CAROL OFF: Hello I'm Carol off.
JEFF DOUGLAS: Good evening, I'm Jeff Douglas. This is As It Happens.
CO: And grace, too. With the death of Gord Downie, Canada loses an artist who served as a poet, an entertainer, and a conscience -- and thirty years ago, our first guest saw a spark of genius in the singer and his band, the Tragically Hip.
JD: A celebration in the midst of devastation. U.S.-backed Syrian forces announce that Raqqa has been "liberated" from ISIS -- but the city is rubble, and no one knows exactly who take control of it now.
CO: The video footage is short. The creature's footage is long. It's been 50 years since two men managed to capture Bigfoot on film -- tonight, one of them takes us back to that fateful day.
JD: Even when she couldn't speak, she was outspoken. Sima Wali -- the most visible and persistent advocate for the rights of Afghan women -- continued to fight for others, even as she lost her voice.
CO: The A-side and B-side are both insides. Inspired by an old Soviet system for eluding censorship, an L.A. music company is re-purposing X-ray films, by turning them into records you play on your turntable.
JD: And...looking for a place to happen. When Gord Downie visited the Fort Albany First Nation in northern Ontario, he wound up performing with a band of teens in a high school gym, which he helped them turn into a stadium.
JD: As It Happens, the Wednesday edition. Radio that says goodbye to a man who was both a star and a constellation, who revealed himself one star at a time.
[Music: Theme]Back To Top »
Part 1: Gord Downie obit: Allan Gregg/Braiden Metatawabin, X-ray music
Gord Downie obit: Allan Gregg
Guest: Allan Gregg
JD: We've all known that this day was coming for a while now. But for fans of the quintessential Canadian band, The Tragically Hip, news of Gord Downie’s death still came as a massive blow. Last year, the lead singer announced that he was suffering from an incurable form of brain cancer. That didn't stop him. In fact, it energized him. He took on one last cross-country tour with his band, he released the solo album “Secret Path” and he spoke up loudly about the treatment of Indigenous communities and people. The Tragically Hip formed in 1983 at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. And over the years, Gord Downie went from rock-king of the Kingston bar scene to poet and conscience of the country. In a moment we'll tell you the story of a small Ontario Indigenous community that got an unexpected visit from Gord Downie, and the high school band that worked up the courage to ask him to play with them. But first: Allan Gregg was an early manager of The Tragically Hip, and a close friend of Gord Downie. We reached Mr. Gregg in Toronto.
CO: Alan, first of all, I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.
ALLAN GREGG: Thank you. It’s a loss that virtually all Canadians share.
CO: When did you last speak to Gord Downie?
AG: A couple of weeks ago — about three weeks ago — I was over at his house, spending the afternoon with him.
CO: And what was that like?
AG: It was sad. I mean he was clearly kind of contemplating the end of life, and you know talking about leaving this mortal coil. And I think he was very sad for his family and especially his children.
CO: What did you talk about? What was the conversation?
AG: Oh back and forth, everything from podcasts that we were listening to, to the old days. You know, we've been friends for 30 years… longer than that. So it's like all old friends, you know? You just kind of go with it.
CO: I want to ask you about the olden days because you and Jake Gold, a musicians’ manager, were the ones who gave The Tragically Hip I guess their first shot. That's what history says. Do you remember the first time you saw Gore down and The Tragically Hip?
AG: Oh sure, we brought them up from Kingston, we had received a tape and brought them up to play just kind of a showcase gig just for us at Larry's Hideaway, a Toronto club that doesn't even exist anymore, and they opened for an act called a Hot Lips, a Rolling Stones clone-band, and it took us literally 30 seconds into their set to look at each other and just go oh my god! This person is completely magical.
CO: What was it about Gord Downie that was magic?
AG: He was just he was so unusual. There was nothing kind of scripted… he was very animated for a start. I mean much more animated than he was even later on in his career. Someone once said he moved like Mick Jagger, and sweated like James Brown. But there was there was nothing choreographed, you could tell that he was just completely, completely in the moment and completely taken by the music and what he was doing. He had no control over what he was doing and he was just ridiculously charismatic.
CO: Now, the lyrics because… I mean the lyrics appeal to everyone from poets to party animals, don't they? What is it about the poetry that he writes?
AG: I don't know? This really interests me. He always saw himself as an artist, and you know he hung around with the kind of the crème de la crème of the Toronto music scene. But I remember the first time they played Maple Leaf Gardens standing as they opened up the door and everyone who came through the door had you know a Macintosh shirt and a ball cap and a big beard, regardless of their gender. And they really appealed to frat boys as well as you know Eddie Vedder from the crème de la crème of rock and rollers. And it was something universal, but there was also something so uniquely and distinctly Canadian that I don't know if it prevented them from breaking on a wider scale and on a wider scene. But it certainly you know caused a number of people to scratch their heads. I remember when we brought one record to the MCA records, they were signed in the States, and the head of A&R said who is Bob Cajun anyway?
CO: On no! Bobcaygeon, Ontario.
AG: Time and time again they would just say you know what is he singing about 50 Mission Cap and who is Bill Barilko? And hockey. And so there was something kind of very, very unique.
CO: But he also took issues of Canada. I mean he wasn't a nationalist, but very, very strong Canadian lyrics like “Bobcaygeon”. But I mean he wrote about David Milgaard and the wrongful conviction, he wrote about treatment of First Nations, and one of the best lines wasn't in one of the songs he says, “Canada is not Canada. We are not the country we think we are.” Which is so powerful, isn't it?
AG: Well this is toward the end of his career. He said to someone you know he made great music for 51 years of his life. But he made a real difference for the last one-and-a-half years by embracing the plight of Indigenous Canadians. He was really taken by this. And I think he wanted people to remember that as much as anything else to shine a light on those injustices. I mean we used to you know not joke really, but talk about you know Woody Guthrie, who had on his guitar “this machine kills fascists”. And how important it was to use his music and to use his fame for social justice. And this was a very big part of his own sense of himself, especially once he knew that the end was near.
CO: What was he like off stage? What was he like as a friend?
AG: Oh, he was always a very good friend. I mean I said he was a better friend to me than I was to him, you know? I never could remember when his birthday. You'd always get a letter or a text message and he's always I love you. Again towards the end, he always loved kissing everyone on the lips. He was very emotional, very, very genuine, very you know just naked all the time — Gord was naked. There was never any kind of pretext, there was never any artifice with him and he was always very, very honest.
CO: All we're talking about came together and peaked last summer just after his cancer diagnosis, when they did that remarkable tour and ended with that remarkable concert. What was that like for you to see?
