Bob Dylan don’t need Nobel, or stinking badge
Comment: On Bob Dylan, Nobel laureate
Looking back on a close encounter of the Dylan kind reveals a slightly rumpled honouree who has a hard time accepting praise, let alone the Nobel Prize
*Caution: This article contains a top-100 list of Bob Dylan songs.
By Rod Mickleburgh
In the winter of 1990, I waited with a handful of reporters and photographers in a grand salon of the Palais-Royal in Paris for Bob Dylan. More than 25 years ahead of the Nobel Prize people, the French had decided that Dylan’s lyrical prowess was worthy of the country’s highest cultural honour, Commandeur dans l’ Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. T.S. Eliot was one of the first to receive the award in 1960. Borges followed in 1962. And now, following in the footsteps of Sean Connery (1987), it was Bob’s turn.
Finally, the gilded, ceiling-high white doors opened, and there he was, ambling into the opulent room, followed by France’s flamboyant minister of culture at the time, Jack Lang. He was ...
Typewriters, newspapers now retro cool
An old scribe ventures back to the future on a recent trip to Seattle where old-fashioned print media and analog typing contraptions still have a place and a meaningful, if sentimental, sense of purpose
By Rod Mickleburgh
Hey, kids! Montreal Expos caps and vinyl aren’t the only hip retro around. Be the first in your group to read a print newspaper. Take time out from your busy online life, relax and turn the pages. Impress your friends. You never know what unexpected treasures of information and features might lurk deep within.
As the late, great David Carr (sigh) did during all his visits outside New York, I still peruse the local newspapers whenever I venture beyond Van, man. Here are some print gleanings from a recent weekend baseball venture to Seattle. You, too, can be a newspaper explorer.
1. Let’s start with a joke. You’re probably one of those who think Boise, Idaho is no laughing matter. Well, you’d be wrong. The lede of an enticing ...
A Haunted House of Commons
Halloween on The Hill
After a gruelling campaign and a hard-fought battle, half the capital looks like an Edvard Munch painting or a Walking Dead extra, but everyone will look right at home on All Hallows Eve -- a night that gives everyone a chance to wear a mask and ask for handouts
By Chris Lackner
OTTAWA -- With many incumbents swept away in the Liberal tide, there are plenty of long-faced ghouls and goblins wandering Parliament Hill these days. On Halloween, they’ll be able to blend in.
After an epic campaign full of tricks and treats, the kids in the red costumes went home with the biggest haul on election night – enough to gorge themselves for four years. But Halloween provides a well-deserved gift to Canadian politicos of all colours. After being stuck playing themselves for 11 weeks, they can wear any mask for one special night. The faint-of-heart can become the fearsome, the politically dead can rise again as the undead – and Canadian pollsters can finally show ...
Justin Trudeau: Is he just like us?
Talking 'bout my generation
When he is sworn in as Canada's 23rd Prime Minister November 4, Justin Trudeau will assume the reins of power and speak for Generation X -- but how much of an X-er is he? We made a checklist.
By Katherine Monk
Canada’s Prime Minister-designate has already been called the voice of his generation, and at the age of 43, that places him in the middle of Generation X — which only seems fitting given he’s the child of a West Vancouver dynasty, another one of Douglas Coupland’s obsessions. But as an X-er, I wanted to make a checklist of the traits that define our oft-cited but little understood generation, to see if our new voice will be speaking for us, and the cluster of people and experience that make us who we are.
Justin Trudeau: Is he just like us?
He grew up when Pierre Trudeau was the Prime Minister.
He looks good in a suit, but not like he was born in one.
He’s into being a parent.
He’s got a kid named Xavier.
The older generation ...
If the election were an Oscar race...
Ex-Press film critic Katherine Monk says Justin Trudeau and the Liberals would walk the red carpet to the podium thanks to campaign spots that banged the magic gong of belief
By Katherine Monk
They can be as intoxicating as a deep whiff of gasoline — a head-rush that makes you step back with a dizzy feeling, and a brief sense of awe. Political ads are high-octane experiences that fire your brain cells with all the engineering of a German automobile, as well as all the crafty deception.
