Holiday (is not a Madonna song)

June 3, 2005 Comments Off on Holiday (is not a Madonna song)

Toronto, Canada

This past Monday, I did something extraordinary – I took a day off. I was hankering for a chance to hang out, to reconnect with where I live and who I am. So, I just did it.

There were lots of nice bits. Sunny Toronto tree lined streets. A slow, winding tram ride. A patio lunch with a friend. However, the best bit was coming home to watch a movie – a documentary about the Ramones called End of the Century.


My teenage years were spent in a small Northern Canadian mill town, with a shaved head and a lot of punk rock music. Watching End of the Century reminded me why. Punk rock, and the Ramones in particular, said: no matter how geeky / outcast / unimportant you feel, you’ve got something to contribute and something to say, so say it. Say it proud and loud.

This message led lots young kids to pick up guitars, drum sticks and microphones – a good thing for their self esteem, and the world. For me, it was the typewriter and the photocopier. I took my cue from of punk zines like Maximum Rock N Roll to create my own pre-desktop-publishing publications about stopping the arms race and promoting alternative media. Guitars. Photocopiers. Same thing.

As the credits rolled on End of the Century, I reflected on why this felt so good. Was it just sentimentality? Nope. It’s gratitude. Gratitude that I still get to play in the realm of helping people find a voice, and the self esteem that comes with this.


I thought back 10 days earlier in the northeast Delhi Datamation telecentre. One of the things that thrilled me most about that experience was seeing the pride and excitement on the face of girls who’d been able to make their own wedding invitations on the centre computers. The computers – and the encouragement of the teachers – let them make something that mattered. No matter what the rest of their lives looked like, they were creators.

This is what has always excited me about working on communications at the grassroots – the smile and passion that comes with finding a voice. Sure, an electric guitar, a photocopier and a computer are different devices. But, put in the right hands, they create the same smiles, and the same sense of passionate confidence in young hearts.

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