Tuesday, 30 April 2013



We here at the Centretown Nonsense blog are currently dormant, as we have been for a couple months now, but we have finally decided to make an actual post stating such dormancy. Please check out our awesome past posts over the year and maybe we will write more things in the future.

We have both moved out of Centretown -- one of us out of the province -- but luckily, Centretown is ambiguous enough to perhaps mean just the centre of a town, and not necessarily a neighbourhood in Ottawa, so there is a decent chance of revitalizing some writing on this URL sometime again when our lives are a bit more sorted.

Keepin' it real,

amk & Brendan.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Guide to Centretown Pubs

a.m.k. likes drinking and eating and likes Centretown and  doesn't like many other things.

Why you shouldn't drink in the Market

When you want to go to a club, most barely legal (and fake ID) people go to the Market. The Market is kind of like the strip in Hull or Ouellette Ave in Windsor.

I think most people, after age 21 or so, when they want to go out, they want to be able to talk to their friends. We lead busy lives and it's hard to connect with everyone we'd like to in our lives. That's why pubs get my vote instead of clubs, not to mention clubs seem to really just be a place to try to pick up strangers to have casual sex. That is why older men encircle pretty drunk girls on the dance floor at virtually any club, and why I would advise anyone going to a club to keep that in mind. It's honestly a given that a large percentage of the men you see at your favourite dance club are there to meet and sleep with women. It's strange, a little scary and very creepy.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

King Kong Goes to Parliament Hill

by rob mclennan

for William Hawkins,

When you were young and in your prime,

a battle of wills between you and Trudeau, Laurier LaPierre,
the American National Guard. Deflecting gains

from Empire State.

No flies on you, who once kicked dust from ancient tavern floors,
played Lowertown games of telephone and poems, walked

French Catholic blocks, tracked Sol’s sundial jaunt

across Sisters of Mercy. Now, you labour atop Peace Tower’s peak,
seemingly invisible.

Remain there long enough to count the strands of traffic
bridge the river Grand, now seven deep,

criss-crossing Chaudiere’s diminished boil.

Born in Ottawa, Canada’s glorious capital city, rob mclennan has lived in Ottawa’s Centretown since 1990 (give or take a year). The author of more than twenty trade books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, including Ottawa: The Unknown City (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008) and The Ottawa City Project (Chaudiere Books, 2007), he spent the 2007-8 academic year in Edmonton as writer-in-residence at the University of Alberta, and regularly posts reviews, essays, interviews and other notices at robmclennan.blogspot.com.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

The rise and fall of Pretty Little Liars, including predictions!

Pretty Little Liars is a teen drama about to return at the mid-point of its third season on January 8th. a.m.k explains the excruciating details of how and why it went from exciting guilty-pleasure drama to something really annoying.

I used to be a huge Pretty Little Liars fan. I say used to because it hasn't always been a terrible show, but for reasons I'll discuss, the show has fallen off a cliff. Let's cut right to chase actually and say from here on out I'll refer to it as PLL, which is exactly how I refer to it in real life. The show is clearly marketed towards people who are both another gender and much younger than myself, but I watched the pilot one week when I was dreadfully sick and working at Booster Juice, and boy did I fall hard and fast. I caught up on 20+ episodes within a matter of flu-days.

Spencer, Hanna, Aria, Emily.

The main problem for me is that the central plot of show doesn't change and also does not advance very quickly. This is due to the fact that the show is making lots of money and they want to extend what should have been a two-seasons-tops show into now at least a four-seasons one.

The main plot is pretty strong with some initial good twists -- Alison is dead, we don't know who killed her and this mysterious character with the alias 'A' haunts Alison's former four best friends, blackmailing them so they don't report the harassment to the police. We learn pretty quickly that Alison and the four girls started the fire that cost the Jenna character her sight, a secret that they don't want the cops to know for obvious reasons. What isn't so obvious is why they still haven't come clean after several more people have been murdered in relation to the Alison case and the constant danger they are in. I mean, a lot of people have died, and some scary crap has happened to some of them. On top of that, Jenna has ocular surgery and she can see again.
Poor Alison.

Since the show keeps chugging along making insane amounts of money, stringing the audience with now-random soap opera-inspired turns, they need something to focus on for the roughly 43 minutes of tape each week. About 5 of those minutes are usually spent in some kind of discussion or sleuthing about Alison's killer/A. The other 38 are spent talking about their stupid boy problems, parent problems and sometimes going to strange parties that seem surprisingly dull, despite having some pretty good costume designers and wardrobe people.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Ten Songs from 2012

I'm not a real critic so my list skews softer than most -- though the hard song at number one was undeniable. Titles mostly link to videos.

1. Japandroids, "The House That Heaven Built"
Tell them all to go to hell.

Just a rock anthem. Maybe the best rock anthem.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

10 Modern Poets You Might Like

Highlights from a.m.k.'s experience with modern poetry.

I recently read a 600-page introduction to modern poetry (for fun), so I've had that on my mind lately. The book had a lot of dry parts (as you might imagine) but I enjoyed learning about poets I've never heard of before or getting some of my misconceptions of certain poets/movements sorted out.

I am by no means an expert -- there are many poets I haven't read, and many others who I've only read a bit of. But I've been reading poetry for several years now, and the modern period is what I am most comfortable with and arguably like best. I am not up-to-date enough on contemporary poetry to make a list of anything more recent than 1970 (and there is a lot to keep track of -- damn internet/damn globalization), but one day I will be. For now, I'll share my knowledge and interest in poets most active from about 1890-1970, which includes the period preceding modernism and the bulk of post-modernism as well. I realize this is well past the scope of what most scholars consider to be modern, so if you are a scholar you can ignore the term and just think "he's listing poets he likes from (approximately) an 80-year period."

It is also my firm belief that people should read more poetry. Attention spans and TV are big competition, but for people generally interested in literature, art and self-expression, poetry is really worth it, and it’s much less of a commitment than novels. I get that no one has the time to read War and Peace, but most poems in the past 100 years are one page or shorter, and good poems can stimulate your thoughts or emotions in only a moment.

So for poetry enthusiasts old and new, here are ten "modern" poets I'd recommend:

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A Complete Guide to Starsky & Hutch

A friend convinced me to start watching Starsky & Hutch. It is a TV show about cops, and it is from the 70s. Here are the key elements of any episode of Starsky & Hutch.

Starsky and Hutch

Starsky and Hutch are two cops who catch bad guys. They are the best of friends. In this picture they are dressed up as pimps, but they are pretty outrageous dressers under normal circumstances.