Two Months Ago I Started Co-working with Strangers on the Internet & it’s Changed Everything

It’s the start of pandemic in North America (March, April, May? Who the heck knows because the days seem to be blurring together). I’m sitting at my computer in my bedroom office trying to coax myself into writing something — anything — that isn’t for one of my regular clients. 

With upcoming work travel plans on hold indefinitely and more time on my hands, I tell myself that should  be able to finally buckle down and finish the book I’ve been writing (on and off) for the past few years. But every time I sit down to do the hard thing, my brain feels too foggy. 

I’m temporarily soothed by articles and inspirational Instagram posts that remind me that it’s normal to have problems focusing during a pandemic (we’re all just trying to stay alive!) And yet, I can’t escape the feeling that I’m a loser and a failure.

(Did I mention I can be a jerk to myself sometimes?)

I mean, people are out there creating albums and launching super cool side projects right now. I’m not making the most of my time! I should be creating! I don’t have the excuse of not having time! What the fuck is wrong with me?

Sound familiar? 

(In other words, if you consistently find yourself sitting down to do work only to be distracted by similar thoughts paired with doom scrolling, a Pinterest addiction and places like JackpotCity online casino, then this post is for you)

When people ask me what I miss most about my pre-Covid life, my answer usually surprises them (hint: it’s not travelling — I’m tired and my body is a mess — more on that later). Instead, I yearn for the long writing sessions that I used to regularly enjoy at a handful of local coffee shops. 

As a self-employed person for 10+ years, I like to think I’m pretty good at getting stuff done while working from home. With that being said, when it comes to the big, important stuff — things that clients aren’t paying me to do — like writing a book or penning emotionally vulnerable blog posts, I’ve always found it easier to do this kind of work outside of my home. 

I was the same way in university. I did nearly all of my homework at the library and when it came time to write papers, I opted to do my work in the computer lab (even though I had a PC at home). When I walked through the doors, I knew that I could (mild human distractions aside) focus and get stuff done. In my post-grad life, the coffee shop filled a similar role, as an almost sacred place for writing. When the pandemic hit, it felt like I’d been kicked out of the flock. 

My local coffee shop scene looks like a weird mash-up of a Portlandia episode and the movie Cocoon. It’s a motley crew of stereotypical hipsters armed with sticker-covered Macbooks and Moleskines, patchouli scented didgeridoo carrying white guys with badly maintained dreadlocks and octogenarians who insist on watching YouTube videos on their iPads at max volume without headphones. It’s noisy and a little smelly, but it’s this exact blend human chaotic energy (cue: a Glass Animals album playing in the background) that has allowed me to zero in and focus long enough to write the first two drafts of my 250+ page book. 

Unable to shake my brain fog and struggling to get anything beyond the bare minimum done, I started locking my phone in my bathroom cabinet for hour long sessions. 

While being without my phone definitely helped me get stuff done without the constant temptation of scrolling through Instagram or falling into an eBay/Etsy black hole in search of the perfect pair of tiny cowboy boots for Joe the Intern, sitting alone at my computer in my quiet bedroom turned office lacked the just-chaotic-enough “backstage at the Muppet Theatre” vibes that my coffee shop consistently delivered. 

I’ve learned that I do best work when I’m in the presence of other people doing work. I also crave accountability. 

Then, through what can only be described as serendipity, I discovered the two words that would change everything: 

Silent Zooms. 

Working from home

Two months ago, I started co-working with strangers on the internet and it’s been life altering. 

The process is as follows: 

Log onto the platform. Schedule a co-working session. Get matched with a partner or a group (depending on the platform). Join the video conference and introduce yourself. Share your goals for what you hope to accomplish during the session. Work silently on Zoom together for 1-3 hours before checking in at the end to see how things went. 

If you’d told me a year ago that I would be paying a service to work quietly with strangers on Zoom, I would have rolled my eyes — but oh my god, that tiny bit of accountability and human contact works wonders for my workflow. 

