July was bright and sunny and busy. I started the month at the Deadmau5 show which the municipality brought in for Canada Day. The fireworks fizzled in the fog, but the music kept everyone bouncing!
As you know, I read Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Dallaire this month, and he spoke at a public lecture by the Child Soldiers Initiative here in Halifax. I spent a lot of time thinking about Rwanda and genocide and child soldiers. The events are beyond comprehension, but for me personally, I can’t choose not to try to understand.
During Pride Week, I went to another lecture, by the journalist Kamal Al-Solaylee, about being gay and Muslim in Yemen and Canada. I had read his book Intolerable (recommended) and have my name on the library list for his next book, Brown.
Pride Week involved a glorious big parade on a fine day.
We also went to see Tegan and Sara (my 3rd time seeing them – favourite artist!) They played a lot of songs off their album The Con, which is 10 years old this year, and was the first tour of theirs I saw. I really liked the opening act Japanese Breakfast – similarities to Purity Ring, Broods and Diiv.
Since the weather was so cooperative, we went out to the seaside boardwalk, and to the Tall Ships festival. All along the east coast, sailing ships tour the big harbours every couple of years and do a sail-past. It is impressive!
Lots of bad stuff happened but I think it will all come out right. Rom put his back out, is going to physio regularly, and continuing to work. He is doing pretty good. My mom had hip replacement surgery after a long wait, and is doing exceptionally well. They only gave her a two-night hospital stay! The father of my childhood friend died at age 76. In my age group, most of us still have our parents and that seems young to go by today’s standards. I was glad to be able to visit in his last days. Most surprisingly, my cousin’s house was struck by lightning and burned to the ground while the family was away! They are feeling wildly lucky that no one was in the house, but they lost everything they owned. Insurance will cover the rebuild but it will probably take a year to go through the process.
Please don’t feel gloomy on my behalf. I think everyone mentioned above (or their families) are feeling quite fortunate in the way things worked out or are improving.
It is hard not to enjoy life when I am surrounded by sunshine and flowers and strawberries and cherries and good music!
My movie list for July was:
Bon Cop Bad Cop – a Canadian police buddy movie with Anglo/French humour and tension. Very enjoyable! Bon Cop Bad Cop 2 was released this year.
Guardians of the Galaxy – #1. I apologize in advance. I didn’t like it. I think that means I am completely humourless.
La Vie en Rose – What a knock-out performance by Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf! It blew me away!
Jellyfish Eyes – A children’s fantasy movie set in contemporary Japan. It had every B-movie over-acting trope you can imagine and I kept shaking my head, but it was still quite touching!
Elstree 1976 – Documentary on Netflix about extras and small-part actors in the 1977 Star Wars movie, many of whom have made a career on the convention circuit, chatting with fans about their moment of on-screen glory.
Vivre Sa Vie – 1962 French new wave movie told in vignettes. Beautifully filmed, full of joie de vivre and glamourous smoking! Predictable ending after having seen Breathless, but it didn’t matter.
Book-wise, after reading Shake Hands with the Devil, I started reading a piece of fluff by Wendy Holden. Her books were always light but clever. They took a slide in quality for a while but I am finding the latest amusing. I read one every summer 😊 I also read a book for my book club, The Door by Magda Szabo, which was both worthwhile and irritating. The main character puts up with a housekeeper who is passive-aggressive at best and narcissistic/damaging at worst. But she has many admirable qualities. It really made me think. (I only found out now that it was made into a movie with Helen Mirren! It appears I’ll be able to watch it on YouTube.) Then I read a book of essays, some comedic, by Scaachi Koul: One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter. It dealt with race, feminism, family, and growing up. Much food for thought told in a fresh voice. Finally, I read the graphic novel about Mama Cass, called California Dreamin’. It made her life and times come alive! I especially liked the expressive drawings.
August will bring our annual trip to London and Brighton, for which we are planning a mix of new and repeat activities!
How was your July?
Just had a listen to a couple of YouTube clips of Tegan and Sara. I’d never heard of them before. Can you name a couple of your fav songs?
It really is lucky about your cousin’s house. That no one got hurt at all. Being same age, I am dealing with friends’ parents now at the passing age. I want my parents to have at least another 10 years but I know it won’t happen.
