Musical Gentrification

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got lots of time to think, to ponder questions old & new.

One of my oldest questions is the conundrum of popularity in music. It’s a complicated phenomenon, and I’m not saying I understand it. But I’m thinking about it a lot right now, as we wait to see what will survive the pandemic.

Artists & the companies that employ them are taking a beating. Artists are sometimes getting little or nothing for concerts or shows for which they prepared and even memorized their part: that were never performed. Companies are having a rough time, losing revenues while somehow wondering when things will open up again.

The headline employs an analogy that may be stretching things. Let’s see.

When we speak of gentrification we usually think of a neighbourhood like Queen St West or Yorkville or Cabbagetown:

  • At one time in the past the buildings in that part of town were less valuable, less developed: because the only people who wanted to live there were the Bohemians, the artists & the fringe members of society.
  • Those interesting denizens of the fringe brought something to those neighbourhoods, helping to change them into something they could no longer afford.
  • Yorkville & Queen West & Cabbagetown were improved by clever entrepreneurial approaches to real estate; or in other words real estate was treated not as a human need but as a commodity, and leveraged over & over.
  • And before you know it, the people who made those areas interesting –let’s call them “Bohemians”—were squeezed out. Artists haven’t been seen in Yorkville except as employees in one of the stores. I remember working in the Classical Record Shoppe in the 1980s, when Yorkville was already seriously gentrified, and artists were still to be found in places like Queen St West.

If I may insert a radical thought parenthetically, why do we call it “profiteering” when someone buys up all the toilet paper or sanitizer during a public health emergency, and then turns around to sell it at astronomical prices: but society calls it “clever” when housing is treated the same way, at a time when we have people living on the street or in tents under expressways?

Isn’t that also profiteering? But excuse me for the digression.

We see something similar in music, and I’m not about to point fingers or criticize anyone, not when so many artists in every discipline are struggling.

I saw this graphic on social media a few weeks ago, and saved it, knowing I wanted to pair it with this piece: when I finally figured out what I wanted to say.


The charming person (sorry I don’t know their gender) says the following:

Every time I hear someone say “My main interest these days is in reissues of the standard rep. Little interest in new music/artists”, I feel that classical music dies a little bit more!

Let me unpack the ideas in the analogy a bit more before applying it to music.

Is real estate a commodity or a public right? Or perhaps it’s both. But right now it’s hard to remember the first without the other intruding.

I am reminded of Wagner’s Ring¸ where we see the beautiful gold in the Rhine river, protected by the Rhine Daughters: who celebrate its beauty. The end of the first scene of Das Rheingold is like The Fall in the Bible, where a kind of innocent paradise is wrecked by the theft of the gold & making it into a ring, changing the world in the process.

Here’s a glimpse of Patrice Chereau’s view of this scene: one heavily informed by George Bernard Shaw’s analysis in his essay The Perfect Wagnerite.  Chereau (employing Shaw’s analysis) shows us the deeper structure, the politics manifest in Wagner’s opera.

And then of course the big four opera cycle is all about the implications of that change, because the guy has turned the lump of gold into a ring. It doesn’t matter if the ring is beautiful, not when it has power, the powers of commerce & trade as Shaw  showed us.

So let me re-frame the question I posed before about real estate, that Wagner asked in Das Rheingold.

Is music or any of the arts there for the sake of art, to enrich humanity, if you will? Or is it a commodity, meant to make profits that enrich some people? YES I totally get that people have to live. I have been paid for my labors as a composer, as a musician, even as an actor or as a designer. And I’ve been paid to teach, to be a critic, a writer, a commentator.

You can’t help have noticed that we’re in a period of upheaval, as many business models are being revised. If you can sell online you’re probably enjoying a surge in sales. If you can’t somehow sell online, you’re probably seeking to find ways to reinvent your business to sell curbside. And of course there are also proprietors who don’t face crises, who are doing well in the pandemic.

What’s to become of the arts? Must the business model be to sell what people want most? The composers of new works –the ones I spoke of in that quote above—face a daunting time if they’re not well-established. It’s a difficult time to break into the arts, although it helps if you have lots of real estate or something that people already want to buy from you.

I’ll stop writing for now although I can’t stop thinking about it.  I was mostly seeking to pose some questions, to throw out some ideas. I don’t have answers, indeed I’m not sure I am even asking the right questions.

Posted in Art, Architecture & Design, Dance, theatre & musicals, Essays, Music and musicology, Opera, Personal ruminations & essays, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Movies: a quiz

Social media can be a lot like real life. There we are, all alone, when someone tries to get our attention demanding some sort of response. It may involve some work, or some fun: or both.

I’m recapping the way I responded to a request from a pal in Newfoundland that I met twenty years ago at a conference.  As in any friendship, how we met, what we ever did together –mostly while separated by thousands of miles—is surely immaterial. I did enjoy drinking beer with him and watching some hockey, possibly at the same time. That was back in the days when one could actually see a live hockey game, in a bar, on TV, while drinking their beer.

And then one day on social media, he said

“For day 1: I was challenged to post an image – no posters, no title, no explanation – from 10 movies that had an impact on me. Each day I will nominate new people to take the challenge. 10 days, 10 movie images, 10 nominations. No explanations. Now I ask ****** ****** to accept the challenge and play.”

I love attention and the task is a fun one. So of course I did it happily, enjoying the choices & the challenge & the social context. Of course when I took my turns & did it? Maybe I didn’t select the right people or maybe they’re already played this game enough times that they felt they had paid their dues? (this was perhaps the third or fourth time for me, playing this game… As you can probably tell I never tire of this sort of thing). Of the persons I named, most ignored the challenge.  Oh well.

So for the remainder of my cycle of 10 I stopped issuing challenges to people. I just published the last ones without challenges.

Ach du lieber, I hope that’s not cheating! The game gods may look down upon me with ire or judgment. In hopes that they forgive me, to appease their anger?

I have ANOTHER game in mind.  (Perhaps the headline tipped you off?)

Having played these games before I wanted to see if I could suggest the movie gently without being obvious. I was deliberately vague, difficult, perhaps a bit socially distanced: or maybe that’s what I thought I was doing.

But that’s the source of this quiz. I have ten images from ten films. I will offer them in order.  At the bottom I’ve got the answers. See if you can figure them out.

One even has the name of the film (right on the image).

Image #1


Image #2


Image #3


Image #4


Image #5


Image #6


Image #7


Image #8


Image #9


Image #10


As I assembled the last few I realized this was a list of my favorite films. I had an 11th & 12th that I left out because they’re so well known, which spoils the fun. But I’ll post those two here.





For me it was fun assembling this, I hope it’s fun for you looking at the images.

1 Time Bandits
2 Allegro non Troppo
3 The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
4 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
5 Immortal Beloved
6 Hugo
7 North by Northwest
8 Blade Runner
9 Amarcord
10 Good Will Hunting
11 Some Like it Hot
12 Singin’ in the Rain

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Wordless chorus

This subject seems apt right now. The voices in this music have no words, which is a perfect expression for a time when we don’t know what’s to come. Of course we never do, but it’s especially noticeable when we’re locked down during a pandemic.

Most but not all of the examples I’ve come across are joyful so for the most part this is likely to make you smile rather than frown.

I don’t know if it’s fair to call it a trope because I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone write about the topic.  Composers may write grand & complex pieces employing their skill, whereas these pieces are among the simplest you will ever encounter. That might help explain the popularity of these pieces.

You wouldn’t expect Verdi’s 1851 opera Rigoletto and the 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz to have much in common. Yes they both have orchestral music as well as musical numbers sung by men and women, including choral numbers. But the similarity I wanted to highlight is their use of the wordless chorus.

We might not expect to find such a thing in Rigoletto.

But when we come to the emotional highlight of the work in the last act, where Gilda sacrifices her life to save her lover, and the storm’s winds seem to be speaking to us with the wordless voices of the chorus? The music has become something else, no longer merely oom-pah accompaniments for great singers. At the very least it is melodrama.

Notice how we have the high woodwinds to suggest lightning, the quivering lower strings to suggest thunder, and the chorus suggesting something else without words. It’s melodramatic in the best sense.

I love it. But is it so very different from the Wizard of Oz opening (1939)? You’ll hear a wordless chorus near the beginning and again roughly a minute in.

I’m inclined to think of this as something we might call symbolist rather than impressionist, invoking hidden connections, indeed suggesting something spiritual and/or metaphysical.

Let’s look at the greatest hits of wordless chorus.

Near the end of the 19th century Claude Debussy included a chorus in the third of his Nocturnes for orchestra Sirénes.  This version allows you to see the singers.

The most popular example in this list –other than Wizard of Oz—would have to be Puccini’s “Humming Chorus”, one of several moments the composer gives us to offset the desperately tragic arc of the story of Madama Butterfly (1904).

Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé is a ballet premiered in 1912. The performance you hear if you follow this link is especially effective because the chorus is treated like an instrument, often so subtle that you can’t tell that anyone is singing.


Holst gave “Neptune the Mystic” an especially magical chorus to finish his Planets suite (1916)

Film composer Danny Elfman might be the most prolific user of the wordless chorus, a regular feature in several of his scores. Notice how he begins Scrooged. (1988)

It has become such a regular part of Elfman’s toolkit as to almost be cliché: except he does it so well.  Maybe it’s corny but how can you resist when Elfman wears his heart on his sleeve this way in Edward Scissorhands (1990)?

He’s far subtler in Good Will Hunting (1998). Are they real voices or synth? I can’t tell.

I won’t ask “who are they” because we don’t know.  What do they mean?

Who knows, perhaps something non-specific to connote intelligence or something mysterious, something unfathomable. They’re not giving us any words, yet these can be among the most meaningful moments. How exactly, and what do such moments signify? I suppose the short answer would be to say “it depends” on the context. Perhaps the most important thing to recognize is that there is no verbal signification even as we have the presence: of voices, persons, perhaps angels.

They remind me of how much I miss live music, live performers.

Even without words.


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Douglas Chambers – Stonyground

I heard today that Douglas Chambers passed away this past weekend, and that the cause of his passing was COVID-19.

I sometimes make big long preambles when I’m avoiding something. I can’t deny this time that I’m avoiding several big issues, perambulating around some of the biggest issues of my life. We may have a brush with greatness, and may spend the rest of our lives decoding the impact of the encounter. Writing about Stonyground is not so much an evasion as a gentle way of sidling up to the real subject. Stonyground may be a book about a place, but it’s really a meditation on so many things, not unlike gardening itself.  Stonyground: The Making of a Canadian Garden is an account of the beautiful place Chambers made, but it’s especially a trip into his head. So while the subject of Stonyground is Stonyground (the place) it’s above all a tour of Chambers’ intriguing sensibility.

I recall suddenly that “sensibility” was for a time a word I used over and over, because I’d absorbed it from Chambers.  Do you know the word? I don’t hear it much anymore.

No I can’t presume to write about Douglas Chambers because I don’t think I knew him. I admired him and struggled at times to understand him. He had a knack for long complex sentences that remind me (as I think back on lectures I heard decades ago): …of what exactly? I guess it’s a bit of the prose style of Slavoj Zizek, where he might begin a sentence and you’d wonder OMG where is it going? as you’d watch its arcing aerobatic logic, the words threatening to crash. How is he ever going to land that thing, bring it down to the ground and somehow managing to make sense? I remember he used to often stop in his lectures after a long paragraph and say “does that make sense”? It was the humblest thing, considering that he was watching the bewilderment on our faces and never holding it against us that he might have left us behind in his flights.

His was a forbidding intellect, multi-disciplinary long before the word came into fashion, ranging over many things across different subjects & centuries. While I think he enjoyed throwing us off a bit his students were often the best and brightest. There was no shame in it, indeed it was gloriously enjoyable, including the post-mortem afterwards in the cafeteria recalling the best moments. I remember the time he turned and looked at me when I mentioned Vergil, asking me if I had read it in Latin (nope!), pretentious nerd that I am. I had no idea that I’d inadvertently spoken of one of his favorites.

I was thinking of him this past weekend. I sometimes play the piano for an older relation of mine, just as I once used to play at Casey House long ago. I can’t help pulling the two together, thinking of Douglas as a survivor of one plague, caught now in another. Let that be a natural segue to a couple of paragraphs I shall quote from Stonyground. He’s explaining himself throughout, and here in medias res he again seems to be orienting himself and us, making sure we’ve come along with him.

…Things are rarely as one remembers them. Why does learning to drive (and getting a truck) that summer now seem so commonplace when I know that the whole process was one of farce mixed with terror? “What is material to this diary?” I find myself having written that summer on the day when I discovered that I was HIV-negative. Could I have gone on with all this –would I? – if the result had been otherwise?
“This book looks like a hyper-text” said a writer friend who picked up the first few pages of the first draft. “Not hyper-text but intra-text” I said. There is no one text in its writing, any more than in the making of the garden itself, all the texts interweave with one another. Somewhere in the centre of this book is the chronology of it all, but the structure of the book as a whole is almost as obscure as the origin of the spider’s web. Many texts are here—cultural, personal, historical, botanical—all of them leaking into the discourse of one another and creating something that even I will not understand, probably, until years from now if then. (Chambers 84)

It may seem like a curious passage to quote, but the whole book is curious and profound like that, zipping back and forth between the theoretical and the practical, between the personal and the abstract. And as a kind of de facto testimony I point to the futility of the University of Toronto Library and the Library of Congress classification system, that placed his two books where?  In the Noranda Earth Sciences Library. Yes it’s ridiculously convenient to my office in the North Borden Building, but why in heaven’s name are his books about the intersection of literature & gardening placed in this library full of science books? Rather than judging I simply giggle at how handy it is for me, and yes, it seems an apt illustration of someone often misunderstood.

Chambers is the funniest sort of academic, having an enormous amount of erudition yet without real pretense about it. He introduced me to words such as “prelapsarian”, unpacking the typology of the hortus conclusus (or the enclosed garden) of 17th century poems, before also quoting “and I dreamed I saw the bombers riding shotgun in the sky turning into butterflies above our nation” in the very same class. Remember that the song also says “and we have to get back to the garden”.

Chambers’ writing is full of references to plants and poems & sudden unexpected bursts of pure fun.

The Great Garden is the antithesis of what I call the “brown-earth school of gardening”: everything neatly set off by its little patch of safely dead earth. Certainly it is no place for gardening nannies: hair well brushed and fingernails clean. As blowsy and sluttish as its Oriental poppies and peonies, the Great Garden looks as it if had been scripted by Tennessee Williams with parts for Greta Garbo and Mae West. Its indiscipline would be the despair of the Sunday garden writers. No plantsman’s garden (though there’ a wide range of species), it bursts out like a big girl’s blouse in a lush and vulgar profusion of colour. (50)

For all the fun, there are some very useful ideas about how to make your garden beautiful. He quotes a Pope translation of Horace:

He gains all points, who pleasingly confounds,
Surprizes, varies, and conceals the Bounds

Sir Henry Wotton in The Elements of Architecture (1624) enlarges upon the confusion to the eye chiefly by differences in elevation, that would be one of Chambers’ influences in his planning of Stonyground.

I confess, I have been reading the book for the past few weeks, sometimes reading several chapters, sometimes musing over a single paragraph, and then thinking about it while I walk around outside in my backyard. It’s all a reverie for me, as I think about Douglas Chambers. I had asked a few fellow alumni about Chambers, without success, and then today one of the same cohort pointed to his obituary.

There’s so much more to him than just the book. Chambers was an activist in the heady days when being openly gay was a bold political statement. I regret that I didn’t spend more time just listening.

chambersStonyground –originally taken out of that library the first time I read it, now something I’ve purchased—is a belated opportunity to really hear what he has to say. There is such richness in this book that at times it reminds me of poetry or the Bible. I can imagine a concordance capturing all the references & implications.

Or one can simply read it and enjoy it. He seems to go off on a bit of an unpretentious tangent in quoting John Evelyn’s salad dressing recipe. This is the same Evelyn whose Letterbooks represent the final great project of Chambers’ academic life, completed in collaboration with David Galbraith & released in two handsome volumes in 2014. What seems to be off topic or irrelevant is surely a matter of defying conventional wisdom, especially if one understands a thing by coming only from within the logic of a single discipline. Chambers in citing Evelyn on vegetable gardens signals to us the same thing he regularly did to his students, namely that there’s always a bit more to it than what’s on the surface. Never fully awed by the usual rules of the discipline he might leave us gasping at his references & the connections he made, while refusing to put anyone on a special pedestal.

Chambers may have passed but I still have his books. And that’s a treasury.  Stonyground appeared in 1996 but is still available new or used from a couple of different online sites.

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Lepage’s Coriolanus: a video sandwich

There’s a particular magic to live theatre that you can almost glimpse in an online transmission, but it’s not really the same, not quite so magical. When I see Coriolanus get into a car onstage that seems to drive into a rainstorm, and then a forest, all while the car is actually stationary before me in the middle of the stage? That’s magic. On the desktop of my computer, I can intellectually grasp how this is really cool really amazing. But it’s not the same level of impossibility, not quite as remarkable.

Everyone may be locked down, all the theatres & concert venues may be closed for the pandemic, but the Stratford Shakespearean Festival are giving us a kind of online festival of past glories, reminding us of what we should already know: that this is one of the greatest companies in the world.

Robert Lepage and his company Ex Machina work in partnership with the Stratford Festival. What you see is directed for film by Barry Avrich.  An auteur with a recognizable style offers many of the same things you’ve seen before.  If you’re fascinated by the possibilities of theatre you’ll enjoy watching Lepage play with his new toys, dancing on the cutting edge of evolving technologies: the new ways to tell stories.

Did you catch that phrase? Lepage said “We’re asking the actors to perform in a video sandwich”.

I’m reminded of his work on the Wagner Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera. I heard criticism that Lepage seemed to place the singers in a narrow space in front of the big expensive machine that was simultaneously a set and a projection surface. Of course if you go to the show with stipulations you’ll likely be frustrated and angry.

I loved it because I’d never seen anything like it.


The descent to Nibelheim from Das Rheingold (Ring cycle at the Metropolitan Opera), one of several moments when you couldn’t tell whether it was a person or a puppet-double.

Coriolanus is the next generation after his Ring machinery, using infrared to ensure that the projections and light are harmonized rather than fighting one another (ie when light washes out the projection, as we sometimes saw in the Ring operas).

Lepage also builds upon something marvelous that we saw in 887. You may recall that at one point in his one-man meditation upon his past, we get a series of miniatures replicating the moment when France’s President Charles de Gaulle stirred up all kinds of turmoil by saying “Vive le Québec Libre” to an eager francophone audience. We see Lepage moving the tiny car while a camera in the car captures the bystanders as though they were real (just like the picture below).  It’s crazy & profound, that we’re watching this man reminisce about one of the most problematic moments of his childhood while seeming to play with a toy.


This time he’s messing with us in our perceptions of war & heroism. Coriolanus’ son plays with toys onstage, even as a camera projects an enlarged version of them in behind. Later we’ll see someone playing with war toys, while we hear battle sounds. We may well wonder: is war a game played with toys or something real? Are men just boys playing with their toys?

Whatever else you might say about Lepage, he is a wonderful director. The relationships in the Shakespeare have never been clearer for me, offered with intriguing overtones but never cluttered. So yes we may notice that Aufidius may seem to adore Coriolanus a bit too much. They wrestle and embrace, a moment verging on the homoerotic, a moment fully justifiable from the adoration we see & hear expressed in the text. André Sills is a wildly passionate Coriolanus, totally vulnerable when we first meet him, more & more furious as the play goes on. Graham Abbey is Tullus Aufidius, his greatest enemy & yet his eventual ally, and finally, the one who betrays him.  Lucy Peacock as Coriolanus’s mother Volumnia is the only one who matches his passion.

You may not realize how good this play is, until you see this production. That’s perhaps the best argument for what Lepage & his team accomplish, that they’re advocates for Shakespeare, clarifying & emphasizing the key moments of the play. There are many touches of laughter & levity as you’d expect. We’re in a world that’s a fascinating mix of modern & classical, 21st century and ancient. The class relationships, the politics, the personalities, all cohere perfectly.

Coriolanus is available online until May 21st. I’ll watch it again, I suggest you should check it out if at all possible.


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Disappointing Planet of the Humans

I’m giggling as I begin writing this, because I know that for some people, credentials are everything. If I dare speak about an enviro-documentary where do I stand, where am I coming from? This is such a partisan world that one must declare one’s allegiance.

What team am I on?!!

So let me offer a few thoughts to let you know my beliefs & what I really want to see in any film about our Anthropogenic climate crisis. That’s the first one actually: that yes I believe humans cause climate change.  That word “anthropogenic” means that humans are the source.


I try to be positive, but for a moment I must be negative in laying out my fears about the climate crisis.  I am fearful, rarely talking to my friends about this because my expectation is far darker than what I see in any projections for the future. I have nightmares not unlike what you see in JG Ballard’s sci-fi novel The Wind from Nowhere.  Wow I need to re-read this book, come to think of it!!! Will the Earth end up with winds like those on Jupiter? perhaps not this year… but we now have category five hurricanes, will there be a category six? or seven? Or Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle. Climate change is an ideal opportunity for the most extreme elements of our society to pursue evil ends. A white supremacist who hates persons of colour might relish the predicament of impoverished masses in Asia facing rising sea levels and powerful monsoons. Is it any wonder that a certain billionaire – POTUS known for his xenophobia might opt the USA out of any attempts to rein in greenhouse gases, might actually embrace climate change as his genie in the bottle that he wants to set free for evil ends?

So I hope it’s clear, I am wishing that humanity could stop the changes that seem to be bearing down upon us inevitably.

That’s the context for my response to Jeff Gibbs Planet of the Humans, a film that bears Michael Moore’s name, a film that’s now available for free online: even if I don’t believe it’s really his film.

I make the distinction because

  • Michael Moore is a fine film-maker & writer
  • Michael Moore is someone I admire
  • Planet of the Humans is a shoddy piece of work, unworthy of MM

Full disclosure: I stopped watching it after 40 minutes. I wasn’t depressed, I was just unimpressed. The film is sloppy and amateurish. Nicely executed segues & a good soundtrack can’t compensate for weak logic in the argument of the film. It’s true that I only saw a fraction of the film, but it was enough.

It’s one thing when you’re interviewing GM management while asking tough questions about the behaviour of GM, a big monolith. It’s something else entirely to scatter questions at a bunch of people with no relationship to one another but have somewhat similar positions on climate change strategies: as though this group are somehow a monolith.  Please note, they are no such thing, not even close. Even if there were a cult of climate change believers with a bible that they follow, this would be a bad strategy. But there’s no such cult.

For me the worst thing in this film is the half-assed way that they enquire about clean energy. Unfortunately the word “clean” means at least two different things:
1) Clean meaning “Not as dirty”, meaning less air pollution
2) Clean meaning “Not as likely to cause global warming through CO2 emissions”

In Ontario we stopped using coal to generate electricity. Instead we’re mostly using a combination of nuclear & natural gas. I haven’t watched the whole film, but so far they’ve made no mention of nuclear, which is an option some jurisdictions in Europe have embraced, just like the one where I live.  So a big chunk is already missing.

It’s true that natural gas is still a fossil fuel so of course the purists will roll their eyes. But the removal of coal from the equation has meant fewer days when we have bad air in Toronto. It’s so much better since our former premier Wynne removed the last coal plant, that I don’t even remember what we call a bad pollution day. Is it a pollution advisory? Or something like that.   Our air is cleaner!   There’s less nasty content to give sensitive lungs reason to hide indoors.

So that’s one tiny improvement, in a world that is still unsafe for birds or bees or fish, where they’re cutting down too many trees and the water has funny chemical residues, even before we start adding things like fluoride.

But here’s the thing. The interviews in this film did not make it clear which objective they meant between #1 & #2, when making sweeping statements about the success in certain jurisdictions, concerning clean energy.

Yes it’s true that there are all kinds of limitations with solar & wind. And when interviewed almost everyone admitted that. Nobody except a very naïve few thought solar or wind could completely replace coal.

One can see text on a website promoting this film that says things such as “This eco-documentary takes a harsh look at how the environmental movement has lost the battle through well-meaning but disastrous choices”.


But it’s not a good film. We see musicians at an environmental gathering, and it starts to rain, and so they plug into the grid eventually. What is the point, to show that the idealists are actually liars or hypocrites? I’m sorry that’s cheap. Did they take an oath as environmentalists never to accept electricity from the grid? What a cheap shot this is, one of several…

And so, no: I didn’t watch the rest of the film. You can find it online for free if you like. But I won’t post its trailer.

I’ve already given it more than enough free publicity.

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In the mail

I just received a mail package containing a recording from an artist.

It was mailed April 7th, with a covering letter inside dated April 6th. It was coming from a city that is about an hour away on the QEW, yet it took three weeks to get here.


I expect that there are other packages still on their way, still taking their time getting through the mail, given that I was promised other deliveries that have yet to materialize.

A Canada Post rep said the following in an email I read last week:

Canada Post is working hard to respond to a significant increase in parcel volumes, putting the safety of our people, and our customers, first. Significant increases in parcel volumes, combined with important safety measures like physical distancing in our plants, means it is taking longer to process than usual.

I am not posting this to complain. Nope.

But we do live in interesting times. Mail has become a life-line of sorts. Parcels may contain essentials such as personal protective equipment. Or they contain online purchases for a population suddenly requiring diversion. I’m sure Amazon is doing very well right now, when so many businesses have been forced to close down due to the pandemic.

It’s a reminder, though. What’s good news for one person may be bad news for someone else.  And the times they are a-changing.

Canada Post press releases.

Posted in Popular music & culture, Press Releases and Announcements | Tagged | 2 Comments