It is a jazz morning. Most winter mornings are. The nights linger long these days. The sun is scarcely awake at 8 am, and even then it is a faint yellow ripple at the horizon. This is where the horns and drums live – that fading moment between coming and going. The piano is scattered in the apartment lights and the high-hat hisses in the early tirespin. The trumpet arrives in the bus. The saxophone arrives in office woman perfume. The guitar slides in from behind. The bass was always there – too low to notice until now. And somewhere in the hanging city smoke is the studio noise; the audible inhale before the reed is shaken by exhaust; the low count of the drummer just under the accidental tom; the foot pressing the piano pedal. All those things are decidedly unmusical yet somehow they make music more real. All those deliciously improvised imperfections lay down a path of dead ends and arbitrary berms that make the drab of winter seem brighter; more bearable.
StreetRag ::: An Urban Notebook
StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.
The city is Edmonton. It's a subject, not a passion. E-Town is almost universally derided by outsiders as an unlivable tundra wasteland populated by oil-hungry redneck conservatives who despise the arts. All of that is true. But it's not the whole story. There is beauty here. Dusty snowfalls. Brilliant summers. A stunning river valley. A diverse arts community that flourishes. It's a place that inspires a gray relationship - not all good, not all shitty. For that reason alone it is lovable, for what is life but a grayscale?