23 july

When I was younger, my father was always telling me to try. Part of me wonders if I was born a quitter, for him having to say it as much as he did. And I regret that it was the last word he ever spoke to me, reaching through the helplessly jarred door, pleading me to find a way to the upper deck, to a lifeboat; not to give up. To get into the water and swim, survive, try. I let go of his hand when the sea was at his chin, and, my eyes bleary with tears, I climbed, up to the black sea, which was churning and roiling and flashing with blinding strobes of light. The lifeboat was tangled in rigging that had snapped and couldn’t be lowered. So people were leaping into the ocean. I had put on my swimsuit at the first alarm, so only had to remove an oversized shirt before grabbing the cold rails and hoisting myself over the side. The jolting shock of the water. The dark silence beneath the surface. Clawing through the swirling brine to punch above. Gasping at the air being sifted through the sheets of rain. And already, just seeing the black hills of water around me, as I climbed and descended the impossible swells simply by treading water, I wanted to give up. Yet I swore to him I wouldn’t. So I tried, to swim, crawling forward, taking in salty water twice, coughing, crying. I found the best I could do was to keep my head above, swimming on my back, from nowhere to nowhere. Just keeping afloat. My muscles red with panic. Windmilling my arms, kicking as if trying to shake off some wild animal clutching at my feet. Swimming for my life, for my father, who was still sinking to the bottom of his saltwater grave. Trying. For both of us. Trying.


word by Mark Lavorato

colour by Jeannie Phan

breaking news in montreal


BREAKING NEWS IN MONTREAL: Woman thrown off balcony is pronounced dead at the scene – in other news one million, six hundred thousand and ninety four people not thrown off an astounding amount of balconies

(young artists in denial that they don’t own the mansions depicted in Renaissance paintings grow up to paint mansions; where are apartment building entrances with those random titles on glass doors- The Benmore, The Stallion, L’étranger- in front of heavily stickered mailboxes with variations of, NO FLYERS, NON, and POR FAVOR, HOMBRE, beside faux-marble stairs; we don’t need any more accidental replicas of Atwater’s informally-gated streets; where is Parc X; where are the apartment buildings with balconies of lone chairs and plastic wrap around iron, with shirtless men in sunglasses, surveilling the garbage-bag-placing-process of his neighbours, every Tuesday; where are the buildings with nice lobbies and average apartments; where is cote-des-neiges; where are our bicycles and lines waiting for the bus; where are paintings that embrace the lack of space, not 4 humans to 2 acres but 50 in 2, no wasted space when you connect, right?)

BREAKING NEWS IN MONTREAL: Middle-Eastern man deported for terrorism charges, born in Canada we’re still undecided where to send him – in other news three hundred and twenty thousand middle-eastern-Québecois not charged, although suspected, said to all continue lives in Montréal

(at what point does the state say, alright, busted, we don’t know how to feel like we’re needed when we don’t have a group to protect you from, we just want to feel valued, if you have any suggestions we’re feeling kind of vulnerable, please send them our way, this shit is getting old, we love you)

BREAKING NEWS IN MONTREAL: Black male suspected in armed robbery is presumed guilty – in other news five hundred thousand, three-hundred and twenty four people of colour will continue to live lives in Montréal, despite also being presumed guilty

(Montréal, listen: We love you. We know you can’t really afford to buy us that last round, but don’t worry: My brother is visiting from Toronto. JK 😉 We know you’re the uncle who gave us our first beer, and we get how you’re keeping strong in your middle-age with the festivals, trying to keep the bars open till 6, etc., and, I agree, let’s not talk about the financial district, the disappearing suits thing – it’s cool… We know our neighbourhoods aren’t 100% everyone hanging out together, hamburger, falafel and miso soup picnics, sure, our ethnicities do not interact like they do in the cartoons of our high school textbooks, under “Multiculturalism in Canada,” (or, in the least, white anglos with white francos) but, uh, could we have a festival based on the merit of the musicians, and not Officially Sponsored segregation?) 

