Halfway Report January 2019

My January playlists are typically filled with leftovers from the previous year and a smattering of new content I download hastily just for the sake of having something new to listen to after replaying my year-end mix for a whole month. Quality doesn’t really matter at this point, and (ideally) 90% of these songs will be buried and long forgotten by the time March rolls around. The situation’s no different this year- I scoured the world wide web for anything even remotely resembling “listenable” and stuck it on my iPod. Let’s unpack.

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I’ve been writing in a journal for over 15 years now. They’re brief entries, with little to no thoughts or feelings ascribed to them. I jot down the day’s events in bullet points and assign a number from 1 to 5 depending on how fulfilling the day was. There are the rare days I avoid rating altogether because they were especially heinous. These journals have been surprisingly useful in the past, helping me pinpoint specific dates. They’re tomes of concrete, viable information rather than simply being bound collections of nostalgia, and have become some of my most valued possessions.

There’s still space for two more years in my current journal, but I’ve decided to start a brand new one for 2019. It’s a symbolic gesture of the “new beginnings” variety, the kind that I’m usually highly averse to because of the completely arbitrary notion that life somehow changes on January 1st.

It’s just far too difficult to continue picking up this book that holds so many painful memories. A “fresh start” may or may not come in 2019, but pulling out the clean slate cliche may be good for my mental health.¬†These past two years have been unbelievably awful in unique ways.

2017 was the year that broke me, but 2018 was the year that I burnt out.

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Year End Music Countdowns #17: 2018

I typically save my insights for the music industry and music consumption for a section after my countdown.¬† This observation, however, is more personal than anything and will be brought up during the countdown, so I’m going to lead with it:

A large amount of my favourite songs this year were discovered by complete accident.

I didn’t hear them on the radio, I didn’t hear them on iTunes, I didn’t hear them on Spotify, and I didn’t hear them at a concert.

I heard one over the PA in a department store. I heard one playing in someone’s car. I found one through a retweet. I heard in in a YouTube ad before a video.

There’s one that I wasn’t even intended to hear, and I’m technically “not permitted” to have it on my countdown because it was “not available in my area”- but I found a link to it on Reddit.

In fact, my very favourite song of the year I heard while tapping through Instagram Stories.

The common thread? These were all flukes. I was in the right place at the right time. Or the wrong place at the right time. I could have just as easily not been exposed to any of these songs.

That’s the nature of the industry now. You won’t find good quality music through traditional venues. You’ll find it everywhere else. In making music so accessible, the world has also made it that much harder to sift through the filler and find what’s relevant. What’s interesting. What’s good.

So here are the diamonds I’ve dug up from the dirt. The best songs of 2018.

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Union Station Food Court

One day several years ago I reviewed the Urban Eatery in the Toronto Eaton Centre. I walked there myself, and learned all about it. Now there is another eating area in the city, are you ready for it. It is at Union Station. After many years it has opened. It used to be a pit. Now it is opened to the public. I went down there by myself and I reviewed the food outlets there are in there. Here is my culinary review:

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