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Rock and Roles

Canada Rocks!

Review by Joseph Sherman

Canada Rocks! Is a joyful, entertaining mess that doesn’t know whether it is a catalogue of Canadian popular music or an excuse for a weak story line punctuated by songs, many of which qualify as rock to the extent that I qualify as a rock critic. Well, it does know. Fortunately—and I use the terms “joyful” and “entertain” with sincerity—the real star of any musical review or tribute is, natch, the music.

Not that the music always triumphs. A tribute to Stan Rogers a few seasons back, featuring some of the same players, failed to satisfy, though I still think the world of Rogers’ compositions.

But that’s memorable music for you. Put the best stuff in the mouths of performers who love it and can belt it out convincingly, and you have an evening. Sixty-eight (at least) songs, many of them barely qualifying as Canadian, and far too many of them sung partway through, constitute Canada Rocks! Judy Marshak’s stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” (adapting an arrangement Mitchell herself recorded only a few years back), falls shy a verse. At least she sang enough of it to please; some of the tunes covered (hits by The Band, for example) came and went in driblets. How do you accommodate 68 songs? You don’t. You bite the bullet and offer maybe half that number. “Born to Be Wild” deserves the full treatment.

The trouble with creating a ‘show’ rather than a concert, is that someone demands a plot and comic relief. In this case, the comedy, courtesy Wade Lynch, works on its own terms, while the plot, such as it is, dries up and blows away quicker than you can lament the absence of Bobby Curtola, only to be referenced to paltry effect at odd intervals. It’s so inconsequential that I’m not even going to describe it. Rather, I will say that Lynch’s Dame Edna version of H.R.H. is very funny, and his takeoff on Don Cherry and the hockey blahs marginally choice. But neither routine belongs here.

I’d swear Terry Hatty and his cohorts did a tad of ad-libbing, because some casual remarks about the passionate appeal of good rock music have real resonance. Hatty and Matt Minglewood have earned their chops and know much of this music intimately; though Matt is almost too Minglewood to be second banana in a revue.

But why call this Canada Rocks! and include Rita MacNeil and Joni songs that don’t? Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” performed movingly by Julain Molnar (she has an amazing voice for lyrically sensitive ballads) isn’t rock, so what is it? Blues-gospel-klezmer? It’s a personal fave, but Cohen could have been rocked out. And if folk is to be included, where’s Stan? Big Gord’s here.

Some of the most heartfelt and therefore finest performances come unexpectedly. “Reel and Roll” does, in effect, rock. In fact, the Celtic rock element—now quintessentially Canadian—is served up lustily in both ‘acts’. The only instrumental treatment comes from Stephanie Cadman’s Celtic fiddle. (Could not guitar virtuoso Chris Corrigan have given us something by Shadowy Men from a Shadowy Planet?) I’ve long suspected that I really get off on the Stampeders’ “Sweet City Woman,” and it’s true. Missed the banjo, though.

The Centre’s sets are usually clever, if unspectacular, and this one’s no exception. The use of twin monitors is a salute to giant stadium projections, as well as to pub TV screens, and most interesting when showing some of the original performers; otherwise, it’s a lame device and even a distraction.

The one original number, written by our local heroes, makes it as a song but not as a companion piece to so many standouts. Someone thought it to be as necessary as comic relief and a plot line—they were wrong.

As said, something of a mess. But if a tribute to mostly rock music can’t be reverent towards the irreverence that is supposed to be the real thing (would card-carrying rock fans be caught dead in a soft-seater?), it may as well be a tuneful mess delivered by some great voices. Kudos to the versatile M. J. Ross. The missus and I had a great time.

Home Truths Redux

A Cultural Life
by Joseph Sherman

Okay, I admit it, I’m not dealing with the aging process equanimously. I may seem devil-may-care, with smiles for every babe, but inside there is a tipped bag of tumult.

Vanity has never been one of my problems, not where my physical characteristics are concerned. I long ago accepted the fact that I’d stopped growing at 168 cm like my dear old dad, though I’d once have sold a twin for an extra 5 cm. Forget athletic prowess. While I could always sink a basket, making my way down the court was a congenital problem. The same with bowling balls and their habitat.

Hair: I don’t give a fig for its colour. I am accepting of gray, even white’s onset if the hand that wields the paintbrush dunks accordingly. Diminished hair is another matter; there I am not at one with my universe. Hence The Look.