AG: I wanted to be sad because it was supposed to be sad, but it wasn't because Gord wasn't sad. You know, he got these ridiculous costumes made so that he would look almost clownish. Very purposely — he said he wanted people to know that he was not sad. That he was happy making his music and that he was happy touring and he was happy being in their company. So you know, I left thinking and telling the kids you know no matter what happens to Gord, we're going to be singing “Ahead by a Century” in “Bobcaygeon” in 50 years, so he will live on. And there's not many of us who can say that about their life.
CO: Allan, thank you so much for sharing your memories of Gord Downie with us. Thank you.
AG: It's my pleasure. Have a nice day.
JD: Allan Gregg managed The Tragically Hip from 1986 to 1994, and he was a close friend of Gord Downie. We reached Allan Gregg in Toronto.
Gord Downie: Braiden Metatawabin
Guest: Braiden Metatawabin
JD: And back in 2012, the northern First Nation of Fort Albany, Ontario got a visit from Gord Downie and The Hip, who went to town to play the Great Moon Gathering festival. And one group of high school musicians didn't just watch him perform, they performed alongside him. Braiden Metatawabin was one of those teenagers. We reached him near North Bay, Ontario.
CO: Braiden, how are you feeling today about the news that Gord Downie has died?
BRAIDEN METATAWABIN: Saddened and shocked really. A small part of me actually thought that he would bounce back somehow.
CO: And we’re calling you because this remarkable story that goes back to 2012, when your band — your high school band — got to actually open for The Tragically Hip in Fort Albany.
BM: Yeah, we actually got to play on stage with Gord himself too.
CO: How did you manage to get this done? How did you manage to get them to agree to have you open?
BM: Well, they actually had arrived in Fort Albany, and they were being blocked by everybody getting autographs and getting to know them and shake hands and take pictures. My friend, who was also playing bass, came up to me and was like I just met Gord, I'm going to go ask him to play a song with us. You know, I had my doubts, of course. Why would a famous celebrity want play with a high school band, right?
CO: And what happened?
BM: Well, he was gone for at least an hour to two hours. Later found out that he was actually just playing music with the guitar player of The Tragically Hip. And, eventually, worked up the courage to ask him to play with us, and he said that he was honored to play with us. It was crazy to hear him say that.
CO: So he agreed to do a song with you. Did you ask for a song, or did he come up with one?
BM: Well, it was a song that we already decided to play and we just let him know and he's like yeah, I know that song. So he just asked me what key it was in and what time we’d be playing?
CO: Take us to the night then, so you've made this arrangement. He was going to sing “Knockin’ on Heaven's Door” with your band. Tell us how it went?
BM: Well, he came up and it was a really quick conversation actually. After talking to my friend for a long time, he came up to me and asked me how I felt about it? And I was like I'm flustered; it's crazy you want to play with us. I didn't think he would say yeah. So he came up and he knew the song, he just wasn't familiar with the version of the song.
CO: What was the version of this song that you were playing?
BM: It was Guns n Roses, so it was decently heavy.
CO: So did you tell him in advance that you wanted to do the Guns n Roses version of “Knockin’ on Heaven's Door”?
BM: Yeah we did, so I'm not sure if he went out and searched how that song went? Or he just kind of you know winged it from the key of the song and knew the lyrics already? And it’s actually funny that he did that because he wasn't familiar with the two guitar solos is song, and first guitar solo is a little bit longer than he was aware of. So he ended up cutting in front of my other friend that was playing guitar and that was his solo. So we ended up like kind of cut him off halfway through, so we kind of had to adjust and start playing where Gord lead us to.
CO: Now he did a piece with Macleans Magazine, he describes this remarkable concert, obviously it made an impression on him. And he just says that that… he writes this: “But now for verse two, I jumped in, I went for it, it just felt right. I looked back at Braiden”, which is you, and he said he was shaking his head vigorously back and forth. Wrong! No! He was saying with his eyes. What was going on from your point of view?
BM: Honestly, I just I thought that we would have had to stop playing just from you know not being ready for that part of the song. Just because it wasn't what we had we rehearsed, right? We didn't actually rehearse the song with Gord himself. He kind of just you know appeared onstage and was like all right, let’s do this. That’s literally what he said as he walked on stage. He looked at me and he said all right, Braiden, let’s do this. I was like Okay, sweet.
CO: Well, he writes also… he says, “This wasn't my first canoe ride, so I know what happens next.” And he said, “I took charge. Half of the band goes one way and half goes the other way if you don't take charge.” And so he sort of stepped in, kept going and he said, “We made it through the whole thing with all the wheels still on the wagon.”
BM: Yeah, exactly what happened. Exactly what happened.
CO: What did it mean for your community? For your school? For everyone there that Gord Downie came?
BM: Well, personally, I feel it meant for the community that you know Albany wasn't just a little, tiny speck of a place in the middle of nowhere, right? It made us all like extraordinarily special to have like such a huge celebrity band come up to you know be present.
CO: I understand that you got to choose which Tragically Hip songs they were going to perform that night, is that right?
BM: Yeah, it was really cool because right before they actually went on stage, they were kind of hanging out backstage if you will, which was really our school’s library. They wanted to see like hey, what song do you guys want to hear? Right away the first song kind of my head was “New Orleans is Sinking”, right? You think Tragically Hip and right away that’s the song you think of.
CO: And so if you can choose a song to play tonight what would it be?
BM: It would either be “38 Years Old”, or “New Orleans is Sinking”.
CO: All right, we'll leave it there. Thanks so much, Braiden.
BM: Thank you.
CO: Bye bye.
JD: We reached Braiden Metatawabin near North Bay, Ontario. You can read more about this story on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
[Music: Folk rock]
Guest: Marc Sallis
JD: If you're looking at an X-ray, it likely means something unfortunate has happened. Something you don't particularly want to look at. But recently, a new record label in Los Angeles has been seeking out X-rays. And by that I mean old X-ray films that do not have a medical use anymore. Snd they don't want to just look at a compound fracture and be grossed out. They want to put music on them. And they were inspired by a form of underground music distribution that occurred in the Soviet Union decades ago. Mark Sallis is one of the co-founders of Blank City Records. We reached him in L.A.
CO: Mark, can you describe what these bone records look like?
MARC SALLIS Yeah, they are square. I mean they, obviously, start off as a regular X-ray, so I mean I don't know in the listeners minds what they think of when they think of an X-ray. But you know, it’s a pretty big thing that they start out as. We cut down to the seven by seven size, so they will fit universally on anyone's turntable.
