The Great Nautical Machine On Which I Shipped

TheGreatEastern_Page_1

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”.

Bill_of_Mortality

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

Flippers

I have a  piece in Macleans about seal cookery.

photo

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.

eds

Suitcase Clones

Such clippings feature in Easy To Like http://www.princeofpinot.com/article/1268/

Review of the Paperback Edition

Edward Riche’s new novel is Easy to Like

July 12, 2012. 4:24 pm • Section: BooksEntertainmentFood

Posted by:
Peter Darbyshire

riche Edward Riches new novel is Easy to Like

Edward Riche‘s Easy to Like is a rich and textured blend of a story. It begins with a sustained explosion of wine snobbery as it follows Elliot Johnson, a struggling winemaker who’s perpetually in search of the perfect taste but must work as a Hollywood hack screenwriter to make ends meet. The parody of Hollywood leads naturally to a mouth-warming satire of CanCon, as Elliot, through a series of absurd and almost laugh-track circumstances, winds up working as a CBC programming exec. There are subtle hints of romantic black comedy and middle-aged melodrama, as well as some sweet notes about Canadian identity itself, that add to the mix without overpowering it.

The overall experience of the book transcends its individual flavours, though, as it will leave readers savouring its questions about artistic creation in a world that is preoccupied with superficial labels and commercial demands to reach the broadest possible audience at the expense of taste itself – of finding something that is universally “easy to like.”

Also, you’ll get drunk just from all the references to great wines in this book.

pdarbyshire@theprovince.com

Gala

Some foolishness here  gala_nq   I wrote about attending one of those Arts Galas that so disturb the Prime Minister of Canada. It’s featured in the latest Newfoundland Quarterly.

Writers Trust Gala

“Good Guys on the California Dime”

For your listening pleasure, Sean Panting’s “68A”.  The song is an account of Sean’s turn playing a hooligan from Push Through in the film “Rare Birds”, the screenplay of which I wrote based on my novel.

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With its “Hurry up and wait!” refrain this should be THE song about filmmaking.   It’s from Sean’s record “Pop Disaster”