Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Postering Anti-F-35 in Toronto


On my way home from my noon-hour errands on Bloor Street, here in Toronto, I came across some folks who were just about to slap-up a poster of some kind. When I saw what the content was, I pulled out my handy Canon camera and went to work... after asking, of course, if the rebel crew didn't mind my taking some journalistic photos. They readily obliged. After I told them I think it's a big mistake for Canada to take the Lockheed Martin F-35 "Flying Brick" (my pet name for the Incredible Flying Folly Fighter Machine) the poster people gave me some lines about certain government "lobbying". Yes, I know all too well.

Enjoy the ridiculously expensive Eff Thirty-Five! ("Seats one, employs thousands." That's too funny.)

On a more pleasant note: I meant to put this picture up while it was hot off the circuitry, but I wanted to finish my sushi first. It was really good, by the way.


Postscript: the website for this group is

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Me on Catmates

"Cats are not pets, but roommates."

Yeah, and they never pay rent... but we let it go.

Monday, April 25, 2022

A Forever Question: Oceans Apart

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question."

Sir. Why is there a "South Pacific" but no "North Pacific"?

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Poem: Writers' Rights!

Writers write!
Any where
Any time
Any way

it comes naturally
sans inhibition
without limitation:

in a diary
on a script
a postcard
a napkin

Writers write!
All ways....


Simon St. Laurent

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Book: In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl (Trezise)

In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl

Rachel Trezise

Parthian Books

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

CD: Marquee Moon (Television)

Marquee Moon



Athot for the Day: Invading Forces

I'm old enough to remember the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan; and I'm old enough to remember the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, as I was living in West Germany at that time (my father was with the Canadian Armed Forces as part of NATO).

So, I'm horribly not surprised by some things....

Liverpool and Man United?

I'm working away at home here, when minutes ago I decided to see if there are any Premier League action matches that I can break to today.

Liverpool vs Manchester United is a must-not-miss match made just for me. Between now (12:30pm) and 3pm there is a lot of time to work and wait... and to figure out who I really support in this case.

Monday, April 18, 2022

A Forever Question: And Ones

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question."

Sir. When someone calls you a "zero", does that mean you're eligible for a fresh start?

Book: Script Doctor (Cartmel)

Script Doctor
- The Inside Story of Doctor Who 1986-1989 -

Andrew Cartmel

Miwk Publishing
(this edition)

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Sunday Fun: Standby for Action! (Standing By....)

On Wednesday I scribbled a piece about a (then) upcoming special concert in Birmingham, England -- a concert I may have attended had there been more lead time. While there I could visit relatives, and see a heritage country I've not been to in years. To be honest, especially with myself, the Isles' Covid restrictions are so poor that I probably would not have made the trip.

Nostalgia may have won out, however.

It was a busy week for me, and as soon as I posted Barry Gray Tunes in Birmingham This Weekend, I forgot about the 'upcoming' performance. Well, Sunday morning comes, and time arrives to let me treat the subject further....

From the BBC's website, posted four days ago:

Live orchestra Thunderbirds concert held in Birmingham
By Phil Mackie
Midlands Correspondent

For the first time ever, fans of Thunderbirds and Stingray will get the chance to enjoy the music from classic series - played live by an orchestra.

The iconic puppets have been brought to Symphony Hall in Birmingham for a unique concert.

Attendees can look forward to hearing every piece of music composed for Gerry Anderson's shows, from the earliest - the Adventures of Twizzle - all the way through to Terrahawks.

The show takes place on Saturday.

Anderson and his wife Sylvia created some of the best-loved television series of the 1960s and 70s.

I love how Brits define "television" in terms of their own product. We can't do that here in Canada, for obvious reasons. Sylvia and Gerry Anderson definitely produced television programmes that were part of my childhood: Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, and UFO were the big ones. Thank you, CKVR and CFTO (and CTV).

Some of the themes are regarded as classics - especially the Stingray theme and the Thunderbirds March. There were also songs, like the theme to Fireball XL5 which will be performed too.

Composer Barry Gray was a talent. His themes were not only "catchy", an almost prerequisite for telefantasy shows, certainly ones of that time, but the maestro's background scoring was often full of rocketship excitement: Witness the aural strains of brilliant brass played presto to a shot of a taxiing futuristic jetliner. And this was a childrens' programme. Unbelievable.

I'm guessing last night's concert went over well, and to the countdown of: "Five!... Four!...  Three!... Two!... One... Thunderbirds Are Go!"

