The Year As It Was #3

by Andrew Patterson

April brought my empty wallet and I back to the North End of Halifax. I moved into a dreamy home of lovely ladies. I worked my first contract job for the Halifax Jazz Festival, writing program blurbs and eating sweets from the cafe downstairs. It gave me enough money to coast through the summer unemployed (I did work a few odd jobs, including unloading a massive transport truck full of dusty, gawdy, ‘sexy’, Halloween gear into one of those heinous pop-up shops).

I spent most of my early afternoons alone, cooking myself elaborate breakfasts, listening to a lot of reggae. I took up smoking again, and would spend afternoons on my back deck drinking black tea with a cigarette , or, if I felt ambitious enough, I’d bike to the lake.

At night, my roommates would return (often with a straggler or two from the neighborhood) and we’d cook wonderful meals: local sausage, chard, roasted veggies, fresh basil pasta. Afterwards, as 20-somethings are wont to do, we’d have a drink or two. I can recall the sun setting over the alley behind our house, someone doing dishes, the door to the deck being opened to let the cool evening air in, little white tea cups with rings of red wine at the bottoms, the kitchen table populating with paper ephemera.

That was about the time West Coast veteran DJ Quik‘s The Book Of David came out; it was my quintessential 2011 summer album. An album so stuck in the late 90’s, that it had come around again. Easy, breeze-blown hip-hop with stellar beats and one of the crispiest secret tracks I’ve ever heard. It was perfect for transitioning from dinner tunes to party time.

Our house had a secret collection of hip-hop and R&B singles from around the turn of the century. They’d been left there by an old tenant’s boyfriend, who was the superlative Halifax DJ in his day (and is now apparently touring with Azealia Banks). Amidst Destiny’s Child, Kanye West and Dr. Dre singles, we unearthed a baby blue gem that became our jump-off jam; a hilariously/seriously awesome Can-Con classic from our teenage years spent watching Much Music:

Surprisingly, I never burnt out on it. Even though it seemed like we’d listen to it every Friday or Saturday night for the duration of the summer, it was always exciting. I am proud to have it in my collection now, and hope that someday we’ll all be in the same city, so that we might relive those summer nights.

(Image at the top courtesy of ex-tenant, and DJ extraordinaire Mackay For An Eye)

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