don’t expect a treatise on modern dating with the quality of Master of None. Aziz nailed it through and through, pairing the eerily resonant truth and consequence of relationships with an exploration of societal inadequacies. Love thus far is certainly no You’re the Worst, which pivoted unapologetically terrible people into each other’s orbit and veered into a frank and brutal depiction of depression (in a comedy, no less). Then again, Love could pull a Forgetting Sarah Marshall and rise above its assumed mediocrity. If puppets come out, the show has nowhere to go but up.

Why are you even reading this anyway? I’m sure by the time this is posted, you’ll have binged the whole series.

Give me a few days and I will have too.

This almost called for the quintessential Creed reference.

It dawned on me this morning one of the big differences between life in Toronto and life back in Auckland. I hug people a lot more often here. I always grew up with a lot of close friends. I was carried through life from kindergarten through university amassing friend groups and fostering friendships. My core group numbered around 15-20 people and it was tight knit. With the bulk of my close friendships spanning 10-20 years, there were years worth of shared history we could call on, innumerable in-jokes and a general acceptance and understanding of individual weirdness. It was amazing and created the kind of bonds that won’t erode with time. The sort of friendships where, regardless of distance and disparate communication, everything clicks back into place as soon as you’re face to face. We didn’t hug though.

The friendships I have here in Toronto feel intimate in a whole different way. They’re amassed of fellow rogues, people from all different walks of life. There’s much more of a community feel, brought together over shared interests and desires rather than circumstantial history. We met through diverse means and express our friendships in wholly different ways. This weekend my girlfriend and I cuddled up on the couch with our couple friends, stripped down to our underwear and played Pandemic. I met up with a fellow New Zealand mate and her partner for brunch. I met her at a sex/sexuality conference. This afternoon I’m going out to hang with my favourite ex-girlfriend, one of my enduring and very special friends here in Toronto. Naturally, they’re all the types of friends whose departure necessitates a hug. It just feels right, necessary almost.

It sounds like I’m drawing a strict line in the sand here and throwing out comparisons. As if I’m saying my life and friendships in Toronto eclipse those I built up back home. It sucks that it sounds that way, because that’d be a gross disservice to all those people I grew up with who are such an important part of who I am. One thing I don’t think I acknowledge enough is how much I really miss all my best friends. They were with me for most of the best times of my life and I’d love to take months out of my life purely for the purpose of catch ups. I think back to the weekend vacation we had a fortnight before I left the country. Hours on end with my favourite people in the world. I don’t think I could pinpoint a moment in my life I’ve been happier, riding high on the fumes of shared joy.

This in turn sounds like I’m dumping on my Toronto friends for our lack of shared history. This too is not the case. The life I lead here is filled with so much love and unlike the obvious unspoken love my friends and I shared back home, it’s expressed verbally, physically and often. It’s abundant and visible and it’s amazing to be a part of. The more time I spend here, the more that shared history grows and the closer these connections become. It’s become a cornerstone of my life and I’m just realising how important that is to me.

I’ve thought about it, why these friendships differ so much. It dawns on me that the change isn’t in the types of relationships, but a fundamental internal shift. It’s become apparent that this change is indicative of something I desired and I’ve found a like-minded community to engage with. Part of me wishes I’d hugged more frequently when I had the chance, to have been open and transparent about my affection for the most crucial people in my life. The other, more rational part of my brain knows that this was always understood in a non-verbal capacity. That window hasn’t closed and it’s something to look forward to in our future dalliances rather than regretting its absence in the past.

Or else we’ll just gently rib each other about our deep-seated insecurities, which is like a hug for the soul.

I need to start reviewing more, this felt clunky as hell.

I love seeing Basia Bulat in concert, but the thought of reviewing a show always comes with a tinge of dread. The way she performs makes you want to toss around hyperbolic language shamelessly. The words “magical”, “enchanting” and “spellbinding” all seem gratuitous on paper, but feel apt in the midst of a performance. She’s a talented multi-instrumentalist and given her show at Mod Club last night, each word feels justified.

Opening the set with Fool, the first single from her new album Good Advice, it’s a colourful pop explosion. The stage is drenched in an array of purple lights. She’s surrounded by a seven piece band, garbed in a shimmering gold sequin shawl. Despite the visual flood, her voice stands tall. Much like Florence Welch (of “the Machine”), she can belt it out and when she hits her stride she rides it all the way.

The atmosphere lifts when she steps away from the mic stand. Clasping the mic in one hand and a tambourine in the other, La La Lie has her dancing around the stage, pulling on the chemistry she’s built with her backing band. A gorgeous five part harmony has the crowd bobbing excitedly and the song closes out to raucous cheers as she thrusts the tambourine into the air.

“Maybe it’s time for a couple of folk songs.” She suggests. Digging into her back catalogue, she begins to take requests from the crowd. Things loosen up and she plays with the arrangements a lot more. Five Four has her grabbing her acoustic guitar, while the strumming and picking develop an interesting twang. Paris or Amsterdam features smoky vocals and acoustic plucking interlaced with a surprisingly apt cosmic synth line. For a song about mental and emotional distance, it’s hard not to have it transport you somewhere.

Watching the performance and the crowd, those recurring hyperbolic words all make sense. It’s in the way she looks and smiles at her fellow band members mid-song. It’s in those moments where the façade drops and you can see someone who’s soaking in the experience. There’s a tangible sincerity to the emotion in her songs and her audience latches to it effortlessly. Most of all, it’s fun as hell. There’s something in her act that seems bigger than its composite parts and you can see it play out through the crowd. Audience members sway from side to side with closed eyes and hands on hearts. They bob up and down or excitedly hop about, heels stomping and toes tapping. If I can’t say it was “magical” “enchanting” or “spellbinding”, I can certainly say she draws focus. When Basia Bulat performs, she makes it impossible not to watch.