Art of Time Diary #3

Hi all,

I have been writing a diary for the National Post this week. They asked me for 150 words a pop but gave me examples that were 350 to 400. I split the difference.

In the end the cut them back to 150 with a picture. I understand the drill but I think my original versions are closer to how I was feeling. I’m going to lay them out here in their original form for all of you who haven’t been privy to the edited versions.

Here’s #3 that ran on Wednesday. I don’t have 1 and 2 in this computer so I’ll add them last.


On the plane from Vancouver to Toronto to start rehearsals with the Art of Time Ensemble for their Sgt. Pepper 45th anniversary show. I’m fishing through the movie selections on the headrest in front of me. Choosing the “Canadian” option hoping to finish seeing “French Immersion”. I only saw the first half on my last short hop. Instead I find 1970’s “Goin’ Down the Road”—Donald Shebib’s film about two maritimers heading to Toronto to find a different life. The song “There’s a Rainbow in Toronto”, from the SCTV parody of this movie, instantly starts playing in my head. Paul Brennan of the Odds and I used to sing it every time we rolled into Toronto. I haven’t seen the original film in decades. It seems like it was on CBC every week back when I was ten.
The opening driving montage is rolling and Pete and Joey are laughing and tossing stubby beer bottles from a beaten blue Chev convertible painted with crude hot rod flames. There’s a suicide knob on the steering wheel. Oh yes…our “unsafe” history. “There’s gonna be so much there we won’t know where to begin”. They roll into town and the dark adventure begins. The 1970 footage is captivating and the dialog dated and cartoonish –“what a pair of knockers”. When I was a kid my dad said things like this. My mom dressed like this. Mini skirts and high hair. I am now realizing, as our protagonists struggle and party in “the Big Smoke”, that my childhood impressions of Toronto came from this film. I didn’t get to see the city for myself until I was twenty-nine. As my kinder gestalt is reanimated it mashes-up strangely with my current understanding and experience. Starting tomorrow this phenomenon will repeat itself on a musical level. As a kid I threw myself into my parents classical record collection and all the Beatles discs. Now I’m “Goin’ Down the Road” to dig that vibe up and play classical Beatles mash-ups with a group called the Art of Time. Art of time travel indeed. Psychedelic man. Something is going on here. There’s a rainbow in Toronto for sure.