It’s Been A Thousand Dollars Since We Last Talked

Last time I posted something here was July 7th, 2012 (I’m bad, and not like Michael Jackson). The total that day was $4,356.15. Just over three months later the newest tally is $5,311.20!  I would’ve written sooner but I’ve been all over the place. There’s a song at the end of this to explain my absence.

If you’d like to hear where all this Canadian Tire Money’s going, there are three unmastered mixes you can hear online. ‘Unmastered mixes’ means they’re not ready to vacuum-seal in cellophane, or hand over to the deejays. Not quite yet. They’re just ready for you to enjoy ‘em:

But back to the Caper. This photo was sent to me last week:

That’s twenty-five dollars in Canadian Tire silver– 25 1$ coins wrapped in a company-issue roll, and they’re on their way right now to 39 Oxford, care of Amy Quarry, who only last month sent me this:

You got it, friends: that’s a sho’nuff Pilsner wallet, and that’s the $31.45 that’d been living inside it, which Amy’s husband had been adding to for eight years. He loved the Caper and told Amy to send me the wallet too. Amy told her friend Darcy (who happens to own a Canadian Tire) what I was doing, and he pitched in $25 in CT coinage. Look at that stuff. Pieces of eight!!

Okay, this photo of me feeling giddy was taken by Kelly White at the Trout Forest Music Festival (one of the best festivals ever, up in Ear Falls, Ont.) minutes after breaking five grand. Word of the Caper spread through the grounds (largely thanks to Ross, our awesome cook in hospitality) and by the end of the weekend, I’d collected $132.40, putting the total, when the weekend ended, at $5,052.30. That was August 11th.

We crossed the fifty-three hundred dollar line today, with $15.90 from Lauren Graham, which her grandfather in New Brunswick, Grant Watson, had put aside for years. Lauren told me he would’ve been thrilled to know that it became part of this project.

Back in January, when the Caper went super nova, Andrew Neville, of Winnipeg, MB (one of the songwriters being covered on the album) sent me $52.10, along with a beautiful and hilarious letter which I posted (you’ll find it back in the misty annals of this site). What I didn’t know at the time was that that particular stash had been collected by his father and left to to Andrew when his dad passed away. Andrew sent me his Canadian Tire inheritance!! When I was in Winnipeg this summer, I stayed at Andrew’s mother’s place, and the more I heard from her and Andrew about his father, the clearer it became how much he would have loved the Caper. Andrew wasn’t ever gonna spend those bills in any store, but when he heard what I was doing, the money found its home.

That’s the kind of energy that’s swirling around this beautiful feat of community, and which will live through this album every time someone puts it on. Speaking of which, here are the Toronto release dates:

We’ll be playing the first side of the double album the first night, and the second side the second. We’ve got inspiring guests, surprises, and all of the money collected throughout the entire caper will be there on display. Advance tickets went on sale yesterday at Paradise Bound (270 Augusta Ave. in the Kensington Market), and they’ll be at The Cameron House starting tomorrow.

And hey, if you’ve been meaning to send me your Tyre Money, do it! When 2012 ends, so does the Caper, and I guarantee that everyone who contributes a thin paper dime is gonna experience a sweet and unique species of happiness whenever you put that record on.

To finish.

I had a crazy summer. I performed my one-man show Bookworm at 5 Fringe Festivals, I played two music fests, and music gigs in every town I hit. I spent two days on trains, twenty hours on buses, flew six times, took five ferries, saw a lot of road. I slept on air mattresses, living-room foamies, fold-outs, and in guest beds. The four-month tour ended in Vancouver, where I received Pick Of The Fringe and was held over for an extra show. Just before that, I participated in the Vancouver Fringe Cabaret, which was a beautiful thing. An evening of performers doing stuff that wasn’t in their shows, and the only illumination in the sold-out room was from the flashlights in the hands of the audience, who swung those beams around the room to spotlight the next act, wherever they might pop up out of the darkness. It was an amazing night. I kicked the proceedings off with a song called ‘Trains and Boats and Buses’.

And a week later, just before doing my last performance of Bookworm, I sang it again, outside this very theatre (Performance Works in Granville Island) leaning against a vintage tour bus that was parked there:

This was shot by Rod Matheson, who– check this out– is shooting, and posting 1000 music videos in 1000 days.  If you’re a music fan, you’ll love what Rod’s doing. Find out about his joyful mission:

Alright. I won’t let another thousand dollars go by before I say hello again. Until then: this past weekend I attended OCFF (stands for the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals), which is a annual music conference which sees hundreds of musicians and folk-industry type folks getting together, getting business done, and doing stuff like this:

That’s Adam Iredale-Gray (of Fish & Bird), me, Emma Jane, and Gaby Harvey poking our heads into Jadea Kelly’s genius addition to the conference. I thought you should see it.

Writing to you from The Rogue Studios, where I’m listening to the final edit of Paper Nickels, which comes out January, 2013. The Rogue is without a doubt The Millennium Falcon of music studios. It’s all coming together. May the Folk Be With You. Talk soon, CR.

$4,356.15 (And Changing By The Hour)!

This picture was posted on facebook by Madison Lewis, in Lacombe, AB, on June 17th. She said, ‘Can we fill this with some paper change? I think so!’  This is the kind of help I’ve been receiving from across the land.  Incidentally, I was $6.45 away from $4,000.00 when Madison posted this picture.

The Tire Money’s been coming in every day, from every direction.  Everywhere I’ve been in the past month- London, ON, Fort St. John and Rolla, BC, The Cameron House here in Toronto, you name it.  I can’t walk down the street without coming home with a paper nickel. There’s been something in the mailbox every day these past few weeks.  Every day!!

It’s exactly six months since this Caper was launched.  At that time I had a total of just over $82.50, which was very, very exciting.  And now I’m  $83.15 away from $4,400.

The stories keep piling up. I’ve had women give me their ex-husband’s forgotten stashes (or pilfer their current husband’s stash).  I’ve had friends hand-deliver Tire Money constituting years of saving (one friend, Tara Hughes, brought hers to The Cameron House wrapped in paper with the words The Dragon’s Hoard on it, which is how she’s had it packaged the seven years she’s been putting it away).  And now it’s come to join all the other bills to make the album Paper Nickels.

Which we start mixing tomorrow. More on the album very soon, I promise.  All I’ll say is that I love it. Like every record I’ve made, it’s something I can listen to for the rest of my life and be proud of it until the end. It’s just about putting some more joy in the collective jukebox. It’s a double album featuring 20 songs (by 17 different writers, including myself) and I cannot, cannot, cannot wait for you to hear it. I’ll have something to share soon.

By the way, Madison Lewis posted this photo ten days later, on June 27th.

My goal is to hit $5,000 by the end of July, $7,000 by the time I come home in September, and $10,000 by January 1st, 2013.  And this is how I’m doing it.  One Mason Jar at a time. Thank you, Madison!

My Age and My Address– Twice!!

A quick message to say that I’ve accrued $65.35 in CT$ while I’ve been at the London Fringe ($15.70 here in London and $49.65 in the mail box at home), which brings the total, for a beautiful instant, to $3939.50.

This will not last 24 hrs, but it’s nice, even for just a glimmering moment, to have a figure which contains both my age and my address– twice!  Will I break $4,000 before I leave London on Monday?  That’s the million dollar question– and since you would have to spend a million in actual cash to get back $4,000 in Tire bucks, it really is exactly that.

Also, to follow up on the post below this one, here’s what happened when Jayla’s class saw her drawing online– this from Lynn Marie, Jayla’s teacher in Montreal:

I put the website up on the whiteboard in the classroom and everyone clapped and cheered when they saw Jayla’s drawing and she loved that you commented on it. You made her day. Then I played the video clip of you singing “Don’t Spend It Honey”.  They were all singing along with the chorus. When we went outside for recess afterwards a couple of them said it was stuck in their heads and they couldn’t stop singing it.  Thank you very much Corin for making a little girl happy.

They couldn’t stop singing it!!  I love that.  Warms my madcap heart.  This caper is being enjoyed by several generations, but to know that its theme song is rooting itself in the malleable minds of grade-schoolers, well, shucks.  In my most diabolical dreams I couldn’t have wished for more.  As for anyone else who has that thing stuck in your head– yeah, sorry ’bout that.

