So it’s 1998 and I’m 36 years old. I’m still living in Ottawa, in a slightly rundown apartment beside the Union Mission. I’m getting pretty used to hearing street people making noise because, well, I live right beside them.
One night I had to call the cops because a big guy was pounding on my door screaming “Mother… Mother!” He was pounding so hard I felt it was only a matter of time before he’d break in.
After calling 911 I scrambled out the window onto the roof of the first-floor extension below me. I was pretty scared but kept cool.
When the cops arrived I had a choice… press charges or let it drop. I let it drop but told the guy – now subdued – to his face that he really scared me. He looked like a nice guy. Just drunk and upset. Or maybe stoned.
Whatever. I don’t think he understood too much at that moment.
People did practically everything near the Mission. The basement of our house was broken into with needles left behind. My bike was stolen from that basement. Another inglorious moment.
This place (cars in front) redefined the meaning of “student digs!”
I was sad and upset about my bike because I worked hard to buy it and a friend’s brother, who owned a bike shop, had customized it. Many summers of getting up early and working hard as a city gardener probably went toward a case of beer.
But I figured the theft was a form of global welfare so let it go.
Having graduated, I no longer had access to the university computer room, so migrated over to the Ottawa Public Library. The library had computers, internet, and email through National Capital Freenet. NCF also had free web space. This is where Earthpages began. I talk about that here, so won’t elaborate.
The library has changed a bit since I was there in ’98
In my last entry, 4FUN HITS, I mentioned having a hard time finding anything I liked in 1998. Since then I realized that Frank Sinatra’s work was remastered in ’98.
Ha! This was the year I first discovered Frank—oddly enough, the same year he died.
I recall making a post-student dinner of noodles and stuff, stirring away and listening to a Sinatra album I’d picked up from the Ottawa Public Library.
Hey, this guy is really good, I thought to myself. What incredible timing.
It would be almost another two decades before I’d go full bore into Sinatra. But I’ll get to that. For now, I’ll just share some of my favorite Sinatra tunes.
Now this is music. I wonder how many pop tunes churned out in ’98 will be remastered 40 years after their release?
“I’ve Got the World on a String” was released in ’56, Come Fly With Me in ’58. And yes they reflect the times. But are we immune to reflecting our own cultural landscape?
It’s now 2018… 60 plus years after the release of these tunes. 60 to 70 years from now I imagine our cultural biases will be just as awkward. Maybe we’ll be scandalized. Maybe we’ll just look back and smile.
I tend to smile with Frank Sinatra.
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