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Showing posts from November, 2014

JOHN ASFOUR HAS DIED, A PERSONAL OBITUARY BY ANN DIAMOND, CANADIAN WRITER

JOHN ASFOUR BY ANN DIAMOND

(Ann Diamond is one of Canada's most innovative and controversial poets and writers of the last 40 years).


I met John Asfour only a few times and never quite believed he was really blind. His default mood was always wry, ironic, gentle and dignified. Expansive in his silences, embracing and generous in his speech. At the cable TV station where we first met in the early 90s, he was seated with his white cane and dark glasses when I rushed in, sweating and flustered. "You look beautiful today, Ann!" -- and he grinned, pleased with his little joke.
I didn't know he had died. I hadn't seen him since a reading in 2011 when he lit the hall with poems of family, loss, emigration. By chance I was in the neighbourhood where we'd had lunch. Remembering that day, I realized I no longer had his number. I had a sudden gnawing sense it could be too late.
Coming home, I logged onto Facebook where, surreally, a notice scrolled down my feed.
Memorial Se…

REVIEW: SIMPLE MINDS BIG MUSIC - THE UNPROMISED MIRACLE

As long time readers of this blog will know, I love Simple Minds, because of, or rather irregardless of, their arch-pomp and poetic mannerisms. The Scottish alt-rockers have had a rocky career, but a fascinating one, of six stages.  From 1979-1982, they were a young new wave synth band, producing albums as beautiful, strange, and artful as any by Joy Division, New Order, OMD, or Depeche Mode - their natural equals. At this stage, they were heavily influenced by German music. Without Kraftwerk, no Simple Minds.

This period culminated in arguably the most romantic, visionary and poetic album of the last 35 years - New Gold Dream, which famously promised us a miracle. The second stage of their career followed right on the heels of the massive American success of 'Don't You Forget (About Me)' - a John Hughes film song that has become synonymous with feel-good 80s pop. This led to several LPs - the best of which like Sparkle In The Rain - yielded number one hits that were boomin…