And here’s another smile-maker, posted by Deb Proctor on my facebook page:

 This reminds me of a Thursday at The Cameron House about a month ago (where I play every week with my band The Sundowners when I’m in town).  My buddy Michael Laderoute had just got back from Mexico and he put some Mexican pesos in our hat.  By random coincidence, a beautiful gal I’d never seen before had just returned from Cuba.  She put 13 Cuban pesos in the hat.  And of course, in there amongst the Wilfred Lauriers, the John As, and the green Queens, were portraits of Sandy McTyre.  The thing that struck me, as with the picture above, is that the Canadian Tire Dollar was as strong– if not stronger– than any of the other currencies in its company.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so, as proven by this photo posted by Allison Jones:

But if you send your Tire Money to me, I’ll give you something SO much better than french fries in return.  I’m sitting at $3,939.50– only $60.50 away from my first million.  Wow.  That’s crazy.  And so are you, for being part of The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper of 2012, which is alive as ever.

I’m dropping you this word from London, Ontario, where I’m performing my one-man show Bookworm.  I’ll be talking about that on CBC’s Fresh Air (broadcast in Southern Ontario) this Sunday the 17th (Father’s Day) at 8am, and on Shelagh Rogers’ CBC Radio One program The Next Chapter (nationally) on Monday, June 18th at 1pm.  It’s nice to be in the national media for something other than the Tire Caper, but don’t think it’s gone unnoticed here in London:  The London Free Press covered the story, and they did a better job than Global Television.

Global aired a piece a few weeks back to make it look as if the Caper was over.  Fini.  Kaput.  Curtains.  Which it most certainly is not.  It was very sweet of them to be interested, but I got the feeling they wanted to steal the end of the Caper.  Even though it hasn’t ended.  It’s happening every day!  The total is $3,939.50 right now, but that’s not gonna last the night.

Oh, and there’s something misleading in that Global piece: when it cuts to James Paul saying, ‘the record is $650′, it might sound like he’s talking about my record.  He’s talking about the record for Canadian Tire Money raised in the past to pay for a project.  Though ‘raised’ would be the wrong word.  The fella who brought in the $650 earned it all himself, over many years of filling up at CT.  He had a job which had him on the road every day.

As for my ‘fulfilling my dream’, I’m still dreaming like I have been all along.  I’ll be collecting that beautiful stuff ’til the end of the year, everywhere I go, and I wanna see just how close to $10,000.00 we can get.  Why not??  This is never, ever gonna happen again.  We’re making history, and I’m making an album that you’re gonna wanna listen to the rest of your days.  I can promise you that.  More on Paper Nickels (out in November) soon.

In the meantime, if you’d like to see this pile double, you can send any loose Sandy McTyres to me at 39 Oxford St., Toronto ON, M5T 1N8.

Thanks to Rob Leth for the photo.

More on the album soon,


‘…And How About The Good Luck Is You Have To Get Some…’

Back in January, I knew that life was lovin’ me right back when I received this in my mailbox:

Miss McNorton’s class pooled nearly five dollars, accompanied by this drawing– presumably of me, celebrating my wealth at the next gig:

And then last month I received a few more paper dimes accompanied by this beautiful drawing from Jayla, an eight-year old girl at Westpark School in Montreal:

Thank you, Jayla!!!  I love how the sun is sticking its tongue out and I love how you managed to get both ends of the rainbow in there!  Thank you for making my day!!!

Again, this is encouragement no granting board could ever grant.

And this is four-year old Ava Scarlett, also in Montreal, holding some of the paper nickels I’ve received over the past six weeks.

Ava Scarlett had something to say about three things this caper runs on, and has been generating ever since it started (those would be happiness, love, and good luck), and here are her words, verbatim:

“Happiness comes from lots of love and and how about the good luck is you have to get some, and not be so impressed. And wash the dishes. And that’s it.”

Thanks to Ms. McNorton’s Grade Five Class in Tecumseh, Jayla and Ava Scarlett (Tracey!) in Montreal– along with Steve Ruggle at The Shepherd’s Crook in Georgetown, The Ferraros at The Cameron House in Toronto, Madison Lewis in Alberta, Peter Katz, Allison Jones, Nicole Stoffman, and the bearded fella at The Cammy whose name I don’t have, the current total is $3,835.95.

Yeah, let’s use the alphabet and look at that number again:

Three thousand, eight hundred, thirty-five dollars, and ninety-five cents.

And closing in on thirty-nine.  If you’d like to help me achieve the number that is both my age and my address, send any loose paper change to:

Corin Raymond, 39 Oxford St., Toronto ON, M5T 1N8.

