In the past year, the Etobicoke, Ont., sextet Martha and the Muffins has
risen from obscurity to the top 10 in Canada and Britain, the top five in Australia and No. 1 in Portugal. Nominated for Juno Awards for best song and best new group, The Muffins are minus one Martha. The group was once fronted by two women, Martha Johnson and Martha Ladly—until Ladly left recently to establish a solo career in Britain. “When I’m asked why I’ve left The Muffins, I usually make up some different reason. But it was a difference of attitude, really,” says Ladly, who is forming a new band and working on a solo album. “The band will be called either Women and Museums or Architecture and Morality. The British pop scene is on the brink of something really exciting, and I want to be in the forefront.” The 25-year-old blonde, who already has a fan club in Burlington, Ont., also has plans for an avant-garde release with British synthesizer duo Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. “It’ll probably be the sound of concrete blocks falling from a great height.”
All that happens in Navajo is that when the wind picks up, the cow chips end up on the street,” says Tony Serro, an Arizona real estate broker. But that didn’t stop Ann and Frank Schwinghamer of Kelowna, B.C., and two other couples from paying $730,000 for the little towm near the Petrified Forest. As town owners the group picked up a motel, service station and general store, along with Navajo’s 24 residents. Frank Schwinghamer contends that there is no glamor to owning Navajo, but as strict business investment he anticipates a $100,000-a-year profit. Next on the auction block is nearby Apacheland which generates no noticeable income, but because Ronald Reagan used it in 1965 for several episodes of Death Valley Days Serro is hoping for bids as high as a million dollars.
Seventeen-year-old Julian Lennon, son of the late John Lennon, has said he is leaving his mother, Cynthia, to move from north Wales to New York. He plans to live with Yoko Ono and says he wants to take up drumming. To this end, Ono has hired top studio musician Cheech Iero as a tutor. Before leaving England, Lennon expressed his views about his father’s death. “I really believe he had done everything he wanted to,” said Lennon. “He had preached peace, which is something I believe in. If in fact there is a second life, I know he will be there and to me that is comforting.”
In the wake of the pessimism of the Western world comes the survivalist entrepreneur. Taking full advantage of liberal paranoia over the right-wing swing in the U.S. is Vancouver agent of Armageddon John Dowd, 35, who has recently launched the Ronald Reagan Survival Kit. This $3,000 nuclear aftermath special includes a six-month supply of food for two people, a radiation detection kit, mandatory fire ex-
tinguisher, anti-contamination suit and a copy of War and Peace to read while everyone else is in the final stage of meltdown. Says Dowd: “Perhaps I’ll throw in a guide to infra-red cookery.”
In the tradition of Dirty Harry, actor-director Clint Eastwood showed at a recent celebration in his honor held by New York’s Museum of Modern Art that he’s a man who doesn’t mince his words. While taking a tour of the gallery, Eastwood paused to level his famous squint in the direction of a wallsized abstraction by Jackson Pollock. Remarked Eastwood: “Looks like a 20martini situation.”
Back to the relative boredom of Winnipeg last week, physician Richard Nash, 26, and geophysicist buddy Carmine Militano, 27, were busy sorting through 4,000 slides taken on an 18-month cycling tour which took them from Inuvik to Tierra del Fuego. The two former school chums planned the 30,000-km marathon as an escape from workaday drudgery and embarked July 16, 1979. For $8,000 each, they escaped the social rut and found not a few hazards, including being mistaken for bandits and shot at in Mexico. They were blown off their bikes by strong winds in Patagonia, had rocks and horse manure hurled at them in Peru and were pedalling through El Salvador last March
when Archbishop Oscar Romero was
murdered. “It was pretty tense,” said Militano, who managed to break his hand on the trip when his brakes failed and he tumbled 30 metres down a hill. For Nash, one of the greatest sights was a parade of three million penguins on the coast of Argentina: “That was great, but the poverty of the people wasn’t,” he says. “You get a very different social idea than that shown in National Geographic.”
Faces at the Supreme Court of Ontario turned crimson last week after learning that two judges—Justice Lawrence Pennell, former solicitor-general of Canada, and Justice Dennis O’Leary—may have overstepped the law. By failing to live in Toronto, “or
within 40 km thereof,” both violated the federal Judges Act. Pennell lives in Brantford, 90 km west of Toronto. O’Leary, however, insists his Hamilton home is not more than 40 km away from the big city, but even as-the-crow-flies measurement shows he is eight kilometres out of bounds. How to get around the thorny problem? Simple, says Chief Justice William Howland. “The court will ask the federal justice department for an order-in-council.” This would permit both judges to stay where they are. If the judges can’t sidestep the provision, Howland will ask that the law be thrown out entirely. After all, Supreme Court judges earn a paltry $60,000 a year. Says Howland: “I doubt if they could buy houses in Toronto for comparable prices.”
Toronto film producer Michael Hirsh needed a singing voice for his villainous cartoon character Mok, a summoner of evil demons soon to darken the screen in Drats, a feature-length animated musical. Mok had to be wicked enough to kidnap Angel, the darling of the Ohmtown band, played by Deborah Harry, and spirit her away from her boyfriend and fellow band members, played collectively by rock band Cheap Trick. He found his villain in Lou Reed. The fiendish plot involves a mix of black magic and high-technology wizardry, with Reed’s Mok exploiting Harry’s dulcet tones. Between more tender moments, Reed has never shied from playing the role of devil-within-us, as musically demonstrated in the razorblade logic of his songs Vicious and the demonic Black Angel’s Death Song. “I like the way I look in Drats,” says Reed, “malevolent and egocentric.”
His tennis racket speaks with blazing eloquence, but off the court Czech star Ivan Lendl makes the normally taciturn Bjorn Borg look like a chatterbox. With his impressive wins, including the Canadian Open, during his first full year on the pro circuit, experts tap Lendl as the player most
likely to challenge tennis’ top two, Borg and John McEnroe. He certainly will never win McEnroe’s undisputed title as the fastest mouth on the tour. Last week in New York at the Volvo Masters for the year’s top eight point-earners, Lendl gave demonstrations of both his powerful ground strokes and his stolid conversation. Question: “Is your fore-
hand your best stroke?” Answer: “I don’t know. You see it, I don’t.” Question: “What is your weakest stroke?” Answer: “I don’t say.” Question: “Why did you do so well in your first year?” Answer: “I played better than my opponents.” Not much to light up the talkshow circuit. Still, when you’re only 20 and earn over $500,000 in your first year on the job, who needs words?
When champion racehorse Dahlia and stallion Lyphard frolic on the snowy fields of Bluegrass, Ky., Million$ will be watching. “We’re going to be in on a $2-million birth,” says George Yemec, editor and publisher of the magazine for the lottery hopeful. Yemec, 37, celebrated the first anniversary of the magazine by commissioning the team behind last year’s successful gift book Champions, writer Michael Magee and equine photographer Pat Bayes, to serialize the breeding, birth and growth of an expected-to-be champion. “We’re concerned with the business of winning,” says Yemec. “This one’s bound to be a champion.” With the first instalment about to hit the stands, Dahlia is now with foal on the ranch of owner and mega-millionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt, whose high profile on the silver market last year crashed prices and cost his holdings an estimated $4 billion.
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