12 July 2009

Comfort and Restoration: Sadness and Loss

At a time when Walk Like an Egyptian (The Bangles), I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Whitney Houston), and I Think We’re Alone Now (Tiffany) dominated pap-ladened Top 40 radio, CFNY played Strangelove (Depeche Mode), Girlfriend in a Coma (The Smiths), and Just Like Heaven (The Cure).

Back in the day they embodied The Spirit of Radio: music that pushed boundaries; they were alternative when the term actually meant something…long before marketing departments and hired gun PR firms made alternative as commonplace as painted lines on asphalt and as exciting as a tub of wallpaper paste.

This week The Spirit of Radio lost a dear friend and vehement crusader.

Martin Streek, a long-time DJ at the station died this week. It was sudden. It was unexpected. I, along with a number of fans, feel a friend and familiar companion is lost.

I never met him: he wouldn’t know me from Eve; I didn’t even know what he looked like until this week. But he was a constant in my life for more than 10 years.

Back when I commuted to Toronto, he was a welcome companion on my many long hours home. He hosted a few different shows, but I can still hear his baritone over the crowds as he broadcast from The Kingdom and other clubs on Live to Air.

His passion and understanding of new music was phenomenal. He was charming, a dry wit, smart and genuine—you can’t fake passion or knowledge. He promoted independent acts when he could and introduced us to so many new and fabulous artists. By doing so, he influenced countless listeners’ music preferences, something that will carry on for the rest of our days.

I haven’t listened to him in nearly eight years, but I will add my voice to the chorus of those who feel his loss, and who thank him, for everything.

I fully admit that his passing is magnified by the simple fact that this month marks two years since
My Darling One died. Memories of those days before and after flood my mind with increasing frequency, and will for the next few weeks. If there’s ever a time one needs comfort and restoration, coping with the loss of a dearest is one of those times.

I couldn’t cook for myself—I’d lost my ability to pull together the simplest of meals...I couldn’t even make myself a cup of tea. Meals magically appeared, courtesy of my Dear Little Cardamummy. Friends took me out for lunch or coffee. My dear, sweet colleagues left parcels of sweets and pastries at my desk, often anonymously. Everything was appreciated, deeply.

The foods I wanted generally fell within the "easy and uninvolved" category. As long as I could dish it out, I was fine. If I had to fiddle with several pots or cooking techniques (or, really anything beyond microwaving), it wasn't going to be good.

When I did look for something to eat, I wanted three tastes: salty, sweet and buttery/fatty. I suppose it makes sense, as stress leads many of us to crave such foods. Cups of sweet tea, buttered breads, salty soups and buttery mashed potatoes were what I gravitated towards. Not everyone responds in this way. Some people can't stop eating and others don't want anything at all.

At a time when eating was something I wasn't looking foreward to, it was something I knew I had to do. As horrible as it may sound: Life goes on, and for my life to go on, I had to eat.

There’s no prescription of foods for the bereaved. It’s an individual choice, based on preferences and culture, so I cannot pretend to formulate a survivors’ menu. All I can say is feed them, preferably foods that can be reheated several times without losing too much (casseroles, lasagnes, meatloaves). Your kindness will be appreciated more than you will ever know.

So no. No recipe today. Not even a picture of food for you.

Instead, I’m leaving you with a music video, in memory of Martin. He was a fan of some great bands: NIN, Tool, The Clash...but I found myself listening to Depeche Mode today, and this one seems appropriate:

There are a number of articles and posts and a memorial Facebook site dedicated to Martin and his passing. I've found posts written by three of his colleagues from his days at CFNY/The Edge, for those of you who remember, or would like to know more...

Alan Cross: Martin Streek: This Charming Man
Kneale Mann: Thoughts about Martin Streek
Carlos Benevides: R.I.P. Martin Streek

RIP, Martin


18 July 09 Update: 102.1 The Edge (CFNY rebranded) will air a tribute to Martin tomorrow, 19 July 09 from 5pm - 8pm ET. Details.

I'm a quill for hire!

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Sweet Kitchen said...

CFNY was the only radio station I listened to back in the day. Even though many years have passed since I last tuned in, like you and many others, I feel the loss as Martin Streek was a constant and familiar voice during my coming of age. Thanks for the many memories and rest in peace Martin.

breadchick said...

Oh yes, I remember on cold, crisp nights listening to Martin Streek and the music he played made me feel not so strange and weird or an outcast. At the time I thought I was the only person who felt The Cure, The Smiths, and Echo wrote songs just for me.

In regards to the food for the grieving, yes as well, it is all salt, sweet and butter/fat.

NKP said...

We must be similar in age, hovering somewhere close to 40, give or take.
I was devoted to CFNY back in the day too. My husband is too old to have listened to "alternative" then but his best friend was Martin's pool playing buddy and was touched by his loss.
Such a touching tribute Jasmine, and no wonder this public yet private loss triggers even more emotion over your own loss.
I lost one of my babies (puppy) last month, everything makes me cry. I can't imagine losing the love of my life. I do understand being comforted by rich and salty foods though.
Thank you for such a lovely and personal post, you are very brave.