Our Songs Are Over, Our Cigarettes Burnt Out

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Songs + Cigarettes was always more than it should have been, and less than we had hoped in the back of our heads. It’s been way, way too much fun, but now it’s high time we walked away for a little while.

I started Songs + Cigarettes as a school project in 2007, shortly after it would mutate into a “what does it all mean?” cliché of brain-on-toast ramblings later that year. From there some misadventures, a few writing gigs, and amazingly, two very best friends of mine, Neil and Aislinn (who are significantly smarter, more creative than me), opted to turn this little waste of time into something more: a booze fueled, balls to the wall, rock n’ roll, waste of big damn time. Thus, songsandcigarettes.com was born.

Aislinn opted to bow out years ago from any of the site related stuff, with the exception of being the most rad host of our annual outdoor TIFF screening (not an official TIFF event, and we played “Mean Girls” last year). It was in the past few months that Neil and I reached the conclusion that we just don’t have whatever it was anymore. Whether we’re getting older (we’re not, by the way – staying 22 forever), work and life junk taking up more time (I’m not going to use that “back to the real world” line, because I think that’s a really boring, demeaning thing to say, OKAY? God, I need a hobby), or, maybe we’re just ready to move on to something else. Hell, maybe it’s a delicious cocktail of all three. Who knows.

So, hey, looks like we’re stepping away from this thing after some very, very excellent years. Whether we’re dead, done, and gone forever is yet to be seen, but we’re taking a nice, long hiatus nonetheless. No bad blood, no butts hurt, we just didn’t find it fair to keep the site when we had nothing we really felt passionate enough to write about anymore. The last thing we wanted was this to feel like an albatross around our neck.

It’s been weird to look back at a lot of this. We were fortunate enough to write our own column for The Huffington Postwe did this interview with the similarly defunct OTM Magazine in, like, 2010 and another more recently with the fine folks at Rockit PR (more fart jokes, fyi), we met and drank with the team behind one of our favourite documentaries (watch “Dragonslayer” on Netflix immediately), we had a Podcast (HAHAHAHA!), we put out a Guide To Summer every year, we were auctioned off for dates, we fell down, danced, and drank through alleys and ballrooms and rooftops. We had a lot of soaring highs and a lot less crushing lows.

Then there are the other contributors that make S+C so rad and weird: our film buff, Alex Stephenson of the MacGuffin Men, our in-house audiophile, Chris, Beans (who I’m pretty sure is just an imaginary friend we collectively made up), and Zak, who went to really seedy bars and wrote with a Kerouac slur. There’s been big and small lineups of contributors over the years, too: James offering his commentary of municipal politics, part-time contributor and full time sportz nut Simps, our bike courier braveheart Brit, Dr Duff Texas explaining the rules to everything, and on and on and on. Everyone, no matter the time or length, was important and I hope we weren’t the worst dudes to deal with.

A great many of my favorite people came from some kind of (mis)adventure with Songs + Cigarettes; getting drunk in a corner, laughing maniacally at any one of those fancy to-dos (which we still haven’t really figured out how or why we got invited to), openings, road trips, shows, festivals, concerts, and a billion others. Some of my very best friends – who, yeah, I see way too often and shouldn’t have given emergency house keys to – I met through S+C one way or another, which is absolutely wild to look back on. Undoubtedly, it has been one of the single most important pieces of my 20s after looking at faces I’ve had the big, dumb, pleasure to meet and befriended and, okay, sure, sometimes even smooch. It was worth every typo.

With that, we’re putting together a last surprise and a nice little piss-up to celebrate what has become our formative years.  More details to come on that. Stay tuned for the new year.

It was always this city that acted as our lighthouse. Thanks, and see you when I see you.

Be kind, fight dirty.

Braden

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