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TORONTO – Art Studios + Ted’s Collision

We wake up in Daniel’s parents basement breathing heavily exhausting last nights alcohol fumes. I don’t want to ever get up but stay under the duvet, resting my head against Daniel’s bare skin. It’s the day before new years eve and I wonder how I will ever manage to party again. The winter morning lay anything but inviting once we make it outside, this time to visit the boys’ friend Virgil. The wind is hostile and creep in under all of our layers and down to my bare skin that prickles from its grace. The subway transports us far down town and as we transfer onto a streetcar the wind picks up, whipping the snowflakes against the asphalt. Luckily the stop isn’t too far from the house and Virgil greets us by the old door. After almost kicking it in we climb the lanky flights of stairs to his studio. Virgil-in-his-studio,-Toronto-Canada Up there it’s warm, bright and dreamy.Virgil is an artist and his studio is just like a studio should be; filled with art and plants, unfinished paintings and rolled up canvases, already displayed sculptures and paint splatters. Janis-Joplin-vinyl-in-the-studio,-Toronto From the plastic bag we brought Nicolas hands me a beer and first I frown but then I crack it open. The sound is soothing and the first whisp of beer to my tongue ease my headache. Daniel browse through the vinyls whilst Virgil tells us about his upcoming show at Toronto’s museum of modern art. Paintings-by-VirgilDaniel-in-Virgil's-studio Janis Joplin scratchy voice drenches the studio and the wind slams the windows. They tell me about when they rode the bus to high school together and they’d flick through Virgil’s notebooks that were filled with drawings of monsters and that time the three of them were tricked into taking salsa classes. Doll-by-VirgilDolls-by-Virgil I walk around the room looking through all the artworks taking up every available surface, asking probably too many questions as curiosity gets the better of me. How’s this made, is that a vagina, what inspired you to paint this, how is this performance piece going to work, what is the hardest part of being an artist, how long does it take you to make one of these, what’s your favourite colour etc etc. Nicolas-in-Virgil's-studio,-Toronto I get shown different ways of painting and how the canvases and papers transform the result and Virgil asks me which sculptures I like the most and after pointing one out I force him to pick the artwork he is most proud of out of all that he’s done. He picks the one me and Daniel had hanging in our room when we lived in Bethnal Green. Virgil-in-his-studio,-TorontoVirgil,-Toronto I’m not at all cut out to be an artist, but oh my their lives and drive takes my breath away. Studio-visit,-Toronto I strongly restrain the urge to steal this painted kaftan before we leave. I’d be a damn summer dream in it. Daniel-at-Sneaky-Dee's,-Toronto Daniel and I travel the streetcar alone to the gritty bar Sneaky Dee’s that we visited last time we were in town. It’s the first time this holiday that it’s just the two of us for dinner and we get to sit down in one of the booths and get tipsy and loud together. Nacho-plate,-Sneaky-Dee's We order in the nacho mountain and the avocado spring rolls, just like last time. I choke on them twice because Daniel makes me laugh so hard when I ask him about how he lost his virginity. He is filled with stories about teen crushes and awful relationships and tell them like no other. It is probably both fantastic and sad that I think that my boyfriend is the funniest person on this planet! In the middle of his sentences he pulls me over the table to kiss me, and three years in that still kills me. Steven-and-Nicolas,-Ted's-CollisionDaniel-and-Steven,-Ted's-CollisionTed's-Collision,-Toronto Through the biting cold we walk a few blocks up to Ted’s Collision, a rock bar with concrete walls swimming in red neon light. His friends are there already, sipping on tom collins to the heavy tunes. There are mentions of bespoke rings and why men should wear jewellery, somebody burns their angora sweater over a candle and the bartender is drunk enough to forget to charge. My lungs feel heavy and my muscles sore. The tiredness from the morning hasn’t vanished at all but instead progressed into a fluish state and now I can feel the fever creeping in on me. I don’t want to go home though, I’m in Canada with my loved one after all. And as I’ve waited and longed for this trip. I pray not to be ill tomorrow, because tomorrow is the last day of this year and it’s going down hard.   Linn

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