Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Got a Move-On

It’s been a while since my last entry. But it’s because I have been very busy moving yet again.

My studio space in Toronto on Charles Street was being turned into condos. Yes, just what Toronto needs: more condos. I actually had fairly cheap space at $17/sq.ft. When I looked around town I realized I was going to get nothing anywhere near that. And, of course, there is the set-up cost. I always figure that would cost at least $10,000- depending on where it is and I’d again be wondering when the building was going to be razed for condos- or when the landlord was going to raise the rent. I am a little sick of being at someone else’s mercy. Besides, I had always had my studio in or near my house and had kept my overhead to a minimum. That is until I moved to Toronto, the land of financial sodomy.

Not that Toronto is a bad place, it’s just that it’s incredibly expensive to live and work there. And if sodomy is your thing, good on you! But I do suspect that the financial kind is nowhere near as fun as the other variety. Not that I would know. Really. But in Toronto no one seems to think twice about raising rents, or condo fees or issuing fabulous new charges, surcharges, levies and, of course, taxes. Everyone just pays them! Oh, maybe they grumble a bit. But ultimately, they pop a Prozac (or a Paxil, Zoloft or Welbutrin) and pay what is asked. Because we are so fucking blessed to live here, I tell you…. (insert anti-depressant-induced beatific smile here……)

On top of it all, the recession has kicked a big hole in business. And it really hasn’t returned to its former state. That which has come back has been more sporadic and closer to the bone. Everyone wants everything cheaper. It’s tough to manage huge increases in costs when business is less than certain and with margins that are barely above cost, if at all. It has become, for many of us, a race to the bottom.

My condo, bless its heart, raised maintenance fees 51% over the 3 years I lived there. They are now so high I don’t think I can sell the place at all. Ever. Who knew you could lose all your money on a fully renovated, beautiful piece of real estate 2 blocks from the St. Lawrence Market! I keep hearing about the “hot” real estate market. You know, the one our politicians keep saying they need to tax more to keep it from overheating?  No, me neither. Five months on the market, lots of traffic and not 1 offer. Not even a skunk offer. Nothing. Of course the standard comment was: “Awesome condo! Too bad the fees are so high…” (Just for those of you who are wondering…they went up to nearly $1,200/month as of August 1, 2011. That is the just the maintenance fees- nearly $1/sq.ft) Even Torontonians, whose rectums are accustomed the repeated collective poundings issued by David Miller, Rob Ford, Dalton McGuinty (and a host of others) find that too much to take.

So I rented it out and it will be, as our politicians like to lie to us, ‘revenue neutral’. But it really will be. Or close anyway.

In May, we loaded up the truck and moved to Beverleeee….(insert banjo music) Actually, we moved to Nova Scotia.  (Insert MORE banjo music….) It is beautiful, cheap (for housing) has a great and vibrant music scene, an active film production scene and some of the nicest people you will ever meet. And it’s only a 2- hour plane ride from the Center of the Universe. Here I will teach a little, play a little, record a little and compose a lot. I am delighted at how approachable production and musical people are here.

It’s been a long time settling, but the new studio is almost ready to be pimped. I am very excited.  In the meantime, I managed to do some voice over work and score a show here in my new house- a few blocks from the harbour- with my gear temporarily stacked up and half-connected in the basement. But all this will move this weekend into the new digs: a fabulous double garage that I have converted. 
 (the last few days of the "basement" collection!)

Stay tuned and I will thrill you with more tales. As Stephen King says, “There are always more tales…”

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