|Mati Laansoo left - Gary Marchant - right - Illustration Marv Newland|
It is a paradox that this photographer does not have a
single photograph of this writer friend who had an unusual sense of humour. But
I have various communications from him. His editor, and long time friend,
former editor of the stellar Vancouver Magazine has sent me one of his better
known articles about Laansoo's grandfather Gerry called The Last Estonian which I will place below.
There are many apocryphal stories (they may hide some
truths) about Laansoo. One was
that he slept with a .45 under his pillow. Another, too far-fetched to believe, is that when he returned from a war-torn Beirut where he was a CBC sound man, the sound equipment coming to Canada may have included a rocket launcher.
My story about Laansoo involves my trip to London years ago with my Rosemary and two daughters Alexandra and Hilary. Laansoo picked me up at our hotel in the morning and took me to underground bars that in those days served alcohol. By the afternoon I was tipsy. In the evening Rosemary and I got into Laansoo’s Mini with his wife Joanne on route to the Old Vic Theatre to see Deborah Kerr in the Corn is Green. Being in a small car close to the ground that was driven by a man with lots of liquor was scary. I was disappointed by a Deborah Kerr who acted like the grandmother she surely was and I saw no glimpses of her with Burt Lancaster on a Hawaii beach.
Once we were back in the hotel I was coaxed into the bar and told that because I had the keys to our hotel room the bar could not close. At around 1 in the morning Laansoo told me he wanted to meet my daughters. I woke them up and they met the man.
Another story, that I find unbelievable, is that one day I received a call from him and he asked, “Do you think that Carolanne Rule at Western Living would want a story on croquet?” I was doubtful, but eventually dumfounded when Rule said, “Do it.” And so Laansoo and I worked on a lovely piece on croquet which I photographed with Kodak b+w Infrared Film.
Malcolm Parry & Mati Laansoo's Vancouver Magazine
In its prime in the late 70s and 80s and a bit of the 90s when Vancouver Magazine was the best magazine of our city, articles that appeared in it were widely read. There were a couple of those articles that generated next-morning hate mail that rivaled the instant emails and social media comments that were yet to come.
One of them was a cover article that featured Santa Claus in Hawaii posing with lovely women in bikinis. The other was one of Laansoo's columns Over There which he wrote from abroad (mostly from London). He and his friend, Gary Marchant (who wrote the Vancouver Magazine travel column Faraway Places), had eaten canine meat at a Filipino restaurant. Parry told them to make sure they brought the receipt.
The Last Estonian
|In France - Photograph Malcolm Parry|
And one more! Alex: Here's one from 1975 showing James Labonte (then Jim Labounty). me, Mati. Ron Stern, Bill Featherston and Robin Arkell.
And he illustrated it with this:
Other Laansoo gems
|Illustration Carl Chaplin (in relation to postacard below)|