He was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Montreal. His father, who had an engineering degree but ran a clothing business, died when he was nine years old. During degree studies that were solid rather than stellar, he did receive one endorsement indicating future directions: an award for creative writing. A member of the […]

1 Pan is the Greek god of Nature, of untrammelled wilds and rustic settings. He is the player of music, the companion of nymphs, the patron of shepherd and flocks, and a bit of a lad with the ladies. Goat from the waist down, crowned with curling horns, it is sometimes written that Pan is […]

Yesterday I ran a beginner’s dungeon for a group of children between the ages of 11 and 15 (plus an embedded 50-something). Today I’m recovering. The convalescent state rekindled a process of memory-mining around my introduction to the prince of all role-playing games, an excavation that began last year when I read David M. Ewalt’s […]

Having received polite encouragement to pursue the ‘Curiosity Corner’ series from indulgent readers, I rushed off to compile a list of candidates, pulling out LPs and CDs with butterfly abandon. I thought about the 1956 Folkways album, Folk Music of Jamaica, then jumped to the recent haul of library records and the battered Heavy Rock […]

There was a poster I recall seeing many years ago that captured those difficult times with insight and humour. It came to mind this week. The quote is variously attributed to Ashleigh Brilliant, Aunty Acid, Jennifer Yane and Author Unknown. I reckon it’s Brilliant. As one does in trying times, I turned to music. Something […]

A few years back I came across a seemingly serious new event: International Cassette Day. Apparently some misguided souls were entirely genuine in wanting to reenergize this obsolete and never-very-good-in-the-first-place medium on the back of the (then) nascent vinyl revival. Well, LPs are certainly going strong, but thankfully cassettes remain consigned to the back of the audio wardrobe in […]

I Never Loved A Man The Way That I Love You was one of four—count ‘em, 1-2-3-4—albums released under Aretha Franklin’s name during 1967. Four albums for two different labels. And that’s the key point of Lady Soul’s ’67 story. Aretha released her first long player, Songs of Faith, way back in 1956 when she was […]