Day for (Desert) Night (Sky)

Desert Night Sky Bottle 1

The name of this pretty Enchanted polish is Desert Night Sky, but I’m Canadian, which means that starting this past Saturday with the nation-wide broadcast of beloved band The Tragically Hip’s final live performance, they are literally all I can think about, talk about, listen to.  So in my Hip-addled brain, it becomes Day for Desert Night Sky, a play on the title of their 1994 album Day for Night.

Lead singer Gord Downie, a man many view as Canada’s unofficial wandering troubadour, is dying. Glioblastoma, or in simpler terms, a fucking brain tumour.  In the wake of his diagnosis, the band, childhood friends who grew up in the same hometown as my husband, decided to head out on one last coast-to-coast tour, to say goodbye to the country that has supported it – fiercely, some may say greedily – for the last 33 years.

Our national broadcaster, the CBC, aired The Hip’s final show in Kingston, Ontario this past Saturday, and if it seemed to you, wherever you are in the world, that there was a sense of time standing still emanating from the Great White North, you’d be correct.  Die hard fan, unrepentant hater, casual listener, we all watched together as the band said its goodbyes to us, and we to it.  I watched all three hours of that incredible concert – crying through Fiddler’s Green, running out of the room during a particularly rough Bobcaygeon, trying to will Gord, through the impotent power of my thoughts alone, to finish Grace, Too amidst his anguished tears – and I wouldn’t even call myself a fan.  It was the very essence of Canadiana, a pure moment of undisputed national pride, the likes of which I don’t think we’ll ever see again.  The CBC estimates that over 11 and a half million people watched the un-edited, un-censored, advertisement-free show on Saturday night, or roughly one-third of the country.

So this polish has become Day for Desert Night Sky, the artwork of which is framed in the exact same dusky navy blue as this polish.  It’s also the same deep, denim blue of the Canadian tuxedo (jeans-on-jeans) worn by our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, when he attended the show on Saturday night. Coincidence?  Perhaps.  I suppose I’d be more likely to find Hip memories crawling out of all the dusty recesses of my mind this weekend than any other (like the time a horny young man in a bar hauled me out onto the dance floor to dry hump my leg to twangy historical number Nautical Disaster.  I tried to politely disengage, but he was as persistent as a schnauzer who’s scarfed down a pack of boner pills.  So I “pepper sprayed” him in the face with my knowledge of Downie’s esoteric lyrics, screaming “DID YOU KNOW THIS SONG IS ABOUT THE SINKING OF A GERMAN BATTLESHIP IN THE 1940s?!?  OVER 2,000 MEN DIED!!!” directly into his ear.  Guess who backed off in a hurry?  In addressing the rapturous audience one final time last Saturday, Gord Downie said, “Thank you. Thank you for that.”  Well, thank you, Gord, for that.)

Desert Night Sky Bottle 2

The Tickle Trunk

Tickle Trunk

While everyone continues slogging through the interminably long Oscars telecast, I’m casting my mind – and with this Tickle Trunk-inspired manicure, my nails – back to a beloved Canadian children’s television show, Mr. Dressup. Often compared to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for its general tone and vibe (despite actually airing first) Mr. Dressup was a show that ran every day on the CBC (our publicly-funded broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) starring a man by the name of Ernie Coombs, or as generations of Canadian children came to know him, Mr. Dressup. Starting in 1967 and running until 1996, Mr. Dressup was a welcome daily visitor in countless Canadian households, leading children like me through a half hour of imagination games, arts and crafts and the basics of early socialization. He had a couple of puppet friends who lived in a treehouse in his backyard, Casey and his dog, Finnegan, and a kind of study/playroom where he’d dash together the most amazing drawings, paintings and other crafts. But perhaps best of all, he had the Tickle Trunk, a giant red steamer trunk adorned with flowers and butterflies that seemed to contain a nearly limitless number of costumes, from firefighter to wizard to chicken. Mr. Dressup would don the costume and then we’d all get a little lesson in what it was like to be firefighter or a wizard or a chicken. The Tickle Trunk actually always sort of reminded me of Oscar the Grouch’s trashcan on Sesame Street – a sort of trans-dimensional space that goes on for infinity. And may house elephants.

This manicure, which I love far more than I expected to, is inspired by the floral print on the outside of the Tickle Trunk. I love the random flowers in simple, primary colours, and I’m hugely proud of the little butterfly on my index finger. My butterflies typically come out looking more butt than fly, but this wee guy looks like the real deal, or at least the real deal as seen floating across the arched wooden top of the Tickle Trunk (an artifact you can see on display at the CBC Museum in Toronto, Ontario, should you be at all interested. And you should; this is quality Canadiana I’m dropping on you here!)