That Pingüino in the ArcticFriday, August 25, 2017
|Ivanova & Juan Manuel Sánchez|
In the 20th century my world included Kodak, Ektachrome, Perutz, Adox, Ferrania, Agfa, Portriga; Mirandas, Konicas, and Steinheil lenses. I admired Pontiacs, Borgwards, Motorola radios, Shure cartridges and jazz groups I loved whose members were all alive.
It may have ended for me when Ahmad Jamal came to rent a car at Tilden Rent-A-Car on Alberni Street. I asked him if he was ever going to switch to an electric piano. He swore he never would.
For me the beginning of the slide in my life began some years ago when J.J. Johnson came to the Vancouver Jazz Festival. Jazz etiquette would have dictated that as the eldest statesman trombonist that he was he should play last. This would of course then include an encore. The powers that be of the festival put singer Cassandra Wilson last.
Some years later I went to the Iridium Club in New York City and I was able to invite Johnson and bassist Rufus Reid for a chat over drinks. With a smile he did admit having been miffed at the Vancouver Jazz Festival. A few years later having been diagnosed with a painful and terminal cancer Johnson shot himself.
I felt devastated by this as he was a man of elegance, brilliance and taste.
Elegance, brilliance and taste seem to be a rarity in my world of 2017.
I constantly tell my wife and friends what architect Abraham Rogatnick used to tell me a couple of years before he died (he opted not to pursue treatment of his prostate cancer), “I am not long for this world and I am glad of it.”
As one’s world fades and vanishes that word of the 60s, alienation, comes back to haunt me. I feel alienated in my present world.
My father smoked as did my mother. By the time I was 20 I was putting Edgeworth tobacco in my pipe. It may have been about 25 years ago where I suddenly got the idea that smoking was stupid. I believe I stopped because I lost interest.
|Tannia at the Arch|
This did not prevent me from taking the photograph of the lovely woman smoking in bed. It was many years ago in some cheap hotel in Texas where I found a sign in my room that indicated, “If you smoke in bed the ashes that fall on the floor may be your own.”
So photographs of anybody smoking are verboten as are films that show noir-like women doing it.
As a 75 year-old man who was raised with American Westerns in which charging US Cavalry always saved the day, I believe I could never again see any of them with people who are not my contemporaries. Would Stagecoach pass muster? Would any films with John Wayne get a green light these days? Would the stories of the American Civil War by Ambrose Bierce be allowed in school?
My world is one that is shrinking and I worry how my granddaughters will manage in this new world that I do not see as a brave one but as a cautious one.
The other photograph here shows my former artist friend (he died two years ago in Buenos Aires) Juan Manuel Sánchez sketching Ivanova who was not wearing anything. For Sánchez this was a perfectly natural endeavour. He told me it would be the same for me. I am not sure. But soon I will no longer have to be concerned as the asymptote will finally touch the y-axis.
Before Sánchez returned to Buenos Aires he told me, "I feel like a penguin in the Arctic." I understood then and I understand now.