And as Dylan Harding put it, ‘Long live this new underground economy.’

More soon about the album itself, which we’re working on this very minute.


The Million Dollar Record

Alright, it’s been nearly three months since I’ve posted anything here (how you been, in a nutshell?) so I’m just gonna dive in.  I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, which I’ll be doing a little bit at a time over the next month.  And then, the way things are going, I’m gonna be catching up on the catching up… here’s what happened this past week, in no particular order:

Last Thursday, I hit a new plateau.  There was a full page about me and my caper in The Toronto Star and I had no idea.  Not a clue– not until someone handed me the paper, and then I had another new experience: I learned some things about myself (I wax romantic, is what I’m taking away from that one), and about my own caper, that I didn’t even know.  My favourite was regarding The Done Right Inn, which is where I was originally planning to spend all the loot:

“We take in about $100 a month these days,” she says, of the play dough that has been accepted at par here since the place opened in 1999. That is double the bar’s customary take: it enjoyed a spike since the Star put Toronto singer-songwriter Corin Raymond’s Canadian Tire fundraising drive quest on the cover of the newspaper in January.

“C’mon, this is an old-school bar, with a row of elbows propped along it. There is nothing we don’t chew over, and that moment of fame played big here. We’re a local, and this made us a destination.”

We’re still gonna have a party there, you know.  I’m still buying the entire bar a round with Tire Money.  And you will be invited.  The album comes out in November, so sometime before that.

But back to The Star, the headline on Thursday read ‘Toronto Musician Raises Enough Canadian Tire Money To Record Live Album‘– which is not true– or rather it could give the wrong idea.  The Star makes it sound as though the caper was finished, like we were sweeping up the confetti– but we aren’t.  I suppose the headline is factually accurate, since I have raised enough of the cute little Scotsmen to record the album (which happened over two nights in January at The Tranzac), but now there’s the slow, exciting, and much-more-involved work of editing, mixing, and mastering– all of which can also be covered by Sandy McTyre, if your glovebox is willing.

The album will be called Paper Nickels, and as I say, it’ll be out in November of this year. It’s a collection of the greatest songs I’ve discovered in the last ten years of travelling– most of them from across this country.  It’s a secret history of the Canadian folk music scene as it exists right now and it couldn’t be more appropriate that the studio time is being covered with Tire Money.  Having just broken $3,650.00, we’re moving into folkloric territory, friends.  If you wanna be part of this ludicrousness , and turn your small paper change into beauty we can all enjoy, it’s certainly not too late to do that.

If you’d like to add your twenty cents, I’ll be collecting our unofficial second currency until the end of 2012.  Send it to 39 OXFORD ST. TORONTO, ON M5T 1N8.  This caper will not happen again.

On Friday, three more articles came out (you’ve gotta understand that this time around I was just minding my own business) and I was a phone-in guest on Seattle’s CBS News Station, KIRO, on the show ‘Ross and Burbank’.  It’s worth listening just to hear Dave and Luke chatting about Sandy McTyre from a U.S. perspective– and their parting dialogue about me, Barack Obama, and Canada– you wanna laugh, right now?  You wanna feel better than you already do?  Take a listen.  It takes this caper to yet another level.

Okay, it’s still Friday: I love when articles get written off other articles, but it’s especially fun when I don’t know about any of ‘em– and again, to update on what Exclaim! is repeating here, there’s a brand new total in town:  I cracked $3,650.00 Thursday night at The Cameron House (it was the $14.15 from the Ferraros that put me over), but I’m still a ways away from my Everest-like, Don-Quixote-Impossible-Star goal of ten thousand Canadian Tire dollars.

And then there was this piece from Spinner Canada, same day again.  It’s not Spinner’s fault the total is off by a thousand bucks.  I haven’t updated this site in months.  And once again, the banner line on the article makes it sound as if the party’s over– my bad again.  But my favourite part of this one is the last paragraph:

The singer still has some work to do in comparison to Amanda Palmer‘s recent Kickstarter campaign. Originally hoping for around $100,000 to go towards a new album, Palmer recently eclipsed more than $700,000 U.S. in pledges.

There’s a wee detail missing here, as Sandy McTyre might say, and that’s that to accrue the amount of Tire Money I now have ($3,650.00) by shopping at Canadian Tire, a person would have to spend well over $800,000 in real cash.  I hate to be nit-picky, but nearly a million dollars has already been spent in the making of my record.  When Paper Nickels comes out in November, it’ll be the only million dollar Canadian folk record you’ve ever had in your hands.

