That Priviliged PositionThursday, January 30, 2014
My friend and former editor of Vancouver Magazine, Malcolm Parry, whom we called Mac has for some years, slipped into another profession. He has been the gossip columnist for our Vancouver Sun. Only the “wankers”, as he used to call us, remember him in his glory day as the editor of the city’s most exciting magazine and one of the best magazines in Canada.
It is difficult to live from day to day as a photographer and would-be writer and not remember Mac’s inspiration, advice, tongue lashings and instructions. Whatever measure of success I may have achieved in this city since I entered it in 1975 I must give this man the credit.
One of his often repeated dictions was “the privileged position”. By this he meant to be a place most could not be in. As an example andybody can look up at a very tall building, but if you managed access to the building’s flag pole (one on the former BC Hydro Building) or the upper roof niche of the Vancouver Hotel then you were in the tip of that pyramid of exclusivity. I can claim to have been in both of those places.
Early on into Les Wiseman’s In One Ear monthly Vancouver Magazine, Wiseman and his associate Lenso the Argentinian Lensman eschewed access from the front. If we could not interview the bands in their dressing rooms or hotels we would not interview them at all. This meant strawberries around a huge pile of cocaine (I did not indulge) in the Commodore’s back stage with the Cramps and early morning screwdrivers without orange juice with Motorhead in their hotel room. You get the idea?
In this 21st century control and access is at a minimum. In fact I would identify this century as “access denied”.
At this moment Malcolm Parry has access to anybody of importance who passes through the city. He has the highest class of privileged position.
There are a few that he might not think about that I had access to in the past. Of course if he demanded entry he would get it.
One of those wonderful moments of my life happened the evening of Saturday June 3, 2000. It was at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and it was called Dancers for Life – a Millennium Dance Celebration for AIDS. My program (incredible) does not say if it was indeed held at the Queen Elizabeth so it could have been at the Playhouse.
The program included many extremely reputable dancers including Rex Harrington. But I had eyes for only two, Evelyn Hart and Crystal Pite.
I was allowed into the rehearsals back stage (a most privileged position) and ( yes!) Pite’s and Hart’s dressing rooms.
Sometime this month I will have rehearsal permission for the upcoming collaboration between Ballet BC and Turning Point Ensemble. It is called Grace Symmetry which will be performed February 20 to 22 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
I wonder what kind of privileged access this might include?