We won’t galumph among the traditional and even mystifying infirmities that seem to afflict one’s post-MA years. Too many of my buds can match me ache for ache; I can do without the contest. Besides, when you’ve a mid-octogenarian parent whose conversation is a pained litany of all that’s externally and internally defining, you know you’re still junior league.

I admire and envy people who improve with age, so to speak, and am frankly inclined to question appearances. But it’s their business. Mine ought to be my own.

I’ll be in Toronto shortly after you read this, for the first time in three years. I used to visit every several months. Treading much of lower Yonge Street, in search of dry goods and music, used to be worth the anticipation. This time I’ll have to pace myself. It’s come to this, Heywood.

Ann is prepping for her July trip to Wales, with our daughter, by treadmilling at the fitness centre of current choice (where I recently wreaked havoc on two separate muscle groups). Gwynedd is hilly, she has the right idea, and it’s been 15 years. The same daughter can complete her prep training with me, in Toronto the month prior.

Milestones: last June marked the 25th of our officially arriving on PEI from the New Brunswick wilds. And to think that I discouraged us from acquiring property because I didn’t think we’d be here all that long. Home is where you begin to take too much for granted. This summer’s themed by two more biggies: my __th birthday and our 35th anniversary. Numbers must, in the end, mean something; these keep chinking like chimes within my tonsured vertex. I’d say this must be time for reflection and self-assessment, but who pays me to torment myself?

It was writer’s block that geysered this final column before election summer sets in, with its slurry of unknown factors and quantities, including, fellow Islandites, the weather; and with it, the speculatory number of necessary tourists. Jellybeans in a jar. I have been driven just far enough inward to find such truths as I am prepared to share at this dewy-eared moment. Never mind the bravely creative and helpfully imaginary, this is an opportune time for a sidelong glance at the funhouse mirror hanging in my sanctum sanctorum. It plays the very devil with certain physical manifestations of…maturing. Good, now I can go on.

Pegi by Laura

Pegi by Herself: The Life of Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Canadian Artist by Laura Brandon

by Joseph Sherman

I’d probably have fallen in love with Pegi Nicol MacLeod myself had I been her 1940s contemporary. Many men did. Described as gamin-like (think the luminously sensual Holly Golightly in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s), she was an only child and seemed individualized early on. She took to painting and illustration and design, clearly outgrew her parents‚ conventions, and became something of a Bohemian—whatever we think that term suggests—eventually living in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto (studying art in both), New York, and even Fredericton (which offered up its riverine attractions), always on the economic edge.

Schooled as she was, Pegi Nicol MacLeod was never a prodigy and less than an artmaking original, but she was passionate, animated, and questing, and did experiment within the parameters of her training and experience. She didn’t smash barriers, she bent them. Lush portraits and scapes became her stock in trade, with a distinguishing use of line and colour. Had she lived to a fair age, she might have broken real ground—a career-long resistance to formal abstraction was just beginning to deliquesce in her last years—but even had she not, she’d have remained an irrepressible presence in Canadian art.

There are individuals like this. The way they dress and talk. The way they smile and breathe. What they teach.

Gone before public funding for the arts could be enshrined, Pegi Nicol MacLeod, in time, would have been suitably recognized for her striving and her energizing qualities in a post-postwar era fiscally friendlier to artists and their institutions, and would probably have become more broadly influential. Almost by default, she’d become a teacher of art, but there wasn’t much of a living for her in that. She even worked in an arts and crafts emporium in downtown Fredericton. She died before the Massey Commission (Magus to the Canada Council), before the ‘official‚ empowerment of women’ before Canadian art caught on in large. Pegi surely would have found financial stability and the kind of recognition that comes, in mature years, with a seal of approval. She had attracted loyal friends, many of them players in the burgeoning Canadian cultural establishment.

Pegi typified that aspect of her time that was prepared to rattle the barriers of conformity and staidness. In a shortened but peripatetic life—communities in two countries, studying, teaching, painting…lovers, husband and daughter…a descent into quickly deteriorating health—she left an impression of charmingly frenetic possibility and a swath of regret for what might have been.

