The Q story
Here’s the story, from the way I saw it, according to me.
Once upon a time, I had a garage. Sure, I had rented the house and yard, as well, but it was the garage I wanted the most. I imagined it would be a great place for me to create art masterpieces and sing badly out loud without my daughter hearing. It was a great hangout. When my friends would come over we’d smoke in the garage and I’d show them my latest art projects or 12.
One fall evening 2012, my friend Ian came over and we chatted in the garage about music and such and he told me of interesting things happing all over the city but I was pretty happy being a recluse at that time. After all, I had my garage. I specifically remember talking about CBC because my conversations often go there when I want to share what I’ve learned. I can remember Ian mocking me because I told him I deeply admired Jian Ghomeshi and that I had a bit of a crush on him. I know Ian said logical things like “He has writers, you know” (I didn’t) and a few other jabs, mocking my fandom. I told him that Ideas was really my favourite show and I wanted to one day do a radio documentaries for Ideas and then Jian would want to interview me for Q. My plan was to think of the perfect question to ask Jian. ( I hadn’t thought of one then but now I can think of a million questions for him…)
Fast forward a month or 2 and I see on twitter than Ian is chatting with Jian and CBC’s Q about coming to London for a live show! What the… YES! Let’s do this!
I’ll tell you right now that I have never hashtagged as much before then or since but I could type #JianinLdnOnt in my sleep. Quickly support was coming in from other Londoners who also love CBC, and other cities were also wanting in on the action. With that, CBC’s Q announced a contest in which the city that showed it wanted CBC there most, would win the live taping. We kicked it into high gear!
I believe it was Derek Silva (my apologies if I’m wrong) who set up a website and soon we were gathering support with Londoners blogging, submitting Q photos and offering all sorts of incentives (not bribes!!) to choose London. I had been going around the city taking pictures of Qs and then mustered up the energy to join a group of Londoners for a Q rally so we could get more photos and film footage. So so so many people showed up and despite it being cold, we were all in good spirits and we had a good time!
I remember setting my alarm to make sure I was awake for the announcement and screaming for joy when London was announced the winner! I felt so proud of us! Look what we can do when we work together, I said to anyone who would listen.
The couple of months between knowing we won and waiting for the event, I worked away at a collage/painting for Jian. In fact, I was still working away at it late the night before and woke up the day of the show, over tired and too excited. I was excited to find out that he would be speaking at Western the next day and I could get another chance to hear him speak, so I didn’t take the painting to the taping, planning to take it to Western.
I bused to the theatre. Ian had sweetly managed to get free tickets for those of us who worked extra hard on the #JianinLdnOnt campaign. He met me out front with the ticket and I was thrilled I was sitting in the 3rd row. Thinking back… this was just the beginning of my getting involved in the city. I can’t remember who sat beside me on the left, but it was someone I knew a bit. JoAnne Bishop maybe? And then to my right, sat a nice lady with a great smile and many people were speaking to her. I found out who she was when Mayor Joe Fontana got on the stage and I whispered “Oh no. This is embarrassing. It’s bad enough that he’s our mayor but do we need to draw attention to him?” and then I added “Council is a joke”. And that’s when I was told the lady on my right was Councillor Joni Baechler. “Except for you, of course.” She laughed. In my defense, I was completely ignorant about municipal issues at that time and only knew Joe from the occasional headline.
The first thing that I noticed about Jian Ghomeshi is that I didn’t have a crush on him anymore. I think it had something to do with the rolled up jeans but also, that he didn’t seem that into us. I really lost interest in Jian but I fell in love with the rest of the show. The guests were amazing and the musical guests knocked my socks right off. To be honest, I got a migraine shortly after the show started and the only thing I remember with any clarity was falling head over heels in love with Miranda Mulholland, who was playing with the Great Lake Swimmers. Not only can she play the fiddle and sing like nobody’s business, she’s got incredible stage presence and awesome energy. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to her music and that’s easy, because she plays in 76% of all Canadian bands. (or something)
The rest of the show was great. I loved Elvira Kurt. She’s such a great addition to the show. She is so incredibly… awesome and aggravating at the same time and the kind of person that I’d want to hang out with or go on a road trip with.
When the show was over, Jian shook hands and signed autographs in the lobby. I could have waited but my head hurt, and I figured it would be easier at the after party, which I was lucky enough to be invited to. Again at the after party, there was always a crowd about him and he didn’t look all too amused, so I took my migraine home to bed.
I woke the next morning and knew that going to Western wasn’t going to happen. Between the lingering migraine, the anxiety and the overall lack of confidence, I just couldn’t swing it. I spent the day in bed, moping.
Fast forward to August 2014. I’m minding my own business on twitter when I see that City Lights Bookshop has a giant Q that they are auctioning off and the funds raised, goes to a LGBTQ support line and that seemed like a no brainer to me. Of course I needed the giant Q. Not only was it made by artist & book clerk, Kayla, It was signed by Jian with him declaring it the “Best Q Ever. Ever.”.
So I bid on it and for $125 I brought it home with me. I had great plans for the Q. I had photo shoot ideas, guest appearances planned (It was at London`s VOICE) and it slept in my tent with me, for a few weeks when I first moved into my new place. My plan was, when I was done playing with it, I was going to give the giant Q to my nephew, Quinn.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago and the news about Jian’s fondness for smacking women around.
At first, many of us who had been involved in the #JianinLdnOnt campaign felt disappointed that Jian has now tarnished that memory for us. I didn’t want anything to do with the Q. I absolutely couldn’t give it to my nephew but I always didn’t want to disrespect the artist by just getting rid of it.
I posted a picture of it on facebook told the story, hoping someone would want it and any money raised would go to the London Abused Women Centre. In no time, my friend, Lisa Bondy, suggested that I transform the Q into something positive and she attached the logo for the women’s shelter. Perfect. It became crystal clear.
After a small alteration, painting it purple for the Shine the Light campaign, and then adding Holly Painter’s message “Speak your Truth” and the hashtag #WeBelieveYou, it was perfect. A group effort. (I’m just finishing up on the lettering.)
So now we have this beautiful symbol of hope for all abuse survivors to know that someone is thinking about them and cares for them. May that be the little push they need to speak their truth. Megan Walker from the London Abused Women’s Shelter said she would love to see this all over the city so many women will see it.
Let’s do that.
If you have a location where it can be displayed, whether for a day or a week or a month… please let me know.
Let’s shine the light on woman abuse.