Bloody brilliant!

Gerry Anderson and friends.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Barry Gray Tunes in Birmingham This Weekend

On BBC Radio 2, minutes ago: Show host Steve Wright played the title music to the old Supermarionation show, Thunderbirds. He explained why he was spinning International Rescue's theme tune....

"There's a special concert this weekend at the symphony hall in Birmingham. For the first time ever there will be an orchestra playing all the Gerry Anderson themes, such as Stingray and this Thunderbirds are go."

Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons were two favourite television programmes of mine when I was a child. As a matter of fact, I saw the feature film Thunderbird 6 on the big screen when it was released. Then UFO came along... to Canada's CTV network in September of 1970. As dark as it could be at times,  "U-Fo" was family viewing in our house.

Many Brits make fun of Birmingham. Perhaps they'll be there with "The Hood" this Saturday night.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Book: Young Filmmakers (Larson & Meade)

Young Filmmakers

Rodger Larson with Ellen Meade

Camelot / Avon Books

Monday, April 11, 2022

Picturing: The Film Effects Crew, Toronto (1993)

L to R: Alan Peppiatt, Bob Yoshioka, Chris Ross, me, and George Furniotis.

(Missing: John Furniotis; Susan Furniotis; Brenda, the receptionist.)

Picturing: Toronto Harbourfront WaveDeck Walk

A Forever Question: Stems From

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question."

Sir. Can one be a vegetarian if one eats a live plant?

Sunday, April 10, 2022

My Day Planned Via a Simple Snip (Premier League!)

I've a lot to do, accomplish, but football may be my agent. (I pity the poor 'sports heads' who lose to the mighty gods of: ice hockey; North American football; basketball; baseball; volleyball; cricket; rugby; billiards; darts....)

Friday, April 8, 2022

Poem: Whither Leafs? (The Buds Do Spring)

Whither Leafs?
To where does a withered Leaf fall?

To the manicured green grasses below
of course....


Simon St. Laurent

Leaving a Message for a Special Day

Many years ago my roommate at the time and I decided to have some fun: we recorded a message for answering machine which could be best described as "daring".

Dave had a four-track audio recorder; it used cassette tape, the kind of tape used as the 'outgoing' message on my Panasonic answering machine. Inspiration hit the two of us fast and hard. We wrote the script quickly and prepared to record the message. In my music collection I have a CD titled "Hollywood's Greatest Hits Volume Two". On one track Dave and I laid down Elmer Bernstein's theme from the 1956 opus The Ten Commandments, specifically, the pastoral passage right after the bombast proper -- the background music we hear playing under the voice of God.

Next: Dave's recording of the voice of God. His voice was better than my nasally own for this important document. After we had the two tracks down it was a matter of giving the commanding orator some reverb. (A dry voice track would inspire no one, no matter how persuasive the text.)

We were very happy with our effort.

As the British would say, "the show went out".

The reaction was much greater than what we were expecting. Callers who got the outgoing message thought it was very funny, hilarious. What happened was the word quickly got around about our answering machine commandments. People would call just to hear the message, and since Dave and I were busy guys, chances were that callers would get the machine.

A mutual friend went into hysterics when we gave him a live playback, but after he regained his composure, he told us his concern that some folk might not find our commandments humorous.

After some time Dave and I pulled the work. Unfortunately it's gone; we know not where.

Here is a reasonable facsimile:

"Luuuke. I mean....Mosesss. Thou shalt leave a message at the tone. Leave thy name and numberrr... (at this point Dave's voice speeds into a 'Maxwell Smart') ... And when I get a chance, I'll call you back!"

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Book: Steven Spielberg (McBride)

Steven Spielberg
- A Biography -

Joseph McBride

University Press of Mississippi
(second edition)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Goodwin Sands of Time

In June of 2013 the Royal Air Force Museum London salvaged a Luftwaffe Dornier 17 aircraft from about 60 feet of water off the coast of Kent. After being shot down by RAF fighters, the WWII German 'level bomber' was left resting inverted on the "Goodwin Sands".

Goodwin Sands, located about four sea miles off the east coast of Kent, England, is a famous shipwreck park and it has held this status for centuries, tricking, often by snapping into high tide mode and disappearing below the water's surface, many a sailor to an unfortunate and premature death.

It has been estimated that over two-thousand ships have been decommissioned by navigating in error — or uncontrollably during a storm or strong wind — over this famous "ship swallower".

