My evenings are usually made up of sipping coffee, occasionally engaging in conversation with the odd stranger who approaches me and of course writing in coffee shops, however, last night I decided to exchange some routine for some good ol’ fun. I’m too old to trick or treat and I couldn’t be bothered to hand out candy fearful that my hand would get the better of me and incessantly fill my mouth with chocolate bars instead of children’s bags. The safest solution was to head into the city to watch one of my favorite bands the Toronto music scene has to offer- not to mention the lead singer is my brother (a little bias, maybe). So that’s what I did.
I ventured off into the city in my costume and stood in the rain for a half an hour to watch (cue drum roll) Elos Arma. They’re an Indie band with a unique name, which by the way doesn’t parallel a cheap story, nor did they randomly pick it or choose the name on purpose. Long story short the lead singer had a dream and in his dream, a man (who resembled my late grandfather), repeated the words Elos Arma to him. When he woke up he wasn’t sure what the dream meant or even what the translation or meaning behind the words was. Upon Googling them, he thought the name might suit the band and to his surprise his band members did too. That’s the story of how Elos Arma got their name.
They’ve really grown as a band. I know this because I’ve been there to see them grow into the musicians they are today. From their many band practices in the basement of our house to the many shows played around the city, I’ve been a witness to their change and growth. I saw inspiration and creativity flourish into beautiful song writing and beautiful music making. They are feverishly passionate and emanate this aura of energy most can’t describe easily. This exists in the heart and soul of the band and it’s where music lives. Music lives within them and they within music. They’ve sacrificed a whole lot to fulfill their dreams and I always let my brother know, at any chance I get, that I respect him and admire him for doing that. His dream in making music to make people happy has taken precedence over everything in his life. It has become his life. He bleeds, sweats and dreams music. He’s always told me that it doesn’t matter if he’s played for 1 person, 5 people, or 100 or more, he feels like his world is complete when he’s on stage. I hope he can one day see his dream of playing in front of thousands and even millions transform into a reality. I won’t mention much about their music. I’ll let their music speak for itself. In the meantime, have a listen and vote for them to open for The Trews (please and thank you).
http://elosarma.bandcamp.com/album/mother-father (click on this link to listen for FREE or to purchase their E.P)
I couldn’t resist. I had to post something to do with Edgar Allan Poe. After all, what’s Halloween without some chilling prose? You might agree that this is the perfect kind of story to set the tone for Halloween. Too scared to read on? Come on. I double devil dare you.
In The Imp of the Perverse, Poe creates a character who seeks freedom because he surrenders to the cruel impulses fueled by the devil. This leads the reader down an exhilarating path which leads the to the question, what the hell is an imp and does it really have the power to drive someone mad and to drive one to kill? Now, you might say that any person with a good head on their shoulders knows that murder is immoral and wouldn’t have the drive to kill. I’d say, “Why yes, you’re right” but Poe would say you’re wrong. He would argue that you wouldn’t be able to escape the imp’s compelling attraction. The imp is what drives us to feel because it drives the individual to abandon reason and to participate in doing cruel things. This causes you to embrace and indulge in sensations and raw emotions you thought you never had. Poe’s horrific, satanic, revolting, and blasphemous prose provoke us to feel the same as what we’re reading. The imp of the perverse is a divergence from morality because it evokes perverse, murderous fantasies and induces horrific feelings and thoughts into the reader’s mind. The narrator taunts and entices the reader to feel unsettling sensations just as the ‘imp of the perverse’ entices and excites the narrator to go on with the story.
After the chilling character commits murder, the ‘imp’ begins to tear away at his psyche. He convinces himself, “I am safe- I am Safe- yes- if I be not fool enough to make open confession!” Poe uses the recognizable “I am” found in the Bible and combines it with his character’s conflicting thoughts of wanting to confess to the murder suggesting that a man evil enough to commit murder is not a moral man. The imp of the perverse alters the sadistic mind because as Poe describes, “…that single thought is enough. The impulse increases to a wish, the wish to a desire, the desire to an uncontrollable longing, and the longing, (to the deep regret and mortification of the speaker, and in defiance of all consequences,) is indulged.” The narrator describes the pinnacle moments of this mad act and the moments where he is satisfied in committing murder. This murderous act suggests his allegiance to the devil. Horror and disgust saturate the mind of the reader because Poe intends on not filling the reader’s mind with pretty things. He’s driven to displease the reader so that our senses are awakened by what we do not know. The fear of the unknown is what makes us feel perverse because we’re intrigued by what the narrator is describing and we want to know more.
Poe’s narrator explains that he is“…of the many uncounted victims of the imp of the perverse.” The narrator is suggesting that every human being has a demon living within them and has the resolve to think of or want to bestow evil acts upon another, but most aren’t willing or aren’t mad enough to proclaim to the world that they’re planning a murder or have succeeded in murdering someone. Poe doesn’t actually give away gruesome details of the murder, so the reader is forced to think of the dreadful details on their own. After the murderous act is committed the narrator explains that “The next morning he was discovered dead in his bed, and the coroner’s verdict was, death by the visitation of God.” Ironically it’s the absence of God that provokes the narrator to commit murder.
Poe’s story swallows you up to fit the sadistic mind of the murderer. The reader surrenders their morality and freedom to the perverse imp, narrator, and Poe. Death, sadism and darkness become us because it’s all we can think about and it’s pretty much all I’m thinking about at the moment. Yeah, it probably wasn’t the best idea to read this kind of stuff before bed or in the middle of a storm (like the one we’re having now). Thanks a lot Poe. Now you’ve got me worried about that imp. I’m only hoping I’ll sleep well tonight, hopeful that the perverse imp won’t get the best of…Muahaha!
…Uh oh! I think I spoke too soon.
The costume was a success! It was probably the most uncomfortable costume I have ever designed for myself and the noisiest too, but it was the most fun to wear. Despite the obnoxious crinkling noise it made at my every move, it withstood the windy and rainy weather, the occasional passer-by almost ripping it in order to maneuver around me, and of course the ridiculous questions: “Uhh like what are you? A paper bag?” or “Haha did you like lose your job? Are you a bag lady?” What’s a true Paper Bag Princess without an answer for everything? Me: “Uhh no. I’m the Paper Bag Princess. There’s a difference. And by the way, bag ladies don’t wear paper bags. They’re not durable and could rip at anytime.” Where’s the fun in dressing up without the funny questions? It also sparked a discussion about The Paper Bag Princess as a book, as a classic and of course as a character. I suppose I brought back a piece of their childhood. One very
sober guest shouted belligerently across the room: “Back in those days, they didn’t have paper so that story isn’t believable.” I giggled of course because it’s rude not to laugh at dumb jokes. What a silly, silly realist. I guess the punch he was drinking turned him into a smarty pants. So I shouted back at the ______ (not sure what he was dressed up as) and said “Most stories are not about turning make-believe into the believable, otherwise they wouldn’t be stories we cherish. Secondly it’s a story with an important lesson to be learned, so it doesn’t rely on whether dragons and all of that other make-believe stuff actually exists because it’s written on paper and it exists in our minds.” He stood there with his mustache hanging off his face and rolled his eyes. Where’s a dragon when you need one?
“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?” –John Lennon
Halloween is just around the corner and what better time to dress provocatively- kidding. This year I’ve decided to scrap the high-heeled boots, fishnets and any garment of clothing that serves only one purpose- to reveal as much skin as possible (kidding again). The film Mean Girls said it best: “In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” Although I may have been this type of girl on Halloween once upon a time, this year I’ve opted for more of a dad friendly costume. So this year there will be no Sexy Ghost, Sexy Witch, Sexy Pilot, Sexy Sailor, or Sexy Bat Girl- notice how a woman’s costume isn’t a costume unless it’s got ‘sexy’ in front of it? This year I’m going to be none other than Robert Munsch’s Paper Bag Princess. No this costume isn’t sexy, although when I searched how to make my costume I found some pretty sexed up Paper Bag Princesses. Come on now. Must we do this to even the most admirable characters we read about in books? I’m pretty sure that’s not the look Robert Munsch was going for. The original Paper Bag Princess is dirty, disheveled, and is wearing A PAPER BAG. It wasn’t a paper bag designed by some of the world’s top designers. Yeah, and it wasn’t a Gucci paper bag either. It was a simple paper bag kind of like the one you carry your lunch in, but a teenie weenie bit bigger.
The Paper Bag Princess is one of my favorite stories written by one of my favorite childhood authors. What better time to bring the characters you love to life than through the spirit of Halloween? Unlike most stories where the prince rescues his princess, this princess has got pizazz and wit and uses it to rescue her prince from a dragon, despite the danger involved in doing so. She’s virtuous, smart, imperfect and moral. Most of all she’s a hero. After she rescues the prince he’s unappreciative and judges her based on her appearance. Prince in shining armor? Not so much- more like the prince in rusty armor. What does she do next? She dumps him. Atta girl. She’s the kind of gal I like to read about in stories because she’s not like the others. She’s not the traditional damsel in distress waiting for her prince’s arrival. She’s not down with the “woe is me” or up in a freakin’ tower or missing a slipper. Now if only I had a prince to rescue, if only. Ah well, maybe one day or maybe on Halloween tehehe.