Sorry, Amanda.

Same day, Friday, I also caught wind of a great piece by David McPherson in Canadian Musician about the uses of social media in the ever-changing music world.  I share space with Jadea Kelly and Walk Off The Earth, among others, and I think this is the first time this caper has been so glossy.  The nerd in me also loves that I’m on page 42, which is the meaning, of course, to Life, The Universe, and Everything.  This was the same day I noticed that somebody online called me ‘the Trump of Canadian Tire Money‘.

But it gets better.  A week ago Friday me and James Paul (of The Rogue Studios) made the front cover of The Wall Street Journal.  I know, I know.  It was inevitable.  Ever since I first picked up a guitar and struck a G chord, we knew it was gonna happen.  Two funny moments: days before going to print, the reporter emailed me for my latest total, which I didn’t have.  Just as I’ve been absent from this page, it’d been weeks since I’d totted up my tally.  So I got to work, sitting in my kitchen in my housecoat.  Took me about an hour.  And when I finally had the figure in front of me I proclaimed, almost accidentally: ‘I’ve got the newest total– I must inform The Wall Street Journal immediately!!!’.  Which I did.  And I knew that I had just said something I’d likely have use for only once in this lifetime.  The other moment was when I dropped by Presse Internationale to buy a copy for my dad.  I pointed the article out to the clerk and said, ‘Hey, I’m in there.  Front page, would you believe it?’.  The clerk looked at the crisp and powerful financial newspaper before us and then at me, looking very much like The Dude from The Big Lebowski, and you know, I felt a bit like The Dude, when he first meets… The Big Lebowski.  Except the bums haven’t lost, brothers and sisters!!  They’re on the front cover of The Wall Street Journal!!  God bless this new underground economy.

That my caper is now a part of the Canadian Tire $$$ story– being told here to financial readers who’ve never seen Sandy McTyre– is a coup.  That I scored a photo at all is ridiculous.  That every picture accompanying the piece are of my own bundles is somehow… appropriate (you’ll see the same stick-it notes on my bills in the WSJ piece that I put on them in Sunnybrae– in the photo below).  That James Paul gets mentioned is beautiful.  That the comments are entertaining as well as educational is refreshing, and separates them from the comments under every other online post this adventure’s enjoyed.  The best part is, I made the Wall Street Journal for having an inordinate amount of crazy fun– without any real money– and even better, we did it together.

Oh, and incidentally, that illustrated bill up top was sent to me with some CT bucks from a great BC duo called– are you ready for this?– A Million Dollars In Pennies!  And they’re killer.  They opened for The Sundowners in Sunnybrae, BC and it made me very excited to hear they were working on a record.  Look for it.  You won’t be disappointed.

I’m back folks, and you heard it through the intervine.  See you here soon, CR.

ps.  Something else that happened this week (I’m not bragging here, I’m just telling the truth!!)– not related to Canadian Tire Money– is that Shelagh Rogers came across a piece I wrote for Beams and Struts about the music of Ariana Gillis (Pulse, Power, and Universe: The Lake Monsters Of Ariana Gillis) and Shelagh liked it enough that she invited me and Ariana to be guests on her CBC program, The Next Chapter, at the beginning of June.  That’s the first time, during this caper, that I’ll be on national radio talking about something other than Tire Money.  My life is utterly charmed. CR.

Wouldn’t You Like To See What $2,615.50 Looks Like… All In One Place?

That’s it right there: $2,615.50, in all the colours of the Canadian Tire rainbow.  That’s me, in the hat Greg Cockerill gave me, and the DON’T SPEND IT HONEY shirt that Lindsay Fay McDougall made.  That’s Sandy McTyre on my chest, peeking out at all those portraits of himself…

I don’t know for sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion this might be the most CT$ ever gathered by a non-Canadian-Tire-affiliated citizen.  Five rows long, seven rows wide, and several bundles deep, this is just over a quarter of what I’m hoping to raise by July, 2012.

