Friday, 27 June 2014

Vlad the Impaler c. 1970s

And speaking of the 1970s, this video seems to be channeling the era. Reminds me of my and tv viewing wise. And the short super 8 'film' my friends and I made about a 'medical' procedure (involving 'hot knives') that drives a man mad. Crazy kids!


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Stolen Kiss

Montreal Metro - Source
So, the biggest weekend of my teen years was St. Jean Baptiste (La fête nationale), on June 24th. It coincided with the end of the school year so jubilation was everywhere. As soon as we could my friends and I would head down to Old Montreal and hang out with the rest of the celebrating crowds.

Heading home after an evening of festivities we stood chatting away while waiting for the Metro. The train whooshed into the station and stopped. The doors nearest us opened and out came a small group of young men. One of them took me in his arms and gave me a great big kiss and wished me "Joyeux Fête nationale!" I blushed beet red, pleased as punch that someone kissed the weird, freckled, red head girl that I was, and stumbled into the near empty metro car. Sigh.

That was a year or two after the release of David Cronenberg's, Rabid. And the same year my high school social committee had arranged for a screening of that movie for Halloween. Minutes before the movie was supposed to start the Administration axed it saying it was too extreme. I didn't get to see Rabid till years later.

Made me glad my Metro encounter was not like this one...

...and that the only foam I saw that night was from the laundry soap people threw into the public fountains!

Listen to a recent interview with Cronenberg on Q Radio re: his latest flick - Map to the Stars.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A Peeking Pumpkin?

Detail from Skat Players
by Otto Dix (1920) - Source
I'm doing an online collage class through MOMA at the moment. In one of the video lectures we learn about the history of collage within the modern art movement. Presenting us with images from the MOMA collection or past exhibits I was quite struck by THIS ONE - Skat Players by Otto Dix (1920).

It grabbed my attention not only for its graphic presentation of the physical repercussions of WWI but also for the lamp lighting up their card game. I have no idea if its supposed to reference jack-o-lanterns or is simply a skull (representing war dead?) but here it is.

You can read more about this work on the student written Utopia/Dystopia blog which is all about Art and WWI - here.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Big Send Off

Ok, so I'm having a bad week. The daily temps are now hovering around 50 C and some of our ACs can't handle it. But worse, we just got the news that two of our closest friends here will not be returning after the summer break. This is going to leave a huge hole in our rather limited social life. But, hey, no one's dying, right? And, I suppose, it pales in comparison to the week Billy Connolly got the following news:

"On the Tuesday he was told he'd require a hearing aid; on the Wednesday he was given pills for heartburn that he'll need to take for the rest of his life; and on the Thursday he received the news that "the rest of his life" might not quite be as lengthy as hitherto assumed since he had prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease." (Source: The Independent)

His response was, of course, to make a documentary, Big Send Off, about death. My response to our news was to stay inside, watch tv, and wander deeper into the realms of Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls online game. (Really!?)

"The new series sees the 71-year-old travel the world looking at the ‘death industry’ and how different culture’s tackle the subject. Talking frankly about burial plans, his pal Idle reveals he has his own very unique ideas about what his grave should be like." (Source: The Mirror)

Read more here.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Ghost Coin - Only in Canada, you say?

Ghost Bride coin
Yep, we Canadians now have a collectable coin featuring the Ghost Bride from the Banff Springs Hotel. Apparently, it's the first in a series of coins and stamps that will feature other spooky and haunted Canadian people and places.

Now, I don't remember stories of a ghost bride when I was at Banff Springs but I do remember other spooky things about the place while working there as a chambermaid in the early 80s. I remember stories about a mysterious death on the 8th floor and the 'lost' room that only appeared in blue prints. And then there was that grand staircase (in one of the dining rooms, I think) that led up into the ceiling! More likely evidence of bad remodelling than any past tragic 'event' but still...

This was back in the days when staff lived in stone barracks referred to as the lower and upper annexes. Me and two other youngsters from Montreal shared a small room in the lower annex. It had bare stone walls, two bunk beds, a sink, a cracked mirror and maybe a desk? We hung our clothes from the exposed pipes that ran through all the rooms and used milk crates as storage units. Every day (and night) we had to traverse the spooky, dim and drippy service tunnel that connected the residences to the hotel where we weren't allowed to be unless we were working.

There were other slightly less supernatural but still strange things about the place...things that happened to us as chambermaids. Like the day I was cleaning a suite and stumbled across a trousered leg sticking out from underneath one of the beds - turned out to be someone's prosthetic. Or the day one of my bunk mates found a man dead in his bed. There were the other more day-to-day concerns, too. Like the bears that hung around the dumpsters or the shared bathroom facilities that meant we had to put a "girl in shower" notice up on the bathroom door. Most people respected it but there were others that felt this was an invitation to kick the door open. However, nothing was more troubling, to me anyway, as the strangely intense security guy who used to open the door to our room at night and stand there watching us sleep. Now THAT was creepy. Also one of the reasons I left.

Photos of the people / hotel in the 80s
Hotel Staff Reunion (Crap! I missed it!)