Two Vancouver Institutions Compared: VAG and VSO; Looking Forward to London; Learning Patience

I shall write contrary to form and begin with negativity by initially discussing VAG. I returned to Vancouver from a stay in London on December 15, 2018. Very soon afterwards I journeyed to to VAG and was appalled by its appearance, it was tawdry. Such a word and it shall be the word of the day.

Tawdry is an adjective:: gaudy, flashy, showy, garish, loud; tasteless, vulgar, trashy, junky, shoddy, shabby, gimcrack, chintzy, kitsch, kitsch; informal tacky, cheesy, schlocky. ANTONYMS tasteful (The tawdry rings she wore on her fingers). I saw the place with new eyes, it was shoddy and shabby. The display of the ‘new wished for museum’ was still on the wall despite the fact that there is NOT going to be a new museum – a fact that was established and even known by me over a year ago, perhaps even two years ago. Apparently the top administrative officials are scurrying about trying to get another job so that their names will not be associated with the failure of the growth of the institution. But, if anything, things are getting worse. At the moment unionized workers are on strike due to the lack of responsiveness of the VAG administration. That is bad enough, but my today’s email contained an argument sent to members telling administration’s side of the story. It was unfair and tacky beyond belief. What were they thinking? They were not. I know and respect many individuals who work at the gallery, they are fine and hard-working people. Will I cross the picket line and enter VAG – never. The policies and procedures of VAG is flawed and entirely different from any museum known, the world over. Other museums offset their permanent collection free to the public – with admission charges only to the special exhibits. Not so VAG and what makes it so pathetic is that Emily Carr’s wonderful works are part of their permanent collection. It does make me happy that I am leaving Vancouver, to enter some of the best museums in the world. My programme at Sotheby’s Institution of Art will ensure this.

The contrast between VAG and VSO is incredible – black versus white. This was illustrated last evening. I was so incredibly fortunate to attend a concert, Czech Beauty: The Moldau. An early 6:30 beginning, no interval but afterwards a gathering with music, with musicians in attendance, booze and shoes Shoes you say? Yes shoes because the concert was sponsored by Fluevog, a marvelous shoe company. (By the way, I already own a pair of the chic shoes.) I met the founder and his wife at the Granville Street store, open after the concert with proceeds going to VSO. Of course, I gave them my blog card. But back to the concert, the conductor was Brett Mitchell who hails from Denver, Colorado. He began by giving us a preview of Smetana’s Moldau – explaining how the music reflected the river itself. It made the music so enjoyable, so riveting. It ends at the castle in Prague, a place known to me. I did weep upon hearing it. Then to learn that both Smetana and Dvořák were buried within its walls. Then along came Symphony Number 8 – Anton’s masterpiece beginning with a guided tour by Brett Mitchell. It was stunning. The audience, usually tepid, clapped and clapped and clapped. Afterwards, guess who had her picture taken with the Maestro? Alexis McBride, the picture, taken by a woman who had known Brett Mitchell for decades. (I left my silly iPhone at home). Fascinating conversations with musicians – a cello player and a VERY handsome viola player who actually had personality and a sense of humour. It was most refreshing to listen and laugh with him as vacuous, selfish handsome men are boring, and somewhat destructive. Then home, after chatting with the manager of a nearby store. We spoke of the homeless,, a most fascinating conversation. We agreed and then not agreed and agreed again. All of this took place within one block from my apartment. I now fear that it is going to be horribly difficult to leave this Vancouver. Well, not VAG but VSO and other people, places and things that you shall continue to hear about. For various reasons it is most impractical that I remain in Vancouver, or in Canada for that matter. The primary concern is medical care but there are other factors as well. But nothing is all good or all bad – not even Vancouver. I am seriously considering leaving some of my possessions here in a storage unit nearby. Kathleen has been such a help in this regard – things are going to work out,it seems.

On the other hand two things happened that assured me that I am on the right path – the path that will lead me to London. The American Consulate called, my passport has already arrived, I can pick it up on Monday. I found an academic reference from Dominican University, therefore my Sotheby’s application will soon be complete. What a privilege it will be, and please do not forget that I am seventy-five years old. I do hate to admit it but soon I shall be seventy-six.

I am going to London. The next blog shall address the situation at Dolphin Square in the Pimlico District of London and will include a web site that will enable readers to sign a petition attempting to curtail the development plans for the complex. It is a fascinating story. Faithful readers will remember that I once lived within its walls and they did me wrong. I do occasionally have a revenge motive that never stops. But mostly, I do listen to the words of Uncle Dave:“Stop fighting Alexis! Go to the sidelines and watch as they will do themselves in!” It happens rather frequently – they often do themselves in. It takes awhile, therefore, I must learn patience. Another word for the day must be patience. It is a noun with two possible meanings. forbearance, tolerance, restraint, self-restraint, stoicism; calmness, composure, equanimity, imperturbability, phlegm, understanding, indulgence. (She tried everyone’s patience) Also

perseverance, persistence, endurance, tenacity, assiduity, application, staying power, doggedness, determination, resolve, resolution, resoluteness. (A task requiring patience).

But what is most precious is the quote from John Updike. “A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people’s patience.” My goodness, I do know several healthy male adult bores, but they are leaving my life. It is because forbearance and self-restraint has come to play. Also a bit of tenacity and doggedness.

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