Laura Brandon, who lived with her family on PEI for a number of years (she cut her teeth as a writer on ArtsAtlantic), and is now Curator of War Art at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, initially found her fascination for Pegi Nicol MacLeod through her own mother, who knew the artist. Sadly, much of her most interesting painting surfaces around the period—wartime and just after—that turned out to be the artist’s last decade. (Painting wasn’t all, but it’s what will last.) Depictions of a populace at war, in Canada and in New York, account for some of her finest efforts.

Laura’s meticulously documented book, Pegi by Herself: The Life of Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Canadian Artist (McGill-Queen’s University Press), is a must for anyone interested in the furrowing evolution of Canadian art in the furrowed 20th century, especially art made by inspired and irrepressible women. (Pegi Nicol MacLeod: A Life in Art, is also a touring retrospective curated by Dr. Brandon.)

What Laura can and can’t tell us about Pegi Nicol MacLeod makes for an engaging portrait of an ardent individualist. While no intellectual, Pegi was fundamentally an intuitive creator of art that embodies observation—particularly of self. Look into the eyes of one of her amazing and unsettling self-portraits, and tell yourself that this woman is not worth knowing, that the secrets within her eyes are not worth wishing to share.

Making it

A Cultural Life
by Joseph Sherman

The first piece of original craftwork I bought for myself—actually a joint engagement purchase with Ann—was probably the urnish lamp base created by a well-known New Brunswick potter. Just visiting his studio and shop on the outskirts of Fredericton seemed an exotic exercise at the time…all those unfired pieces on view, his magical potter’s wheel and oven. A few years on we befriended a Boston glassblower moved up to Mactaquac and the co-founding of Opus Craft Village. Now there’s a procedure to observe…glassblowing. One of the niftiest trades I’ve ever effected was one of my poetry books for a wonderful glass hanging vase. Later, we acquired one of the artist’s few forays into figuration in glass; I wrote about Scarecrow Man in a poem (later included in my book Lords of Shouting).

When I became editor of ArtsAtlantic in 1979, my predecessor had already made a place in the periodical for regular regional crafts coverage. That was jake with me; I was already sold on the importance of fine craft in a world of fine art. My magazine regularly published reviews of craft and art exhibitions together. The two worlds, such as they’d been for aeons, maintained a thrumming art/craft dichotomy that has dethrummed only within the last decade or so. One artist-in-clay I had profiled in ArtsAtlantic came to call himself a sculptor when he thought the distinction signified an elevation. It used to be considered daring for art galleries to mount craft exhibitions using an art curator.

Of course, production work means business, and production crafters may or may not cherish the notion of making one-offs when they’ve the time. The best ones do. We have a modest collection of objets, most of them clay in some form, created by ceramists from this area and beyond, gifts and purchases both. None was rushed into being. A superlative wood-turner we know makes only one-offs because of the nature of his medium. I know two meticulous jewelers who couldn’t make a boring piece if they tried.

On PEI, some of the better craftspeople were buoyed for many years by a teaching job at Holland College School of Visual Arts, where a number of fine creators were trained and got a start. The school ought not to have been shut down but reconsidered and revivified.

Had the SVA been maintained, not only would PEI be richer for the presence of talented teachers and promising students, but it might have made more obvious to the powers-that-be that craft can transcend the concept of light industry, and ought to. Craftsmen aren’t industrialists by nature (however businesslike some of them can be), and the best ones can’t hope to produce artistic excellence en masse. What rolls off any sort of assembly line can’t be both plenteous and transcendent. Inspiriting craft needs the same nurture necessary to the making of fine art, and sodalities that link creators and make a variety of opportunities available are now traditional and necessary. So far as I know, every province has its own crafts guild; these also set professional standards for their members. There’s no vision in cutting off organizational funding on PEI unless there are some bright alternatives. I can think of none. The Island’s crafters are already too restrained in what they do.

When I take pleasure in the clay and glass and wood and metal, and so on, that occupies space on our shelves and walls, I don’t need to be reminded that extra-able minds and skilled hands brought these materials to life, despite, and because of, conditions particular to where they were made. Ditto with the small collection treasured by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Production methodologies and retail savvy account for something potentially marketable, but not, in the main, for what I’ve chosen to admire and collect. Someone has to see to what edifies the spirit. Pure function has always been intrinsic to craft, but that’s not all there is.