CO: Now I understand that when your co-founders made a recording on his grandmother's X-ray?
MS: That's right yeah, one of my co-founders, Brandon, was lucky enough to uncover some family X-rays when we started the business. Some of those where his grandmother, so he’s got her guts — her intestines — on some of the early pressings, and his dad’s skull. So yeah, he's got some interesting family history there to look back on.
CO: And you can still see the images underneath the lines of the recording?
MS: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean you can barely see the grooves of the record until you hold it up to the light. And, obviously, then you see the X-ray and the grooves. Yeah, we definitely retain the original X-ray images. They are very prominent and clear to see on there.
CO: All right, let's do the hearing test on this one because the Washington Post tested one of your X-ray records, and we're going to listen to it, or have our listeners have a listen to it. Do we know what’s the cut on this?
MS: They may have had our last release, it was a release called “Walls”. That’s here and I’ll confirm that.
CO: All right, let's have a listen.
CO: Okay, it sounds like the “forty-fives” my sister and I used to play until late until they wore out. You can hardly hear them. What is that a recording of?
MS: You can, obviously, hear the crackles and hisses because, obviously, they get only so many plays. It might play perfectly the first time, but by the second or time you know that sound diminishes because it's very unstable material. And the origins of using the X-rays, they weren't meant to last forever. They were just to share music. It's like a physical Snapchat, which is one of the things we love about the format is it’s a physical representation of this digital world we're living in right now with everything so instant. And you can only look at something like once on Snapchat, or you can replay it maybe again now. It’s this kind of idea that you can maybe only listen to this piece of music once or twice before you're just left with this beautiful part of someone's medical history to admire. At least you’re left with a piece of art once you can’t listen to it anymore.
CO: But the original purpose of this was it wasn't to make it something temporary. It was the only way it could be could be smuggled into the Soviet Union. Do you want to tell us the history of these bone music recordings?
MS: Well, I mean it was a still wasn't meant to last. You know, they knew that it was a format that would only get played a couple of times, but it was their way of sharing things. It’s like passing a note to someone in class. They were just sharing this music is the only way they could hear it. It was, as you say, a way of smuggling it into the country. Because this music: rock n roll, jazz, The Beatles, The Stones, was all banned in the Soviet Union back in the 50s and 60s. There were local pop artists that were trying to get their music heard. And that was the way they shared their own music as well between each other.
CO: But how would they actually make a recording on top of their grandma’s X-rays?
MS: It’s like a heat process. Once it’s been cut, it's actually pressed onto it using heat. So the grooves are actually pressed into it. Apparently, there’s one guy that just had one of these presses out there in the Soviet Union. And he was the guy that was doing it all. I mean the other thing to add is the reason he used X-rays was because they were surplus material that the hospitals were just throwing out in their driveways because when you have that many X-rays together and the way X-rays used to be made in the 50s and 60s they became highly flammable. So they didn't want to keep them in the hospital. So they were constantly throwing out old X-rays they didn't want. So they just found these in the trash. They were just readily available. So there was an endless supply they had, unlike us.
CO: So that was the reason why this method was created and invented. Why do you want to recover it? Why do you want to bring that back?
MS: Well, I found it fascinating when I first read about it and discovered that’s what people did. I thought it's just so cool. I mean as a group of people as well, my co-founders, we love the macabre horror. We love all that kind of genre and things that people find unsettling and interesting and weird and obscure. So it felt like a great format for us to explore, coupled with the fact that I just love that it's a really cool way of recycling. We were absolute vinyl-heads. We collect vinyl, but it’s also not good for the environment pressing fresh, virgin vinyl. So the fact that we're managing to press vinyl in this way using things that people discard, but also things that are very personal — a part from their medical history — is a double whammy for us/
CO: All right, that’s a lot of fun. Marc, good to talk to you.
MS: Any you. Thank you very much.
CO: Bye bye.
MS: Bye bye.
JD: Mark Sallis is a co-founderof Blank City Records. We reached him in Los Angeles, California.
Qoute/Unqote: Chicken and waffles
JD: And now, Quote/Unquote
[Music: Q/U theme]
JD: Interesting tidbit about Popeyes fried chicken chain: it wasn't named for Popeye the Sailor Man, but for Gene Hackman’s is Oscar-winning turn as Detective Jimmy Popeye Doyle in the 1971 film, “The French Connection”. And yet, for years, the fast food chain used the spinach-eating cartoon sailorman in its branding — thus greatly obscuring the true source of its name. Well, have the tables not turned? Now, Popeyes chicken itself has been wrapped in a big fat lie, deep-fried in obfuscation and served up with a smile on another restaurant's tables namely, the trendy Sweet Dixie Kitchen in Long Beach, California. And none of this would have come to light if it weren't for a reluctant sleuth by the name of Tyler H, whose sharp eye would have a little Popeye Doyle pink in Poughkeepsie. On the online review site, Yelp. Mr. H recounted his recent visit to Sweet Dixie Kitchen and his 13 dollar menu option, quote, “Before my friends and I get seated, we saw them quickly bring in two large boxes of Popeye's to the kitchen. I ordered the chicken and waffles to see whether or not they were serving Popeye's to their customers. I thought the chicken tasted suspiciously like Popeye's, and was also rather stale. Unquote.” But in getting the suspect to cop to the truth, there would be no pages torn from Popeye Doyle's playbook, no roughing up, no intimidation, no non-sequitur references during interrogation to crude self-pedicures in the Queen City, the Hudson. Tyler H's gambit was perhaps spiritless in its straightforwardness, but it proved remarkably effective. Mr. H continues, quote, “I kindly asked our waiter how they cooked their fried chicken? After checking, He admitted they do in fact use Popeye's.” Unquote.Back To Top »
Part 2: Raqqa, Bigfoot 50th
Guest: Abdalaziz Alhamza
JD: On the streets of Raqqa, there was cheering, honking and celebratory gunfire. U.S.-backed Syrian forces had announced that the city had finally been liberated, after a month's long military campaign. It's an enormous symbolic blow to ISIS, Raqqa was their de-facto capital. But while soldiers saw a liberated city, the images of the city itself show a deserted, devastated shell. More than 90 per cent of the city is in ruins. And it's future — who will control it, who will rebuild it — is anything but clear. Abdalaziz Alhamza grew up in Raqqa. He fled the city in 2014, when ISIS took control. He founded a citizen journalist group called “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently”. He now lives in Berlin. And that is where we reached him.
CO: Abdalaziz, I know you have been waiting for this day to learn your home city of Raqqa is free of ISIS. How does it feel to hear that news?
