I don’t really like admitting it but I had decent reason to walk through the new Dollar Tree store on Princess St last week. I was looking for a case for an old phone (how is it that we think of a two-year-old phone as “old”?) and hadn’t been able to find one in any other local store. I thought Dollar Tree might provide a final resting place for this sort of discontinued doodad. And I just want to go on record as saying that I have never been into a more depressing retail space. More airplane hangar than store, more floodlit operating room than shopping venue, it is the most aesthetically grim spot on earth that I can think of. I feel for the people who have to work there, under those buzzing fluorescents, stocking those metal shelves all day with serious tonnages of grey tuna and wilted party hats. I hope (in vain, I suspect) that they are paid as well as if they were fighting fires off-planet. Man, it’s awful in there, more awful even than the sight of that lurid green sign downtown.
Sally’s Roti Shop, on the other hand, is a marvelous spot. It opened about the same time as the Dollar Tree and represents all that is still vital about our downtown core. It’s always busy when I go in there and the food is great, and ridiculously cheap. It deserves your attention and your appetite.
I wrote a while ago on this site about Sally’s imminent arrival and some anonymous commenter said that in mentioning roti stores and punk music I’m just trying communicate that I used to be cool. He might be right, damn it. (And by the way, the album Silence Yourself by London punk/rock band Savages is one you shouldn’t miss. But don’t worry, it’s from 2013 so I’m way behind the times and so resolutely un-cool in bringing it to your attention now. Here's a video.).
And finally, I will absolutely not be in attendance when Ben Darrah holds a reception at 276 Wellington St this Saturday afternoon (November 22) from 2-4 pm. I love Ben’s paintings (and his sculptures), and this is a really strong exhibition, but that house is listed with me and I don’t want to distract in any way from the day’s higher purpose, which is to see and perhaps even buy top-notch Canadian art. So go. And enjoy.