Pablo De Sarasate's Violin Does Not DineMonday, September 15, 2008
My grandmother used to tell me stories about her life in Spain and in the Philippines in the 19th century. One I will never forget is about the virtuoso Spanish violinist and composer Pablo de Sarasate and of his grand snub to a Paris salon lady who invited him to dine 'avec votre violon'. 'Chère Madame,' he replied, 'je viendrai avec plaisir, mais mon violon ne dîne pas.' (I'll come with pleasure but my violin does not dine.) Most of my life as a photographer (I have never told anybody I used to play the alto saxophone) I have been invited to functions and such and I have been asked to bring my camera. In just about every case I have managed to leave my camera home. I hate taking pictures at functions. Some photographers call these "grin and grip". But when paid I have done a few. Most were for Canadian Pacific Limited and I photographed retirements (at the Terminal City Club) of their executives. I hated doing this especially as I found them glorified roasts where the underlings took advantage of making fun of the retiree. I would look at my wife Rosemary with sad eyes, before one of these evenings. She would look back at me and I knew exactly what she was thinking, "We need the money. You go." And I did. There is one function that I did attend. I suspect that the writer who told me to go, Les Wiseman who at the time (1988) was working for Vancouver Magazine, wanted to look at the pictures I was going to take. Even though there was no chance that the magazine was ever going to run them. It was a fashion show in which the models were all strippers and it was held in Systems which was the hottest night club in town at the time. It was on Richards Street. It is still there under another name. I was given the exclusivity of being able to take pictures in the dressing room. There are quite a few of the best of the exotic dancers of the time here. I have self-censored the pictures so as not to offend any young readers.