To be productive, I need other humans close by and I need a place to go — even if it’s virtual. 

If you’re wondering where to find virtual co-working online, I currently use two different virtual co-working platforms that I love equally for different reasons. 

Focusmate is a one-on-one virtual co-working space where you can schedule 50 minute video conference sessions with a virtual coworker. The goal is to hold each other accountable and keep each other company. I use this one for doing all of my task oriented client work — writing articles, scheduling social media, answering emails. It’s been a huge help in focusing on key tasks and limiting distractions. I’ll frequently book multiple sessions in a day — especially if I have a lot to get done. 

Caveday is a group virtual co-working space that’s designed for deep, focused work. Sessions are longer (1-3 hours) and lead by a guide who keeps them upbeat, relaxed and motivational. There’s also a little more interaction and sharing, which is nice. I love using Caveday for creative, personal writing. 

Why pay for two separate memberships, you ask? Well, for me it’s crucial  to create different spaces for different kinds of work. Similar to walking through the library or coffee shop doors, when I log onto Caveday, I automatically associate it with working on book related tasks — and nothing else. 

I’m somewhat of a perfectionist and could easily spend all day tinkering at one piece of writing. Scheduling virtual co-working sessions has allowed me to be more mindful of how I spend my time, so I can work smarter not harder (I’m on a virtual co-working sesh as I write this!) 

It’s also helped calm down the negative self-talk (that I’m an unproductive failure, incapable of writing) because I know if I show up, I’ll at least get something done that I can feel good about. 

Also, I think it’s important to note that whatever you’re feeling — too tender, scattered or angry to focus — is totally legitimate. This isn’t a solve everything cure.

But if you’re looking for ways to add more structure to your days or simply need a push to get over procrastination, I highly recommend giving virtual co-working a try. 

Even Joe the Intern is a fan of our virtual co-working sessions. 

By the way, you might be wondering why I decided to use a photo of me on the beach for a post about productivity during the pandemic

Craving extra accountability, about a month ago I joined a Cave Squad through Caveday. You can read more about it here but basically it’s a supportive accountability group where you can set and track goals. 

In August, our team leader encouraged us to also add some fun goals to our list. One of mine was “walk down to the beach after work and enjoy a canned cocktail.” The photo above is me doing exactly that. I only stayed at the beach for about an hour — just long enough to enjoy a drink and take a photo — but it felt good.

I look at that photo as a reminder that even when the world is going nuts, it’s still possible to carve out time — to do the hard things, but also the stuff that brings you pleasure. If you’re lucky, sometimes the two overlap. 

Has anyone else been struggling with concentration lately? What’s helped you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 

On Ovaries and Embracing Uncertainty


I’m going to start in the middle of this story when the doctor told me over the phone that I needed to get one of my ovaries removed. 

“The whole ovary?” I asked. 

“Yes, at your age it’s just easier to take out the whole thing,” she told me. 

You can function perfectly fine with just one ovary, but hearing that you have to get an organ removed is…unsettling. 

That was in the Spring. 

A few months earlier I’d spent the night in the emergency room experiencing some of the worst physical pain of my life. 

One morphine drip, one (useless) x-ray, a CAT scan, a second trip to the hospital and a lot of pain meds later, I finally had a diagnosis: 

A large benign ovarian cyst that would have to be removed at some point. 

The doctors sent me home with a pain med prescription and instructions to “wait and see.”  After a few days of lying on the couch watching a steady stream of Mike Tyson Mysteries (that show is a thing of beauty if you’re whacked out on opiates. Just saying) the pain subsided. 

That was in January. 

In February I attended a press trip on a sex cruise with one of my best friends, Mark. You can read about my experience here

A few weeks later, the pandemic erupted and well, you know the rest. 

Throughout the first few months of the pandemic I was having a cyst related pain attack on a monthly basis. When these attacks happen, the pain is unbearable. Impossible to keep it inside, screaming out loud pain. It feels like my entire lower torso is being gripped by the jaws of life; my organs twisting and turning on themselves. 

