Nadia Elkharadly: My Birthday Wish List

On November 14th at 2:35am (as my mother keeps reminding me), in 1980, just over yonder at Toronto’s St Joseph’s hospital, I made my first appearance into this world.  Yesterday was the 31st anniversary of that illustrious day.  The past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to treat myself to a vacation for my birthday.  Last year it was a week in Los Angeles, the year before it was Geneva.  But this year…I bought a condo.  So I’m going to spend my brainpower that would have been used for trip planning, for dreaming of the perfect birthday treats I wish I could get for myself.  Now this is NOT a list of things to get me, you can find that on my gift registry at the LCBO.

Everyone has those things that you want but can’t have (or can’t have YET) and these are mine.  So prepare for a fluffy, fun, and silly column.  Why?  Because it’s my birthday and I can be superficial if I want to.

1)      Crystal Head Vodka

I have always had a weird fascination with skulls.  My mother hates it, my friends think it’s morbid, but for whatever reason, things adorned with skulls have always attracted me.  From Alexander McQueen’s silk scarves to the countless t-shirts, rings and necklaces I have featuring these boney human heads.  What can I say, they’re just cool.  Someone I have never really thought of as being cool however is Dan Akroyd.  It must have been his time as a Ghostbuster, or possibly his collaboration with artist John Alexander, but Ray Stanz has produced the coolest looking vodka bottle I’ve ever seen: a crystal clear human skull.  And since vodka is my liquor of choice, it would be the perfect addition to my home bar.  It’s manufactured right in Newfoundland, and according to Wikipedia, “The vodka is quadruple-distilled, triple-filtered through charcoal and triple-filtered through Herkimer diamond crystals.”  And according to moi, the vodka tastes great.  And according to the internet, you can actually buy the stuff in Ontario now!  Can you believe the LCBO actually banned Crystal Head from being sold?  But they’ve finally gotten their heads on straight…so to speak, and it’s now available to buy and imbibe in your homes.

2)      A framed rock and roll photo print from the Analogue Gallery

Living on Queen West means encountering temptation every time you walk outside your door.  There are restaurants, bars, and shops clustered together on every block, with all sorts of goodies to charm the money out right out of your wallet.  One of my favourite places to peruse on Queen has to be the Analogue Gallery.  They have some of the most stunning photos on display of iconic musicians and artists, taken by world renowned and incredibly talented photographers.  This print of Johnny Cash by Don Hunstein makes me swoon and sigh, and shed tears at the price.  It’s worth every penny…but it’s pennies I just don’t have at my disposal right now.  But the solemn, pensive expression on his face, the relaxed and contemplative position leaning on his guitar, I love it all.  To me it’s the quintessential photo of the man in black, and I’d love to have it for my very own….someday.  Until then, it’s just another birthday wish.

Even though I may not be able to afford some of the actual prints in this wonderful gallery, the amazingly talented Ken Regan’s book All Access will soon be available to buy, featuring photos and stories about The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and many more.  And rumour has it the man himself will be on hand at the gallery next month for signings!   And Don Hunstein’s work will be available in book form next year (guess what I’ll be asking for then?)

3)       A little bit of Bling

What warm blooded female wouldn’t want some beautiful, shiny, sparkly jewellery for her birthday?  If such a girl exists I would not want to meet her.  But for the rest of us (and namely me), who love pretty sparkly things, we can always head to my friend Jeff’s (husband of the aforementioned Aleks) elegant jewellery store Cupido DesignsIt’s the perfect place to drool over the things I can’t afford, but want so very very much.  With three locations carrying different merchandise, Cupido has something for everyone, things that you can’t find anywhere else in the city, and fantastic people working there to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.  On my list?

The Demaria inverted diamond ring.  Gorgeous, dark, gleaming and spikey, what’s not to love?  Oh, that’s’ right, the price tag….sigh.  There’s also this breath-taking cocktail ring from Hera.

This larger than life ring is as beautiful as it likely is deadly.  Imagine being on the receiving end of a punch from a fist wearing that baby?  That would leave a mark!  And a striking one at that.

4) A Bass Guitar, and the instant ability to play it perfectly

I’ve always loved the sound of the bass, the depth of it.  It floats below, above, and between the drums and guitar.  In every song I listen for it, and get a little jolt of happiness when I can pick out the bassline among everything else going on in whatever I’m listening to.  It’s a very underrated instrument, and I think that’s’ why I love it so much, because not everyone else does.  I love Death From Above 1979 because their sound revolves around just a drum and bass, and they’re insanely good.  I’ve been known to say that there’s a shortage of hot girl bassists out there.  One of my favourites of late is Emma Richardson from Band of Skulls.  With a lovely voice and serious talent on the bass, she really rounds out this fantastic band.  So for my next birthday gift, I would love a bass guitar, complete with amp.  I’ve been looking around for one and am having the hardest time trying to find something that I love and that I can afford.  I also have no idea what I’m actually looking for.  A jazz bass?  A Fender? A Washburn?  I have no idea.  It would have to be beautiful, sleek and shiny, something I could picture myself actually playing on a stage, because that’s the whole point isn’t it?  I’d rock out on stage just like Joan Jett (she played the bass occasionally!)  And of course, I’d love to know how to play perfectly the second I picked it up.  Wishful thinking, but that’s what birthdays are all about.

5) A super fun birthday party that somehow does not result in a hangover.  I think of all of my birthday wants on this list, this is probably both the most achievable and the most unrealistic one of all.  I will be going out with my wonderful friends to…you guessed it, CHERRY COLA’S for some drinking, dancing, and the musical stylings of Dirty Water.  It’s sure to be a night of hilarity, where great memories will be made…and who am I kidding, I’m totally going to be hungover the next day.  But it will be worth it!  I may not have gotten to go to some exotic location for my birthday this year, but with great friends, great music, and a cold vodka soda in my hand, it’s still going to be a good one.

Until next time,



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Nadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

2 Responses to “Nadia Elkharadly: My Birthday Wish List”

  1. Looking forward to it, happy birthday nadster!

  2. vishalicious Says:

    Get the bass. Go to a music store and ask them to recommend one for you in your price range. Have them demonstrate it for you, if you feel shy about trying it out at the store. Then go home, Google it, and read what other people say about the model and other comparable ones. I’m a few years older than you (36) and have had a bass sitting around for 16 years. I finally started to teach myself and its one of the most fulfulling things I’ve ever done.

    Also, don’t worry about getting an amp. If you’re learning, you can practice with one of these. I just got one and it lets me practice all hour of the day or night:

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