A Peripatetic Charles Campbell, A Restless Ray Mah & Hilary's Red Ball NoseSunday, February 08, 2009
Peripatetic editor Charles Campbell was summarily fired from the Georgia Straight in January 1998. he went to work for the Vancouver Sun. By May he had landed on his feet and he was the editor of a new Thursday Vancouver Sun magazine called Queue. When my wife Rosemary saw it (in a rare lapse of her inability to like almost anything) she declared, "Charles has his magazine." That first issue (May 21 -28) featured a last page little essay called Rear Window. Campbell had told me once that he had conceived of this section thinking of my extensive files. The purpose of Rear Window was to relate some Vancouver event of the past to a present situation. Until Queue finally died some years later I had contributed many essays and pictures. This first one (written in the third person, and this was dropped for the subsequent Rear Windows), which featured a picture I had taken of my daughter Hilary which was used for a poster of the 1982 Vancouver Children's Festival read:
In 1982, the heady days of the big-budget variety shows in the CBC Vancouver Studios 40 and 41 were over. CBC graphic designer Ray Mah was getting restless, and he began to freelance. One of his first projects was the 1982 Vancouver International Children's Festival. He called a photographer, Alex Waterhouse-Hayward, who had taken photos of Rene Simard for one of those CBC variety shows. To this day Waterhouse-Hayward doesn't know if he was hired because of his own talents or because Mah had gotten a glimpse of his 10-year-old daughter, whose crooked smile he thought was perfect for the project. The picture was taken in Waterhouse-Hayward’s basement, where he rigged a sheet to mimic the folds of a kid peeking out from behind a festival tent. Hilary is now 26, but some things haven't changed. Her 10-month-old daughter Rebecca, has the same crooked smile, the one she inherited from her grandfather.
To this I can only add that I miss the fact that so many events from our Vancouver past are now so sadly forgotten and few publications go beyond a rosy nostalgia without the perspicacity of Campbell's knowledge that the past has meaning when interpreted with the present.
I took the first picture of Hilary here at a bus stop on Willingdon in Burnaby and very close to Lougheed Highway. Ray May is still restless and would perhaps want to re-design my business card which he designed sometime in 1982. When he broaches the subject I tell him that his design was so timeless that even today when I produce my card people ask.