After the second attack, I was put on a waiting list for surgery, but with Covid I had no real idea when I’d actually get this thing removed. 

When these attacks happen (usually during ovulation), all I can do is lie on my side in bed, with heat packs wrapped around my mid-section and wait for the next round of pain meds to kick in. I turn on my salt lamp, plug in my ear phones and listen to podcasts, slipping in and out of sleep as I wait for my timer to go off (the signal to take more drugs). 

(I’ve struggled to listen to my usual diet of murdery podcasts during the pandemic; preferring slightly lighter fare. When I’m sick I keep things extra light. My go-to’s are Scam Goddess and RPDR podcasts like Race Chaser)

I breathe and wait. 

Because that’s all I can do. 

While I still feel like I’ve been run over by a truck for a few days every month, I haven’t had any severe pain attacks since late spring. I also have a surgery date to get the cyst (which is now 4 x 3 inches in size) removed. I’ll be going into surgery on November 19th. 

When I think about my experience of 2020, I always come back to those first few pain attacks and how they forced me to become intimately acquainted with the concept of uncertainty.

I didn’t know when/if the pain would end. All I could do was sit with the discomfort and embrace the small things that brought me comfort, like the soft glow of my salt lamp and the soothing banter of drag queens coming from my headphones. 

If that doesn’t sum up 2020, I don’t know what does. 

When Life, Love & Travel Don’t Go as Planned

At the beginning of 2018, I decided my motto would be “catch flights, not feelings.” I was ready to travel and experience as much as possible, without tying myself down to any one person. I got half of the equation right (I hopped on 20+ flights over the course of last year), but as far as not catching feelings, I kind of failed miserably (if you consider allowing yourself to be vulnerable a failure, which I don’t).

One thing that’s become very apparent over the past year or two, is that I’m very all or nothing when it comes to sex and romance. I don’t meet that many people that I connect with, so if I’m into you, I’m into you. Even if I know a situation is destined to be casual or fleeting (for example, a fling while travelling), I still feel all the feelings. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing (it’s nice to have good feels towards the people you sleep with), it just is what it is.

In May 2018,  I was on a press trip to an adult’s summer camp in Pennsylvania (more on that later) and I met a guy. He was the marketing director for the company sponsoring the camp. We flirted a bit over the weekend, which lead to us making plans to meet up once we were back in New York City (I was in town staying with a friend for the week). This lead to dinner at Miss Lily’s in the East Village, a post dinner kiss at Death & Co, backseat Uber make-outs, a couple of dates & me rushing from his bed on my last morning in NYC to grab my suitcase and head to the airport.

Oh god, did I like this man. He was smart and beautiful and creative. The sex was passionate and connected. I was smitten.

I asked him if he’d like to see me if I came back to visit. He said yes, but in the fall. His son would be staying with him during the summer.

We stayed in touch over the next few months. We sent sexy toe-curling messages back in forth. Sometimes we didn’t speak for a few days. I continued to travel a lot. I went to the Bahamas and Mexico twice. This didn’t feel like other recent flings (there was a guy in Mexico and another in Jamaica). I didn’t date anyone else. I didn’t want to. I kept thinking about our bodies wrapped around each other; his eyes staring into mine the entire time we made love.

It felt special. He felt special.

Fall rolled around and I booked a ticket to New York City. The plan was to stay with the same friend I’d stayed with after camp (we’d become really close the last time I was in town — another piece of my heart I left in New York City).

I was looking forward to hanging with my friend (co-working! drinking wine! vintage shopping!) and spending time with NYC bae, exploring the city hand-in-hand. I was planning on staying a couple of weeks and  seeing what happened.

Almost nothing went according to plan.

Here’s something you should know about me: I don’t cry very often or very easily anymore (thanks, anti-anxiety meds!) but few days into my New York trip, I found myself having a full out emotional meltdown while walking through Times Square. I never thought I’d be the kind of person who’d burst into tears in front of the M&Ms store, but here we were.

