Hell for a Basement - Macleans.ca

Hell for a Basement


UPDATE: Well, I guess it didn’t go so well


I’m off to Edmonton tomorrow, where I’ll be speaking at this year’s  CUP conference. I’m excited for two main reasons: First, I’ve  never been to Alberta, except for a drive-through as an infant and a couple of afternoons spent at the Calgary and Edmonton airports. Second, one of the keynote speakers at the conference is Adrienne Arsenault, who I think is the best correspondent at the CBC, and one of the best journalists in the country, period.

Anyway, like most eastern bastards I have my own private Alberta, which is a mashup of the following favourites:

Politician: Peter Lougheed

Song, set in: Northern Wish, Rheostatics

Musicians: Nickleback. Ha! kidding. SNFU, I think, though I love kd lang’s version of Helpless.

Hockey team: Flames, obviously. It was impossible to like Gretzky and the Oilers when I was growing up.

Hockey player: I’d like to say the Sutter clan, but I have to go with Jarome Iginla.

Film: Is Kitchen Party set in Alberta? I can’t remember. If not, then this one, because of the cast.

Novel: The Trade, by Fred Stenson

Artist: Peter von Tiesenhausen, one of the most inspired, and inspiring, artists I have ever met.

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Hell for a Basement

  1. I always thought Kitchen Party was set in Nova Scotia (although now that I think about it, I have no idea why). But if your hung up for an Alberta movie, might I suggest FUBAR or Waydowntown?

  2. Yeah, Waydowntown was good, but I thought Kitchen Party was the better Gary Burns film. Anyway, he's Albertan. Didn't know Cadence Weapon was from Edm, thanks. Afterparty Babies is excellent.

  3. Medicine hat and parts near thereof are fascinating and well worth an exploration

  4. Excellent choice of Peter von Tiesenhausen for artist. His stuff is truly amazing.

    • Isn't it though? I met him at a conference in Montreal a few years ago, and saw him give a slide presentation of his work. It took the crowd a half hour to finish collecting our jaws up off the floor.

  5. I'll try and forgive you for your flames loyalties…however since Wayne is long gone…If you have the time or inclination, i suggest a visit to little Italy…the Italian store on 95th[?] is wonderful – and the prices are great too. Nearby on 107th ave is a good selection of Vietnamese rest – some good, some not. Perhaps all this is available in Ottawa…i haven't been there in decades.
    Blues on whyte on the south side used to be the blues scene..for.a great Edmonton musician…check out Bill Bourne if he's still in town.
    Edmonton's no jewal…but the river valley is lovely and the people are friendly. Enjoy!

  6. Have to agree on Ms. Arsenault …. although CBC, for some reason, seems to have
    a lot of very good female reporters.

    • All the best CBC reporters have been female, if you include radio…Arsenault is the best.

  7. B.C. wants in!

    Look like the Perfect Storm is developing for the next Macleans Calgary debate. Ken Whyte I hope has provided some valuable context and eating hole recommendations for the newly initiated. I was going to suggest saving your photo shots of the mountains until you actually get there, but that is so Kodak and Japanese.

    • The mountains are a 4 hr drive from Edmonton…pity it wasn't in Jasper…a touristy but nonetheless lovely little town.

      • They lost the totem pole recently. Jasper the bear statue. Is he still there? He used to appear regularly in Macleans pages – his characature, I think.

        • Jasper the Bear, based on James Simpkins' cartoon which appeared in Maclean's way back when, has been restored and relocated. He's not far from the train station.

          The town of Jasper is about a four-hour drive from Edmonton, but the mountains can be reached in three hours. It's still a lot further than Calgary-Banff.

          • I challenge you to make the mountains in 3 hrs in a whiteout at 35 below with crappy tires…course that's just me, far too often.

      • re:4 hours. Yeah, you're right. I was thinking of Cowtown.

  8. Don't drink the water! There's something in it that make Easterners vote Conservative.

    • There's something in it that make Easterners vote Conservative.

      Yeah. Booze. And lots of it.

    • Until recently Edmonton had a proud history of not being Tory blue[ provincially]…i can't imagine what changed that.

      • Two things: first, Premier Ed is from just outside of town, and Edmonton voters are basically a rock concert audience ("He said Edmonton! WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!"); and second, the traditional redness/non-blueness of Edmonton is overstated anyway. Edmonton shifts around a lot, really: for example, the Liberals swept the town in 1993, but the NDP won 11 of 17 seats in 1989 and 1986, and the Tories won 17 of 18 seats in 1982 and swept Edmonton in 1979. And while Edmonton had tended toward the Liberals since 1993, their dominance there was not unbroken: the Tories won a majority of Edmonton seats in 2001.

  9. Your private cinematic Alberta really must make room for FUBAR.

  10. sweet. Welcome.

  11. Nickelback = cheesy guitar music played by Mennonites. Not the worst symbol of Alberta you could devise, honestly.

    • Sssh!

  12. Also on the agenda: Jan Wong? She is still listed as G&M? I thought she essentially was weeded out of like everything?

  13. Jan Wong still (remarkably) has some cred with students. She started at the McGill Daily, which is a founder of the CUP.

  14. I saw Cosh at the CUP national conference the last time it was in Edmonton; it was depressing, in that it helped me to understand the way he blogs well enough to realize that I'll never be able to do it anywhere near as well or successfully. Anyway, it should be a good time for you, especially if you happen to be on first thing in the morning and decide to make some sudden loud noises.

    Also, you need to eat at Padmanadi on 97th street while you're in Edmonton. You can thank me later.

  15. If you're driving around the province at all, you might want to check out CKUA Radio. I was very impressed with it while visiting Alberta for the Canmore Folk Festival two years ago. Lots of Canadian content and very diverse. Apparently has been broadcasting as long as the CBC.

    • CKUA is Alberta's best kept secret; more's the pity. You can catch it online here:


  16. "Well i guess that didn't go so well"

    Tough audience…next time try a few Calgary jokes. That always seems to go down well.