Let's Go to Hawaii - 1985
Saturday, February 19, 2022
Since I am a product of the past century I have been known
to complain about living in this 21st century. Sometimes I must
admit that some things are better in this century.
In the summer of 1985 Rosemary, our two daughters Alexandra
and Hilary and I went on a trip to Hawaii.
I remember that I spent a whole day trying to find a 100% cotton Aloha shirt that was not made of rayon. I did find one (seen in the b+w photograph here)
at a Liberty Store.
Because I had been hired to take photographs for a travel
magazine, I never printed any of the family shots. Worse still because Rosemary
was always telling me to photograph our
daughters there are many of them and few of Rosemary. And of course who
shaves the barber? There are evewn fewer of me.
Thanks to an old Kodak light box, and Agfa loupe and my very
good Epson Perfection V700 Photo scanner these pictures will see the light of
day in my blog. And, yes, I will admit some stuff is better in this century.
|Hilary & Alexandra|
I have opened a family file in my computer (that I will
eventually transfer to an external hard drive) and I have placed all these
pictures you see here and many more. Who knows if my family might not want to have a look at
them in some future when I am gone.
Friday, February 18, 2022
grandmother would often say the above phrase. It plays on the fact that in Spanish
to wait is esperar and to despair is to desesperar. Desesperar is close enough to
the English equivalent of despair.
Since I can
remember I have been waiting. As a little boy in Buenos Aires it was anxiously
waiting for the 6th of January, the Epiphany when I would put my
shoes outside the door and the Three Wise Kings would bring me presents the
next day. Midnight Mass seemed interminable before I could return home to see
what Santa Claus had left under our tree.
days when a classroom period at school would never end. As I began to grow up I
learned about bureaucracy and how my mother waited for passports and visas.
later in the late 80s I would wait for the odd rumbling of Rosemary’s five
cylinder Audi when she would return from home. I would have dinner waiting for her. This was pleasant waiting.
who have gotten this far I will not make you wait much longer. At least a
couple of years before Rosemary died on December 9, 2020 I coined the
expression initials WTD. Rosemary hated them because she knew they stood for
waiting to die.
give you the advice that this is pessimistic and that one must find distractions
to prevent such black-cloud thoughts.
As it is
now with me, when I am giving my two cats, Niño and Niña their dental treats at
around 7:30 in the evening it seems like the previous, “Treats, treats!”
happened a few minutes before.
are no financial worries, no obligations, living alone in a pandemic and the
phone never rings the emptiness that confronts me takes me back to WTD.
some solace. One is to walk with Niño around the block on nice days or to
prepare a meal for the once (sometimes
twice) a week visit by my youngest daughter Hilary.
the pleasant waiting of realizing that spring is almost here and I can see the
new growth in my roses. Rose pruning in early March will be a nice distraction to look forward to.
Short of me
suddenly getting sick I can expect a few more years of waiting between these distractions.
pleasantly difficult to go through my extensive files and for this red-blooded
male of the 20th century to look through my photographs of beautiful
women. This is a distraction that is difficult to share in this difficult
I am modern
enough to banter pleasantly with Air Canada flight attendants and discuss how
we feel about our grandchildren. I smile and say nothing when I watch a few of
these attendants walk the thin airplane aisles with little room to spare on
either side. I applaud the Airline for having modified their standards. I only
wonder why the male flight attendants are all young and pleasant looking.What are we waiting for to correct this anomaly?
So today I
will feature Anastasia. I have written quite a few blogs about her.
We met for
our session in the best room of the infamously shabby Marble Arch Hotel. Of
course I used lights. I gave few posing instructions. Anastasia seemed to know
what I wanted even if I was unsure myself.
these photographs will persist in my imagination and perhaps soon some other
Anastasia will suddenly appear and provide me with a distraction and make me
There is of course that most beautiful word in Spanish that can also be a woman's name. This is esperanza. It means hope and only Spaniards would coin a word so close to despair.
Then and Now - One Photograph
Thursday, February 17, 2022
Rosemary, our two daughters, my mother and I moved to a little brick house
(financed by my mother) in the outskirts of Mexico City we had a stressful life
of commuting (on the dangerous Mexican Periférico freeway) in our VW to give our English classes to Mexican executives in
American companies and to the hotel workers of hotels like the Camino Real.
hard but we could afford to have a live-in caretaker for our daughters. It was
then I began to dabble in photography. My cousin Roberto Miranda showed me his
American Express card and suggested we go to American Photo Supply on Madero in
downtown Mexico City to buy what I needed for a darkroom.
darkroom (in the bathroom of the service quarters) and with two 35mm cameras I
began taking portraits of wealthy Mexicans in their homes. An executive I
taught English to gave me leads and from there since I was doing something
nobody else was doing the business took off.