ABDALAZIZ ALHAMZA: For sure, like I was happy hearing that ISIS was defeated from my hometown. And then looking at the fact that the city is almost destroyed and thousands of people being killed and other many facts made me so sad.
CO: People in Raqqa were describing the black ISIS flags coming down, yellow flags supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces going up, celebrations, honking in the streets, people saying the city is liberated, what does that tell you? What does that image tell you?
AA: Like I watched a clip for SDF tank with a yellow flag doing the same thing that ISIS did when they controlled the city. So it’s like the same scenario that happened when both groups controlled the city. The difference was when SDF took control of the city; the city was completely empty of civilians. So there were no civilians there. There were like those fighters celebrating of the destruction and the killed people. So I was so sad looking at my city destroyed. But, at the same time, I felt a bit happy that ISIS was defeated.
CO: At the same time, you mentioned the citizens of Raqqa, and the estimation is that only one per cent of the 300,000 people who were living in Raqqa before there war, only 1 per cent of them remain. Where are they? And can they return now?
AA: So most of them they left to the countryside. Mostly there are in a resting camp in the northern countryside of Raqqa. So for sure they would love to go back home. But 90 per cent of the city is destroyed, so there is no place they can go to. And, at the same time, ISIS spread land mines everywhere before they left the city. So up to these conditions it looks impossible.
CO: Do you think that there will be any support to rebuild Raqqa? Because what we've seen is the United States and coalition support for defeating ISIS in Raqqa and in the region. Is there any plan to help rebuild? Are you hearing any fundraising internationally that will go toward rebuilding the city?
AA: Unfortunately not, the main misson or the mail goal of the international coalition and SDF was only getting rid of ISIS and that's what they did. And they spent millions of dollars on that campaign. But they didn't plan anything for the day after ISIS had been defeated. The main mission is just to get rid of ISIS and then leave the country.
CO: You left Raaaa in 2014 to seek asylum in Berlin, is that right?
CO: And that was ISIS had taken control of Raqqa. For the few civilians who stayed in that city during this time, what do you know? Because your organization — your group — is called “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.” What has life been like for people in Raqqa over these past couple of years?
AA: It's been a hard life for them. They change everything. The city turned to be a black city, where they painted everything black. They prevented children to go to the school, they close universities, executing people in public squares and in public streets and then developing several ways to kill and torture people.
CO: And, at the same time, so ISIS is taking over the city, but the international coalition has been just pummeling — just bombarding — that city for some time with bombs. The city appears to be rubble at this point. Is that your impression?
AA: Yes, like when I was watching the photos coming from Raqqa, the city looks completely different than the city I know. Citizens who used to have houses there they're gone. So they don't have any place or anywhere to go to. So they're stuck with the rubble.
CO: So the city is rubble. The population of Raqqa is dispersed all over the place and it's not clear who is now in charge of the city? There are different factions who have worked together to defeat ISIS, but now it seems that there are going to be a lot of disputes — possibly violent ones — as different groups vie for control of the city. What are your concerns there?
AA: It might be like many scenarios like they might hand control of the Syrian regime, which will be the worst scenario because if the Syrian Regime enters Raqqa again, many massacres will happen. Mostly it will be either scenarios that is for controlling the city or they will hand it to the regime. Both look like bad scenarios because civilians have been suffering from both of them.
CO: Raqqa is the city of your childhood. This is where you spent your life. Can you imagine that it will return in any way to what you knew as a child? That you could ever go back and rediscover and rebuild Raqqa? See it again as it was when you were young?
AA: I was waiting for the moment when ISIS was defeated to go back there. But I was not expecting this scenario. I hope one day that I will be able to return because I don't belong to any place but Raqqa. And we will keep fighting until we go back home.
CO: Abdalaziz, I hope one day you do go home to Raqqa, and it is rebuilt. And I appreciate speaking with you tonight. Thank you.
AA: Thank you.
JD: Abdalaziz Alhamza is a former resident of Raqqa, Syria. He's the founder of a citizen journalist group called “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently”. We reached him in Berlin. For more on the story, go to our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.
JD: There are still a lot of questions about what exactly happened at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas October 1st. We know Stephen Paddock open fired from his hotel suite, that he killed 58 people, he wounded hundreds more. We do not know why? We also know that a security guard, named Jesus Campos, was among the injured. Initially he was called a hero by authorities. They said he distracted the gunman by showing up at his door, thereby stopping him from firing on the crowd. Then, last week, the timeline changed. Mr. Campos was shot before Mr. Paddock turned his attention to the country music concert below. Today, Mr. Campos spoke publicly for the first time about that traumatic night on “Ellen”, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. He was joined by building engineer Steven Schuck, who was there with him that night. Here's part of that interview. The first voice you'll hear is Mr. Campos.
JESUS CAMPOS: As I was walking down, I heard rapid fire and, at first, I took cover. I felt a burning sensation. I went to go lift my pant leg up and I saw the blood. That's when I called it in on my radio that shots have been fired and I was going to say that I was hit. But I got on over my cell phone just to clear the radio traffic for they can coordinate the rest of the call.
ELLEN DEGENERES: He shot through this door, right?
JC: Yeah, from behind the door. I don't know how he was shooting, but he shot out.
ED: Right, so you didn't even know it was coming from here. So, it Steven, at this point, you're called up. You just think that you're coming to look at a door that's been blocked in the fire-well, right?
STEVEN SCHUCK: Yeah, I didn't think anything out of the ordinary at the time. I came from a higher floor and came down a different hallway service elevator. And I walked out, I rounded the corner for the 100 hallway and that's when you know, it was quiet at this time. And the doors set back. Jesus was towards the end of the hallway, but I didn't know at that time. I thought I saw someone like pop out of the cubby and I kept walking. And you know, once I got more than half way, is when I saw Jesus and I started to hear shooting. And, at the time, I didn't know it shooting. I thought it was a jackhammer. As an engineer, I'm like we're not we're not working up here this late at night. We wouldn't be doing that.
SS: And it was I believe outside, it wasn't in the hallway yet. And that's when Jesus leaned out and he said take cover, take cover, he yelled at me and within milliseconds if he didn't say that, I would have got hit.
ED: Because he was still shooting, so you would have been hit had he not told you?
SS: Yeah, I wasn't even fully in cover and they were passing behind my head. And I could feel the pressure.
ED: You could feel a pressure going past you just even being out of the way?
JD: That was Mandalay Bay building engineer Steven Schuck, before him was Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos. They were on “Ellen”, earlier today.
