Bidding Adieu to Dave Barrett
Tribute: Dave Barrett
Funerals for public figures can often be stuffy affairs with formal speechmaking and half-hearted appeals to emotion, but the recent ceremonies for B.C.’s former premier were rife with real affection.
By Rod Mickleburgh
So, farewell then, Dave Barrett. A month after the remarkable NDP leader passed away, it was time for the public to bid adieu, formally and informally.
The official state memorial in Victoria came first, followed the next day by what was more a gathering of the clans at Vancouver’s Croatian Cultural Centre, not that far from where Dave Barrett grew up on the city’s rough-and-tumble east side. Both events were packed, befitting the immeasurable contribution he made to the province of British Columbia during his short 39 months as its first socialist premier. (Unlike today’s New Democrats, he never shied from using the term “socialist.”) Beyond his political legacy, there was an outpouring of real affection for someone who had ...
Irene Howard, History Is Her Story
People: Plaque unveiled for Helena Guttridge
Mayor's tribute to Vancouver's first female councillor strikes a personal note for Rod Mickleburgh, who in turn honours a chronicler he calls 'Auntie Irene'
By Rod Mickleburgh
(May 19, 2017) - At the age of 70, my beloved Auntie Irene, under her scholastic name of Irene Howard, published her definitive biography of Helena Gutteridge, Vancouver’s first woman “alderman”. Ten years later, when she was 80, she completed her remarkable book Gold Dust On His Shirt, a moving saga of her family’s working class life in the gold mines of British Columbia, feathered with impeccable research of the times. At 90 she published a very fine poem, which is reproduced below.
And one morning last month, at the age of 94 and a half, Auntie Irene sat in the front row of chairs arrayed in a room off the main lobby at city hall, looking as elegant and vivacious as anyone who pre-dated Vancouver’s Art Deco municipal masterpiece by 14 years ...
Leonard Cohen and me: A reminiscence
By Jay Stone
Even if we stated our case very clearly and all those who held as we do came to our side, all of them, we would still be very few. -- Leonard Cohen, Parasites of Heaven
When he died last week his constituency emerged, thousands, millions perhaps, smitten, devoted, some with stories of how they had gone to his house in Montreal and he had made them egg salad sandwiches. He was gracious, modest, haunting, and with the key to something we thought was ours alone. “Have you ever noticed how private a wet tree is, a curtain of razor blades?,” he wrote (in A Cross Didn’t Fall On Me), and suddenly you did notice. A poem is something that everyone knows but no one ever said before.
I found him by accident. When I was a teenager, there was a copy of his first novel, The Favourite Game, on the bookshelf in my father’s den when we lived in north Toronto. I don’t know how it got there, but my father got a lot of books from publishers because he was on the ...
Muhammad Ali: The Greatest, in All Ways, Always
Tribute: Muhammad Ali
No one can quantify the extent of outrage and villification that spewed down on Ali when he turned his back on everything American. Yet, with everything to lose, Ali stood up for his rights as a black man, loudly and unabashedly.
By Rod Mickleburgh
A tough week for us sports fans of another generation. Losing two great heroes of our youth: Muhammad Ali, and now, Gordie Howe (he never changed his name to Gordon..). This is about the champ.
It’s been said many, many times, but it remains true. Never again will we see the likes of Muhammad Ali. “For all you kids out there”, it’s difficult to convey just how dominant a figure he was during those first 20 years he reigned as by far the most beloved and admired athlete in the world. Evidence of his unsurpassed skill and courage in the rink are easily found on YouTube. And most accounts written after Ali’s death relate in great detail his bold, in-your-face defiance of white America. He stuck it to ...
R.I.P. – M. Scot Skinner
People: Tribute - M. Scot Skinner, Journalist
Longtime Arizona arts reporter and journalist succumbs to bacterial infection, but M. Scot Skinner is destined to leave a lasting impression on all who knew him -- even those who shared the briefest of encounters
April 4, 2016-- I barely knew M. Scot Skinner. But the news of his death today keeps gonging in my head, sending a heavy rumble down my spine, and tripping some tingle to my fingertips… tap, tap, tapping on the keyboard in the endless love-hate relationship called ‘writing.’
Or ‘typing,’ as we journalists sometimes call it when we’re feeling particularly cynical. And we can all be so cynical. Especially now. But I don't think Scot ever lost his journalist soul, even if it did get a little scuffed.
I could tell from the first time we spoke on the phone. It was about a year ago. I’d lost my job as national movie critic for Postmedia News and was launching The Ex-Press with some friends – all former ...
David Bowie’s Top Ten movies
Tribute: David Bowie
As the world mourns the loss of an icon who changed pop music, let's not forget David Bowie's impressive, and sometimes abysmal, body of work on the big screen because it was all part of a greater performance
By Katherine Monk
VANCOUVER - The I-5 was a ribbon of wet blackness that emerged, intermittently, with each croaking swipe of the wipers. It was going to be a long drive from Vancouver to Tacoma, and in late October rain without someone to talk to, it was going to feel even longer.
No one wanted to see Bowie with me. Not this tour, at any rate. My partner was a former music promoter. After a lifetime of walking around with a headset and a deck of laminates around her neck, she had no desire to be a plus-one in press seats.
Besides, it was the Outside tour. A 1995 conceptual opera featuring Nine Inch Nails and Bowie playing the character of Nathan Adler, a man who judges the worthiness of art in a post-apocalyptic future, the Outside tour proved ...
For Auld Lang Dies
Tribute: Dal Richards
The Bandleader who rang in New Year's Eve for decades rings out on the New Year's Day, five days shy of 98
By Rod Mickleburgh
VANCOUVER - I certainly didn’t know Dal Richards well. But I knew all about him, and I loved running into him. How often do you get to shake hands and say ‘hello’ and ‘thanks’ to a living legend? Vancouver’s King of Swing had a gig every New Year’s Eve for 79 years, which, as the whimsical Richards never tired of pointing out, must be some kind of world record.
This year, Dal didn’t make it. The bandleader, who really did seem like he would live forever, passed away five days short of his 98th birthday on, yes, New Year’s Eve. No one ever accused Dal Richards of not having a sense of occasion.
The thing about Dal was not only his accomplishments as a terrific bandleader and musician, but that he kept on playing. The years rolled by, and you kept wondering, will this be the year Dal Richards finally hangs up ...