The slicked-down hair and full moustache were new, but the haughty style was familiar as Freddie Mercury’s vocals scorched through 48 speakers. In one of the few sellout grandstand shows at the Canadian National Exhibition which closed last week, his group, Queen, dazzled 26,000 with an eye-blitzing light show and plumes of dry ice for 100 minutes. Mercury, an accomplished pianist who struts even when he stands still, does admit to some musical limitations. A tambourine is something to be thrown to the crowd and a guitar is but an accessory. “I don’t usually play this,” he admitted at one point, adding candidly, “I only know four chords.”
Anyone who accepts the External Affairs portfolio in a cabinet run by Pierre Elliott Trudeau must expect some identity problems. So when Mark MacGuigan accepted the job last March and forthwith let it be known that he was going to be his own man, there were some who heard the silence from 24 Sussex Drive and had their doubts. Last week the word from Ottawa was that MacGuigan may be about to have his identity crisis solved for him—over, of all things, the airport that Prime Minister Maurice Bishop wants to build in Grenada. The issue arose when the European Community’s commissioner for development aid, Claude Cheysson, mentioned that Cuba was helping Bishop out and suggested that Canada should combine with the EC and others to swamp the Cuban contribution and upstage Fidel Castro. MacGuigan’s reaction was an apprehensive harrumph about the dangers of Reds under the runways. Trudeau, however, lent Cheysson a more sympathetic ear. The result is a revival in the feud between External Affairs and the Canadian International Development Agency, which likes the idea of outpointing both Castro and its longtime punching partners at External. The hot money says: no contest. It’ll be Trudeau and CIDA by a knockout.
ífldon’t want to run anymore,” said ■former Yippie leader and wry revolutionary Abbie Hoffman, as he turned himself in last week after 6V2 years of underground life. In 1974, Hoffman was arrested for trying to peddle 1V2 kilos of cocaine to a narc and he fled the mainstream of life to avoid a possible life sentence. The story of his drop-out years is revealed in his autobiography, Soon to Be a Major Motion Picture, which was, “coincidentally,” released the same week Hoffman reported to the police and made an appearance on ABC’s 20/20 show with Barbara Walters presiding. “There are too many people of the
’60s turned sour in the ’70s, turned rich in the ’80s,” said Hoffman, 43, who lived under the name Barry Freed in Fineview, N.Y., near the Canadian border. Though he now sports minor alterations to his face by a plastic surgeon, Hoffman contends he’s the same old joker he always was: “Once a Yippie, always a Yippie.”
There's no doubt that in time/The composing of rhyme/Will be one of our North York traditions. So versed North York teacher Edward Baxter, 52, when Mayor Mel Lastman swore him in last week as the Metro Toronto municipality’s official poet laureate. For giving all the news that scans at official functions, Baxter, who has been published in his school’s staff bulletin, will be paid a nickels-for-rhymes fee of $1 a year.
Inuit negotiator Thomas Suluk hates to be kept waiting—especially by tardy cabinet ministers. Suluk spent a year in Ottawa waiting for the Indian affairs ministry to assign a negotiator to discuss land claims of the Inuit Tapirisat over about IV2 million square miles of tundra and sea. After 12 months of no action, Suluk packed his suitcase and left the capital, returning to his home in Eskimo Point, N.W.T. Indian Affairs Minister John Munro, who was in a Hamilton, Ont., hospital suffering an abscess in his jaw following removal of its wire retainer, was vexed by Suluk’s leave-taking. He promptly named Saskatoon lawyer Robert Mitchell to head land negotiations for the eastern Arctic. That’s not quite good enough for Suluk, who suggests that from now on negotiators should have to come to him.
It would have seemed incongruous for Joe Frazier to have hugged and kissed referee Arthur Mercante after outpoint-
ing Muhammad Ali in 1971, but the raunchy ring world is changing. Actress Gwen Farrell, 47, who has played a variety of nurses on M*A*S*H, recently received her licence to referee fights in California. Already a jubilant 15-yearold victor has awarded Farrell with hugs and kisses, but she is well aware of the other spoils of pugilism. “I’ve had a lot of beer on the back of my shirt, so I know the referee gets all the crap.”