And when this coup is over, I’m going to walk into a Canadian Tire (which one, I wonder?) with James Paul, and we’re going to put all these bundles (and more) on the counter.  Funny thing is I still haven’t set foot in a Canadian Tire since all this ludicrousness began.  I can’t remember the last time I was in one.  I’m not avoiding them, or anything, and it certainly warms my heart in a strangely conspiratorial way when I see that red triangle with the green maple leaf on it.  But those fat brown rubber bands you see on some of these bundles?  I bought them across the street at Home Hardware, which is where I’ve purchased this caper’s only necessary supplies.

This is me, being twelve years old, shaking my children’s fists!!  And if I’m not mistaken, Sandy McTyre is laughing from his t-shirt vantage point:

Collecting Canadian Tire Money sure shaves the years off.  I think every time a new bundle arrives, I lose a few months.  Another couple hundred and I’ll be eleven again!  Speaking of which, half of that cornerstone bundle, the one nearest us in the picture, contains $82.50 which was brought and hand-delivered to me at Hugh’s Room last night by Debra Shushack, who along with her husband Ken Furman runs one of the best house concerts in Ontario: Music In The Alcove, up in my hometown of Cochenour.  Debra and Ken have been pooling at their concerts and last night she put the stash (which put me over twenty-six hundred dollars) in my hand.  Also with her was the Mayor of Red Lake, Phil Vinet, who incidentally is the one who gave me the phrase ‘the wrath of the law and the lonesome’.  True trivia.  More soon.  Don’t Spend It Honey!  Send it to me, and vicariously satisfy your inner Scrooge McDuck.  39 Oxford St. Toronto, ON. M5T 1N8.

ps.  It was when Jonathan Byrd and I were on tour with Kim Beggs in AB/YK in November that this madcap enterprise accidentally launched itself, so it’s appropriate that these photos were taken by Kim, who dropped by for a visit and documented the stash.

Canadian Alchemy

Sometimes beauty is anonymous.  A mysterious gal sent me this drawing along with her Canadian Tire Money, with two words which seem to sum up this whole caper:

Canadian Alchemy.  Exactly.  That’s the magic at work here.  A thousand pedestrian transactions– all those cashier/customer ‘have a nice day’ hand-offs, all this small-change made of paper– most of which has waited years, in junk-drawer chrysalis– is now being transmuted into beauty.  It’s morphing into love, music, community– the real stuff.  It’s converting beyond any exchange rate the Dow Jones will ever comprehend.

Another, anonymous donation of $5, was accompanied by a single note that said:

Music and Love, it makes the world go round.

$5 in CT money.  No postmark.  No return address.  No clue as to where it came from, but whoever sent it kissed the note with her lipstick lips and left them there for me.

Another anonymous donation had nothing for a return address but a heart.

Then, on Valentine’s Day, of all days, I received $5.85 in the mail, along with a Sea Nymph chocolate bar (dark chocolate, 64% cocoa, sea salt, english toffee, mmmm…) in an envelope that said on the back:

Love to Corin from all the ladies at Cocoa Nymph

CocoaNymph is a shop in Vancouver where they make their own chocolate, and I can tell you right now, each bite of that stuff is a minefield of pleasure explosions.  As if that wasn’t lovely enough, a couple days back CocoaNymph posted this on their facebook page: It’s Canadian Tire Tuesday! Bring your Canadian Tire money and buy some chocolate, it’s for a good cause!  How sexy is that??  A beautiful chocolate shop in Vancouver has introduced Canadian Tire Tuesdays and, ‘We’ll take it on par every Tuesday from now until our friend Corin Raymond funds his new album.‘  And they sent me chocolate!

They sent me chocolate.

That was the second chocolate bar of this campaign.  The first was from Seattle Washington, from my friend Leah.  She sent me a whole package of beautiful stuff, sixty-five cents she collected from some friends on Keats Island (off the Sunshine Coast of B.C), and a Trader Joe’s chocolate bar.  I’ll reprise the theme I started in my last post: there is no granting board on this grant-applying earth that will send you chocolate.  In the mail.  With love.  And art.  And lipstick lips.  This is a case of Canadian Tire Money being translated into love, love into chocolate (which is love), money into music, music into love, and round again.  These gifts are all acts of sorcery.  Canadian Alchemy.

Some days the mailbox is made of stars and hearts and kittens… I got this from Greg and April Hamilton, along with their stash of CT bills, which you’ll see pictured below:


Yes, cocaine does have an ‘e’.  But how beautiful is this note?  When was the last time you had that much fun with a dollar eighty-five’s worth of coupons?  I love:  ‘… any more than is artistically necessary.’  It’s like, ‘… do it if you have to, but, you know…. not unless there’s just no other way…’  Got it, Roxy.  I promise.

