Tree hugger

A Wild Pitch

Pitch Cover

G: A Television Movie [PDF]

One is forever “pitching” film and television projects.  Only a portion get developed into scripts and fewer still get made. This orphaned project is interesting for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, it was received in all quarters with the enthusiasm usually reserved for anthrax.  The producers shopping it (I’ve excised their names from the document) were told that it couldn’t be made given Canada’s current political climate. I believe that was unwarranted paranoia. I seriously doubt the man is paying that much attention.  My motivation was aesthetic and practical not political; it seemed to me the events surrounding the G20 Summit in Toronto were a rare case of some genuine intrigue and action in a Canadian setting so obvious source material.

And curiously, the main character in this Toronto, 2010 set tale makes an appearance in my forthcoming  St. John’s, 2013 set novel, “Today I Learned It Was You”.  So it wasn’t a complete waste of time.




Flattering attention from one of the new generation of whip-smart scholars.  He gets it.



The Great Nautical Machine On Which I Shipped


The Great Eastern

[Newfoundland Quarterly, Volume 106, Number 2]

Creatively taxing over long hours but the show was perhaps the most rewarding professional experience of my career. Worked with a team who were “just tremendous”.

Playing the Black–Scholes Equation for laughs

Several years ago I pitched the National Film Board a documentary about the concept of risk. I was curious to learn how those credit default swaps and other “financial instruments of mass destruction” worked and how the parceling and trading of risk, the quantification of that most qualitative assessment, could have brought down capitalism as it was then known.  I learned a lot of other interesting things in the course of my research, mostly to do with how the human mind weighs, compares and so often misapprehend risks.  I thought I’d come up with a crafty way to convey some rather abstract stuff but the Film Board passed. I called it “Kild by Severral Accidents” a phrase I took from a 17th century London “Death Table”.


A couple of years later I was commissioned by Donna Butt of Rising Tide Theater to write a play for the annual festival they hold in Trinity.  I promised something fun, fast and frothy, a comedy for the summer.  Two couples find themselves in a Bed and Breakfast, in a town not unlike Trinity, with one partner of each having had a one night stand with the other years earlier.  The characters were dealing with the risk of being exposed and it came to me that they work in that very field. So now the Black-Scholes Equation

is mentioned in the course of some funny business around the Bay.

Great cast being skillfully directed by Charlie Tomlinson. It’s gonna be a grand show, I’m grateful to Donna Butt for giving me the opportunity to write it.

It opens Thursday, June 20 and is called “The Pillow Trade”,  which has nothing to do with risk but much to do with cross-dressing J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I., you have to go see it to understand why.

You Had To Be There

Not in the habit of providing free content to the CBC but it was David Cochrane asking,

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Smart, young Drew Brown was excellent company but made me feel old for having lived through much of what is the historical record for him.   I think you can explain the Peckford era in Newfoundland, as for the Moores years, you had to be there,


Addendum:  The Monday after the Friday broadcast Premier Kathy Dunderdale gave a speech to the St. John’s Board of Trade which gave every indication she had listened to the radio broadcast. 

Ray Guy

Ray Guy, the great Newfoundland writer, has died.  Spent a few insane nights drinking in his company back when Mary Walsh was running a branch of the El Farolito on Pennywell Road.  Here is a review I wrote of one his books,

That Far Greater Bay

Before the original, 1976, publication of That Far Greater Bay there was consensus that its author was Newfoundland’s best journalist and, while they were and are admittedly few, among its leading literary stylists.  On reissue by Flanker Press the same holds true. Though he publishes less frequently he remains our great satirist.  And all now agree that Mark Twain could fairly be said to be the United States’ Ray Guy.

The newspaper and magazine pieces collected here were sagely edited by Eric Norman. If you haven’t read them for a time you will have forgotten their concision.  The lushness of the language (it is a word worshipper who tells of “the fructivity at Clarenville”), and the courage of the thought makes them larger in memory.  They were crafted with a newspaperman’s discipline. Lesser bay-born commentators aim Guy high but are too pompous and prolix to pull it off.  This stuff is short and sharp, and funny, terrifically funny. There are those on whom Guy grated, but even they must concede that the man is an astonishingly good and original writer.

Read more


I have a  piece in Macleans about seal cookery.


Ed vs. Ed

Here’s a fun discussion I had with Ed Roberts in the latest edition of the Newfoundland Quarterly.  It concerns Greg Malone’s new book, “Don’t Tell The Newfoundlanders”.  I believe I think more highly of the book than does Mr. Roberts.


Suitcase Clones

Such clippings feature in Easy To Like