(Note: if you’re going to cry in public, do it in Times Square. It’s already kind of awful and it’s so busy that literally no one will care/notice.)

The source of my tears was a culmination of several factors.

Right before I was set to depart, my friend texted me to let me know that she was going to be out of town when I arrived and wouldn’t be able to let me into her apartment (she was abroad visiting family and an elderly relative had passed; prolonging her stay).

There was no way for me to get her keys. I had to find somewhere else to stay at the last minute. I felt weird asking NYC bae if I could stay with him, so the night before I booked an Airbnb (my booking got confirmed a few hours before my flight).

When I got to New York, I learned that NYC bae was also going through some tough family issues. We still had a connection — he held my hand and kissed me on the street and told me it felt like time hadn’t passed at all — but he seemed sadder, quieter and more reserved than he had before. Distracted. Distant.

The dreamy eye-contact was still there. But lying in his bed as he snored next to me, I couldn’t sleep. My mind raced. Was this going anywhere? Had I made a mistake coming here?

My airbnb situation proved to be bad news (turns out sharing a bathroom with strangers isn’t much fun!); my friend still wasn’t back in the city & didn’t have a timeline for when she would be back, and NYC Bae was busy with work and social commitments. Making plans with him felt like pulling teeth.

After a few nights I ditched my sketchy Airbnb and booked myself a room at the Pod 39 Hotel, which turned out to be perfect (I loved this little hotel!) but NYC prices are no joke and it felt like my bank account was bleeding money.

According to scientists, AI can now predict how long your relationship will last, but I’ve always felt the end of love/lust deep in my gut. It’s like a nagging ache that doesn’t go away. It feels like butterflies — the bad kind.

The bad news butterflies were coming in loud and clear. Yet, I was caught in this weird emotional limbo; part of me hoping that the tide would change, while also mourning the likelihood that it wouldn’t.

Throw in the fact that Fall just isn’t my season AT ALL (my seasonal depression is very real) and all felt unexpectedly lonely; like the city of New York was rejecting me; chewing me and spitting me out (which, according to New York transplants, is a very authentic NYC experience).

Since getting treatment for my anxiety, my moods have been really stable. So, to feel this sad in one of the most amazing cities of the world, was kind of scary.

It’s taken me a year to write about this experience, partly because I wasn’t sure how to frame it. I could have glossed over the whole thing and only mentioned the sexy details, but that wouldn’t have been the truth.

The truth is that part of me still feels embarrassed. I wanted so badly for things to work out with NYC bae and for us to build on that little bit of magic we’d had together in the Spring, that I never even considered that it wouldn’t happen. I mean, that’s pretty naive. Especially for someone like me who writes about relationships for a living. I know better than to plan a trip around someone else (without being 100% crystal clear on their intentions) but I did it anyway.

After about 10 days in NYC solo, I was scheduled to go on a press trip to Puerto Vallarta. My friend still hadn’t come back and I was seriously considering changing my flight so I could fly back to Canada directly from Mexico. But, then at the last minute I decided to keep my original ticket and finish out my time in NYC on my own terms.

I’m so glad I did.

When I got back from Mexico, things got better. My friend Gary offered to let me stay at his apartment on the Upper East Side. I stopped waiting around for NYC bae and instead went to a ton of museums. I crossed a few items off my bucket list. I spent time with another girlfriend in town. I also hung out with Gary a bunch and ate lots of good food. Eventually, my friend came back from abroad and we got to hang out, drink wine and dance around her living room to RuPaul.

If you want to find out exactly how I spent my time, make sure to check to check out my post about how to travel to NYC solo in my new travel blog (yes, you read that right!) Love, Peace & Tacos. 

(In the end, NYC bae went out of town while I was in Mexico. We stayed in touch while he was gone, but he didn’t make it back in time before I had to leave the city. At the end of my time in NYC, I flew to St. Lucia for another press trip and then went back to Canada from there.)