Guest: Bob Gimlin
JD: The footage is grainy. It is short. It runs 59.5 seconds. But to aficionados, it is the most significant short film ever made because it depicts Bigfoot. And if you've seen it, you can probably picture what is known as “the Patterson-Gimlin film”. In your mind's eye: a dark, lumbering, hairy creature walks in the wilderness, at one point, turns, seems to look right at you, right at the camera. Bob Gimlin was with Roger Patterson near Bluff Creek, California, when they shot that footage fifty years ago this week. We reached Mr. Gimlin in Yakima, Washington.
CO: Bob, it's been 50 years since you and Roger Patterson filmed that big, hairy creature — quite something, eh?
BOB GIMLIN: Yes, it was really quite… changed my life.
CO: Now, do you believe to this day that you saw Bigfoot.
BG: Yes, absolutely, no question in my mind.
CO: And filmed Bigfoot. Now, you and Roger Patterson, you weren't just out on a walk that day, you were looking for Bigfoot back in October 1967. Can you just describe for us the moment that you first saw this creature?
BG: Well, oh yes, I'll never ever forget that. It was a sunshiny day, beautiful October 20th sunshiny day. Just nice and warm and the moment I saw her, I just said oh my god, they really do exist! Because to see is to believe with me, you know?
CO: Why do you think it was female?
BG: Well, the mammary glands.
CO: Oh, she had breasts. OK.
BG: Yeah, but this was happening so fast. I never even thought about that. That was all put together after people started watching that footage.
CO: Were you scared?
BG: Well, I didn't have time to be scared, you know? It was something surprisingly and I've been an outdoorsman all my life, you know? Big bull elk have jumped up in front of me and big buck deer and bear and cougar. So there was no time. This was all happening dramatically fast.
CO: Now, of course, I've seen the footage, many, many people have. And there are those who will tell you that it looks like somebody in a gorilla suit. So what do you say to those people?
BG: Well, I've heard that. If I've ever heard of a guy named Bill [indiscernible], this was a special effects man in Hollywood for 30 some years, and he went into that film footage to prove that it was false. After he studied it for so long, he did so much work in that that he said anybody thinks it's a man suit don’t realize about a lot of things about what material could have been had at that time, 1967. And not only that, the muscles moved underneath the hair, which couldn't have been had. He said I was the best there was in special effects and he said I couldn't have come up with anything close as a man in a suit that looks like that.
CO: Now, what do you think Bigfoot is?
BG: Well, now that is one of the biggest questions that everybody's got. OK, this is what I'd go with now: They’re forest people. They were put here on this planet Earth for a really good reason. And until we learn more about them and what they do and how they do it and their family structures and so forth. You know, to make a statement or make any kind of statement about what they really are I'd be so far out of line that I just wouldn't even do it because, to me, they‘re just big forest people.
CO: But they're so elusive, as you know, your film is considered to be one of the few times anyone can say that they think they saw Bigfoot. If it's so elusive, why do you think that that creature appeared to you that day?
BG: Well, one guy is deceased now, but he came up with the idea that she was there to be seen and filmed, and she wouldn't have been there wouldn't have been for me. And so who knows?
CO: This story just took a turn. Do you think that she knew you and she wanted to appear to you?
BG: Well, that's what I've been told. I had no idea. But, anyway, if that's what it is, I'm hoping that I'm sending a message.
CO: So you think that she appeared to you in order to speak to you? To give you some kind of a message to take to the world?
BG: This is what it is the film footage. And no one has ever even come close to… well, they say it could be a man in a suit, but they've never ever proved anything. And it's been to the Russian scientists, it’s been over the world to different sciences.
CO: Well you know, there are a lot of people who do believe you. And they call themselves “Bigfooters”. One of the Bigfooters told Outside Magazine that, quote, “Meeting Bob Gimlin, to a Bigfooter, it's like meeting the president of the United States to an American, or meeting the pope if you're Catholic.”
BG: Well, that's a little strong. I mean I don't look at it that way. I'm just Bob. Gimlin, the guy that’s trying to send a message out there that don't be shooting at them, don't be trying to kill them and don't be run screaming away from them.
CO: Now, do you know the life span of a Bigfoot because this was 50 years ago. Do you think that that female that tried to communicate with you is still alive?
BG: Well, I never gave it any thought much. I wondered, but then there's a gentleman tells me that yes, she is still alive because he's had communication with her son.
CO: All right. Well, I guess there’s going to be a few celebrations of people getting together to commemorate the 50th anniversary of your sighting of the forest person. And Bob, good to talk to you.
BG: Well likewise. Hey, thank you for calling. Anything that I can help you with, feel free to call again.
CO: All right, thanks so much. Bye bye.
BG: Have a good day.
JD: We reached Bob Gimlin in Yakima, Washington. Mr. Gimlin was with Roger Patterson on October 20th, of 1967, when they encountered in film what they claim is a… or… the Bigfoot. That film — known as “the Patterson-Gilmlin film” turns 50 years old on Friday.
From Our Archives: Sasquatch shooter
JD: And we here at As It Happens have done a number of stories on Bigfoot, Sasquatch, over the years. And despite Mr. Gimlin’s wishes that we all treat the creatures with respect, we have even spoken to someone who tried to shoot Sasquatch way back in 1979. From our archives, here is Al Maitland with Barbara Frum, with the shooter.
Al MAITLAND: the black, hairy thing was nine feet tall, a massive four feet at the shoulders and had huge, frightful, bright eyes: a Sasquatch. One of the haunting legendary creatures of the British Columbia bush country glared down at 16-year-old Tim Meisner, and let loose a blood-curdling, high-pitched scream. Meisner — sheet white, and frozen to the spot — contained his fear long enough to take aim and fire. A mist and the creature high-tailed it in the other direction. At least, that's Meisner’s story and he's sticking to it. We reached him Meisner in Barrayar, north of Kamloops in the interior of British Columbia. Barbara.
BARBRA FUM: Are you usually considered a reliable fellow? Do your parents trust you?
TIM MEISNER: Yes.
BF: And your teachers?
BF: And your friends?
BF: And you think you saw Sasquatch?
TM: I know I saw one.
BF: What did it look like?
TM: nine feet tall, really dark coloured, long hair all over it, except for its chest was bare. It had big eyes that was shining, human features on its face a human hands.
BF: How close to it were you?
TM: I measured it out to 56 feet.
BF: Are you a good shot?
TM: Really good.
BF: How come you didn't kill it?
TM: I don't know?
BF: Was anybody with you, Tim?
TM: I had three other friends. One guy was down below in a bank. I was about 50 yards up the hill and through the bush.
BF: But your other two friends didn't see a thing?
