Saturday, 30 September 2017

Defiantly patriotic

The blazing tangerine that has dominated the sky for a week of late September heat wave is finally making its exit, as I make my way down the humid street in search of stamps. The post office at the pharmacy is closed, but you can buy stamps at the regular register.

The cashier offers me a choice: a selection of geological landscapes or large, maple-leaf-shaped stamps festooned with rainbows. Canada is not only celebrating its sesquicentennial, but also a dozen years of "marriage equality".

"I have several relatives whom I can really piss off with these," I muse, examining the latter sheaf.

The cashier laughs.

"I'm feeling pugnacious," I tell her. "Maybe I can use them on our Christmas cards."

It's getting dark as I pass the local bookstore, where a dozen people are strumming ukuleles.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Must be Wainwright week

PBS recently re-televised a truncated version of last year's Shakespeare Show, but they didn't excise Rufus Wainwright's performance of this.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The liturgical year

The Resident Fan Boy is a P.K. (Preacher's Kid), the son of an archdeacon, so when he wandered out into our neighbourhood, he first saw this new variation on street signage from the other direction, and caught himself thinking: No, isn't it Trinity?

Wednesday, 9 August 2017


Younger daughter has been repelled by the steady decomposition of a squirrel in the gutter near our house. I introduced her to this, by the man who's now chiefly famous for being Rufus Wainwright's dad. My Grade Eleven Biology teacher used it for his theme on a module on molds. Good times.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Those hallways

I've probably mentioned this before, but I used to have a friend who marketed !2-Step teeshirts and greeting cards. My favourite was a pair of staring white eyes against a pitch-black background with the caption: "I know that when one door closes, another one opens, but MAN, these hallways are a bitch!"

I loved it because you don't need to be recovering from an addiction to find yourself in a dark corridor after a door has slammed shut.

The door will open.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Why do they call it the past when it''s never past?

I wish the original was available online; it's got a killer clarinet, but this'll do for now.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Levels of entertainment

There's always so much more to a concert than the music -- especially at Chamberfest.

A few nights ago, the Chamberfest Chamber Orchestra, eighteen top-notch musicians led by Julian Rachlin, a violinist who, I gather, is a big deal - I'm not that knowledgable about violin virtuosi - contrasted Vivaldi's Four Seasons with twentieth century composer Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.

I'm fond enough of Vivaldi and the Piazzolla piece had its moments - again, I don't have a great ear for violin music - but what was going on in the audience and on stage provided plenty of entertainment.

We had the usual drama with the generous donor who has a reserved seat right in front of us. This time, a lady sitting with a party of four, when confronted with the donor claiming her seat, handed the laminated reserved card, on which she had been sitting partially, to the volunteer who had come to help, with an air of largesse and mild puzzlement, as if she didn't understand what "reserved" meant, or was under the impression that the seat had been reserved for her. (She and her party had probably paid top price to seat in the front row of the balcony.) The Resident Fan Boy calls this "Ottawa entitlement". Gawd, I'll be glad to leave this city...

The volunteer asked repeatedly if the party would like to take special seats in the second row, for their comfort. The gentleman in the party switched seats with the "gently puzzled" lady and shook hands with the donor -- perhaps guessing the reason for the reserved seat.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of excitement below. The virtuoso snapped a string in mid-passion, and barely breaking stride, commandeered the concert-master's instrument, while she relieved the second violin of hers. Second violinist scurried backstage to re-string, and the instruments went back up the food-chain in the next movement.

The first violinists included a towering gent with flowing ginger locks named Edwin Huizinga who mugged at his fellow musicians and plucked his violin, not lasciviously but slyly, during the second movement of Vivaldi "Winter" concerto. I can't provide you with a visual, but here's the movement in question:

Elder daughter tells me that Huizinga is a character (really?) who prefers couch-surfing to home ownership. I gather from his Facebook profile that he's rarely in one place for long.

For comparison purposes, here's the "Winter" portion of Astor Piazzolla's Four Seasons of Buones Aires - without the mugging, as it's a different chamber group.

Personally, I only really like the final minute -- which is rather Pachelbel-ish. As I've said, I'm not much of a violin-fancier.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Persephone ponders her cohort

In the middle of a row with the Resident Fan Boy - which usually lasts a day or so because speech fails me - I dreamt that I was standing on a sort of porch gazing into a deep pool of green water.

Suddenly, I saw a fish fall into the water; it turned into a kitten with a resigned expression on its furry face. The fish-kitten began to sink like a stone as I looked on in bafflement. A friend from high school plucked the plummeting creature from the water and berated me. I followed her to a staircase and told her that she had no right to be so high-handed with me.

"I dreamt I called Gwen a bitch," I informed elder daughter the next morning. "I woke up thinking she'll be unfriending me on Facebook."

Elder daughter curled up on her bed, laughing. "You sound like such a Millennial," she said.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Elegiac Elgar

Saw the flick Dunkirk today, so now I've got Nimrod on the brain.