The very last hours of December 31st, 2001, were spent at our swanky but tiny one-bedroom apartment in Sandy Hill, a neighbourhood inhabited mostly by University of Ottawa students. Victoria and I had moved into the place the previous summer and not having a lot of money to go out, we had invited over two other couples to help us ring in the new year. These other couples were people we had just met, new work colleagues of mine and their significant others, and a great time was had by all that night. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen either of the couples for many years but we weren’t to know that then. Instead, the laughs and smiles were supposed to be laying the foundation for our new life in Ottawa.
2002 was our first full year away from Toronto, the big city where Victoria grew up and the one I moved to in order to escape the small town of my youth. We’ve been here ever since but that first year here was a hard one for us. We struggled financially. I worked as many hours as I could to support the two of us on my call centre salary and at the same time, trying to pay down my student loan debt. After the end of our one year lease, we moved to a bigger place, albeit to one in a basement in an area not quite as prestigious, all with a mind to save money.
Outside of our little lives, the year saw the introduction of the Euro as a common currency for an entire continent, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 50 years on the throne and then, mourned the death of her mother. The trial of former Yugoslavia president Slobodan Milošević began, Switzerland and East Timor joined the United Nations, the winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, and the World Cup of Soccer was held in South Korea and Japan. The world lost Waylon Jennings (outlaw country singer), Dudley Moore (actor), Linda Lovelace (actress), Davey Boy Smith (wrestler), and Joe Strummer but gained one Finn Wolfhard (musician and ‘Stranger Things’ actor).
Musically, things started to look up for me. I couldn’t afford to buy many CDs at this time but at least I had a substantial wishlist that year, something that couldn’t necessarily be said for the one or two previous years. As you’ll see below, this is the first list of the 2000s that I was able to get myself up to a top 30 tunes. And yeah, there are some doozies…
#30 Richard Ashcroft “Check the meaning” (from Human conditions)
#29 Primal Scream “Miss Lucifer” (from Evil heat)
#28 The Jeevas “Once upon a time in America” (from 1-2-3-4)
#27 Cornershop “Lessons learned from Rocky I to Rocky III” (from Handcream for a generation)
#26 Iron And Wine “Lion’s mane” (from The creek drank the cradle)
#25 Interpol “Obstacle 1” (from Turn on the bright lights)
#24 Neil Halstead “See you on rooftops” (from Sleeping on roads)
#23 Miles Hunt “Everything is not ok” (from The Miles Hunt Club)
#22 Sam Roberts “Brother down” (from The inhuman condition EP)
#21 Departure Lounge “I love you” (from Too late to die young)
#20 Suede “Lonely girls” (from A new morning)
#19 The Decemberists “July! July!” (from Castaways and cutouts)
#18 Billy Bragg and the Blokes “Some days I see the point” (from England, half English)
#17 Doves “Caught by the river” (from The last broadcast)
#16 Supergrass “Evening of the day” (from Life on other planets)
#15 Luna “Renee is crying” (from Romantica)
#14 The Polyphonic Spree “Light & day / Reach for the sun” (from The beginning stages of…)
#13 Badly Drawn Boy “Something to talk about” (from ‘About a boy’ soundtrack)
#12 Hot Hot Heat “Bandages” (from Make up the breakdown)