For some reason yesterday I started to think about Saturday mornings twenty years ago. Back when I was going to York University, living in residence. Jesse and I would get up and watch the Beetlejuice cartoon with Di or Dawn and then get ourselves across the quad to the cafeteria for some breakfast. Have a doughnut, some coffee with lots of cream and sugar. Maybe some rice crispies with chocolate milk on them. And then, hopped on caffeine and sugar we would begin the long trek downtown.
A bus to the subway, the subway to Spadina station. Walking along Bloor was exciting and exotic. There were people sleeping in doorways! Then we cut down to Harbord. To the Beguiling. It was a little intimidating going in. There would often be loud punk music blasting. Would the Scary Guy be working that day? And the comics themselves seemed strange and harsh too, with names like Hate and Jizz. Weird black and white photocopied comics on the floor like Butt Biscuit.
It’s not like I was completely new to alternative comics. I had a good chunk of Yummy Fur (oh the memory of reading the Man Who Couldn’t Stop on a Christmas morning, laughing until I cried), loved Eddy Current and Mage. But the Beguiling had more and different and dirtier things than what I could find at the comic stores of my teen years in Guelph. It was an exciting time in comics too, with the early issues of Eightball coming out, the Drawn and Quarterly magazine introducing us to Joe Matt, Dirty Plotte, Unsupervised Existence, Taboo. New things to be found every week.
After hitting the Beguiling we would wander down through Kensington Market, and along Queen Street, soaking up the city. Maybe cut up through the Eaton Centre and along Yonge Street. Refuel with a burger from Harvey’s before starting the long journey back to North York.