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Ain’t Too Proud: the Temptations

Last weep of the day, I hope: watching moving footage of Macron and Merkel in France, commemorating the end of WW1. The presidents of France and Germany hug. Some things in our lunatic world are better.

It’s cold! Suddenly there is serious cold out there, time to get out the long johns, the hats, gloves, and scarves, and focus on survival. We are Canadians, an enormous privilege that comes with a price. And for the next six months, rest assured, we will pay it.

Bill Maher had his usual brilliant flash of inspiration in the show Friday. He said, when we greet friends, instead of How are you I’m fine, we should all just smack our foreheads in disbelief – because none of us can believe what’s going on on the world stage, thanks to a man with less self-control and self-awareness than my six-year old grandson.

Who was over on Friday with his mother and brother – he wasn’t feeling well and a visit with Glamma beat a day at home. I am always overjoyed to see them arrive and secretly overjoyed when they leave, with my house in pieces behind me. High point: reading “The Magic Hockey Skates” to Eli. A most Canadian story that brought tears to my eyes.

As I’ve said before, I am barely keeping up with my life, but that’s okay. First world problems. Today, much pleasure – first the Antiquarian Book Fair at the AGO, not to buy, but to find places which might be interested in what I have to sell. For example, three copies of Les Temps Modernes, a literary magazine edited by Jean-Paul Sartre in the early fifties and bought by my father during trips to Paris. A collection of Nazi postcards viciously mocking the British, given to aunt Do during the war. And much more. Who buys Nazi postcards? Possibly an antiquarian bookseller or two, I found out today.

And from there down to King St. for the matinee of “Ain’t Too Proud,” a musical about the Temptations, directed by Des McAnuff, who must do this stuff with his eyes closed after directing “The Jersey Boys” about the Four Seasons. Same basic story – poor boys struggle to make good and survive fame in the tinsel world of pop music, this one of course with a racial twist – poor young men of colour make good in segregated America. In both, life on the road, fame, drink, and drugs destroy much of the group, but one stalwart keeps it all together. The story was not that interesting, to tell you the truth. What was heaven, on a bleak Saturday afternoon, was fabulous singing and dancing, the incredible harmonies, the rich rhythm and blues that black America has so generously given us. I sat in an audience of mostly old white people, feeling myself different because as the music boomed out, no heads were bobbing, no feet seemed to be tapping except mine. Perhaps at night it’s different. Anyway, it was a treat.

And yes, deny it though I may, I’m as old and white as anyone.

Had the unusual treat of checking my email at the intermission and finding a message from my best friend Lynn in France, a picture of her with her literary hero, the American uber short story writer Lydia Davis. Lynn, a linguist, has been parsing Lydia Davis’s spare, enigmatic stories and at a conference got to meet her. Ironically, I had been thinking of my dear friend all day – at the book fair and especially at the show, because when we met in 1967, I was plugged into British bands and knew nothing about the American scene. Lynn introduced me to fabulous Motown, to Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye and the others. And for that, as well as much else, I will always be grateful. I was wishing she were there with me to see this finger-snapping show. And then there she was on my phone.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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