Hey friends, while we’re still in kittens-and-hearts territory, I’d like to redeem myself a little.  At one of the live album shows at The Tranzac, I read aloud from a card sent to me by little Will Snedden in Kelowna, BC.  It said:

Hey Corin heres $1.55 I’ve been saving for a soccer, it’s not much but it will still get you that much closer


I thought he meant ‘soccer ball’, which is what I read when I shared the card, and of course the crowd was like, ‘whoa dude, now you’re taking soccer balls from children???  Hey, it was fun up till now, but that’s not right…‘  I was thinking, ‘man… before this caper is through, I’ve gotta send this kid a soccer ball…’ but recently, I received this note from his mom:

Mom suggests you keep the $1.55 because he was actually saving for a bouquet of those suckers they sell at the till! That’s Canadian Tire gold to him.

Suckers!!  That’s what he meant by ‘soccer’!!  So, please.  Don’t think of me as someone who steps on the soccer dreams of children to get to my album.  The case was reopened; new evidence was received; the sucker-truth came out, and the file can now be gently closed.

More Canadian Alchemy soon.

ps.  Last night, counting up the latest donations on the bar at The Cameron House, we broke twenty-five hundred Canadian Tire dollars!!  The new total is $2,508.95, and it was the $14.20– handed to me by various fans and friends at The Cameron last night– that put me and my caper over the quarter line.  Twenty-five hundred and eight dollars and ninety-five cents, in Canadian Tire money.  And counting.

Alchemically yours, CR.

Innovative…. Plus Cool.

In the past month I’ve received over 250 personally addressed packages from everywhere in this country.  Folks, friends, fans, and fellow freaks from afar have been opening their hearts right along with their kitchen junk drawers and glove compartments.  My mailbox is a Christmas stocking and every night has been Christmas Eve.  How long has it been since you got a letter in the mail?  Yeah, me either, until now.  But in the past month I’ve gotten letters, cards, drawings, artwork, notes of encouragement, gifts, random beautiful objects, and actual money to boot– and love!!  An avalanche of love.  Never have I been on the receiving end of this much love, of so many Vivas!  Every single package I opened cheered, and every 10-cent contribution was an Excelsior.  Over the next while I’m gonna share some of that mail with you, like a kid bringing his show-and-tell treasures to school.

Speaking of which, I got this from a kid!!  The only donation which– mysteriously– was sent to The Rogue Studios:

Mystery Donator sent a few bucks in CT$, along with a note on the back of a torn Marvel Comics postcard:

This kid is after my heart!  Here’s what the note said:

Innovative… plus cool.  Encouragement does not get better than this.  I promise you that no granting board in the world ever sent anyone a torn Marvel Comics postcard that congratulated the recipient for being Innovative… plus cool.  This kid also sent me a very large band-aid.  Yeah, not sure about that either.  I guess that’s what makes it a mystery package.  Maybe he’s not a kid.  Whoever he is, I love him.

Some of the greatest, and most entertaining, encouragements I’ve received have been from musicians.  I got this note from Winnipeg’s Andrew Neville, who’s got a song on the album which the Tire Money is helping me to make:


Subtitles, if you need ‘em:

This should help some.

I’ve had this pile of bills sitting around for a long time, might as well spend it on something that’s worth it!

Love the song man, but then again, I love all your songs.  You are often played over the house system late at night at the Times.  Everybody knows ALL the words.

Anyway, talk to you soon my friend.

OH!!! The next thing I send you will be our new CD.  Check your mail around spring time.


Andrew Neville

Again, no granting committee ever tells you that they listen to your records after hours, that they know every word– and they definitely never tell you to STAY HARD!

I’m getting letters like this from my favourite songwriters in the land!!  You can’t apply for that kind of support, man.  There is no substitute for it whatsoever.  Only a community is capable of it.  I guess that’s what happens when you’re Innovative… plus cool.

ps.  I shouldn’t leave without letting you know the latest total, which is $2,462.20…. just thirty-seven dollars and eighty cents away from a brass-ring total of $2,500.  Who’ll put me over the quarter mark?  Wouldn’t you like to see what $5,000.00 in Canadian Tire Money looks like, all in one place?