TM: No, but they could smell it and they could hear it.
BF: How could you smell something in the woods that was 50 feet away?
TM: Not too hard when it smells that bad.
BF: The Chinese have claimed… it's funny. Just about a week ago, they or somebody shot a Yeti in China. And the trouble is that somebody ate it, so we can't see it either. And it's funny that your two stories came out about the same time.
TM: This one isn’t dead, that's for sure.
BF: You did find a dead deer I believe?
TM: That was on Saturday. That was the first time I had sighted it. Me and my friend were fishing in Dunn Lake and 300 yards away, when I seen it then. We both heard it. It made a loud screeching noise, really high-pitched and there's just no other animal that can make that noise.
BF: But you've never seen a second one? Or a pair of them together?
TM: No, never seen two together. But when we came back on Saturday, right where we had saw it, we found some big footprints — 16 inches long, that's what they are all over. And there's a deer that was killed and was covered up with sticks and moss. It was picked up around the area and set down. A bear can’t do that because it’s only got paws and has to scrape it up.
BF: Why would it have a footprint 16 inches long?
TM: That's how big its feet are. It’s got toes and it's 9 inches wide and 16 inches long.
BF: That's enough to hold a dinosaur up.
TM: That’s right.
BF: What are you going to do from here? You going to forget about it?
TM: No, probably go on up and look in maybe 5 miles north from the site because that's where the direction of the tracks of yesterday that we'd seen went. So we might be able to see it again and get pictures of it just for full proof.
JD: From our archives, that was then 16-year-old Tim Meisner, speaking with Barbara from about shooting at Sasquatch in May of 1979.Back To Top »
Part 3: Sima Wali obit, Googletown Toronto
Sima Wali obit
Guest: Suleiman Wali
Sima Wail believed in an Afghanistan where women were liberated and equal, and she spent her whole life fighting for it. Even though it forced her to flee the country she loved for the United States. Sima Wali has died. She was 66-years-old. She suffered from multiple system atrophy, it left her unable to move, and, in the end, even unable to speak. During her life, Sima Wali never shied away from speaking out against the forces that threatened Afghan women. She delivered U.N. speeches on women's rights. She was fundamental in establishing a Ministry of Women's Affairs in Kabul, after the fall of the Taliban.
Suleiman Wali is Ms. Wali’s nephew. We reached him in Falls Church, Virginia.
CO: Suleiman, first of all, I'm sorry for the loss of your aunt?
SULEIMAN WALI Thank you, I appreciate your condolences.
CO: Where are some of your memories of her from when you were growing up?
SW: Personal memories are how amazing of a human being she was. She had no biological children of her own, but she was like a mother to her entire family and to her nieces and nephews and, in particular, to myself. She was an inspiration.
CO: We’re talking to you in the United States. She eventually moved to the United States as a young woman. Why did your family move? Why did she move to the U.S.?
SW: The communists were gaining ground in Afghanistan. There was a coup — a Marxist coup — in 1978, that overthrew the first president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Daud. My aunt’s family was part of the elite class — the upper class — of society in Afghanistan at that time. And the first ones that the communists were coming for were the people in that upper echelon of society, especially those who had worked with American organizations. My aunt had been working with the US embassy and then the U.S. Peace Corps in Kabul for many years. My family, of course, were going to be targeted, so she had an opportunity, at the time, to visit a colleague — American college — and my grandfather told her to you know use this opportunity to be the first one to leave so that everybody else can follow. And it was a heartbreaking moment for her because she was only in her 20s, and she had to leave behind her entire family and really not know she would see them alive ever again.
CO: What eventually drew her back into Afghanistan? Tell us a bit about the time that she actually became reengaged with that country?
SW: Well, she was never disengaged. She was always engaged from the time that she was working for the U.S. Peace Corps and the U.S. Embassy. she always believed in that bilateral relationship between the two countries where people were as we thought helping Afghanistan to do good. But when she came here, her heart was really with her country.
CO: Many of us know her when she was back after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. She was a very forceful voice in reminding the United States that it had created many of the conditions that allowed for the Taliban to be there. She also made it clear at that time when she spoke that she hoped the U.S. would be a force for good in Afghanistan after it invaded. When did she finally conclude? Did she feel that the U.S. actually made a difference — a positive difference — in the country?
SW: Yes and no, in the sense that there was a presence there of the United States that had never been there before in that capacity and that role. But that it was a situation in which all the good intentions you know Americas over reliance on drone strikes and military methods really could have and had to turned popular opinion in the wrong direction. So while the intention might have been good, some of the methods were definitely not. And that’s what she really wanted to call attention to. She wanted to be a voice for the truth. And she always did that and even up until I think she wrote her last article about the situation in 2009, before she was able to write again. If the Taliban had didn't have control of Kabul, that was still a Taliban mentality that she really was trying to warn people about.
CO: And because she had strong connections with the United States, she had a great deal of influence, didn't she? I mean she had the ear of then President Hamid Karzai, and she was able to do something quite important, which was to establish a Women's Affairs Ministry and to ensure that women were in parliament. And I wonder if that would have happened had she not been such a forceful presence there?
SW: Well, recently after passing, I got an email from a woman who runs an organization in Afghanistan and here and they give a voice to female journalists — Afghan female journalists. And she said my father was at the conference that the new Afghan government in 2001, after the fall of the Taliban. He was a witness to the lone woman in this delegation who was advocating for all Afghan women who were otherwise sidelined. So had she not been there, I don't know?
CO: You point out she was not able to write after 2009, she suffered from multiple system atrophy. And so we don't know too much about what she was thinking or how she reflected on Afghanistan in these later years. What were her thoughts? What did she say about how things… many believe have gone back or reverted in many respects and women's rights are being challenged. What did she say about that in the end?
SW: Well, it was heartbreaking for her. I mean up until the time she could still speak, it was very sad for her to watch these kinds of things on television or read about them in the newspaper. And for her voice to be silenced with this terrible illness, I mean she was literally trapped in her own body. And the fact that she couldn't participate and give her voice to her cause was very heartbreaking for her. And she was always reminding people that listen, Afghan history didn't begin at the era of the Taliban and then continue forward. There was in Afghanistan prior to that. So to look at were Afghan women stood from you know the early 1900s until the 1970s. And in those cases, it's taken a leap back by at least more than 100 years of where their rights are in society and where they stand.
CO: A very sad way to conclude, but she was a remarkable woman. For anyone who met her, Suleiman. And I appreciate speaking with you about her. Thank you.
SW: Thank you very much for the opportunity.
