He was an innovator, a vinyl legend/lover, an audiophile, an artist, an entrepreneur, a risk-taker, a community builder, a raconteur, a shit-disturber, a funny dude, a kind, gentle and humble soul.
His name was Jonathan Hall, aka “Jonny” and “Jonny Trash”, and his impact and legacy will be felt—and heard—for generations to come in this community.
Photo by Marlon Hazelwood
Jonny died Friday night (March 22nd) at the age of 44. “Jonathan you were the DJ for the soundtrack of my life for so many years,” one woman posted to his Facebook page. “Grumpy, sarcastic but still soft on the inside and always willing to give great big hugs. You will be missed and there is a hole that can’t be filled. Peterborough has lost a leader/innovator.”
”He was an amazing man,” his friend and former co-owner of Spanky’s David Koski tells PTBOCanada. “He was full of joy, full of life. He was my best friend. I am at a loss for words right now.”
Jonny’s music CV in Peterborough is one for the history books and one you could write a book about or do a documentary on.
He ran the iconic Trasheteria at the corner of Simcoe and Water, an alternative bar that had an 18-year run in town until it closed in 2012. He played music there that no one played and brought in bands (live gigs there brought goosebumps) and DJs that no one else did. He took chances on staff when no one else would. Relationships were formed there that lead to marriage and babies.
”He took a chance on me at the Trash on bar and gave me my start bartending,” his friend Kevin Stairs tells PTBOCanada. “It changed my life forever. I respected him as a human immensely.”
When the Trash closed, Jonny wrote, “A million or so of you have been through our doors over the past 18 years and danced the night away, done some patio schmoozing, checked out a band and escaped the mundane. Thank You.”
After the Trash, Jonathan co-founded Spanky’s on Hunter Street, whose tagline is “definitely maybe the best bar on planet earth.”
Being at Spanky’s watching Jonny spin was one of the bucket list things to do in Peterborough. Jonny spinning tunes was pure magic, as was the signature little bow he’d give you. He’d put you in a trance where you’d be glued to just watching him. People would come from far and wide to see Jonny spin. It was mesmerizing. It was soul.
Photo at Spanky’s by Eric Kelso Mckibbon
Photo by Rosalea Terry, Spanky’s, Halloween 2014
Jonny was also instrumental in creating The Hootenanny on Hunter Street, a music/community festival that has become one of the summer go-to events in town.
The street would close, the bands would play, and it was this moment that you were there. And would never forget. And Jonny would be standing off to the side like he did, out of the limelight, smoking a butt, admiring and loving and hugging.
Hootenanny on Hunter
When he left Spanky’s, he wasn’t done there. He opened The Twisted Wheel on Water Street with Mike Judson, which has vinyl DJs, live music, movie nights, bazaars and more.
It is an eclectic, eccentric bar—just what Peterborough needed. Indeed, Jonny was always opening bars that this city needed, pushing things, challenging stereotypes and convention about who we are as a city. This ain’t no backward town.
His latest labour of love was Nostalgic Journey, a lovely antique, vintage and collectables store that he and his girlfriend Kayley Duggan just took ownership of in early March.
Jonathan Hall at Nostalgic Journey, Saturday, March 16th, 2019 (photo by Neil Morton)
There is no easy way to sum up Jonathan Hall, and the impact he has had on people. Everyone in their tears will have different memories of him, different moments they will remember and share. But music was his light, his beacon. Music inspired Jonny to no end, and the music he played brought people together and gave them hope and happiness and escape in this dance of life.
Jonny was, quite simply, a living legend. Perhaps his friend Rosalea Terry puts it best, saying “He was one of the best people I have ever met. So kind and creative. The entire city is going to feel this one.”
Or perhaps Jonny himself put it best in his poetic goodbye note he wrote to the patrons of the Trasheteria in 2012, when he finished with this:
“Keep on being beautifully weird and different, funky and cool, wild and courageous… Be safe out there and perhaps we’ll see you down that winding road. Much love, Retro Rules, Bye for now.”
Bye for now Jonny. We will see you down the winding road. —By Neil Morton