What a city – in the sun, there’s nowhere like it. There are two huge sailboats going by right now, white sails billowing, seabirds calling, fresh winds blowing and the colours of spring everywhere. I love it.
But as I walk around – today downtown, yesterday, with Chris, walking around False Creek to the East End – I have no idea where I am, everything has changed so much. I moved away in 1983, and now the place is unrecognizable. But gorgeous, if extremely expensive. Just read an article in the New Yorker about Chinese billionaires snapping up property in Vancouver so their children can go to school, work and live here. And that over-the-top wealth is visible all over the city. Luckily, a few paupers from the theatre have managed to hang onto their homes.
Yesterday, Chris and I met at 4 for champagne in his bright, tiny, exquisitely tasteful apartment, where he has refinished every detail, including walls of Carrera marble, a designer fishtank and a blonde cat who matches the pine floor.
And then we walked by the water, had a quick bite and went to the theatre.
We saw a new musical, Onegin, based on the Pushkin story and the opera by Tchaikovsky. At first, I resisted – it was wild and crazy, all over the place in style, content and music. But by the second act, I marvelled at the energy, commitment and courage of the actors and the power of the piece. Those Russians – such drama! And this group has talent to burn, including a singer-actor called Alessandro Juliani, whose father, John Juliani, a producer at the CBC, hired me in the Seventies for several radio jobs. He died some years ago but has left a great legacy in his handsome, talented son, who has won five Jessie awards.
Today Chrissie is busy and I walked downtown and around and back. Later, more champagne with him, then I’m going to an Arts Club opening at the new Stanley Theatre, which I’ve never seen. Last night we ran into Bernard Cuffling, an actor who has worked in this city for decades and who, amazingly, knew me right away, though when we last met, I was 31. I am re-immersing myself in a past life, my theatre life; that’s what I’m here for. One reason, anyway. The other is simply looking out the window.