JD: Suleiman Wali is Sima Wali’s nephew. We reached him in Falls Church, Virginia. Sima Wali, an advocate for women's rights in Afghanistan has died. She was 66-years-old.
JD: Keith Bain, the MLA for Victoria and The Lakes in Cape Breton is at home recovering now. But he had a close call when his heart stopped at a caucus meeting last week. Luckily, his colleagues sprang into action. Eddie Orrell is a fellow Cape Breton MLA. He told CBC what happened.
EDDIE ORRELL: I remember we finished our caucus meeting and I looked up and my colleague, Keith Bain, was in some kind of medical distress. We weren't sure what it was. Three or four of us sprang from our chairs to get him out of his chair to get him onto the floor to see what was wrong with him. And we went into some assessment stuff. Realised that he was in distress, so he sprang into action to try and help prevent injury for him and to help keep him breathing and going from into what we thought might be some worse kind of mental emergency. Once we had him on the floor, and he was gasping for air, he stopped breathing. So with that, my colleague, Barbara, started doing some breaths on him. Myself and another colleague came and were checking his pulse, as was Elizabeth, who was a nurse. When we all realized there was no pulse, we started to do CPR. What was going through my mind at the time? I think we're going to lose our little buddy, he's in distress. We have to do whatever we can do to make sure that this doesn't happen. That he's going to be with us tomorrow. And we did our best and we're fortunate that it worked.
JD: That was the MLA for Cape Breton North, Eddie Orrell. His colleague, fellow MLA Keith Bain, went into medical crisis at a provincial Progressive Conservative Caucus meeting last week. And thanks in part to the quick thinking in the emergency first-aid training of his fellow Caucus members, Mr Bain is now out of the hospital and he is at home recovering. He expressed his gratitude on Facebook this week, saying, quote, “To my caucus colleagues who took such great care of me last Tuesday, I will be forever indebted. You guys are the best and saved my life.”
Guest: Richard Florida
JD: The Google guys have inked a deal to help remake Toronto's waterfront. And the expectations for what they want to do down there are out there. Sidewalk Labs is Google's urban real-estate arm. Yesterday, it announced that it had entered into a 50 million dollar partnership with Waterfront Toronto, the government agency that controls that huge stretch of land. And the idea is to come up with ideas for what they're calling “the neighborhood of the future”. So here's how Sidewalk Labs CEO Daniel Doctoroff described their goals on CBC Toronto's “Metro Morning”.
DANIEL DOCTOROFF: What we hope it will be will be a demonstration of what combining really smart urban design and cutting-edge technology can do in terms of dramatically improving people's quality of life. We've now been studying this for two years. We've done thought experiments, feasibility studies and we are convinced that we can dramatically lower the cost of living. That we can give time-starved parents an hour or two back in their day. That we can actually create the single most environmentally friendly place on earth. That we can actually achieve vision zero where there aren't traffic fatalities. So what's more important than what it is, is what it can actually achieve for Torontonians and their families. And what we can demonstrate to the rest of the world about what is possible in this digital era when we actually thoughtfully integrate these innovations into the urban environment.
JD: Sidewalk labs CEO, and former New York deputy mayor, Daniel Doctoroff on CBC Toronto's “Metro Morning” today. And Mr. Doctoroff is not the only one who is enthusiastic. Richard Florida is the director of the University of Toronto. Martin Prosperity Institute. And we reached him in New York City.
CO: Professor Florida, Why was yesterday's announcement such a big deal for the people of Toronto?
RICHARD FLORIDA: Well you know, lots of people have talked about Amazon's second headquarters, where they have 50 to 100 communities basically laying their financial and business lives on the line. In many ways, this is even bigger. For one, Google or Sidewalk Labs picked Toronto. And it responded to an RFP and competed to be in Toronto. And I think it signals more than anything else that Toronto's time has arrived as one of the world's not only leading great livable cities as it's typically ranked, but as a global knowledge and tech hub. Why this is in particular is so important is Its not just an office building or a corporate headquarters, or even a technology start-up. This is a living laboratory on Toronto's waterfront. It may be hinged and hubed by the sidewalk labs, but will be a laboratory for experimenting with new ways of living, new ways of working, new forms of mobility, new forms of sustainability, new forms of affordable housing, in which community residents, workers, neighbors and other companies eventually will be participating. Ao I think for Urbanists and city builders, this is one of the biggest announcements in quite a while.
CO: And what does it physically look like?
RF: No one knows. I've known Dan Doctoroff since he was deputy mayor. I talked to him two years ago. I was part of a small working group, well not so small, there might have been a couple of dozen of us. And I hope I was the one who planted the seed of Toronto in his head when it seemed like this was going to go to a U.S. city. I said no! Why don't you take a look at Toronto? Well, I think I think Donald Trump did as much as to convince him to come to Toronto as anyone else. But you know, I think they have a broad sketch. And I think we heard in his comments that it's not what it is now, it's what it will become. I think, from what I've heard and from what I've read, it is a laboratory situation. It is not a planned community. It is not something that is blueprinted, but something that will evolve through experimentation, through trial and error. But I think critically important. I did have the opportunity to talk to Will Flessing, who's the head of a Waterfront Toronto, and he said to me something quite remarkable. He said I'm the steward of a public good called Toronto's Waterfront, and we have a marvelous partner in Sidewalk Labs, but this is something for us, that partner and most of all the community and neighbors and residents of Toronto to define. So I think you know as Jane Jacobs would have said, this is really something that will be defined and evolved organically and as it moves along. And, certainly, that's what I hope it will be.
CO: But you’re using words, and they're using words, like “living laboratory”, “experimentation”, I mean, to me, what makes this city livable is it's a community, not that it's a lab. So I have to say what I'm hearing here or how it's being described is creepy.
RF: Well, point taken. But look, we do not have a laboratory for city living. You know, it's interesting. We have laboratories for medical advances. We have laboratories for innovation. No one has ever tried to build a place where you can test out not only new technologies and new ways of living. It seems to me that we're evolving to that point. It could be creepy, but I think what will keep it from being creepy is the people of Toronto and the residents of Toronto and the governance of Waterfront Toronto, you know? That will keep it from being this kind of “Stepford Wives”, “Truman Show” kind of fake community.
CO: Google is a company with enormous resources and a history of leveraging its power to avoid taxes. It proudly defends tax avoidance as the methods of capitalism, and has been known to try and find ways of investing as little as possible back into places where it has made its most money. Why should we trust them?
