An Adult Night Out in Riverside, Toronto

Here was a night out to Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood and the Opera House concert hall to see Belgian group Front 242 playing their final North American gig after 40 years of industrial music and touring. The night is a warm, or at least warm enough, fall night 1.5 weeks to Halloween.

That’s a sexy black Porsche Cabriolet dating to the late 1980s or early 1990s. The top comes off cabriolets. Behind the TTC’s articulated Flexity generation rolling stock, once by Bombardier but now by Alstom, there’s another neighbourhood establishment. That’s the Broadview Hotel. The Broadview is where Jilly’s used to operate, where the CIVIC restaurant serves brunch and dinner now. I had never been to Jilly’s, but I have been to venues where women take their clothes off to earn a living.

Did you notice how cities pay homage to each other? Beside the Opera House’s canopy is Dresden Vision. The synchronicity. What do we know about Dresden, Germany?

Here’s how the City of Dresden appeared in 1945, as photographed by Richard Peters (1895-1977), looking south from the City Hall Tower. This was after the joint bombing of Dresden by British and American allies. Tens of thousands of civilians were murdered, “strategically” they say. Here, sculptor August Schreitmüller’s (1871-1958) sandstone statue “Gute,” transl. the Goodness, overlooks WW2 ruins.

It’s ok, we’re all adults. Security was busy making sure for the show. “But we’re on the guest list,” say some younger looking concertgoers.

Inside, we’re going upstairs. I’ve been to the Opera House for several shows in the past, although it’s becoming more difficult to recall each one. The most memorable was Pete Rock and CL Smooth. We reminisce but don’t struggle too hard. We go forward.

Orphx, the Steeltown industrial & techno team formed in 1993, is opening the concert. Their sound is controlled and confident. Christina Sealey’s keyboards and Rich Oddie’s heavily modulated voice make me want to run around and dance.

Yes Moe, I’m an adult now too. No doubt about it. Earlier today after 23 years of laser corrected vision holding up, my latest optometrist prescribed distance glasses. Oh my Goodness, it’s happening! I’m getting old. “You don’t legally need glasses,” this supposed bestower of legal driving status offered. What? Did she think I couldn’t afford them? Did my old black hoodie seem out of place in uppity North York Central during midday for somebody who could purchase eye glasses? We can’t be sure.

The goal is not to drive. The goal is precision. Her phoropter indicated a clear opportunity for improvement. “You should have told her she’s not a real doctor,” my fiancé jokes. Doctors and pharmacists. Ha, did this doctor ever watch M*A*S*H? Did she read Erving Goffman?

This optometrist wanted to know about my drugs. Because of a serious non-communicable medical condition, I take a number of drugs. I didn’t list them all for her. Some of them are prescribed and some are the sort of natural alternatives you’d find in a vitamin shop. She warned that optometrists and dentists would want to know which medications I took. She cautioned to keep a list in my wallet, and surprised when I asked why she wanted to know. Unless she could provide a good reason, it was really none of her business. But we stayed polite because we’re adults.

I was thinking optometrist-doctor lady should have paid more attention to her marketing instead. When I found some thick black frames, optometrist drug investigator thought I should know my choice of frames were safety glasses. Not that she “thought” of them as safety glasses, but that they “were.”

Stayed firmly in the literal and categorized world, rather than that of the conceptual and possible, she did. They weren’t Dahmer glasses. Would she have been as concerned if they were? But who am I kidding? I bought her glasses. Let’s give her oppositional sales game some theoretical credit.

Down in Riverside, Front 242 is who I remember defining industrial music in the 1980s and 1990s, along with bands like Nitzer Ebb, Skinny Puppy and Ministry. Hard appropriate sounds for a world you begin to understand differently after forty years. “Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research,” according to famous psychiatrist Carl Jung.


Right now there’s a young man named Stephen Punwasi running for mayor of Toronto. Saturday is his birthday. He’s ahead of the game in that he seems to posses some financial wizardry and a qualified opinion. Stephen sees in the conceptual on the fly, of what could be. Candidate Punwasi publishes Better Dwelling by daya real estate newsletter. Actually he publishes by day and night, and calls people who like more sleep “normies.” His writing has been syndicated to Business Insider, HuffPost, and Maclean’s.

Keep Stephen in mind on October 24, 2022. My gut tells me he’s more trustworthy than 95% of Canadian politicians. Whether municipal, provincial or federal, Canada is drowning in corruption. Candidate Punwasi calls it out. As a result, he may have been shadow banned in some cases. If the province and Canadian media have given Stephen less coverage than he deserves, it’s because of his potential popularity. Too invested.

Stephen claims to remember when the Toronto Star was a progressive, civic minded newspaper. But that’s impossible. He’s a millennial. If it’s any consolation, remember that being young, hopeful and energetic is not a crime. Political corruption is a crime. If Stephen doesn’t come away with a win this October, I hope he runs again. He will be even more conscious of how horrible adults can be to each other. Legacy media will be deeper in its grave.

Front 242’s eyewear for the night looked even more like safety glasses than those frames purchased earlier in the day. Safety glasses seemed like the correct motif. Safety glasses before paper masks.