I don’t regret going to New York. I also don’t regret any of the feelings I had (even the uncomfortable ones). However, in hindsight I wish I’d been more upfront and asked NYC bae more questions (like, how do you envision our time together in NYC? What will your schedule be like? Do you see this as a fling or something more?) to get a clearer picture of his intentions — before I hopped on a plane.

With that said, life is short. Sometimes you have to take chances to answer questions about the people in your life. I got answers. They weren’t the ones I expected or hoped for, but they were answers nonetheless.

Even though it was uncomfortable, I’m happy I had this experience. It clarified a few things for me — like, I am not destined to be a New Yorker. The city is amazing, but it’s a lot. A wonderful place to visit, but not somewhere I could live longterm. When I got back to the West Coast, I breathed an audible sigh of relief.

Instead of making me bitter, it softened me. It made me realize that I do want to have a partner and to fall in love again. Most importantly, that I can have feelings for someone, they can go away and I’ll get through it. I’ll come out the other side just fine.

7 Things That Help Me Recover After a Busy Travel Schedule



Somewhere over the course of 2018, I evolved from being a sex and relationship writer to also writing about travel. I travelled more than I ever could have imagined over the past year (guys, I was not planning on taking 20+ flights). Over the course of a month and a half, I went to New York City –> Puerto Vallarta –> New York City –> St Lucia –> New York City –> Home –> San Francisco –> Home. As much as I enjoyed all this travel, by the time Christmas rolled around I was exhausted. Travelling that much in such a short time took a toll on my body in unexpected ways —  both internally and externally.

My skin was dehydrated (I looked and felt haggard), my hands were parched (dry, cracking knuckles are not a good look) and my usually rock hard nails were splitting and breaking off at a shocking rate (the product of lugging & pulling suitcases through airports). I was also exhausted and wanted nothing more than to curl up at home with a book.


Luckily, the Universe conspired and hooked me up with some helpful products to help get me back to feeling like myself.

So, if you’re feeling worn out, beaten down or just want to add a little something-something to your daily routine, here are a few things that worked for me (PS. all products are clean, natural and CANADIAN which makes me so, so happy!)

Sproos Collagen

Did you know that our body stops producing collagen after the age of 25? Neither did I. Collagen is the body’s most abundant protein  – it’s found in our skin, muscles, bones, blood vessels, digestive systems and tendons. Sadly, our body’s natural ability to produce collagen wanes with age, which can lead to chronic health issues like joint pain, digestive issues, low mood and dull, dry skin. It was actually another travel writer I met in St Lucia that suggested I add a collagen supplement to my diet.

While the folks at Sproos sent me a bunch of different flavoured collagen supplements to try, it’s actually the grass fed collagen powder that I prefer. Because it’s unflavoured, I can just add it in to my usual morning smoothie. After taking it for awhile, I noticed that my skin seemed healthier and less dry.

Sibu Sea Buckthorn (Omega 7 supplements)

I’m a big fan of treating dry skin from the inside out, so I was excited when the team at Sibu offered to send me a selection of their Sea Berry Therapy products to try. Sea buckthorn is a superfood found abundantly in the Himalayas that has been proven for centuries to aid in general health and anti-aging. The ancient Greeks would actually feed it to their horses, noticing their animals’ hides becoming more glossy and lustrous (thanks to the rich concentration of omega-7). Hey, if it’s good enough for ancient Greek horses, it’s good enough for me!

While I tried the Omega 7 support capsules and Sea-Berry seed skin oil, it was actually the Omega 7 Pure liquid supplement that I enjoyed the most. Omega-7 Pure is 100% pureed Sea Berries (Sea Buckthorn), and nothing else…no water, no preservatives, no artificial anything. It tastes like a super thick, fragrant yet sour juice (think: extra tart cranberry). It’s not the easiest to drink, but I found one shot a day gave me a boost and helped rehabilitate my dehydrated skin. So, maybe those ancient Greeks were onto something?