One famous incident, from November of 1954, happened when the South Goodwin light vessel broke from her anchor chain during a severe storm, travelled about six miles and ended up on her side in the sands. All seven of her crew perished.

In geographical terms the sands, broken only by a deep gully, called the Kellet Gut, measure about twelve miles north-south and more than two miles at their widest point. Always in flux, as though a pair of giant hands is kneading, they shape-shift constantly — more radically during big storms. All this moving about occasionally reveals a long lost shipwreck, perhaps a few pieces of wood, only to disappear again into the sands of time.

Years ago I read a quote from a letter written by a sailor who witnessed events during the terrible storm (which sent four ships of the line to the sands) of November 26-27, 1703...

"These ships fired their guns all night and day long, poor souls, for help, but the storm being too fierce and raging, could have none to save them. The ship called the Shrewsberry that we are in, broke two anchors, and did run mighty fierce backwards, within sixty or eighty yards of the sands, and as God Almighty would have it, we flung our sheet anchor down, which is the biggest, and so stopped.... To see Admiral Beaumont that was next to us, and all the rest of his men, how they climbed up the main mast, hundreds at a time crying out for help, and thinking to save their lives, and in a twinkling of an eye were drowned.... I have not had my clothes off, nor a wink of sleep these four nights...."

Goodwin Sands reveals its crests by rising one or two metres above sea level during low tide. As a matter of fact you can play a quick game of cricket — just make sure you wrap up the match before the beaches submerge again, or a cricket bat may mark the spot.

(I guess this precludes certain famous rivalries from partaking in any matches in this venue.)

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Jim Jarmusch on The Golden Rules of Filmmaking - 1

"There are no rules. There are as many ways to make a film as there are potential filmmakers. It’s an open form. Anyway, I would personally never presume to tell anyone else what to do or how to do anything. To me that’s like telling someone else what their religious beliefs should be. Fuck that. That’s against my personal philosophy — more of a code than a set of “rules.” Therefore, disregard the “rules” you are presently reading, and instead consider them to be merely notes to myself. One should make one’s own “notes” because there is no one way to do anything. If anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far away from them as possible, both physically and philosophically."

I don't even let 'them' into my orbit; there's little to talk about.

Jim Jarmusch on The Golden Rules of Filmmaking - 2

"Don’t let the fuckers get ya. They can either help you, or not help you, but they can’t stop you. People who finance films, distribute films, promote films and exhibit films are not filmmakers. They are not interested in letting filmmakers define and dictate the way they do their business, so filmmakers should have no interest in allowing them to dictate the way a film is made. Carry a gun if necessary. Also, avoid sycophants at all costs. There are always people around who only want to be involved in filmmaking to get rich, get famous, or get laid. Generally, they know as much about filmmaking as George W. Bush knows about hand-to-hand combat."

I carry Phaser 2... if necessary.

Jim Jarmusch on The Golden Rules of Filmmaking - 3

"The production is there to serve the film. The film is not there to serve the production. Unfortunately, in the world of filmmaking this is almost universally backwards. The film is not being made to serve the budget, the schedule, or the resumes of those involved. Filmmakers who don’t understand this should be hung from their ankles and asked why the sky appears to be upside down."

They get a good view of those pink clouds.

Jim Jarmusch on The Golden Rules of Filmmaking - 4

"Filmmaking is a collaborative process. You get the chance to work with others whose minds and ideas may be stronger than your own. Make sure they remain focused on their own function and not someone else’s job, or you’ll have a big mess. But treat all collaborators as equals and with respect. A production assistant who is holding back traffic so the crew can get a shot is no less important than the actors in the scene, the director of photography, the production designer or the director. Hierarchy is for those whose egos are inflated or out of control, or for people in the military. Those with whom you choose to collaborate, if you make good choices, can elevate the quality and content of your film to a much higher plane than any one mind could imagine on its own. If you don’t want to work with other people, go paint a painting or write a book. (And if you want to be a fucking dictator, I guess these days you just have to go into politics…)."

It is a collaborative process.

Jim Jarmusch on The Golden Rules of Filmmaking - 5

"Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: 'It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.' "

Brilliant authenticity.

Monday, April 4, 2022

DVD: The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

A Film by
Fritz Lang

The Criterion Collection

A Forever Question: And No Shield?

“Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question."

Sir. Why does one's toolbox not include an eraser?