Qualitative leaping needs to be sparked, from out of the craft community, and from those in a position to help that community advance through fiscal support. That’s the only way we’ll come to see and hold more imaginative work, more of the unique.

Joseph Sherman still regrets not purchasing an exquisite Kayo O’Young jam pot at the Ontario Crafts Association shop in Toronto in 1982.

When the Wind Blows

A Cultural Life
by Joseph Sherman

I collected flag cards. They were wallet-sized and thick, and the reverse side offered stats about each flag’s country. As they were available only in Scottie’s Potato Chips bags, I went through a period of intense chip consumption in an effort to complete my set. I managed to collect all but Greece, and kept them together with a rubber band. I’d have them now if not for my mother, naturally. The elusive and distinctive Greek flag has remained a favourite.

Flags fascinate me. They used to say a lot about countries, especially those incorporating colours and symbols from their historic past. Oddly, republican-minded Australia has retained its ensign-style flag even though Canada chose to ditch its own. (I recall being given the choice of a Canadian red ensign or a union flag to wave when Princess Elizabeth was whisked through Whitney Pier.) Some of the more modern flags look as though they’ve been designed by a badly fed decorating committee. But the use of colour and design can be fascinating, if rarely art.

When the mid-60s Canadian flag debate was in full flap, I favoured adapting the red ensign (Ontario and Manitoba had the right idea) or adopting a design that would shake things up. Instead, we got the ho-hum two-tone symmetry we’ve been sporting for years, courtesy of P.M. Pearson. (Designing a hockey sweater around the new flag made the 1972 Canada-Russia series hard on the eyes.) Of course, there’s affection for the old thing now, but familiarity breeds complacency. Have we ever had a fine artist design a flag, other than Newfoundland’s (Christopher Pratt)?

[Trivia: Can you name the country whose flag consists of a single block of colour? Can you name the colour most common to the world’s flags?]

I have never warmed to ours: too little colour variety, too much leaf. It’s time for another change, says I. Forty years of the red and white (yes, I know the colours are official) and a questionable leaf that looks like the Peace Tower in squiffy multiple; I say let’s freshen up the imagination.

The maple leaf is an odd national symbol. Especially a red one. It represents a week or two in a rather short season. A green leaf or leaf cluster was considered but rejected, though a green season’s a tad more generous to us than the red.

There are those who say flags are archaic and dangerous. They stir the blood and promote division. The flag is never waved more vigorously than during national disputes or wartime. Even in peacetime, people will wrap themselves in flags and die. They burn them to enrage their political adversaries and enflame their own passions.

Not incidentally, flags mean something only to the sighted.

But I like flags, not because they distinguish people and nations but because they are colourful and telling and potentially kinetic. And I am not interested in using my own flag to advance dogma. I wish I still had my set of the world’s flags, especially as many depicted then have been replaced.

[Answer to trivia questions: Iran’s flag is solid green. And red is the colour used most often.]

I favour a new flag competition. Of course, we’d have to beware of religious and ethnic symbols—too exclusionary. No crosses and crescents and stars with more than five points. And no mythic beasts, though I do love the flags of Wales and Bhutan. Forget, as well, Castor Canadensis.

Why not adapt the symbol already in use on Order of Canada decorations? The snowflake represents the defining Canadian season. Mon pays c’est l’hiver, as the frosty-haired fellow bellowed. Forget history. Here it is, the second flag in the world with one colour, sort of: an embossed white snowflake on a white ground. Now that would show imagination and an awareness of realities most real.


A Cultural Life
by Joseph Sherman

Where can you observe the finest of the finest kind acting out within a km or two of this very office?

The Farmers Market—Roger Greaves, maitre’d. It’s been said that anyone you don’t run into at the FM of a Saturday morning isn’t worth meeting. A cross-section of PEI society and Society, some there for what’s fresh, some as well for a shmoozefest potentially ranging over the entire a.m. and early p.m., parades the vendor-shouldered aisles. Entrepreneurs, politicians (ex and current), bureaucrats, professionals, retirees, artists, con artists, homemakers—the urban and the rural—most make their appearance. And when summer surfaces, a plethora of incomers appears, those connected to the Island by blood or property, with others making the FM into a garden-fresh discovery. Away students return tidally twice or thrice a year, and with them the ambience alters. People pass through in waves and cycles, guided by a weekend’s weather. Small children run free (then grow up and return garbed in another uniform). There are early Marketers and late. Some buy and bail quickly, to avoid being rooted, others linger for the potables and ethnic edibles and a claimable dining space. There are flocks and herds: the DVA crowd and the AVC folks and those at George’s Table, for example. And the Wrecktangle, a shadow-show of artists and writers. Serious words are uttered, gossip and jokes delivered on a bun, but all in the spirit. It’s where Saturday Morning Chapbooks was born.

Atlantic Superstore—for the best feng shui in town. Shmooze with folks you just missed at the Farmers Market or didn’t see enough of. The considerable acreage also allows you to wheel your cart away in a trice and avoid these people altogether. Blush at the hypocrisy and incongruity of food-marketing in slicksville, where subliminal and brazen buy-me messages nibble at your pocketbook. Curse the secretly browning mangoes, celebrate the cheese.

City Cinema—Derek Martin, prop. Arrive early enough and you can discuss future arrivals—films and people—with the nearly omnipresent DM, who will work to hold up his end of any conversation while buttering the p’corn and brewing you a cuppa. Or greet your plan-famished friends. During school breaks, see their nearly-grown children, address them as equals. Discuss just-seen films at the door and in the parking lot. (Leave free the fabled haunted parking space.) Risk forgetting which movie is late, which early, whether you got the start time wrong again; grumble over your elusive membership card. This is a club. Members are special. Many won’t go near a big screen but will wait for the City to come through, which doesn’t always happen. Some think Derek should serve lattes and install coat hooks. The devout have their favourite seats.

The Reading Well—Louise Vergnano and Heather Stewart (Saturday) at your service. Cosy, chuffy, woodsy, and the fluctuating stream of writers and readers makes for an apt ambience. What the ladies of the Well don’t know about literature they are good-naturedly keen to hear about, especially if you are a writer with a book to place or a reading in search of a venue. TRW, with the best PEI book selection anywhere, and a distinguished display of kidlit, has operated from four downtown Cht’n locations and this isn’t the most accessible, but the Island is lucky to have it at all. You can’t be entirely invisible in TRW, cottagy as it is, but you can soak up the contemplative quietude while waiting for someone to happen. Reminiscent of what a library used to be. The home address of Saturday Morning Chapbooks.

I was also going to sing the gawpable virtues of Winners, the Bulk Barn, and the Boardwalk, but I see my time is up.

It takes a Village

A Cultural Life
by Joseph Sherman

It’s early days yet. The name is new to me. For years it was the maternal side of my family that I knew (more) about, that what was once Hoffman had been Kulakovsky, that the family emigrated from Kimkovich in Latvia…or was it Poland? My grandfather the tailor said one, his younger brother the tailor the other. In the days when the 20th century was young and could almost feign innocence, though the lands fueling emigration stank of spilled blood.

Of my father’s father’s origin I knew little. That Sherman was once Mudrick or Yuziuk (with variant spellings), or both, that Poland was the stained area left behind for, of all places, Cape Breton. And eventually, as it turns out, everywhere south of the border for some…Memphis and Natchez and Jackson, Hialeah and Las Vegas and Washington…The old world left behind for the new by all but two young men who’d have been my great-uncles, one dead of some illness before the Shoah, the other silenced by it. The place of origin and repeated atrocity a village founded in the late 15th century. A hamlet teased and raped and then ravaged, with bold Nazi punctuation, on August 14, 1941. Telekhany near the Oginsky Canal, in the heart of the Pripet Marshes, a small village in the Ivantsevichi region in the province of Brest in present-day Belarus. Names.

Thus far I know nothing of the size of Telekhany’s population, just that its fortunes were intermittently fair to sub-middling, except for the politics and the pogroms, sometimes defiant of politics. A lot of angry and envious and deeply prejudiced people had a say in what befell the principal citizens of Telekhany over 400 years. I sometimes imagine that many immigrants to the new world must have felt that they were putting not only penury and stagnation behind, but death, certainly its stink. Once off the funereal boat, a new life.

And a new name to go with it. I don’t know how or why, or precisely when, Mudrick/Yuziuk became Sherman. No one thought to clue me in, until recently.