Live Album Teaser

I just got home from a beautiful weekend in Simcoe and Port Dover (thank you, Claire Senko!), where I performed my show Bookworm at the Simcoe Public Library, and hung an evening of songs in the air at the Twisted Fish Yoga Studio in Port Dover.  I came home to this video, put together by Nelson Phillips, who was one of the three cameramen catching the two nights my band The Sundowners played at The Tranzac last month.  Hope you enjoy it:

I’ll post more very soon.  For now, let me just tell you that I’ve broken $2,500, thanks to the good folks in Norfolk County.  We’re now entering the realm of Canadian Folklore, and we’re doing it together, one crinkly nickel at a time.  You might have heard the rumours that Canadian Tire is planning to take the fun out of the funny money, that the Sandy McTide is turning; that Rewards Cards are the way of the funless future.  I’m not worried.  It’ll be a while yet before the cute little Scotsman ceases to be legal tender, and in the meantime, we’re perpetrating what might be the last poetic act committed with Tire Money on a national scale.  I’m blowing the Canadian Tire Money Conch now, long and low, so that my plea reverberates like a fog horn in the cold atlantic east, blasts loud as a thousand eighteen-wheeler horns across the prairies, echoes in the Kootenays, and round the bays of the Sunshine Coast.  I’m raising the Tire Money Conch and blowing it so that it shakes the dust off every shoebox and every kitchen drawer; so that it’s heard by every wrinkled dime in every forgotten coat pocket, and in the cramped dark of every glove compartment from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back.  I’m calling my flock now.

Corin Raymond
39 Oxford St.
Toronto, ON
M5T IN8 (My 5 Tortillas I Never 8)

In Kamloops They’ll Fill Your Boots!

Just a quick note, friends.  First to say that the new total (which changes by the hour) is $2,284.90.  This total will be old news tomorrow.  Tonight I play the Kingston Folk Club, and who knows what’s waiting for me there.  Last night I played a beautiful house concert in Eganville, at which I performed both my one-man show Bookworm as well as a proper set of songs, and when the Sandy McTyres were added up at the end of the night they came to $93.80, which I have to say, is a record for what was collected at any single event.  Huge thanks and love to Kilmeny Heron for putting together a fantastic night, and for rallying all those portraits of the Cute Little Scotsman, and to Kim Elkington, for providing such a beautiful sanctuary for me and my loot.  Here’s a glimpse of the end of the night:

Furthermore, a fella named Adam fed me maple syrup whiskey, from Quebec, mixed with equal parts apple cider (the kind that still has bits of apple in it… and I have to say, if you want to turn your children onto booze, this would be the way to do it– it was like dessert in a glass).  I was sipping maple syrup whiskey while the Canadian Tire money was being counted and tallied up, and this is what I love about this project: it just gets more Canadian every day.

Speaking of Canadian, like many of us, I grew up on the poems of Dennis Lee and the drawings of Frank Newfeld, and, as for many of us, the words ‘In Kamloops I’ll eat your boots.’ have stayed with me.  What’s happening with this project is as Canadian as that poem, and it brings those words back to me.  For instance, I got this photo a couple of days ago from Kamloops, BC.  It was taken at Erwin’s Bakery (which is full of deliciousness, by the way), where the owners, Robyn and Shawn Haley, have instituted ‘Canadian Tire Tuesdays’, which means that on Tuesdays they’ve been accepting CT$ at par.  How incredible is this?

Robyn also sent me this photo of what they’ve collected so far:

In Kamloops they’ll fill your boots!!!  To paraphrase Dennis Lee.

As soon as I can do it (I’m hoping tomorrow), I’m going to post some of my favourite letters, cards, and messages I’ve received in the mail recently.  In the meantime, keep feeding your kids maple syrup whiskey while you read them those poems from Alligator Pie.  And thank you, again, for being so Canadian with me.  In the Gatineaus I’ll eat your toes, and in Kingston I’ll play the Folk Club!  Tonight, between 930 and 10pm, at 193 Ontario St.

ps.  Huge thanks to Deanna MacDonald at the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, for putting on Bookworm (its first ever public library appearance!) and thanks to the Kingstonites who brought their CT cash… see some of you again tonight!!  Oh, and in Napanee I’ll eat your knee.  But you knew that.  C.