What Council is Really Saying


There have been a lot of plans announced and decisions made by city council in the last year that I haven’t agreed with, but the repeated deferral of the Green Bins programme is simply embarassing for a Canadian city in 2011. I think it is all in aid of the sacred 0% tax increase promised by Joe Fontana, and I am sick of good decisions being held hostage by a foolish election promise.

I have sent this letter to Joe and the whole city council, and I urge you to write your councillor as well.

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

I hope that you will read and consider my thoughts on this issue, and I would ask that this letter be included with the agenda for the August 29th meeting.

The decision not to fund a Green Bin program speaks volumes. Shelving the program sends lots of messages, and they are all negative.

To the students and young people that we should be encouraging to stay in London, this decision says “London doesn’t care about the future. London doesn’t value the things that you care about, like sustainability.”

To the rest of Ontario and Canada, this decision says “Here in London we can’t be bothered to clean our own messes. We’ll use up our landfills as fast as we want.”

To the average family, who may grumble at first but ultimately wants to do the right thing, this decision says “Don’t pay any attention to what you waste or throw away. What difference does it make?”

To the children that we should be teaching about responsibility and consequences, this descision says “It’s OK to just keep putting off a tough decision or pretending a problem doesn’t exist”

To me, a voter and taxpayer here in London, this decision says “City Council believes that honouring a rash and reckless election promise of 0% tax increases is more important than any other considerations.”

Like it or not, I think that’s what you’re saying if you vote against the Green Bin  program.

I hope that instead, you’ll do the right and responsible thing. I hope you will choose to say: “We’ve got to look after this place. We’re going to stop dumping our problems on future councils and future generations.”

Chris McInnis
299 Cheapside Street
London, ON

What I love (and hate) about Sunfest

1. The merchants of crap.

I’m getting this one out of the way first, because it is the first thing most people bring up as a reason for not liking Sunfest. Fair dues.

There are far too many crap vendors. Spongebob towels, inflatable Spider-Men, belt buckles, and even the dreaded Wolf blankets… There is so much of this crap in the park, many people seem to not realize it is a music festival. They make the few interesting vendors too ahrd to be worth looking for, and worse, these tents are the prime cause of #2.

2. The Zombie Trudge.

I love this festival, but holy crap does it get crowded on the pathways.  Add in food purchases, looking at wolf blankets, and arguing about what to eat, and it’s like being in a mall, but with more sweat.

OK, now that the down sides have been called out, let’s count our blessings:

3.  Sunfest is free, homegrown and independant.

What more could you ask of a festival? Despite some dalliances with the dark side (Jazz music) Sunfest has remained incredibly true to its mission of bringing talented musicians to London from all around the world to celebrate their music and share a bit of their culture along the way.

4. Dancing babies.

I know you can see them at any outdoor concert, but I like ‘em best at Sunfest. They just seem more wholesome attached to a hippie dad than a soccer mom. Babies are usually the first ones up and dancing at afternoon shows. The usual order of how a dance crowd goes is:

a) Babies (and parents)

b) Hippie Librarian single women

c) Youngish-trying-to-be-free-sprit women

d) Shirtless guy trying to impress dancing women

The shirtless guy either means the crowd has hit critical mass and will snowball, or he oogs people out and the other dancers retreat. Interestingly, as if to prove his cool, shirtless guy is often the last one dancing.

5. Amazing Home-made Food

Nothing showcases London’s cultural diversity better than the community groups who cook at Sunfest. From my all-time favourite, the Nicaraguan Nacatamale to the Afghani spiced potatoes, there is a ton of great authentic food to gorge on. We typically eat there all weekend. I pity the fools eating pizza this weekend. Live a little!

6. My Sunfest hat.

A few years ago I found an old straw hat of my dad’s. It’s bright pink and we always mocked him for wearing it. Now, even though it’s practically disintegrating I love it. I don’t only wear it at Sunfest, but I always wear it at Sunfest.

7. Familiar Faces

I love running into people I haven’t seen in years. It always happens at Sunfest. I equally love recognizing Sunfest regulars on stage and in the crowds.

7. The music!!!

Year after year, Sunfest has not just introduced me to amazing artists and performances, it has broadened my taste and appreciation to include a ton of great musical styles and elements.

You have to do your homework – with so many bands and styles, a lot of it probably won’t appeal to you. But if you take the time to check the playlists, you are bound to find someone amazing to watch. (I must credit Jen who does most of the “triage” on the artists for us every year).

I could do a whole post on great artists and albums I discovered because of Sunfest. Instead, I’ll showcase a few artists I think will be the show-stoppers this year:

Five Alarm Funk (tons of fun – have seen them twice already)

Systema Solar (if these guys are 10% as fun as the video,it should be a great show)

Jayme Stone (amazing banjo player who fuses bluegrass with African and other elements)


For a long time, I avoided using the term graphic novel. No matter how good they were, even when the comics I was reading had characteristics of novels, I still thought of them as comic books. The name just seemed a bit desperate – like a kid puffing himself up to get served at the beer store.

I didn’t think comics should have to credentialize themselves or apologize for being comics. Over the last couple of years, however, I’ve been reading some illustrated sequential tomes that actually seem like novels.

Most recently, I picked up David Small‘s memoir Stitches. Not only was it fantastic, it felt like I had read a novel: the detailed evocation of place and time through little details; the powerful, painful moments of childhood torment; the powerful characters; and the sense it left me with – I absorbed and appreciated much of its greatness, but I will be coming back to read it again.

But here’s what floored me. I read the whole thing in 45 minutes.

This is not meant to belittle the book. It’s fantastic.

The art is great. Small is largely known as an illustrator of children’s books. He marries a fantastic gift for faces and expression with a very cinematic sense of perspective, framing and storyboarding.

The story is gripping and rewarding. It was powerful, and I’ve been thinking about it all day… since reading it last night in 45 minutes.

There is now so much amazing illustrated work being published across so many genres, choosing to read literary fiction almost seems spoiled to me – like watching a silent movie.

Go get Stitches. Treat yourself.

(If you need more convicing, David Small’s website has more art, interviews, etc. to give you the flavour of it.)



Via Dangerous Minds, this is an absolutely amazing homemade collection of musical robots playing the classic B-52 track, “Rock Lobster.” I especially love the printer sounds.