RF: Well you know, I've been an outspoken critic of Google. I've been on the record as saying in the project they planned for San Jose that they should engage in providing affordable housing. And not just housing for their gold-plated workers. I've been on the record as saying that they should invest in not only paying their knowledge workers high salaries, but upgrading and creating family-supporting jobs for the thousands upon thousands of service workers. And instead of running private buses, they should be working alongside communities to invest in the public good called transit. I've said the same thing to Dan Doctoroff, i've said the same thing to Waterfront Toronto, I've said the same thing to all three levels of our government that this has to be a project which is about building inclusive prosperity for all Torontonians. Not just for a company and its high-priced knowledge workers. And I think that's where it will succeed or fail. If it can show that this is about building a sustainable and inclusive urbanism in partnership with city, province and the federal government about building affordable housing, as well as market rate housing. About upgrading low-paid contingent and precarious service jobs, as well as creating knowledge jobs. And about really investing in a better transit infrastructure that our city so badly needs then it will be successful. If not, many of your concerns will be very well placed.
CO: If you have seen this as a company that has invested very little in the public good and civil society why would you trust it?
RF: Well, I think you have to distinguish between this spin-off company, Sidewalk Labs, forging an explicit partnership with Waterfront Toronto and Alphabet or Google’s past behavior. And the fact that they responded to an RFD from Waterfront Toronto, they didn't ask other tech companies do what can the city do for us? They said well, what can we do in partnership with the city by responding to that? It was very thoroughly vetted by our three levels of government. But, most of all, I think my biggest optimism is the fact that you know this organization — this flagship company — chose Toronto, and its signals, I think, that Toronto has become a very competitive place. A place that big, big, big companies — successful companies — really want to be and are looking to be.
CO: Professor Florida, It’s good to talk to you. Thank you.
RF: It’s great to talk to you. And thank you for having me.
JD: Richard Florida is the director of University of Toronto's Martin Prosperity Institute. His latest book is called “The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation and Failing the Middle Class and What We Can Do About It”. We reached Professor Florida in New York.
Gord Downie call-in
JD: Across Canada tonight, people are listening to some really good rock and roll music, and crying. Expressions of love and grief are echoing out across the country at the news that The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has died at the age of 53-years-old. And this afternoon, on the CBC Radio program “Ontario Today”, guest host Stu Mills opened the phone lines for people to express those feelings, and to share their memories and tributes. The calls flooded in. And here is one of those calls from a fellow musician.
STU MILLS: Let's go to Mike, who's also in Toronto. Good afternoon, Mike.
MIKE BOGUSKI: Hey, how’s it going?
SM: It's going OK. What are you thinking about Gord Downie today with his passing?
MB: Well, I'm actually the keyboard player from the band Blue Rodeo, so I have a little story I want to share.
SM: Oh, please.
MB: I've only been with the band for probably eight or nine years, and you know I'd met Gord once or twice in passing. And on our last tour, we’re playing Massey Hall, and then you know Gord shows up and were hanging out backstage. And I thought this is great! And after the main set is done we do an encore, so I’m sort of side stage and Gord comes up to me and he goes you know, my friend and I just wanted to let you know we really dig what you're doing. I thought you know this is great! Like I'm not the most famous guy in the band, I'm just sort of the person who plays keyboards in the back. And I thought well you know what a nice, classy thing to say. So we go on for our encore and we always end the night with “Lost Together”, and Dallas and Travis from the Sadie's are the opening band, so they get Gord on stage. So now here's Gord, standing on stage, everybody is looking at him, everybody's expecting what’s he going to do? What’s he going to sing? And this is what really blew my mind is he’s such a consummate improviser and didn't even make it about himself. He just sort of sat there on stage and didn't sing any lyrics. And then I go to do the organ solo in the song and I suddenly realize he's like harmonizing my organ solo with his vocals. Then the band drops out, and he just sings this beautiful resonant note. He’s not even singing a lyric, just a note. I thought I just jammed with Gord Downie in front of everyone in Massey Hall amazing!
SM: And did he talk to you after the show? I mean did you get did you get a chance to thank him or to talk about the experience?
MB: No, I think he was pretty busy. There's a lot of people who wanted to talk to him. But it just struck me the humility of the guy because you know, like to come up to me and sort of say hey man, I dig what you're doing and then as a musician, to sort of meet in this moment on stage like that. I mean, first of all, from a technical standpoint, singing a keyboard line that moves rather elaborately, that's quite a feat. So I mean I don't know I heard the news this morning and I just I thought about that moment in and I'm really sad. You know I tend to have a fearless approach when I'm on stage, and I think of Gord you know he was pretty fearless when he was on stage. He wasn’t really was too concerned with doing the right thing or the wrong thing. He was just Gord, you know?
JD: Mike Boguski is the keyboard player for Blue Rodeo. He was calling into CBC Radio’s “Ontario Today” this afternoon. And here is another call; this is from a poet who was moved to write a tribute.
SM: Let's keep going. Let’s go to Daren, who's in Bellville this afternoon. Hi, Daren.
DAREN: Hi, how are you?
SM: I'm fine thanks. How are you feeling about Gord Downie today?
D: Oh, very, very sad. Yeah, yeah, to me, Gord was really an inspiration. I'm a writer; I'm a poet as well. And I mean really no one could do what he did. So I actually I wrote him something this morning. Of course, I woke up to the news like everyone else. I find that when you're writing, as soon as you're hit with a powerful emotion if you can if you can get to a page you can usually transmute it. So I've got a little something here, if you're interested?
SM: Yeah sure, if it's not overly long, Daren.
D: No, no, it's not long at all. It's called “Poetry is Deathless”. The kerchief and mic-stand console each other, as Kingston closes her eyes. The docks and the lakes of cottage country float forlornly and sigh. The loons calls today are dedicated to the man who walks in the stars. And how many thousands of glasses will be raised tonight in the bars? In a country whose stage is less one, the clouds above seem distracted. There's a sense in the air of constriction because the heart of the nation's contracted. But please, and he'd want us to think it, remember it's part of the show. Who would ever care you were coming if an end didn't come and you go? So the Rockies are hushed in s silence. The Great Plains don't know where to begin. You see they've lost an interpreter. You see they've lost a dear friend. Tonight, the skies will be darling. Tonight, the floorboards will roar. Today, a country in mourning. Forever his poetry ours.
SM: That was very beautiful, Daren. I'm really touched by that. You did a tremendous job there and thank you for sharing that with us.
D: Thank you very much. And I just want to just send hugs out to everyone listening today. It's a tough one.
JD: Just a couple of calls into CBC's “Ontario today”, earlier this afternoon.
CBC would like to acknowledge the support of the Broadcasting Accessibility Fund.