The Music by which We Measure Our Lives
LONDON, ONTARIO – In Noel Coward's Private Lives, divorced lovers Elyot and Amanda, have unknowingly booked themselves into adjoining honeymoon suites at the same French hotel, and meet each other when they're driven out onto their respective balconies to get away from tiffs with their latest spouses. To make matters worse, the hotel orchestra in the plaza below insists on playing and replaying the popular tune which Elyot and Amanda had once appropriated as "our song". When the tune is going around for the third consecutive time, they glance at each other in awkward embarrassment and laugh. "Nasty insistent little tune," says Elyot, to which Amanda opines: "Extraordinary how potent cheap music is."
A Flood of Memories
LONDON, ONTARIO - For a daughter, three grandkids, one brother and sister-in-law and a passel of friends who are coping with the inundation in British Columbia, here’s a 1987 feature that I’ve hauled out of the archives, commemorating the golden anniversary of the great London flood of 1937.
The Perils & Charms of Greeneland
LONDON, ONTARIO – Though I received it for my birthday way back in May, I’ve dawdled a good few months in taking up The Unquiet Englishman: A Life of Graham Greene (W.W. Norton, 2021) by University of Toronto English prof (and no relation, as they say) Richard Greene. And I now am delighted to report that Richard Greene does the best job I’ve yet seen of frankly and sympathetically exploring not just the life and career but the maddening fissure of constitutional disloyalty that ran right down the centre of Graham Greene’s personality and made his life such a trial for himself and virtually everyone who tried to love him.
LONDON, ONTARIO - Amidst the global insanity of these last nineteen months when panic about a man-made virus has enabled authorities in once-free nations to impose unprecedented levels of coercion, censorship and intimidation on citizens who have no reason to trust their leaders’ motives . . . it can be distressingly easy to set aside one’s deepest convictions for the sake of a little peace and quiet. Even a thoroughly obnoxious contrarian such as myself has mornings when I come to and sigh at the existential burden of being constituted in this way.
What Are You Going to Be?
LONDON, ONTARIO - A good number of my favourite photographs in the world are pictures of our kids. This one here was snapped at about 5:30 p.m. on October 31st, 1986. On the left is our five year-old firstborn, kitted out in a meticulous, homemade recreation of the emblematic outfit worn by Rainbow Brite who (you may be excused for not remembering) was that year’s hottest cartoon craze for young girls. Preceding the snapping of this picture, my wife had overseen a week’s worth of fittings, tweakings and adjustments so as to get every detail correct. This doubtless explains the somewhat more pensive expression on our subject’s face. Yes, she knows it’s a magnificent costume but all those previews have somewhat worn away the mind-blowing revelation of it all.
If you would like to contribute to the ongoing operations of Hermaneutics, there are now a few options available.
THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :