You’re Just in a Slump, You’ll be Great Again

Weekend in Calgary, by Peter Brooker, May 2024.

The first turn from Calgary International Airport, or the YYC as the locals still call it, snails past the zoo on the left, which I'm told has the best penguin enclosure in the world and Popeye's Strip Bar on the right.

downtown Calgary

"It’s a business town. Like a mini-Houston but with less going on," Anastasia says. This irks the Uber driver who reclines the sliding blind on his panoramic sunroof as if it to say, 'look up at those skyscrapers. We have more going on than you think.' 

In Calgary the buildings are connected through a series of pedestrian flyovers called the +15 Skywalk network. It supports the economy, enables pedestrian mobility for all ages and abilities, and since the construction of the first bridge in 1969, the it has grown to over 80 bridges and over 16km.

Calgary Skywalk

For some reason we never used them. In doing so, you get to the see real Calgary. The homeless all strung out on a new drug called Tranq that’s ripping the heart out of the city. It's zombifying the homeless and we would pass them laid out on park benches in the middle of the popular 8th street, that of course reeked of weed. You couldn't tell if they were dead or alive.

I wanted to see the spot where Superman flicked peanuts through liquor bottles in the St Louis hotel, in what I think is Christopher Reeves finest performance playing the dark shadow of himself. The hotel remains but the bar no longer faces the street where all the public stand and judge. There is a big library now opposite where Superman slumps off to the cry of the boy, 'you're just in a slump, you'll be great again.'

Osterley safety razor

Pete's very own Wilde & Harte Osterley Safety Razor

The library is now an encampment for the homeless, and I want to cry the same words to them that the boy cried to Superman. Later that night Anastasia and I have sushi at Hero's across from our hotel, the Westley. We eat dragon sushi rolls, share two large flasks of hot sake and I film the chef cutting an avocado because in the U.K, we don't know how to do that properly.

The next day I watch Tyson Fury get beat by Usyk in the Unicorn Bar. The place is packed so I couldn't get in, but I could order drinks and watch the screens in the doorway. Everyone cheering on Usyk as he dismantled Fury in the 9th round. Say what you want about Fury, but he showed guts to get through that round and see out the fight.


Anastasia and I head back to the zoo to see some friends, Stacie and Mark get married. I'm feeling some strange anxiety. Brought on by a compost of tooth ache, chest pains, some constipation and the inevitable Sake hangover from the night before. After the short ceremony I tell Anastasia I need to walk this off, so we go see the penguin enclosure which I found deeply underwhelming. A tiger feasts on a leg of raw meat with his back to us, and a silverback gorilla called Jasiri looks innately bored, staring me down through the plexiglass.

It's time to go home.

The Uber drive on the way back to the YYC tells me we're his last ride, and after this he's going to head out to 1st Street West Cochrane, order some ice cream from MacKay's, the best Ice Cream parlour in all of Calgary apparently, and get high with his friends.

"What are the best flavours there? I ask.

"It's a coin toss. Bubble Gum, or Coffee. I usually have both." I have no follow up questions, but the driver is excited and I'm pleased for him. He tells me I should come back in June. The long days in June here in Calgary are supposed to be beautiful. Especially up by the infamous Banff Ski Resort, overlooking Lake Louise.

"Or come back for the Stampede," he continues. We have it in July, a cowboy festival that lasts ten days.

I don't have it in me to tell him, I won't be coming back.


About the author

Peter Brooker is the co-author of From Tailors With Love an Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films and is also Editor-in-Chief of From Tailors With Love, a blog, vlog and podcast dedicated to men’s costumes and cinematic style.

Peter Brooker - From Tailors With Love

Follow Pete on Instagram: @therewillbebond (over 22k followers)

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Above: Pete with his Osterley Safety Razor.

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