1’Luxe Hand and Body Lotions

Created by Sina Zere and Brandon O’Neill, the 1Lux Beauty collection is made up of clean, chic  body and lip care products that are all zero-tox and designed for harsh Canadian winters (think: ultra moisturizing). 

I was very generously gifted the entire 1’Luxe line. So far the products I’ve tried and fallen in love with include the Velvet Mitts Hand and Nail Cream and The Velvet Drops Botanical Body Lotion. Super moisturizing without feeling greasy, I’m not sure what else to say about these two except they actually work. They both smell amazing (like almonds and a hint of vanilla) and the hand cream has made my troublesome iguana hands look & feel more human.

Earth Luxe Quiet Night In Kit

As I mentioned above, over the holidays I was all about staying in and having quiet time (TBH, this is kind of my default mode as of late). I’ve made a conscious effort to make my bedroom feel as peaceful and spa-like as possible, and this Earth Luxe Quiet Night In Kit definitely helps.

While I’m not entirely sure if the salt lamp is actually doing anything, it looks cool and I *feel* like the air is fresher in my bedroom after I’ve left it on for a while. Also, the candle and handmade soap smell so incredible that I haven’t had the heart to actually use them. Instead, I keep them tucked away in my lingerie drawer where I periodically remove them (so I can press them up to my nose and inhale deeply because I’m a giant weirdo)

Saje Wellness Pocket Farmacy

This pocket pack of essential oil blends from the folks at Saje wellness is a godsend! As someone with anxiety, I enjoy this collection when I’m on the road and while at home. Gross airplane got you feeling icky, roll on some immune blend. Gluten making you feel gross? The Eater’s Digest (love the name) can help. Feeling restless before a flight or because you ended up in a janky AirBnB situation? I recommend using the Stress Release blend to help you sleep. You get the point! This adorable collection is chock full of useful essential oils and is perfect for people like me who are *just* dipping their toes into using oils.

What products do you use to recover after travelling and/or stressful life moments?

Disclaimer: I received all of the products above free of charge in exchange for my honest review. 

So, Your Favorite Artist Is Accused of Sexual Misconduct. Here’s Who To Listen to Instead


Earlier this year, my friend and I decided on a lark to buy tickets to see Nelly (yes, as in Country Grammar, shimmy-shimmy-cocoa-what Nelly). I liked Nelly’s songs when he came out, but I was never a hardcore fan. Still, we figured the concert would be an amusing way to spend a Sunday night in Victoria. It ended up being one of the more bizarre experiences of my concert going career.

While the chanted along to the lyrics of EI, I decided to google Mr. Nelly. What popped up was a whole list of articles outlining a litany of sexual assault accusations. The lesson here: always do a google search before you buy tickets.

While I’m incredibly grateful for the #MeToo movement and how it’s given people the courage to come forward about sexual assault and misconduct, the bi-product is that media consumption has become more complicated. There are a lot of artists that I used to view as harmless guilty pleasures that I just can’t engage with anymore.

Whether you’ve recently discovered that your favorite artist(s) is a predatory super creep or you’re just looking for new tunes, I’ve prescribed some new listening suggestions to freshen up your daily playlist.

1. Miguel >>> Gallant

This one really pains me, because Miguel is one of my favorite artists from the past few years, but after a woman accused him of sexual assault for forcibly exposing her breast in public (something I’ve had happen to me before at clubs), his music doesn’t quite sound the same. If you’re in the same boat, my suggestion is to check out the music of Maryland born singer Gallant. His debut album Ology hooked me right away (I kept pressing repeat on “Talking to Myself”). With his gorgeous voice and lush production, Gallant feels like the 2018 answer to Maxwell.