BREAKING NEWS IN MONTREAL: Alcohol may have been a factor in Tuesday’s fatal crash on the 40, not the congestion – in other news literally millions of cars who have passed that spot on road have been pretty okay since : There is a 0.000001 chance that you will die on the 40 today

(cue the commercial that generally says, hey, death is less fun but buy this car and you’ll have friends and you’ll all laugh to somewhere vaguely rural like past Laval and drink on a dock, even if it isn’t your dock, or look a rock, and uh yeah we paid someone to shoot here, but there are so many docks and so much space away from the city, you can escape all your neighbours!)

BREAKING NEWS IN MONTREAL: Concordia survey finds female students more likely to judge self-worth by appearance than male counterparts – in other news when you force a mold on liquid chocolate it will likely harden into that mold more times than not

(Montréal, honey, we love you, tell your police officers we know that they are good people, tell your protesters that everything will be alright, even if it won’t, let’s hold hands and change the way that we train our police, let’s change the way that our classes get treated by the system that values money, even if it’s tough to insert a heart on our coloured currency, because, baby, we just want to share a Boréale Rousse with you by the canal, come feed me curd while I read you French translations of Richler)


word by Liam Lachance

colour by Evluk

rocky mountain blues


I wanted to live in the mountains.  I even got a John Muir tattoo to prove it: Scrawled right across my heart, complete with an open road and clip-art-skyline. It says the mountains are calling, and I must go. It felt less cliché when I was 22, in the city.

As I shovel snow off my front porch, staring out at the very real skyline of the Canadian Rockies, all I feel is cliché.

My Buddy Holly glasses are fogged as I venture inside – can’t see a damn thing without my glasses. I rub them clean. The fire, stacked high, burns bright in the corner. The familiar sound of roasting logs is as comforting to my neurosis as the heat is to my hands. I’ve always wondered why fire calms me down. Maybe it’s an imprint, I think, a long-lost instinct from our past that tells us a crackling fire will keep the dangers of the night at bay. I place another log on the fire.

Fumble sits by the fireside, staring out at me from between a toque and scarf. I named the dog Fumble as a joke, really: I played football growing up. The little bastard was more trouble than he was worth, but I couldn’t very well get rid of him now… my only company on this God-forsaken mountain. The woman who’d bought him had long since gone, vanished into the cold, cold night, the only kind of night I can remember now.

I’ve been on this mountain too long, I think, with six months left on a two year contract.

Six more months and I might start talking to myself, I say.

Whoever said Hell was hot was lying: Hell is a cold mountain with a pug for company. I pour a glass of scotch and look into the fire.

Then again, it’s my hell, I say.

And it’s not so bad, really. I’ve got whiskey, weed and White Stripes records. I’ve got Howlin’ Wolf on vinyl. I’ve even got some B.B. King to warm me up when I’ve got the Rocky Mountain blues.

Were things really any warmer down there, before, with everyone else?

word by Josh Elyea

colour by The Black Dynasty

aliens in the delicatessen


I’ve known for over a week now that Han is an alien, and it’s actually been a pretty normal week. Han and I work at Coles – me in Liquorland and her in the deli in one of those meat-stained aprons, her brown hair tucked inside an oily hair net.

It happened in the cool room. I was hiding from Drunk Dave who regularly sang in the middle of the wine racks and had to be escorted out, shaking and telling us he couldn’t leave without his wine. Han had been told to take a breather after she’d got shirty with a fat-necked middle-aged man asking for 17 slices of tasty cheese, cut ‘as thin as tracing paper.’ We sat down on the beer battered chip boxes to be sarcastic and chew on twiggy sticks for a while.

My mouth was hot and lined with salt and fat when Han told me that she was pissed off at everyone that day. I asked why. She said she hadn’t been sleeping well. ‘My brother, who’s also an alien, is being teased at school, big time. I’m so angry for him. At night I just lie there and think about punching their fucking faces in.’ She was looking straight at me, watching for my reaction. ‘I’m an alien, you know? And it seems like we still need protection. After all this time. My dad’s right.’ It didn’t really shock me – Han being an alien. I’d grown up being told about aliens by my parents, and had watched the landing on telly when I was five. I didn’t care, and I sure as hell didn’t want Han to think I didn’t like her anymore.

‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘I think you’re right. There are some dickheads out there who are scared of anyone different from them. Your brother’s lucky he’s got such a cool big sister.’

