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Late Nights on Air


Lots of awards at this time of year. Booker, Nobel and now the Giller in Canada. The hum-drum event was brightened by the never dull Margaret Atwood, who protested against Four Seasons Hotels (the venue for the Giller) and its massive development of a new resort on the island of Grenada where rare birds are under threat. She refused to eat the hotel’s food and brought her own packed lunch – God bless her. Hotel food is usually rubbish anyway so that’s probably a good call.

Oh yeah…the Giller was won by Elizabeth Hay who used to be a radio journalist in Yellowknife in the Northwest Terrorities. I have no idea where Yellowknife actually is but I know it’s very cold in the winter, and the winter lasts for 10 months. Her book is called Late Nights on Air.

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Richard Davies

One Response to “Late Nights on Air”

  1. PERSONAL MEMORIES OF THOSE WHO LEFT US IN 2008

    I offer this list in memory of those who left us in 2008. To this list, please add those who wouldn’t fit on this blog, those whom I’ve forgotten, as well as those who were only known to you. When I think of my own private list, I add the neighbor who lived quietly at the end of the street and died the same way; the friend of a friend who wrote the book he never saw published; the young man I danced with at a raucous country wedding in Bavaria when I was 16 and he was 20.

    Harold Pinter, poet/playwright, director. I remember Harold Pinter, not for his famous plays, but for his screenplay adaptation of “The French Lieutenant’s Woman.” When I first saw the film, based on one of my favorite John Fowles’ books, I was terribly mad at Mr. Pinter for putting his personal stamp on an already perfect piece of writing. Nevertheless, as times passed, I not only forgave him, but also came to like his changes to the story.

    Richard Blackwell. When I worked at a Hollywood PR agency in the 70s, Mr. Blackwell, who invented the “Ten Worst Dressed List,” was a client. One night my boss and his wife were invited to Blackwell’s house for dinner and, of course, we were all curious what the famous Mr. Blackwell served. KFC, on paper plates yet. LOL!

    George Carlin, comedian. When I was young and foolish, I went to a party at Mr. Carlin’s home. It wasn’t Mr. Carlin who was the host, but an acquaintance of mine who was temporarily “bunking in” with George. I wasn’t impressed with the house, and soon thereafter also became disenchanted with my host.

    Arthur C. Clarke, writer. I’m not a sci-fi fan in general, but I recall that Arthur C. Clarke’s “Childhood’s End” made me cry.

    Estelle Getty, actress. One year I was visiting family in Germany and saw Estelle Getty play Sophia on TV in “The Golden Girls.” Yes, she spoke German!

    Sir Edmund Hillary, first climber to reach Mt. Everest; Van Johnson, actor; Ertha Kitt, singer, I’ll miss her “Santa Baby”; Harvey Korman, actor.

    Heath Ledger, actor. What a stunning performance he gave in “Brokeback Mountain” the film based on a short story by our talented Annie Proulx.

    Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Yes, he’s the one who taught The Beatles Transcendental Meditation.

    Miriam Makeba, singer and human rights activist. I saw her at UCLA one night way back in my student days where she performed “The Click Song.”

    Anthony Mingella, director. I will always remember him for directing two of my favorite films, “The English Patient,” and “ Cold Mountain.”

    Paul Newman, actor. I have no personal story about Paul Newman, except that he had been with us for so long, like a favorite uncle, I counted on him always being here.

    Joy Page, actress. I would not have known Joy Page had it not been for watching the old classic “Casablanca” with my mother, who would gladly watch this movie every day for the rest of her life, along with “Sound of Music,” and some other oldies. Joy Page was the newlywed from Bulgaria, whose husband miraculously won enough money to pay for their exit visas. (“Things are very bad in Bulgaria. The devil has the people by the throat.”)

    Sidney Pollock, director. I was dating the man who is now my husband when we saw “Tootsie.” To this day, hubby still recalls that I tried to break up with him after seeing the movie. I’m not sure why. Unlike Tootsie, my guy was employed then and still is.

    Estelle Reiner, actress (and wife of Carl Reiner). “I’ll have what she’s having,” in “When Harry Met Sally.” I’ve never laughed so hard!

    Paul Scofield, actor. I will always see Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas Moore, in “A Man for All Seasons,” the man who went to his death rather than acknowledge the king as the supreme head of the Church. I wonder if any history books describe Henry VIII as a schmuck?

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, writer. The life story of this Russian writer, especially known for “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” and “The Gulag Archipelago,” is a novel in itself. Imprisoned in his own country, then forced into exile in the U.S., no man loved his country as he did. In Vermont, he never found his footing, never felt at home, or understood the American psyche. I think his happiest day was when he was able to return home to Mother Russia. What a tragedy. One of us should be writing this!

    And while I sometimes during 2008 wished, in the words of Eddy Arnold, who also passed away this year, to “Make the World Go Away,” I must agree with William F. Buckley, Jr. (who is also no longer with us), who said, “Life can’t be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years.” Now that we’re starting a new year with new plans and new hopes, let me leave all you writers and readers with a quote from T. S. Eliot:

    For last year’s words belong to last year’s language.
    And next year’s words await another’s voice.
    And to make an end is to make a beginning.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Irma Fritz, author of “Irretrievably Broken”

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