The very best ads are a high form of propaganda that can be called art (as long as you’re willing to defend Leni Riefenstahl and Triumph of the Will as a great piece of cinematic persuasion), and as the Canadian election campaign draws to a close and the pundits have had their say, it's finally time time to look at the past 80 days through a slightly different lens: That of the film critic.
Sure, I may not have the insights of Chantal Hébert ...
Guide to the 2015 Canadian election
The Ex-Press takes its democratic duties seriously, and is happy to bring you this definitive Guide to the 2015 Canadian election. As a responsible media outlet, we feel obliged to offer readers our considered opinion as to the party and leaders best suited to govern our country.
Such choices are always difficult. However, we have been inspired by the Globe and Mail of Toronto, which has endorsed the Conservative Party but not its leader, Stephen Harper. “His party deserves to be re-elected. But after Oct. 19, he should quickly resign,” the Globe wrote.
Up until now, members of the Ex-Press editorial board did not realize such distinctions were possible. Now that we know, we are pleased to offer you our choice for Oct. 19.
Ex-Press believes that the best choice for Canadians is an NDP government, however, with a different leader: José Bautista. Both deserve consideration but surely Bautista’s beard is less flawed than that of the present NDP incumbent, Thomas ...
Feeling Blue in a Red State
Blow a kiss? Fire a gun? Bonding with your neighbor can be a blast, but not always in the best way writes one veteran scribe who went for a walk and stared down the barrel of an ugly reality in her own backyard
By Carla McClain
A beautiful part of the world this is - rural southern Arizona only a couple dozen miles from the border with Mexico. Big sky, big mountains embracing a valley of rolling grasslands and evergreen oak trees. A land of quiet, peace and tranquility. Usually.
Walking home from an evening trek with my dogs, high on the solitude of nature only, our reverie was shattered by gunshots - one, two, three, four - a terrifying sound that triggers fight-or-flight in the primitive brainstem, much like the rattle of our venomous snakes when you get too close. I whirled around, to see the distant figure of a man up on a hill, his arm raised, his weapon aimed….at us. Having no time to flee and no way to fight, I screamed, a demented howl of sheer terror. The dogs, as ...
How to watch a movie
Notes for a talk given by Jay Stone at Das Lokal restaurant in Ottawa on Aug. 16, 2015 on the topic of “How to watch a movie.” Alcohol was served.
By Jay Stone
People sometimes say to me, “Hey, Jay,” — or, more frequently these days, “Excuse me, Mr. Stone” — “how does a critic watch a movie? Please be brief and give examples.”
My usual reply is, “No thanks, I’ve already eaten,” which is my fallback answer when I’ve totally stopped listening — or, more frequently these days, didn’t quite catch what they were saying. However, it’s a worthy question and I do have an answers. It’s brief and there are examples.
I started thinking about this in earnest in 1994, when I was at the Toronto film festival interviewing the film director Alan Rudolph. He was in town promoting his movie Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, and we had an hour-long chat (film festival interviews used to be nice and long. They’ve now shrunk to 15 ...
Extra! Extra! There are still a few stories in the naked city
Newspapers may be fading to black, but there's still gold in those grey pages, you just have to pan with patience
By Rod Mickleburgh
As regular readers know by now, I remain a big fan of newspapers, despite their ever-diminishing state. Why, just this week, I found all sorts of goodies distributed among their varied pages. The treasures are still there. You just have to look a bit harder and be a bit more patient these days. So I thought I would share a few.
1. I hadn’t quite realized before that the state most affected by climate change is not media-saturated, rain-starved California, but, of course, Alaska. So far, this summer, wildfires have burned through more than 20,000 square kilometres of Alaskan forestry, a swath larger than all of Connecticut. Other bad stuff, too. An excellent story from Saturday’s Vancouver Sun, written by the Washington Post’s environment reporter, Chris Mooney. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2...