It’s Tuesday and I’m cleaning out behind the dumpsters, where our most regular customers head to zonk as soon as they’ve paid. It’s a shit of a job – we Rock Paper Scissors each week to work out who does it, and I did Scissors one too many times. Han’s called in sick and I’ve texted her but she hasn’t replied. As I’m coming in from the back I pass through the lunch room. The TV’s blaring. Steve from Shelving turns around, his eyes wide like paper plates. ‘Didya see the news? They’re taking the aliens back into detention. Say it’s for their own safety.’ He has a floppy sandwich in his hand and sauce on his upper lip. ‘Hey maybe that’s why Hannah’s away today! I always thought she was weird.’ He laughs and chokes and coughs up a bit of mushy bread.

‘Shut up Steve,’ I say. ‘You don’t know anything about it.’

I don’t know anything about it either. I scroll my phone for Han’s number and press down hard on the picture of a green telephone. She doesn’t answer but I’ll keep calling.

word by Laura Helen Mcphee-Browne

colour by Patswerk

kids are out of touch


Vinegar hints sweeten when wine ages: The value grows like investments in Congo’s coltan when the American iPhone hit e-shelves… That last sentence shouldn’t infer that the 2013 wishes it was the ’05, any more than the ’05 wants to be the ’13. No. It isn’t that the ’05 thinks the ’13 is necessarily dumber, or more ignorant, saying smug things like I was doing this when you were in diapers, kid. No. It isn’t that the ’13 doesn’t understand the world like the ’05 does, that it isn’t aware of why it likes what it likes because it doesn’t get the same (dated) pop-culture-references as the ’05, that it doesn’t think as critically as the ’05 because of a lack of years of winning or failing or just getting by, figuring out how to survive like an ’05. No, the ’13 does just fine, learns how to shake off pop-culture, soaked with information, wet and hungry for things that it hasn’t seen, new ways of breaking down things felt in high school or ideas cemented at parties, and, with all respect to the ’05- what a year– it might be drying up these revelations faster than the ’05 had, back in ’02. All these numbers… Please consider the following example: The ’13 just had one of those mind-blowingly-unreal revelations about ‘meaning’ and ‘purpose’ that the ’05, well, is going to have next year, a couple years late, but, uh, pull back the vines on this whole speech a bit, it’s really coming off thirteen-ish, isn’t it, let’s balance the thing with the fact that in no-way-not-a-fucking-chance-imaginable does the ’05 envy the ’13 and wish that it could switch bottles to be that age again, and work those part-time jobs again, and pass the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth sessions of exams again, to push out the intangible borders of Independent Life from high-school dependencies to capital-A-Adult controls, look at me, I am somebody, recognize me, to build new friendships and relationships and to figure how to tie that intangible border into a rope, something dependable to scale a cliff, tying knots for a net- not a noose, as those providing dependency might fear- pulling up, toward something new. The point is that time has made the ’05 sweeter but it has not made it better. Time has made it not only too expensive but also too bitter for people who like a wine that slaps you in the face at dessert and stains your teeth. Colours on your teeth help you feel that bit more responsible while brushing before bed.

colour by Telmomiel
words by Liam

dogs belong tied to posts


Meeting in a group on four different occasions means judging strangers to build profiles that, sure, might blind you from getting to really know someone, but the survival reflex- To Judge- also means knowing what not to talk about, something crucial in CABBICY (Controlling Anger Before It Controls You), such as nothing-that-resembles-anything political to Mary, the anti-everything online news commenter who threw a chair at you the time you suggested something about capitalism being bad for the rich, and you didn’t duck; nothing-anything-remotely-close-to-anything-about meat to Sean, the Enlightened Vegetarian, who, after seeing you eat gummy worms, for some reason, called your dad a hypocrite, before apologizing with a medium Double-Double the next class, I’m sorry, but think of the bone marrow; or anything-whatsoever-that-resembles- any-words-in-the-same-dictionary as the word ‘dog’ to Jasmine, who just threatened to light your arm-hair on fire. 

All I’m saying is that not necessarily your dog, just dogs, in the general sense, in my opinion, are happier in the country.
Sure let’s tie the dog to a post so it can roam fifteen feet of land for the rest of its life in the rain!
All I’M SAYING is that some people have dogs on farms, where they’re supposed to be, in my opinion
What do you think: People who lives in mansions are jacked, and people who live in apartments are fat?
Don’t really follow you there… all I’m saying is that, in my opinion, dogs deserve to be in the wild, where all animals are from
Do you know the slightest thing about the past couple thousand years of domestication?
All I’m just saying is that, in my opinion, it’s unfair to have a dog in an apartment, because they should be tied to a post
You aren’t entitled to an opinion in something you have no idea about- this isn’t the fucking weather!

