Being Black in Canada

Last updated on April 21st, 2021 at 02:14 am

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Black culture is unique—one of the few cultures thrust upon a people and not developed by them. A Jamaican is not a Gambian is not an Australian Aborigine. We’ve got tribes within tribes and languages within languages but somehow lumped together by the colour of our skin.

And we’ve made the best of it. From Canada’s first Negro History Week in 1926 to officially recognising Black History Month in 1995 thanks to the help of the Honourable Jean Augustine, we’ve celebrated our Blackness and looked to remind the world that we’re not just one thing.

But it hasn’t been easy, with “Black Canadian” conjuring up images of The Weeknd or Drake and not so much Cameron Bailey or Michaëlle Jean. You hear about Black Canadians on February 1st, but where do they go for the rest of the year?

And that’s why I’m here working on Live from the 3.5—because if we don’t invest the time to own our stories, who will?

How to Avoid Spanish Jail

Last updated on January 15th, 2021 at 12:33 am

Last Updated: January 15, 2021

A bird's-eye view of Barcelona, Spain
Cops or no cops, everyone should make their way to Barcelona at LEAST once.

1. What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told? Why? Would you tell the truth now, if you could?

2. Tell a story about something interesting (anything!) that happened to you, but tell it in the form of an instruction manual (Step 1, Step 2, etc.).

— The Scintilla Project, March 14, 2013

Originally, I was going to choose the first option, but I’ve never been big on lying. It’s way harder to remember the details of something you’ve made up than it is to simply confess to the truth, no matter how harsh it is. It’s not a lesson you learn overnight—it takes a lot of pain, fights and struggles to get to a point where you realize that it’s just not worth it and you’ll probably tell your share of little white lies in the process.

For example, lying would’ve made the situation below a whole lot worse.

How to Avoid Landing Your Butt in Spanish Jail

A shot looking up at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.
Great city, great church.
  1. Spend 22 years doing no travel save for trips that your parents take you on (see: the time you go to Jamaica and find out how big cockroaches can really get; or the time you go to South Carolina and get left in the car for 6 hours while your Mom and Aunt go outlet mall shopping)
  2. Get a message from your ex of 10 years prior who’ll tell you that she’s taking a backpacking trip to Europe, and you’re totally invited.
  3. Brush off the idea since you’re just a university student with a well-paying job.
  4. Get tax refund.
  5. Talk to boss about going on vacation for three weeks and agree with her that it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.
  6. Watch her jaw drop when she realizes that you’re only giving her a week’s notice.
  7. Somehow charm her into letting you go and fly out to your first major non-family trip ever.
  8. After visiting London, Amsterdam and Paris, spend some time in Barcelona.
  9. Go for a club hop night with the hostel you’re staying at.
  10. Proceed to get drunk off of copious amounts of tequila and nibbling on a lizard that had spent years soaking at the bottom of a tequila bottle.
  11. Proceed to get very friendly with a random Australian girl that you meet, so much so that your travelling companions decide to leave you be under the assumption that you will spend the night “getting some”.
  12. Part ways amicably with said Australian and start the half-hour staggerfest home (noting that it’s a walk that would take you only 5 minutes were you anywhere near sober).
  13. Get flagged down by Spanish police during this staggerfest, asking to see your passport. In hindsight, this could only be for one of two reasons:
    1. For public drunkenness, which is unlikely since plenty of others were also slowly making their way across the beaches to their destinations, or
    2. Being the wrong colour in the wrong place at the wrong time. You see, Barcelona has a recurring issue with illegal immigrants—namely those from West Africa. In the daytime, you see swaths of vendors on the ports—all of them Black-faced—with blankets of cheap goods for sale. That is, until a cop car nearly runs them over, they bundle that stuff up and get on the move. No matter how I dress, spoke or acted, it would seem that I still “fit the description”.
  14. When they explain with pleasant surprise that you’re from Canada, reply in kind with “Yes, and I’d really love to see it again!”
  15. Receive passport from police after telling them where you’re staying and get told to be safe on your way back to your hostel.
  16. Enter hostel.
  17. Sleep a few hours.
  18. Wake up.
  19. Eat breakfast.
  20. Go lie on the beach until you feel better from the hangover.
  21. Proceed to sleep for 6 hours under the Barcelona sun in nothing but swim trunks and a room key tied ’round your leg. But hey—at least you won’t get a sunburn!
The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

Dear World, I’m Tired of Ballin’

Last updated on January 8th, 2021 at 01:28 am

Last Updated: January 8, 2021

World, I’m tired of:

  • Too many birthdays to celebrate
  • Too many going-away parties
  • Too many expectations of chipping in for overly extravagant situations
  • Too much costing too much too much of the time

Yes, I work a job that pays pretty well. But I work hard—I work damn hard. And things just keep coming up. My weekends are full of events all over the map that require my time, effort and dollars… and I think I’ve reached my limit. Art—oftentimes it costs nothing. The resources I use are my imagination and the tools I choose to use to create. The return I get from what I invest is more often than not guaranteed to be what I expected. I just can’t live a life that isn’t reflective of who I am anymore. I can feel it chipping away at my sanity, and I think I’m having no more of it.

But back to what this blog’s really about with that rant out of the way. Why do I draw? Funny story: last night I was in the Yorkville area of town with the girlfriend and some of her crew, and as the night progressed (literally, as we were at Remy’s for 6-7 hours) I busted out the pencil, some paper, and while the red wine was knocked back, the sketches went a-flyin’. Our waitress, Celeste, was very complimentary, but what was surprising was that some hot chick (though not as hot as the girlfriend, obviously) randomly made her way out of the crowd and suddenly appeared to my right:

Her: “Are you a designer?!”
Tipsy Casey: “Kinda sorta—I tend to draw tons of different things!”

We talked a little about how she has numerous friends who’re designers and whatnot, and hopefully, she’d see my work on the cover of Vogue in the future or something.

Yes. Vogue. Let me clarify.

So when I busted out the drawings, what had been on top of the stack this time were photos of runway models and their crazy outfits. So I began sketching away as I do with anything else. Now, let’s translate this into a mathematical equation:

Yorkville hangout (i.e. Place where people want to act richer than they actually are) + drawing pictures that make you look like a stylist (looks like Cosmo magazine has a purpose after all!) + copious amounts of alcohol (which, of course, is instrumental in many equations in life) = girls coming to talk to you. Learn from me, men. I will show you things in life which you have never imagined. 😉

So right now I’m at Marben Restaurant on Wellington just at the post-meal bill-waiting. The food was alright—your standard small portions, costly place-type fare—but the dessert was pretty interesting; “home-made” sorbet in the following flavours:

  • Strawberry Mint
  • Lime Basil
  • Blueberry Cinnamon
Sorbet flavours

The Sorbets served with Marben’s prix fixe menu…

Blueberry Cinnamon was whatev (for I don’t like blueberries and rarely eat anything cinnamon), to me the strawberry mint tasted like… strawberry sorbet… but the lime basil—so good. They took two of my favourite flavours and combined it into something epic. It makes me want to learn how to make my own sorbet so I can make more.

Anyway, we got back home in one piece and I’m in dire need of rest, so I’ll close this chapter shortly, I suppose. I’m thinking perhaps next blog I should just upload a ton of sketches and no words? Would y’all like that? Are you tired of my verbose nature?

Holla at a brotha.

Until then, I remain…

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad