Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Stations of the Breath - Part Two

Continued from Part One

In the 21st century, somebody else's musings can get delivered to your computer without hesitation. 99% of them are no more important than greetings, work updates or anything else you'll forget or simply not need a few hours after their arrival. The other 1% snakes its way into your consciousness and reminds you that sometimes your tabula isn't as rasa as you'd thought.

To wit: Lloyd, formerly of high school and the previously mentioned powdered strawberries. Tall. Then and now. Musician and singer and not a bad actor; his Vladimir to my Estragon in a grade 11 Waiting for Godot scene study is the stuff of legend to a very small crowd (me, in particular). He is also perhaps the finest impersonator of a restless hamster in human form during a theatre improv that the world has ever been seen. These aren't the high points - he's an all-around, standup guy - but this is what first filters through me when I get a message in response to Part One of these postings.

Good to read a new blog. And though I am sure the names were changed to protect the guilty, I have absolutely no idea who you were talking about. Was I there?

For some of it. It'll make more sense as it goes on. And of course names are changed. The guilty need protectin' too.

Are you saying I wasn't there for you?


Never as in you're not saying that, or never as in I was never there for you? Paranoid suddenly.

You were always there for me, in friendship and the theme to 'Friends' sense of the term. You just weren't there for every aspect of the story I'm telling. You'll recognize when you are though. And it's intensely odd that you're online just now to notice...

Ah. And you were there for me too, la la la la la la la la la, as the song goes. Can you call me Lloyd? I've always wanted to be a Lloyd. 

With two Ls, like that bartender in The Shining?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Stations of the Breath - Part One

"Wear your inside out
Dreaming of mercy..."
- Peter Gabriel

"After the first death, there is no other."
-Dylan Thomas

You have to start somewhere.

So, as weird as it sounds, the start and middle and end of my story smells like powdered strawberries.

To be a little more clear, it smells like the powered strawberry flavouring that you drop into into a milkshake. It doesn’t resemble real strawberry in the least, but it smells like a good try. You understand what it’s supposed to be.

I took part in a musical in my first year of high school – grade 10 – as part of the lighting crew. I worked dragging sets on and offstage and I wasn't the guy who filled the fog machine with what we were calling ‘fog juice’ – what would you call it? - I was just one of the two guys who applied it onstage. One of us would walk backwards slowly with the machine at ankle-height, spreading the low-hanging and slightly oily mist along the stage so it would rise thick and lingering when the curtain went up.

We were doing this in May of 1984. The weather was already hot and humid. The auditorium was air-conditioned but the curtain made a tent of heat and strawberry-powder-scented-fake-fog that wasn’t particularly good for you. I don’t find that scent very often. I don’t make milkshakes and only come across it sometimes at Halloween at some of the more enthusiastic households where I take my son trick-or-treating, or at a few product launches and clubs I’ve attended when some organizer decided the best way to give the event a sense of occasion was to have some spotlights and fog.

I have to point this out because of the association. There’s no metaphor or poetry to it. It was just there. When I talk to one of the handful of people involved with that show at the time, I’ll remember everything around it and think about that scent. It’s not welcome, exactly. But it’s not worth dreading. It’s simply part of what happened at the time. It’s a fact, rather than an embellishment.

Jump ahead a few decades to meeting up with Kelly, who was part of my grade 10 theatre class. She was blonde and pretty and could easily pass for 18 years old when she was 15 years old and was a welcome guest at any party where somebody was needed buy beer without an age of majority card. She left the school at the end of grade 11 and I was heartbroken in a platonic sort of way – she had been one of a small cadre of friends in first year, which had felt very long and eventful, and she was wrapped up with all of the problems in the year that followed.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Roger Ebert

Lifted directly from Wikiquote, but wouldn't change a word.

"Rob Schneider took offense when Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times listed [2004's] Best Picture nominees and wrote that they were "ignored, unloved, and turned down flat by most of the same studios that ... bankroll hundreds of sequels, including a follow-up to Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, a film that was sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic."

Schneider retaliated by attacking Goldstein in full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. In an open letter to Goldstein, Schneider wrote: "Well, Mr. Goldstein, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won. I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind. ... Maybe you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who's Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers..." As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks."

Roger Ebert (1942 - 2013)

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