I had a
little leather-bound portfolio with sheets of black paper where I dry-mounted
examples of my portrait work. One example was a narrow (cut to not show the
fact that they were without clothes photograph of Rosemary and Ale who was perhaps
a bit older than a year. I would have taken it in 1969 and printed it in my new
darkroom perhaps in1971.
I went to
Magnum frames to pick up to photographs, one for me and one for Ale. It is thisone from this blog.
surprised to find out there was a third framed photograph. For a bit I was
confused and even noticed a vertical scratch in the photograph and that it was
a tad light. Then I remembered. This photograph that has survived intact since
1971 was the very photograph from my Mexico portfolio.
As is I
am sure that Alexandra Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward will appreciate its value.
Three Belfasters (Belfastians?) & a Moto Guzzi Opera
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
|George McWhirter - Kenneth Branagh - Patrick Reid|
Hilary and I went to the Rio Theatre today to see Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. It was a lovely film and the
only special effects were the showing of the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on a
movie screen in colour with the film and its protagonists in black and white. It is the
kind of film that certain people of a young age might find slow. I
would have perhaps liked subtitles. I may have understood about 70% of the
dialogue in its Northern Ireland accent.
There is a
scene in the beginning where our little boy protagonist Jude Hill (playing the part of a young Branagh)
watches the unleashing of violence. The camera goes around his head in one of
the finest examples of magnificent cinematography I have ever seen.
way home, after having enjoyed a pizza at Lombardo’s on Commercial with Hilary, and having taken her home to Burnaby, I thought about the fact that I perhaps
may have not only photographed Branagh (from Belfast) but another from that city, Patrick Reid
who was one of the two designers of the Canadian Maple Leaf Flag.
I was ready
to write this blog when I realized that I did not know how to call a person
from Belfast. I rang up my friend, the first Vancouver Poet Laureate and
Irish-born George McWhirter. He was not sure if it is correct to call them
Belfasters or Belfastians. Out of curiousity I asked him where he was born.
Yes! He was born in Belfast.
blog stories on the three men are below as is a poem about Belfast by George Mc Whirter.
While now it is of no importance I can point out that Patrick Reid may have been the only Roman Catholic of the trio. All three have a magnificent sense of humour.
The AJS, Norton & Moto Guzzi Opera (or Thunder
on the Shankill)
Down from the clouds
and Clady Circuit on
trials at the Ulster Grand Prix,
the pubs and the churches,
the singing and the
swigging, in helmets and leather,
divil-me-dares of 500ccs,
circles on the insides of the knees
ringworm that let them scissor
the encased inferno
of the engine
with spider-leg love),
in the lace-up boots,
for the live-
the riders were to us on their bikes:
AJS, Norton, Moto Guzzi,
names and frames, designs
that cloned the
racer’s shape to the petrol tank,
the domed apse
the mobile basilica
we worshipped at.
Down from the High
Mass of the massed start.
Down the dips of the
Shankill to North-Howard Street,
up to the traffic lights
Northumberland and Agnes
(married at their
ends, like northern
English lord and
lady). Two twists
the throttle for a scentilla of
down, groin eased off the pommel,
back straightened to
wait, chest lifted from the petrol tank
whose bulge shook us
dumbfoundedly, as the bust
on a woman’s body,
la Lolla’s that we
We counted bikes,
counted on the AJS basso profundo,
even more on the
Norton’s bass baritone
to understate its
superiority, as usual,
but the Guzzi alto-tenor
rocked us to our
with the throttle
in its throat. Scarlet
threat to our
that would not hear
that BSAs were dull,
Royal Enfield’s extinct
background noise to
the lead piston
twang of the Guzzi,
piping high Cs
and phobia it was, as
great as our love
and fear of Italian
Would the pokes from Angelo’s
for the cone
of the Pope’s Episcopal mitre—
the Moto Guzzi open
to let Itie glamour in
one erotic orb
after the other, changing
taste then view
of things palatal,
We dared not trust
the slither and skid
the slider we took, a licking
as bad as Garnett Denny’s,
the black boxer of
beaten by ice-cream
to a puffy hulk.
Our will subverted
by our bellies,
numbed by the fine whine
of Moto Guzzi,
dumbed more than the vanilla
by the redder
than Lacrima Cristi machine
down from our small
Dolomite on Divis Mountain,
spurting across our crusts
(as we called them,
hard top of the
and rhyming slang
Next thing, we’d hello
and hallow the Madonna,
suck spaghetti Bolognese,
and bugle BRAVO
over Chianti And sure as fate. . .
we did, reel it in
like the ribbons
of the roads ahead,
starting at the Rivoli
down North Street.
to put a hook in
for the palates of
but fast, thin,
of Guzzi riders
and wound down
to the fork of the
Old Lodge Road
and Peter’s Hill
(married like the Pope
and Mr. Paisley)
into Carrick Hill
as though in allegiance
to the red light.
that would roar and flow
for fifty years
with the screaming
octaves and high