This City

Ottawa Magazine - - NEWS - By Fa­teema Sayani

Iconic night­club closes • A pitch for base­ball • Dark side of nos­tal­gia • Wol­ly­wood • Ot­tawa Cir­cus School • Canada’s pack­rat • How long will you live? • Brooke & Brit­tany Hen­der­son

Zaphod Bee­ble­brox had a par­tic­u­lar alchemy that kept it go­ing for two and a half decades. The ByWard Mar­ket night­club, founded by iconic im­pre­sario Eu­gene Haslam in 1992, was beloved by no sin­gle sub­cul­ture: the goths, punks, ravers, rock­ers, and mods all em­braced it and bumped up against one another on the sticky dance floor. It was a place to dis­cover new mu­sic, via both the DJ booth and the live stage.

On the last hur­rah week­end be­fore it closed, reg­u­lars si­dled up to one another in the booths to share their “I saw so and so be­fore they were fa­mous” sto­ries while down­ing Zaphod’s sig­na­ture cock­tail: the Pan Ga­lac­tic Gar­gle Blaster, a sac­cha­rine mix­ture of Peach Sch­napps and Blue Cu­raçao.

This Hitch­hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy-in­spired way sta­tion be­tween Toronto and Mon­treal wel­comed ev­ery­one from Ala­nis Moris­sette to The Zo­las over the years. Many spent their cam­pus years de­vel­op­ing their mu­si­cal tastes at Zaphod’s. The live shows would wrap up by 11 p.m. to make room for the dance floor devo­tees, who would jump and fist-pump to the shout-along cho­ruses of Franz Fer­di­nand’s “Take Me Out”(or what­ever was the in­die-rock banger du jour).

This golden for­mula of concert venue and night­club sus­tained the bar through busts and booms, but alas, it was to be no longer. As cul­prits, new own­er­ship cited eco­nomic woes and a dig­i­tal cul­ture that sees peo­ple find­ing mu­sic and mates on­line. This, dur­ing the same year that the mayor gave funds to­ward a city mu­sic strat­egy, just may mean a whole re­think on how we get out, gather, and rock on.

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