Happy Birthday Sam!

June 26, 2017


Today is my son’s 41st birthday. Unfortunately, he and I drifted apart some years ago. When I was 41 I was fully estranged from my parents but eventually the family came back together. I hope this will be the same for Sam and me.

Father’s Day

June 18, 2017


It is more than seventeen years since my Dad died, and I miss him more every year.  I gave him all sorts of serious problems for fifty years and never once did he ever reject me or abandon me or stop loving me. He was a wonderful man, kind and generous, and full of basic wisdom. He remains my biggest hero.  Happy father’s day, Dad!

A Real Garage Band!

June 11, 2017

Last night we went to the CD release party for Brainchild. It was held at the S&M Auto Shop on Venables, just around the corner from the Drive, which turned out to be a fabulous place for a band show. It was quite a grand little party with many of our friends there to enjoy it with, and the cover charge got you free beer from Storm which was great.

Image: c. Penny Street

It is a tight, classic rock band, with three guitars, drums and keyboard pushing out a powerful sound. The band’s lead singer Bing, a pal from an activist past, moved some months ago from Grandview to Victoria Island, so it was especially good to see him and his wife once again.

A good night at a surprisingly perfect venue!

Night Music: Sketches of Spain

June 6, 2017

I was still at school when my father bought me this album. It has been my favourite listening for more than fifty years. Miles Davis and Gil Evans: the entire album is pure genius, but this 16 minute version of Rodrigo’s classic music in particular is sublime.

Blast From The Past

May 18, 2017

Thirty-seven years ago today, a bunch of friends and I were recovering from a heavy night of partying at a home on the North Shore with a southern view.  We had spent a few fitful hours sprawled on the carpet or on sofas trying to sleep off the effects of whatever it was we may have ingested, and I am certain none of us would have been awake at 8:30 that Sunday morning if it hadn’t been for the explosion way south of us.

I’m not sure that we heard the big bang, but we sure felt it as we struggled to our feet and struggled to understand what was happening. Someone switched on the TV and soon the Seattle stations were covering the volcano moment by moment, and we could finally figure out what had disturbed us so.

I spent almost the entire day transfixed to the screen as the disaster unfolded. I had only moved to Vancouver a few months earlier, and I thought this was just the most exciting thing. And then the death toll started rising, and it wasn’t so cool anymore.

Best Deal In Town

April 29, 2017

I went to Costco today. I’m not keen on crowds generally, and crowds who seem unable to steer lethal-sized over-filled shopping carts scare me the most.  Anyway, I went.

While there, we had lunch at the place attached. There is only a limited menu, perhaps a dozen items, all fried, but it is incredibly popular.  And who can wonder?  We had two six-inch Polish hot dogs, very tasty, with all the onions and peppers and relish you could ever want, plus two large and refillable cups of soda. And it was just $3.51.

I can’t think of much else you can buy these days that delivers that kind of value.


April 7, 2017

One of the joys of a full English breakfast are Heinz baked beans. At college, beans on toast were the staple supper whenever money was tight (like always). I doubt there is a larder in England that doesn’t have a can or two on a shelf.

I always assumed that the “Beanz Means Heinz” slogan pre-dated me but that is not so; I was in my late teens when Maurice Drake came up with one of the most durable of advertising lines in 1967. I know this now because of an article in the incomparable Creative Review.  From the same place I learn that Selfridge’s department store has made the bean can a feature of its displays this spring.


When I first arrived in Canada, it was a grave disappointment to me to find that cans of Heinz beans in North America were not the same as the English beans I grew up with.  However, I am glad to say that the original English flavour is now available here, if you know where to look — SuperValu on Commercial, for example.

They are one of life’s simple pleasures.