And so went the pre-armhair-burn-threat conversation, finally interrupted by the moderator. Eliza, the anti-dogs-in-the-apartment student, takes offense to the fuck your opinion comment, says I’m entitled to my opinion, whether or not it’s completely unsourced and just for me to feel like I am part of something, and Jasmine’s reply of Nobody is entitled to ignorant ideas gets a laugh from the circle- a rare thing. 

By the sixth class, you were able to guess accents, favourite styles of music.

By the eighth, you knew ticks: Sean’s giveaway ‘I think you’re an idiot’ eyebrow raises, the moderator’s tendency to repeat lines from the therapist on The Sopranos when he felt cornered, And how does it make you feel, Anthony, or Jasmine’s nails scratching her scalp when Eliza spoke, to grind away tension in her skull.

The tenth class means catching things that people try to conceal: Nose-picking, the half-second stares at you, between looking at things behind you (window to your right and the clock to your left), catching this secret examination, some glances building an image to remember you by, puzzle pieces to shape you together, Eliza. You forgot that it also meant your concealed glance had been caught by her- the necessary fact of meeting eyes- your attempt to go planter-Jasmine-moderator, light-moderator-Jasmine-plant.

colour by Aryz
words by Liam 

I’m the center of the galaxy


I am the center of the galaxy:People and buses and buildings and cafés curl around me, the main character of the city, planets orbiting the sun. (The fan slices air toward the radiator, fighting a -37C draft from this old window.) Being the center of the galaxy requires that you are in the right universe, the right city- otherwise, you might agree with that saying about how it doesn’t matter where you are, but who you’re with… The universe is more important than the stars. (You can’t help but blame your ancestors for having moved to such a frozen place: Who stumbles upon this death cold climate, where birds are flying away from, and says Hey, honey: I think we really found the place!) Control from the center means that everything happens to you, or that you are making things happen to others: All phenomena is because of you and your actions, at the center of the story: You receive the most praise or have the worst luck, stand in the longest lines, behind the worst drivers, in the hardest jobs: You confess in an intergalactic reality show booth, sharing your life with a camera for planets who want more of you, you, the star. (You can’t imagine how it could be colder, how things could be worse, with cold toes, your blanket only going so far, even if, sure, Mars whispered that, hey, -37C is warm to me, no offense, you know that they’re just trying to sound tough like Canadians who laugh at emergency closures when snow stays on the ground in the states, or Toronto.) What does it matter if the planets have problems- You’re a galaxy: Things happen to you for a reason, and, whether or not Mars is colder than your room, people rely on you- your life is unimaginably complex, different, and more challenging than these planets. (Planets couldn’t understand the troubles of a galaxy if they sent trillion dollar space equipment, whether manned by Einsteins or monkeys.) Spring is just around the corner.

