Junkets, Mary Wilson, Chivas Regal & No Brooke ShieldsTuesday, September 29, 2009
Etymology: Middle English ioncate, ultimately from Vulgar Latin *juncata, from Latin juncus rush
Date: 15th century
1 : a dessert of sweetened flavored milk set with rennet
2 a : a festive social affair b : trip, journey: as (1) : a trip made by an official at public expense (2) : a promotional trip made at another's expense, a film's press junket.
It has been a while since I have been in a junket. In the 80s there were wonderful junkets. I went on one to Yugoslavia (Champagne before the airplane took off, Champagne when the airplane was landing) and a most enterataining one to literary England in the Shropshire area sponsored by British Airways. It was the only instance in my life that I slept on a bed on an airplane.
There was a yearly junket to Whistler that took Vancouver Magazine writer Les Wiseman and his photographic sidekick that has its moments even though we never did get what we wanted. Every year the folks of the celebrity skiathon in Whistler promised us the participation of Brooke Shields. She never ever showed up. In 1988 I took portraits of several luminaries of the time including one of the original Supremes, Mary Wilson. I am amazed when I perused her file that I took pictures in b+w negative, colour negative and colour transparency. Not only that I took several lights including two optical spotlights. In one of them I inserted a metal gobo stamped with stars. You can discern part of the stars in the pictures here.
1988 in Whistler was memorable for another reason. I have never been a drinker. In fact I almost never drink. When we got to Whistler, Wiseman said, "As your attorney I suggest we imbibe some Scotch." So we went to the bar of the Château Whistler and we were greeted by a most pleasant blonde waitress who confessed to us that she was new at the job and that she had recently come from Newfoundland. We ordered our Scotch and sodas and as she went away I called her back, “Do you happen to have Chivas Regal?” “What’s that”? She asked me.” It’s just a Scotch. Can you put that in our drinks and bring us the bill?” Les looked at me puzzled. Our drinks arrived and I checked the bill. The bill was for a much cheaper bar scotch.
When I tell my friends this story and how we had Chivas Regal Scotch and sodas for a whole weekend they invariably tell me, “Why would you waste such a good Scotch with soda?” My answer is always the same one, “Because a Chevas Regal Scotch and soda for this non- drinker is almost palatable.” While Brooke Shields never did turn up I am sure that Wiseman felt amply compensated.
The first portrait of Wilson was taken with an enhanced warm colour transparency called Ektachrome EPN. The second one was taken with Kodak colour negative VPS. I really have no idea which is the one that is the "correct" colour. In the case of the colur negative there has been some deterioration which causes what is called a magenta/green shift. I never did listen to Mary Wilson sing live. The closest I ever got to her was one block away from the Cave around 1980 when the Supremes had come to town. I was at Gary Taylor's Rock Room and the all-gril punk band, The Dishrags sang their off-key version of You Can't Hurry Love and dedicated it to the "girls down the block tonight."