PEOPLE

BARBARA MATTHEWS June 15 1981

PEOPLE

BARBARA MATTHEWS June 15 1981

PEOPLE

BARBARA MATTHEWS

Now that new wave is old hat, record company prophets are predicting the biggest pop music revival of them all: the return of disco! The beat that unleashed legions of white-suited John Travolta clones is set for a major relaunch in different clothes: buccaneer garb and costume ball fancy dress replace layered neck chains and Spandex pants. Leading the pack is the original disco diva, New York City fashion model turned chanteuse, Grace Jones. “Fve never tried to limit myself, even from the beginning,” says the Jamaican-born singer who now sports a radical crew cut. On her latest dance disc, Nightclubbing, Jones tackles the David Bowie-penned title track, as well as tunes by Police-man Sting. Her version of the new disco—already dubbed “electrobeat”—is all the rage in the same hot spots that launched disco six years ago. Says Jones: “Fve been going to the places I started—and people tell me Fm the only one who’s ever come back!”

The barroom brawl with an Illinois marshmallow salesman cost Billy Martin his manager’s job with the New York Yankees two years ago. But that has obviously not dampened Martin’s zest for confrontation. Just ask umpire Terry Cooney who swore out a common assault charge last week against Martin in Toronto after an enraged Martin threw and kicked dirt at the ump’s rump. Martin has already been fined $1,000 and suspended for seven days by American League President Lee MacPhail, but if convicted on Cooney’s charges he could face a $500 fine and six months in jail. Martin has all summer to repent since the summons won’t be served until his Oakland A’s play the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto again on Sept. 21. “Cooney is supposed to be unbiased,” complains Martin. “How can an umpire who has filed charges against a manager be unbiased?”

“XXIriting doesn’t come easier ▼ T with age,” says Pierre Berton, 60, as he awaits the September publication of his 27th book, Flames Across the Border: 1813-1811+. At a recent party he threw for fellow members of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the country’s richest and most prolific wordsmith confided he had rewritten the first three pages of his most recent volume, The Invasion of Canada: 1812-1813, 20 times. “The whole book required an un-9 precedented four full drafts,” Berton sighed. “Fm slowing down.” If the three-time winner of the GovernorGeneral’s Award for nonfiction (who just won a Canadian Authors Association award for his Invasion trouble and collected an honorary doctorate of literature from the University of Windsor) finds himself really dawdling after he finishes work on two upcoming TV shows and yet another book, he can depend upon his $l-million investments in real estate, stocks, gold and pension funds to keep the wolf at bay in his dotage.

^T^he last time I was in a fight I JL was in Grade 6,” sighed Canada’s indoor sprinting champ Cal Langford last week after putting his fleetfooted skills to use in apprehending two vandals who were slashing his tires with a switchblade. Walking across a dark parking lot near his Winnipeg home, Langford, 21, says he spied two men hovering around his car. “Then I heard the air coming out of my tires and just made a dash—60 or 70 metres.” Knocking over one culprit, Langford tackled the second and wrestled with him until bystanders and police came to his aid. In the struggle Langford aggravated a recent leg injury but expects to be back on the track in a few weeks. Says the parking lot hero, “I didn’t get scared until it was over.”

It’s me—warts and all,” confessed former speaker of the then-minority Ontario legislature Jack Stokes after his official but hardly traditional portrait was hung with those of his predecessors at Queen’s Park. Though unveiled to gasps and raised eyebrows, the unflattering portrait by Red Lake, Ont.born artist Lynn Donoghue, 28, whom Stokes picked to do the work, made the subject happy. “I’m comfortable with it,” says Stokes, who is sitting again as just the plain old honorable member for Lake Nipigon for the opposition New Democratic Party. “After all, that’s what they do with former speakers— hang them.”

Tt doesn’t matter whether I sing in -M.the bathtub or for 2,000 people,” claims Maureen Forrester, Canada’s foremost contralto, who soft-shoed her way into her first nightclub engagement in Toronto last week to the tune of a traditional 1920s saloon ditty, Great Big Baby, and rave reviews. Dramatic change is not unusual for the Montrealborn diva, known to her friends as “Big Mo” and famed internationally as the premier interpreter of the works of Gustav Mahler. Last year, Forrester applied her vibrato to the role of “Bloody” Mary in an Edmonton production of South Pacific and next summer she will fix her vocal cords to the role of Mame under the direction of Brian Macdonald. In between, she will sandwich her usual schedule of 120 operatic performances. “When I was 30, I promised to retire at 40 and at 50 I’m booked for four years,” laughs Forrester. “I’m going to end up as the songbird of some geriatric ward, but I promise it won’t be dull.”

Lt.-Col. Ron (Awful) Werry, commanding officer of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, was ducking to avoid the flak over his rank deed last week. The unit’s colonel-in-chief, Prince Charles, had invited a 21-man contingent on a 10-day trip to London July 22 to be a part of the guard along the royal wedding route. Charles’s invitation specifically requested one commissioned officer and 20 noncoms. Fifty-nine Rifles applied, but Werry admits he cheated on the selection by temporarily reducing the rank of four commissioned officers. A major was reduced to captain, two captains dropped to warrant officers and a lieutenant became a master corporal. The rank-pulling enraged the genuine NCOs, who threatened to quit rather than be passed over. “It’s my prerogative to do this,” said Werry. “But my phone’s been ringing all day... the BBC in Washington wants to know what’s happening. I had to take Friday off.” Obviously Werry’s superiors had his home number: they overruled him late Friday night. This week the selection begins all over again—from real NCOs.

James Gaius Watt, the 43-year-old lawyer appointed U.S. secretary of the interior by Ronald Reagan just four months ago, may be becoming the country’s most unpopular man. One of the nation’s largest environmental groups, the Sierra Club, is seeking one million signatures for a petition it plans to send to Congress this fall demanding Watt’s dismissal. In the first week of its OUST WATT drive, the club collected nearly 100,000 signatures. The reason? Watt (who has hired four bodyguards) is championing the corporate rights of oil companies and other entrepreneurs to exploit America’s 770 million acres of government-owned land, because he believes he has a religious duty to do so. The born-again Christian recently told a home interior committee: “My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns. ... I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns.”

Doug Heal, the man the tarnished Social Credit government in B.C. hired to polish up its image, has been handing free publicity to the opposition New Democratic Party since his arrival in April. First there was the matter of Heal hiring himself. Last October when the Socreds paid a Toronto firm, Harris Heal Ltd.(in which he is a partner), more than $24,000 for a report on improving their public relations, they also asked for someone to direct a B.C. information service. Heal not only picked up $16,500 of the take for his five weeks’ work on the report but got the $62,500a-year job and a deputy minister’s rank. His already prominent profile was boosted when Heal hired a husbandand-wife team of Hollywood producers to study the government’s image by evaluating each member’s videotaped idiosyncrasies. Even his new nickname, Cecil B. deHeal, doesn’t have him down. “I just want to get on with the job,” he says.