Wasn't that a Party?

Rolling Stones in Toronto

No, I wasn’t there, and I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it if I was. I’m just not the type of person who “gets” massive open-air concerts.

But still… half a million people? Listening to bands ranging from big names to young and rising stars all gathered at a moment’s notice? A massive event organized with great effort and considerable goodwill, all for my old hometown? And even in their sixties, the Stones have still got It. One cannot help but feel a surge of pride about all that.

This is a good assessment of the concert from a blogger who was actually there.

I watched some of the concert on television. Unfortunately, as the newspapers reported, television coverage was spotty. I can understand the CBC not being used to giving a rock concert its due, but what about other stations? CablePulse 24 gave the story the news attention it deserved, but the presentation on all stations was rather choppy. I had plenty of pictures of the jaw-dropping crowd (which, sadly, I can’t seem to find on the net at the moment), but few stations stuck with the singers straight through their songs. I’ve seen other concerts turned into excellent television experiences, but I guess there just wasn’t enough time to organize that aspect. Maybe we are asking for too much…

But enough of me as a killjoy. Sure, the concert got little attention from the United States, and thus did little to really restore Toronto’s SARS damaged reputation, but the concert was about something else. It was a scream of joy, of relief. Toronto has been through a harrowing spring (following on some harrowing years), and has finally been lavished with some loving attention, however fleeting, by our province and our city. It’s a booster shot of optimism, and that makes the event well worth it.

Piggybacking onto the concert was a massive barbecue, hosted by none other than Canada’s western premiers, a number of Liberal MPs, and Ontario premier Ernie Eves himself. The purpose of this hastily organized roast was to show that not only was Toronto SARS-free, Canada’s beef was safe to eat.

Now, shameless carnivore that I am, I would have liked to be there. A fair chunk of Ontario’s beef is, I’m told, culled dairy herd cattle, meaning that it’s really not the best meat available. Here would have been my chance for some Alberta prime, fresh off the barby, at good prices. And I’d be helping our beleaguered beef industry to boot.

Parties are a good way to make a political point (Brazil really knows how to do it). Not only do you get the message across, you enjoy yourself while doing it.

One political thing before I go: the CBC reported on one more name-calling contretemps between Canadian political aides and President George Bush. This time, however, it had nothing to do about the governing Liberals, but was linked to the Saskatchewan NDP government. An internal memo called Bush by the common nickname, “President Shrub”.

As insults go, this one isn’t particularly anti-American (the nickname itself was coined by a Texas columnist), but it’s another depressing reminder that brains appear to be at a premium in some government offices these days. The nickname was part of a memo to the NDP government, talking about the need to lobby the U.S. government to rescind its ban on Canadian beef. It was not preceded by the phrase “and to keep on the President’s good side, please refrain from using insulting names, such as…”

This was some pretty minor guy, and the Saskatchewan NDP were quick to distance themselves from the mistake with an apology. They also said that the aide in question would soon be facing disciplinary proceedings — presumably for being too darn stupid to write government memos…

I haven’t done much writing in the past couple of days. It’s been a bit of a perfect storm of long work hours (a temp assignment), projects on the go (Transit Toronto still needs work), and preparing for my father-in-law’s visit. It’s been a little frustrating. However, I’ve been keeping my fingers active on this blog, and the writing ideas are still coming.

I’ve added characters to the Night Girl: Viqtoria’s mother, who disapproves of Viqtoria’s life choices and leaves a stream of messages on poor Viq’s answering machine. We also have gargoyle twins who really love their coffee, and Howard, the troll…

“Miss Baxter,” Earthenhouse extended his hand to a mountain of stone with knuckles that touched the ground. “This is Howard. He’s a troll.”

“Troll,” drawled Howard, extending his heavy hand to Viqtoria.

“He used to work in our security division,” said Earthenhouse. “Unfortunately, he took the word ‘bouncer’ a little too literally.”

“Bounce, bounce!” drawled Howard, his grin revealing ridges of stony teeth.

Viqtoria swallowed hard.

And The Young City still has its climax simmering. I hope to get more onto paper this Saturday…

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