Hope Rom’s back improves. As a bad back sufferer, I empathise.
But oh!!! To look forward to another trip to London!!! So lucky.
Truly been a good with bad; dark with light month for you.
Yes indeed. I am counting the days until vacation! I am especially fond of Tegan and Sara because Link and I listened to them together for many years and shared the fandom. They were always very indie but their last 3 albums (out of 8) have been much more polished pop. Their first (indie) hit was Walking with a Ghost and some of my other favourite singles are Closer, Fool for Love, Northshore and Back in Your Head.
The tall ships must be interesting to see especially in contrast to the modern supertankers, etc. Glad things are looking up for everyone who had a bad month in some way.
Thanks, Juhli. We always have Navy ships and container ships in the harbour. Lots of folks here interested in shipbuilding and naval history, and sailing in general, and of course there was a pirate festival to go along with!
I’m listening to Japanese Breakfast right now. I’m loving it!
She was even better live! I like the dreampop aspect of the music. A happy discovery.
Hope everyone improving and I sympathise with your cousin losing everything – I know how we felt after the flood and we didn’t lose that much it was mainly all the hard work we had put into the cottage renovating it that was then ripped out. Most of our possessions are here in Yorkshire.
I also hope you bring us some better weather when you come over.
Tall ships look amazing.
Here’s to a better August.
Thanks, Viv. I had a lot on my mind, but good times, too. I hope there is not too much rain when we travel, but otherwise, I don’t mind what the temperature is!
Well, July certainly had it’s ups and downs for you – I hope that everything works out for everyone and that Rom’s back has completely healed before your trip!
July has been all about the “Staycation” and I’ve tried to pack in a lot of things along with a few lazy days.
Went to the following:
.saw “Strictly Ballroom” – lots of fun and very sparkly
.saw “Beautiful” – the Carol King bio – a good story and the music is amazing (it was the music of my life)
.went to he Aga Khan Museum & an open house at the Ismaili Centre which is part of the complex – amazing
.toured the Ontario Legislative Bldg. at Queen’s Park – hadn’t been since I was a kid
.went to the Bata Shoe Museum – so interesting and an amazing exhibit about the Arctic Regions of the world
Canada, Alaska, Siberia, Finland & Greenland are all featured and the shoes & clothing featured are works
.attended 2 Outdoor Art Festivals and even bought a print
.went to The McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg – toured the gallery & grounds & had a picnic lunch
.went for my third tour of the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit at the AGO
.walked the new Trillium Trail along the lakeshore at the old Ontario Place grounds
.went to lunch and to coffee with friends & did as much walking as possible
Gosh – I was a lot busier than I thought! Can’t wait to hear about your trip – have a wonderful time.
You had a great month! I literally just heard of the Aga Khan for the first time yesterday. Will definitely go next time in Toronto. I’m sorry I missed the O’Keeffe exhibit but I hope to go to the Kusama next Spring! The last time I was at the Shoe Museum, some of the Northern footwear was featured, but not a full exhibit. It was very impressive, though. You must be feeling well to have done all that!
I am indeed on a roll! Just saw The Blue Whale exhibit at the ROM – wonderful for all ages and so interesting that they gave us the story behind the exhibit. Remember the two blue whales that died and then washed up in NFLD in 2014? It is these whales that were used and the paperwork involved just to allow the ROM to get people out there is amazing. Well worth visiting if it’s still here when next you visit.
Looks like the whale exhibit ends at beginning of Sept so I won’t get there – hope there is something else good coming up!
Oh my goodness, I can’t believe about your cousin’s house! Sorry for the bad things that have happened but despite those it sounds like you had a relatively good month overall. You managed to read a lot too!
Thanks, Amy. All is well.
I am sorry, I am still playing catch-up with my blog reading. I am blown away that you got to hear Romeo Dallaire speak! I also spent a huge amount of time thinking about Rwanda and went through a whole phase of reading lots of books on the topic.
I love your Tall Ships pic! It looks a lot like Darling Harbour in Sydney!
Rom works in one of the matching buildings behind the tall ship.
I will be honest with you, Gen. Dallaire himself was not the most compelling speaker ever, but it was inspiring to be in the same room with him and his organization. The other staff at Child Soldiers were extremely well-spoken and they had a tendency to jump in and speak for him!