Tag: Toronto

Canadians and Putin: Craven and Courageous

Tuesday, 18 February, 2014 0 Comments

The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, visited Team Canada House at the Olympic Park in Sochi at the weekend and was “treated like a rock star”, writes Sharon Terlep in the Wall Street Journal. Her report is graced with a photo of Putin being embraced in a bear hug by the president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Marcel Aubut.

That’s the craven Canadian bit. For Canadian courage, here’s Cathal Kelly, sports columnist with the Toronto Star newspaper. Snippet:

When Putin showed up at Canada House on Friday, it was a frenzy. He stood up on a small stage, modeling his own wax statue. The Canadians on hand treated him like Jesus returned.

For one terrible moment, it seemed as if COC boss Marcel Aubut might embrace the tyrant.

“I want to tell you how much we appreciate what Russia is offering…. great Games. Probably the best ever,” Aubut gushes.

Wait. What?

It is one thing to be polite. It is another to pawing the guy who has his foreign enemies radioactively poisoned.

Those on hand, their voices peaking like groupies, rushed forward for selfies. Putin’s expression does not change. He is not after love. He wants tribute. Canada is happy to provide.

Kelly’s report is titled “Canada’s swooning over Putin the tyrant all too common sight at these Games” and what makes it particularly readable is the way in which the writer places the global and the local in context. Seeing Putin in action has helped Kelly better understand the controversial, aberrant Toronto Mayor Rob Ford but, says Kelly: “Where Ford is feckless, Putin is purposeful. Where Ford is bumptious, Putin is regal. And where Ford is kind of a knob, Putin is full-on evil… Even though the average Canadian here has no idea what Putin is really about, they instinctively sense it — the combination of power and malice.”

Marcel Aubut is the craven Canadian who embraced evil. Cathal Kelly is the courageous Canadian who named it.


Cavan for Christmas

Saturday, 14 December, 2013 0 Comments

In January, The Strypes will play gigs in Toronto, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, but on the 27th, 28th and 29th of December they’ll be in the Town Hall in their native Cavan. The band’s debut album, Snapshot, was released in September. From it, here’s What a Shame.

“The way he spat at the mike his lyrics couldn’t be fresher
They say he’d be a superstar if he could handle the pressure
After they put it to paper, they took him to tea
And told him just a couple changes that they wanted to see

They said his hair would be better if he coloured it black
And that he wouldn’t sound as harsh if he could tone it all back
They dressed him up in a craze to make him look pretty
They said the kids would dig if he looked like he came from the city”

Toronto rises thanks to rooftopping

Tuesday, 8 October, 2013 0 Comments

Heard of the daring Ukranian known as “Mustang Wanted”? He’s the star of a newish trend that cannot be defined by any single word. Essentially, it involves climbing buildings and bridges and then hanging on to the edges. Maybe it should be called “skywalking” after Vitaly Skywalker, who pioneered the hobby, but he ran into trouble with the law in Russia and his place has been taken by intrepid Mustang Wanted.

Instead of skywalking, Tom Ryaboi does “rooftopping,” which, in his case, involves climbing tall buildings to get the best photographic angles on an urban scene. Last year, Ryaboi decided that he wanted to create a video clip of Toronto where “the boundary between earth and sky is unclear.” With the help of a theatrical score by Hans Zimmer, these rooftopped shots are breathtaking. Tomorrow, here, in honour of the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair, an Austerian interlude.