This cheerfulness, happiness, some might say, in times that call for gloom at least, navel gazing at most, is a strange thing. During the height of the Black Death, 14th-century Europe witnessed a veritable orgy of mad revelry. The French Revolution produced an outbreak of hysterical gaiety that led to a loosening of everything from corsets to morals.
Onstage at Carnegie Hall in New York, three singers and seven backup musicians pile up an elaborate scaffolding of music for Gino Vannelli’s entrance. Joe, his brother and co-producer, sits in his cockpit of keyboards. At the back of the hall Ross, another brother and co-producer, mans the sound-mix board like an air-traffic controller, making sure the music gets off the ground safely.
The woman sitting in the back of a taxi in Tehran is plump and pregnant. But covered as she is in the long black Moslem robe, the chador, her bulk isn’t particularly noticeable. That, however, is the only advantage Sadireh Abdullahe sees in wearing the thing.
High above the ice at the Montreal Forum are the silent and constant reminders. They are strung from end to end, interrupted only by the gigantic scoreboard and penalty clock. They are dated, these Coupe Stanley Cup pennants, and the newest of the 21 bracket the championship seasons from 1976 to 1978.
It’s Participaction with a price. But Vancouver millionaire Nelson Skalbania, who can well afford to indulge his personal peccadillos, has swung a deal with a local YMCA to ensure he gets his daily dose of exercise. Skalbania has been known to dabble in the corporate boardrooms of sport: he was owner of the now-defunct-Indianapolis Racers of the WHA, which signed 17-year-old Wayne Gretzky to a $1.75-million contract, and is now part owner of the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer club.
Senator Edward Kennedy has President Jimmy Carter on the run. Last week the two men clashed over a proposed national health insurance plan, but as the tension between them mounts and the political pundits anxiously await each new skirmish, the intrigue has obscured the issues.
It is the Tuesday night of the week before polling day and his tiny retinue of handlers is nervous. After all, this is the last rally of John Diefenbaker’s last campaign. Will the old man fill the hall, even with Peter Lougheed being flown in for the occasion from Edmonton?
Because he wrote The Wars, the best Canadian novel I’ve read, because he has labored almost 15 years at the craft of writing TV plays in Canada, I want to share my conversation with Timothy Findley. And because he still cares about his work.
Twenty-four different things you didn’t know about Joe Clark: 1. When he was a youth, his hobby was collecting matchbooks. 2. Jim Coutts, principal secretary to Pierre Trudeau, comes from Nanton, Alberta, 18 miles south of Clark’s High River.
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