A HELL OF A YEAR
2019 was a hell of a year for Margaret Atwood — the year, says the Globe and Mail, that Margaret Atwood and her ideas became “an essential and influential part of the global culture.” She launched her novel The Testaments — the much-anticipated sequel to her iconic The Handmaid’s Tale.
REVIEW THAT BOOK!
Most of us finish a book and put it aside, perhaps with a cursory comment to a spouse or companion: “Great story! Interesting characters. Learned a lot.” Few ever think of writing a book review, let alone posting one.
Last night I heard Joella Foulds sing at the Celtic Colours concert in Port Hawkesbury. She’s a splendid pianist, and she has a rich, powerful voice. In addition, she’s a fine songwriter, which I hadn’t known. She’s spent the last 22 years off the stage, working in arts administration, notably in shaping the Celtic Colours Festival itself, for which work she won the Order of Canada and an honorary doctorate from Cape Breton University.
Pete Seeger died Monday, January 27, 2014. This is a newspaper column I wrote about him in 2001.
SINGIN’ OUT FREEDOM
In June, 1969, I was rattling away at my old Remington manual typewriter when my five-year-old daughter Leslie wandered into my workroom.
A Sunday Herald Remembrance Day column from 2008
The bullet, said Johnny Mauger, went in one side of his friend’s head, but it didn’t quite come out the other. Johnny tapped his temple. The bullet made a little bulge, like a pimple, right here.
Composed in 1988, premiered in 1991, The Celtic Mass for the Sea has become a contemporary choral classic. Combining a chamber string orchestra and choir with a Celtic ensemble of harp, pipes, mandolin, fiddle and guitars, the Mass is an exuberant celebration of the teeming life in the waters covering our planet – and a warning of the dangers of abusing it.
In an upcoming Green Interview, composer Scott Macmillan and librettist Jennyfer Brickenden talk about their magnificent environmental composition "The Celtic Mass for the Sea." The Green Interview will also be posting a complete video of a live performance of the Mass, captured on video on June 9 on the Halifax Waterfront, as one of our Special Presentations.
Our Green Interview with Robert Bateman has just been posted – more than an hour of reflection on art, education, wildlife, the shaping of consciousness in young people, and appreciation for the natural world. Bateman is among the world’s foremost interpreters of nature through the medium of visual art – and, because of his many books and his controversial decision to allow his work to be inexpensively reproduced, one of the world’s best-known and most-loved nature artists.
Sing this, really fast:
We eat… cod cheeks, cod tongues
Even though they’re odd tongues,
Fish sticks ‘n’ Digby chicks
As dainty as you wish!
We eat flatfish like the flounder
And some others that’re rounder,
And you ain’t a Nova Scotian
If you don’t like fish!
“Did you always intend to be a writer?” asked the student.
“No,” I said. “ The idea never crossed my mind. One of the things I learned in school was that to be a writer, you had to be British and dead.” The phrase “Canadian writer” was an oxymoron, as silly as “jumbo shrimp.”
I vividly remember when the idea did occur to me.