colour by Nina Geometrieva 
words by Liam Lachance 

Keep Mufasa Dead


“Inner Glow,” by DSORDER

Mufasa is dead. The new king explores his new jungle with the same good blood in his paws as his father: Tempted by hyenas with black voices, he says, watch the throne- let’s go, Nala. The death of a perfect someone is meant to piss you off: Evil characters aren’t supposed to survive. You learn that lions are either good or evil, and it’s up to you to kill the right one. Painting Scar evil means giving him dark features that people will associate with having an empty heart, alligator tears, blackness associated with evil, subtle racism sold in cartoons, animals succeeding or failing through their relationship to the perfect hero warns kids that if you don’t try to become perfect, you’ll become Scar: Sad. What the fuck, this guy’s criticizing cartoons, I just liked the songs, get over it, Hakuna matata, brother. I know: I get it: We shouldn’t analyse everything to death, weren’t the colours nice, just enjoy Rafiki, dickhead. When stories show people who are all good or all bad, the Americans and Russians of Hollywood explosions; the Scars and Mufasas of cartoon jungles; when the story of a crack dealer going to jail is played before the CEO of a billion dollar drug dealer announcing it will take advantage of your desire to help others and introduce a pink line of drug packaging; when the viral video of the poorest black person saying something stupid is prefaced with a Lexus commercial; when good or bad characters are included in any form of media you are supposed to feel one of four things: 1. Don’t become bad, this is how to stay good, this is what I should buy, and this is the group that can help bring me there… just look at what happened to Scar: All that fire. 2. Good people help bad people become better, so they don’t die, like Scar, because they are so nice. 3. You can become good if you work harder: It’s possible to become perfect: You can become white, rich, and saved. We sell a cream for that. Ever heard of hell? 4. Bad people always lose to good people, so stay on the good side and don’t forget that bad and good people exist: We’ve done studies: Your heart is either full, or broken: This rumour that human beings are actually mixes, with hearts of daffodil yellow or pylon orange or mint green is just a rumour: Mufasa was not sometimes helpful, sometimes in need of help, sometimes tired, sometimes intelligent, sometimes unsure, sometimes fun, sometimes strong, sometimes boring, sometimes patronizing, sometimes insecure, sometimes excited, sometimes friendly, sometimes introverted, sometimes: All this realism, no, he is always perfect. The complicated nature of people isn’t sexy. It’s hard to sell when you’re trying to hook people in for a later message, the whole become good thing, Join Us, and you want people to stay in the room or to read the next page. Insert an empty page between chapters, or double-space your pages, but it had better have fake characters. When we sit up from the death of Scar, from a video warning us not to become poor, from a book talking of a perfect love, we need to wonder who benefits from the way you now think. How hard do you now work, how much are you buying, are you going to Church? In order to give people credit, we need to look at them like human beings, where there is no objective standard of pure good or pure bad. You’re stuck in a jungle, and that hierarchy rarely changes- except in the death of a king. And who replaces Mufasa?

colour by Dsorder

words by L.L.

This is for the person who has to smile


trigger warning: sexual harassment

This is for the person who has to smile

or shake their head, or walk faster 
because of a follower who wants

to be that person 

who meets people

who people love

who women love

who doesn’t answer texts right away
who repeats lines from someone smooth in the movie
who succeeds in front of friends

and is recognized

and is validated

I’m a good person, I’m
doing the right thing,

people like me.

colour by Elian
words by Liam

Fuck the Millenials


Kids. Millenials. Fuck the Millenials and their electronic orgasms. Things were better before, when you were judged by how well you could act on the phone, instead of on Facebook: It was more natural. Fuck the Millenials and their tattoos and selfies and their waiting on Instagrammed asses for Baby Boomers to retire, itching to snap out to work, like snakes in jars. I remember a time when people really interacted in public, and sat alone on trains reading newpapers, instead of reading on their phones. Fuck the Millenials and their mortgage free apartments, filled with cats instead of kids, producing kittens. I remember a time when a good wife raised children and cooked and cleaned and a man, if a good man, worked, didn’t gamble too much, and didn’t cheat too much. Fuck the Millenials and their questioning capitalism. I remember a time when we knew that the world was about to end, because of communism, because of evil Russians- just look at the villains in film. Fuck the Millenials and their questioning colonialism. I remember a time when the world was perfect, when countries were white or black, rich or poor, and you could draw a line in the fucking sand: Civilized on the Northside, Barbaric on the bottom. Fuck the Millenials who question us.  


This piece of satire shared the art of Frau Isa and the fiction of L. L. As a piece of satire, it was intended to criticize the desire to romanticize the past, and to demonstrate how human beings become frustrated when they feel that they do not understand something. We believe that the generational divide is the classic example of this frustration and romanticization, where the old criticize the young for acting differently: Frustration is taken out against new trends that they do not understand, as they romanticize how things used to be, believing that the way they acted at that younger age had different motives. These older individuals, or, ‘haters,’ as say the Millenials, deserve credit because they are acting out of a place of frustration, as human beings do, and are not inventing the tendency to romanticize the past. We used satire as a tool to bring light to these extreme criticisms of the Millenial generation- typically those born after 1980. We believe that, by examining the roots of why we hate, it will help us to provide help and move forward, together, instead of picking fights against individuals. We need to give people more credit, regardless of age- Baby Boomers and Millenials included.