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West Edmonton Mall

Edmonton is becoming the new Holywood

Edmonton is fast becoming Canada's answer to Hollywood. We had just got over the excitement of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's visit to West Edmonton Mall when up pops another showbiz celebrity eager to associate himself with the glamorous capital of Alberta!

I managed to take this one photo before being knocked to the ground by his minders and escorted out of the mall by several goons in suits. It's about time these celebrities understood that it's the fans, like me, that put them in their privileged position.

Mickey Mouse at West Ed

There was no sign of Minnie, which is bound to add fuel to the recent rumours.

Last night a DJ saved my life

Yesterday I went to West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall on planet Earth and possibly also its most ghastly place (now that the Gulags are no more). That's not to say that the mall - or'West-Ed', as it is commonly referred to - isn't worth a visit; its sheer size inspires awe and everybody that comes to Edmonton should visit it just so they can ensure that a similar carbuncle is not erected in their own community.

Here are a couple of shots of the sealion display that I captured yesterday:

Edmonton Mall
Edmonton Mall

The sealions were bought to replace the dolphins which, fortunately for them, but unfortunately for the newly incumbent sealions, died.

Anyway, after being entertained, I traipsed several miles through the Mall, past the lifesize roaring dinosaur head, to HMV where I intended to buy Royksopp and Mr Scruff's new albums. As it turns out Mr Scruff's 'new album' was a rerelease of his 1997 album so I came away with only the Royksopp album which I listened to in the car as I sped homeward.

But something was wrong. I was listening to the Royksopp album but for the life of me I honestly couldn't tell whether it was any good, or even whether I liked it. What was wrong with me? Had living in Edmonton turned me into a soul-less cretin with no musical ear? Later I confided in Mrs Toque: "We need to go out dancing, I haven't danced for so long".

It was true, I hadn't danced since I was in Vancouver over two months ago. It's not that I hadn't been anywhere in Edmonton to dance, we go out regularly, it's just that the music is so shit here so I had never heard anything worthy of dancing to. The 80's retro revival has not reached Edmonton because Edmonton has never left the 80s, its not uncommon to hear the likes of Bon Jovi, Dire Straights, New Order etc. on a night out or, if you should be unlucky to turn on the radio, a combination of 80s pop, 80s-style rock and country music. In fact the only respite to this god-awful 80s aural assault is the dreary and tedious R&B and hip-hop played in the those establishments that help fulfil the desire of Edmonton's backward and baseball-cap-wearing white youth to connect with black American gangster culture. I had lost my rhythm and my musical-ear had atrophied with all the soul-less garbage that I was being subjected to. Help! I needed therapy, so I turned to the internet and found this. It seemed unlikely, but it was worth a shot!

Expectations weren't high when we entered Stolli's but hi-balls were $2 and everything else was $3 so at the very least we could get rat-arsed on a budget. However, our negative energy was dissipated when this guy took to the decks:


Quite simply, he was brilliant. Playing a mix of house, electro, trance and funk he cut everything up expertly and never missed a beat, and he dropped in new stuff so fast it sometimes seemed like he had three decks on the go. I had to pinch myself to reassure myself that this was Edmonton. I danced, unsurely at first, not sure if my legs still worked, but I soon picked up the beat. Not many others danced, strangely the Edmontonians seemed to be holding back.

Mr DJ - whatever your name is - thank you. You have restored dancing motor-function to my legs and restored my faith in music.

His set was followed by another DJ who beat-mixed banging techno tune after banging techno tune, but not quite seemlessly, in a monotony of boring tracks, without a hint of funk or anything remotely off-beat or interesting. The crowd went wild, the Edmontonians loved it, and began dancing like chimpanzes on hotplates without a hint of self-conscience at their abominable dancing. I could have shrugged and muttered "When in Rome...." and begun to dance like a monkey myself but I decided not to lower myself, or put myself at risk of a crippling back-injury, so we watched and laughed as we drank up and walked to the door.

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