It’s our last issue of the year, and my personal condition couldn’t be more in keeping with these morose times. Served for the second time in a month with this Satan’s cocktail of throat ache and fever, I’ve spent most of March standing at windows in my apartment, overlooking the grey metropolis below like some kind of five-foot-five, puffy-necked, phlegmatic Batman.
It’s appropriate, though; because when something comes to an end, when it’s time to move on, it’s instinctual to look back at what you’re leaving behind. Despite the essay due dates on the horizon, in my current state, all I can do is look back at the otherwise great year I’ve had, and writing for The Concordian has been a big part of that.
I don’t know whether I’ll be writing for The Concordian next year—I’m graduating and moving into another program of study. That means there’s more space in the Arts section…for you. Take it from me: writing for this paper has given way to more contacts, opportunities, fun (free) experiences, and better times than most things I’ve been involved in. Here is a sort of improvised triumvirate of anecdotes and advice that I’d like to bestow on next year’s slew of Arts writers. You’re going to have a blast.
Thanks for reading, and happy writing.
1) Leap before you look: Sure, you probably should look into every single item on the Arts list before you pick out a story to follow—but where’s the fun in that? Some of my favourite stories, like the piece I did on street/pop-art exhibit CEASE IT 2, were picked just because I thought they “seemed cool.” It was a feature that led to some great contacts, brought about the discovery of a bunch of Montreal and Canadian artists, and allowed me to sit on a chair made of skateboards, confront a two-dimensional boogieman, and be wowed by a cardboard display of cartoons brought to life. You’ll never see the variety of what the city has to offer if you don’t take a few risks, so go ahead and take the plunge.
2) Sneak on up: I was standing in front of the Hall building speaking with a friend and noticed someone putting up a hand-drawn, fluorescent sticker of a strung-out looking bird holding a laser gun; of course, it was too weird not to follow up. Striking up a conversation when you see something interesting is definitely a good way to get a story going, and although it can be embarrassing and feel awkward, it can also yield interviews with people you would otherwise never be able to meet. Graffiti artist Futur Lazor Now, for instance, doesn’t usually give interviews or divulge many personal details, but because I was there, I got the story.
3) They can sense fear: Shaky hands, shallow breathing, sweaty forehead—it’s definitely your first interview. That’s okay, though, because although you look nervous, all you need to remember is that you have the power. In the end, you’re the one who has to understand, think critically and write, and any artist, actor or interviewee is terrified of having the journalist walk away with the wrong impression. Think of the Discovery Channel or something: it’s like taking majestic, wild animals out of their natural environment and submitting them to a battery of tests. Really, they’re more afraid of you than you are of them.