Bring Back The Sun

October 21, 2012

Kirk and I started dating when we were in high school…next year we’ll have been together for half of my life (married for seven years!), and Chantal Kreviazuk and Our Lady Peace were a major part of the soundtrack of our lives from the beginning. I thought we knew everything we could about their work. But last night we went to an absolutely amazing concert, with Chantal headlining and Raine in a (very strong…stronger even than the last time) supporting role, and we learned even more about them and some of our favourite songs. Some things were major¬† and some things were silly and we should have known before.

The concert was one of the keystones of an IMAGINE Festival for the Ontario Shores mental health organization, although we didn’t know it at the time. So the musicians’ work was informed by that theme, and we learned stories about many of the songs that were influenced by experiences with mental health issues.

Some of the things we learned were major: I’ll never listen to her “Surrounded” or our wedding song, “In This Life” in the same way again, now that I know something about the experiences to which they refer.

Some of the things were minor, and I felt silly for not realizing them before. She does a song called “Feels Like Home” that I knew was a cover, as one’s heard other women sing it, often. But I didn’t realize till she said it that the songwriter was Randy Newman. Now that I know it, the Newmanisms all come out. It sounds SO much like the rest of his work. In a good way.

Kirk and I both always thought the phrase in the chorus of Maida’s “Yellow Brick Road” was “Rise Up”…turns out it’s “Wise Up”. Not too silly, as some of our misheard lyrics go.

And I’d never thought before about the pun on his name, when, in “Before You”, she sings, “Ever since I met you on a cloudy Monday, I can’t believe how much I love the rain.” I feel like such a dullard for missing it before.

The last time we saw them together was a few years ago at Massey Hall. Raine was a straight opener for his wife, which is beautiful to me. So often, historically, with talented couples, the woman’s talent is downplayed through her support for the man’s career (something I think I’ve pondered on this blog before). It was even better last night to see him more often, still as an opener, but then again throughout the night. He did acoustic versions of “Innocence” and “In Repair”, and as an encore, acquiesced to an audience request for “4 am”, which was incredible, and I’d never thought we’d hear it.

I think we were probably somewhat unusual among the audience, which tended older and I think more Chantal-focused (which makes sense), in that Kirk and I shared as our absolute favourite from the entire night a STUNNING duet on the OLP song “Bring Back the Sun”. They shared the verses, and came together on the choruses, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful song. Thinking of it now brings back tears. Maybe my favourite live performance of any song, ever.

Both shared new songs that, we hope, will be on their next albums (well, one of three by Chantal was on her live album “In This Life”). Maida said he’d likely go home and record “Not Done Yet” today, and we should hold him to that!

Watching the two of them together is good for the heart. They were joking about being cranky, but they’re both amazingly gorgeous and talented and clearly in love. It’s so perfectly Canadian, that people with so many gifts are still so self-deprecating. A very, very warm fall evening, with times of darkness brought into the light.

One more from Hornby…

October 18, 2012

“…I seemed to have developed some kind of old-geezerish resentment of story collections. Is that possible? Is resentment of short fiction a sign of aging, like liver spots? And if it is, then why? As the end of one’s life draws closer, surely one should embrace short fiction, not spurn it. And yet I was extremely conscious of not wanting to make the emotional effort at the beginning of each chapter, to the extent that I could almost hear myself grumbling like my grandmother used to. “Who are these people, now? I don’t know them. Where did the other ones go? They’d only just got here.” ”

It’s funny, but there’s also something perfectly reasonable and honest in his discussion of the emotional effort that goes into reading fiction. I love it. And Kiirstin, this might not be one for your (I’m assuming) age-spotted book club.

But for a third post today, I wanted to share a photo.

Dead On.

October 17, 2012

From Nick Hornby’s new collection of essays from The Believer:

“Three of the presents my friends had bought me were book-shaped, and, miraculously, given the lack of deferred gratification in my book-buying life, I wanted to read them all, and didn’t own any of them.”


October 17, 2012

by Carl Dennis

If the body is the house of the soul,
What’s wrong with a little home decoration
More permanent than the drapes in the parlor
Or the fabric on the dining-room chairs?

A forearm, say, adorned with a tropical flower
Or with a palm tree under a deep blue sky,
Suggesting the body is glad to recall
Its stay in Eden, whether or not the soul
Regards that episode as relevant now.

Or consider the young waitress
Who served you lunch just an hour ago,
How her sleeveless blouse revealed
A small heart on her shoulder
Inscribed with two names, Dave and Gretchen,
Under a sprig of lilac.

No need to assume she’s failed to imagine a time
When a boyfriend more congenial
Wakes up beside her only to be reminded
There was once a Dave who was all she wanted.

Could be she wants to send a reminder
To the Gretchen she may become
Not to forget the girl who believed
That holding on was a project worthy
Of all the attention that she could muster,
As much a challenge as letting go.

“Tattoo” by Carl Dennis from Callings. ¬© Penguin Poets, 2010.

Much Ado About Nothing

October 7, 2012

Other than reading on the page, my only experience with Much Ado is the Kenneth Branagh/Emma Thompson version, which made me a bit surprised, but still enraptured, with the…nervousness of Deborah Hay’s Beatrice. Hay and Ben Carlson were absolutely magical together as the quarreling, soon-to-be lovers, and at the end, the chemistry between the real-life couple was beautifully apparent.

Along with Hay and Carlson, Christopher Newton has come to Stratford from Shaw to direct, and I don’t know if I fancy myself an expert, but I thought one could tell from the look and feel of the play. It was a bit more stuffed-looking than the typical show at the Festival theatre (not even discounting last year’s Misanthrope!). A grand piano was tossed around the stage in almost every scene.

But the direction of the actors, and the acting, was superb. Juan Chioran and Gareth Potter were a regal and devious Don Pedro and Don John. Bethany Jillard was a very strong Hero, and Tyrone Savage made Claudio, someone I usually find too stupid for words, a bit smarter. But I suppose anyone looks dumb compared to Beatrice and Benedick.

Which made me more sad to recognize how much the play highlights the disenfranchisement of women, and perhaps this explains this Beatrice’s nervousness. When the crisis arises, even her wit can’t save her cousin. Claudio and Hero’s marriage, her shaming, and the eventual resolution are all matters worked out by the men, including the friar who comes up with a very familiar-sounding plot. Margaret is a tool to be used; Hero and Beatrice can only talk, and when it comes to something important, no one listens. Except Benedick, which makes them the most wonderful couple around.