The fifth annual Festival of Festivals opened its doors to international film-makers last week. “At Cannes, they make you dress up and treat you shabbily. Here you don’t have to dress up,” said producer Bill Marshall, who was honored for his founding role by festival director Wayne Clarkson. Nevertheless, Marshall wore a tuxedo to the opening night gala screening of Loving Couples, starring James Coburn and Shirley MacLaine. Chauffeurs and their accompanying limousines were in a frenzy around the theatre as luminaries made
their way through the throngs who gathered for a glimpse. Among those attending the gala were Coburn (who also stars in Marshall’s film Mr. Patman) and Couples' executive producer David Susskind, 58, who arrived with his Saskatchewan-born wife Joyce Davidson and daughter Samantha. “I love the picture,” said Susskind, who is supervising $125 million worth of TV and movie production for Time-Life Inc. this year. “It’s about love, marriage, adultery and living together—everything that’s happening today.”
iillfhen Stan Kenton spills a cup of WV coffee, he doesn’t say, ‘Somebody, please help me clean this up.’ He says, ‘Look! I have created a mess!’ ” So observed Montreal-born comic and social pundit Mort Sahl about his musical idol, who died at the age of 68 last year. Kenton’s fans love that sort of anecdotal tribute to the band leader’s memory, and later this month they will be treated to 832 pages of the maestro’s life in a biography titled Stan Kenton: Artistry in Rhythm. Author William F. Lee, 51, first attended a Kenton concert in 1945 and found that “the sheer volume just blew you off your feet.” Now dean of the University of Miami’s music school, Lee spent two years assembling his epic, which includes about 200 photographs charting Kenton from the cradle to the grave. Lee interviewed Kenton extensively before his death and contacted about 400 of Kenton’s “players, writers, singers and bus drivers.” Bus drivers? “Oh yes, Kenton believed if you were on the road you had to be literally on the road. That bus was his creative headquarters.” Just when T-shirts reading BRYAN GREGORY IS MY DAD began coming into vogue, The Cramps guitarist left the group and was replaced by a woman
known as Julien H. Nevertheless, the New York-based band continues to pump out what has been known variously as punkabilly and voodoo rockabilly. “Anybody trying to re-create rockabilly is missing the point,” contends singer Lux Interior. “It’s not as important as, say, stamp collecting.” Though their second album is titled Songs the Lord Taught Us, The Cramps don’t take themselves half as seriously as Christian-convert Bob Dylan. Having encountered a church in Utah that is named after Jayne Mansfield, rhythm guitarist Poison Ivy Rorschach concludes: “They’re all the same god: God, Krishna, Jayne Mansfield. . . .” Interjects Interior: “Yes, but Jayne Mansfield is hard to chant.”
jjilappeal to women because they can lidentify with what I sing about,” explains rhythm and blues singer Millie Jackson, whose latest album, For Men Only, should serve to dispel the feminist tag dished out to her by Gloria Steinern and the crew at Ms. magazine. Indeed, wearing skintight sequined Spandex bodysuits and singing about the woes of wayward husbands and the loneliness of the kept woman hardly qualify her as a bellwether for equality-pushers. “I’m just trying to be true to life,” says Jackson, who sprinkles her songs with earthy language and scatalogical dialogue reminiscent of early Redd Foxx and Richard Pryor albums. “Feminists just seem interested in listening to my hurtwomen songs,” she complains. “I’m sure many of them don’t listen all the way through my albums.”
They are calling it a “trade war” and, although they have yet to do battle on the high seas, displeasure has been noted on both sides of the Atlantic. The unlikely combatants are Canada’s Telidon and British Telecom. The two videotex systems have been in keen competition in the international marketplace and Telidon, utilizing the newest technology, has been doing quite well for itself, thank you. With an all’sfair-in-love-and-corporate-war attitude, the British issued a statement this summer that their system was sanctioned by an international governing body as “the preferred videotex standard.” When word of “the errors of fact” made its way to Canadian shores, Minister of Communications Francis Fox took occasion to parry. Accusing the British of “not playing cricket,” Fox issued his own statement noting that the competition seems “to be obscuring the facts.” Andrew Stevens, a batman for British Telecom, insists that it’s all a misunderstanding. “I’m quite willing to come to Canada to discuss the matter,” he says, “but I’m afraid of being shot at the border.”
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