Needless to speculate about journeys untaken. The majority of those of my tribe who stopped where the burning land meets the ocean came to know that there was no future to their backs. Still, they turned…and disappeared.

The more I read of Telekhany (there’s a website), a seemingly uncomplicated Jewish settlement with the typical Yeshiva-tossed salad of philosophies and opinions, the more I feel like a voyeur, for whom the entire story is never left to unfold. It was one of many hundreds of shtetls across the Pale, but if there’s resonance, it is all because I am told that this is where something of my own rooted, and then tore itself away before it could be torn. I already have the hometowns I know…two of them, in fact. Were Telekhany Brigadoon; I might feel like singing about it.

The family detectives, one a distant and unfamiliar cousin, the other my newly inspirited daughter, are onto this. While I feel no great sense of connection yet, fact, served hot or cold, remains fact, and could but a line be traced to discernibility I might touch sights and smells. Russia, White Russia, Poland, Belarus…these names are not definition. What is? Telekhany, however many generations lived out livable lives there, was its own kingdom of doomed futures. I packed up and left in the nick of time.


A Cultural Life
by Joseph Sherman

Three thumbs up for government fostering of organized gambling, so long as it benefits poets and other creative writers and artists, which I have little doubt it will.

The alphabet is the latest discovery for writers…employing it as a motif or grid. If you’re a reader, you’ll notice this more and more in days to come.

There’s talk about having overly prolific writers tested for performance-enhancing drugs. You think I’m kidding? But what a waste of writing time.

Speaking of government encouragement of writers, there’ll shortly be an announcement about PEI’s Poet Laureate. The popular and estimable John Smith has completed the inaugural two-year term, and the designated committee will recommend a successor to the Minister. Given the successes of Dr. Smith’s appointment, this is no small decision. What a validation of the concept his tenure has been.

And then there’s Hugh MacDonald’s well-publicized recent week of Random Acts of Poetry. Fifty unwary and disparate Islanders listened as he read them a poem, and then accepted a copy of his book, Cold Against the Heart, gratis. What’s right with this picture?

Lesley-Anne Bourne’s Labyrinthine is brave and powerful poetry about the experience and consequences of her debilitating eating disorder. Such touching insights and skill with the words that infuse them are what the best literature’s about.

Zack Wells‚ impressive first full collection, Unsettled, is out. PEI’s Saturday Morning Chapbooks published his Fool’s Errand earlier this year.

Alice Munro, when asked if there should be awards for writers—she’d just been handed this year’s Giller Prize, a cheque for $25,000, and a specimen jar—replied that of course there should be, because awards sell books. (What befalls the books that lose?) It irks me that some excellent writers are never even nominated for awards. Having judged literary competitions, I can attest to its sometimes being a crapshoot. Still, some persevering writer does get handed more than he or she is likely to earn in Canadian book royalties, and the media sits up and drools if the bucks are salary-big. While out in the wintry darkness, some still-nameless writer may note that it’s possible to make real money by being a determined scribbler, never mind that it’s like any lottery, a gamble.

If I had awards to hand out, I’d give one to Louise Vergnano, prop. of The Reading Well.

To digress a tad, I spent few sleepless hours pondering the implications of the latest American election results; in the end, all seems copacetic. Mr. Bush and his councillors will again be good for art, if principally of the samizdat variety. Of such cosmic (if not celestial) errors as his reelection are heroes and legends engendered.

About the NHL lockout (and why not?)…the ones I feel for are the ordinary folks whose livelihoods require a season. I stopped watching domestic hockey (I prefer movies) when the six teams became legion. My disinterest has less to do with the end of that format, as such, than with the transformation of game to spectacle, multi-dozen-team grid and all. Spectacle is fine for an Olympics aloha, but not in the stead of a game. Spectacles abet the diminishment of the individual, something sewn up through the use of masks and masking helmets. Baseball players have faces. (North American football doesn’t register in my camp; the game reminds me of furniture being moved.) There are now as many NHL players as there are poets on PEI. Imagine poets wearing helmets and masks…reading to spectators in The Reading Well.

After digesting my November column, restaurateur and rover Eugene Sauvé remarked to me that he was disappointed I didn’t acknowledge him as one of my PEI characters. Those I named as such are deceased, I reminded him. To all our still-functional characters I say, in the words of the bard of rubber and cosmic refinement, Live long and prosper.

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