2. R Kelly >>> Ari Lennox

I’m the first to admit that I used to like R Kelly’s music (I even mentioned it here!) My formative years were full of his songs — a fact that now seems especially creepy given what we know now about well documented his track record of alleged sexual assault and relationships with underage women. Vox put together a timeline of allegations directed at  R Kelly which spans 24 years (24 years!!) Needless to say, it’s impossible to ignore this any longer (no matter how much fun it is to sing along to Ignition). If you’re looking for a 90’s R&B fix, I’d suggest checking out Joe. An underrated contemporary of Kelly, Joe’s song Love Scene is still one of my favorite slow jams ever. If you’re looking for something completely new, tune into DC’s Ari Lennox. Not only is her voice gorgeous, but her debut PHO is ridiculously sexy.

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers >>> Fishbone

Like every kid who was a teen in the early 90’s, RCHP was part of my life. They weren’t my favorite band (I was obsessed with Madonna and every R&B/hip hop group under the sun), but I’ve been known to hum Under the Bridge on occasion. While doing research for this article, I discovered sexual misconduct allegations against the band and that lead singer Anthony Kiedis has admitted to knowingly having sex with a fourteen year old girl (SHUDDER) If you also find this hella creepy and wrong but are craving a funk/rock fix, I suggest checking out the band Fishbone (which, is noted as an influence of RHCP).

Founded in 1979 in South Central Los Angeles, Fishbone is known for blending funk, rock, ska and soul and lyrics that combine goofy humor with biting social commentary about topics like racism, fascism and oppression. As a “disparate, all-black oddball crew” the band has been instrumental in paving the way for other artists of color and events like Afropunk. Oh, and did I mention they can rock?

Hey dudes, Joe the Intern here. I wanted to take a moment to remind you that sexual harassment and assault is danger. AND DANGER IS WRONG. Thankfully, with the advent of #MeToo, people are feeling more empowered to speak up and deal with it head-on.

If you feel like you’ve been victim of sexual assault or misconduct, look into hiring a Toronto criminal lawyer (or lawyer in your town/city). Sexual assault lawyers can provide you with support, guidance and advice on how to proceed.

You can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. Take care of yourselves, love, me (Joe).

Okay, back to regular scheduled programming…

4. Hedley >>> The Preatures

Canadian band Hedley found themselves in the headlines this past February when an Ottawa woman accused lead singer, Jacob Hoggard, of sexually assaulting her in a Toronto hotel room. I remember reading her account of the incident and immediately having flashbacks to my own assault years ago (ugh). I never listened to their music before and certainly won’t be now. However, if you want a Canadian rock band to get into (that isn’t terrible), check out The Arkells. As you’ve probably surmised, I’m not the biggest indie rock fan, but I’ve seen these guys live before and they were really great. Alternatively, why not check out a bad-ass female band like Australia’s The Preatures? Their song Is This How You Feel is a personal fave & has echoes of vintage Prince (which, naturally, works for me) and makes it perfect for a good bedroom dancing sesh.

5. Nelly >>> Oddisee

Craving some catchy hooks but appalled by Nelly’s creepy track record? I prescribe some Oddisee, stat. Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, aka Oddisee is one of my favorite hip hop artists at the moment. Think gorgeous, addictive hooks and thoughtful, politically conscious lyrics that will leave you feeling uplifted, not depressed. His albums The Goodfight (2015) and The Iceberg (2017) have been on regular rotation for a good part of the past two years.

6. PWR BTTM >>> Shamir, Janelle Monae, Meshell Ndegeocello, The Internet. 


PWR BTTM (power bottom),  the gender-nonconforming punk duo of singer-guitarist Ben Hopkins and drummer-singer Liv Bruce received intense backlash after Hopkins was accused of having a history of sexual assault and making advances on minors. The fact that the band embraced queer culture and championed for inclusivity made these accusations that much worse. I never listened to their music, but I know it was meaningful a lot to a lot of people. While I’m not well versed on the punk or queercore scene, if you’re looking to add some new amazing openly queer artists to your daily playlist, I recommend checking out Shamir, Meshell Ndegeocello, The Internet or (the queen) Janelle Monae.

What are you listening to these days?

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