OPENING NOTES

Mick Jagger roots for reform, Stan Tyminski gets his message across, and Mozart sings for the fur trade

September 9 1991

OPENING NOTES

Mick Jagger roots for reform, Stan Tyminski gets his message across, and Mozart sings for the fur trade

September 9 1991

OPENING NOTES

Mick Jagger roots for reform, Stan Tyminski gets his message across, and Mozart sings for the fur trade

A FOWL SENSE OF HUMOR

Stanislaw Tyminski, the Canadian businessman who was a surprise candidate in last year's Polish presidential elections, recently turned his attention to dead chickens. The man who founded Party X following his defeat by Lech Walesa in the December, 1990, elections says that he was so incensed by a newspaper account of an interview that he gave on Polish radio recently that he sent the editor of Gazeta Wyborcza, one of Warsaw's largest newspapers, a dead chicken. Tyminski told Maclean's that the article portrayed him as a supporter of the Aug. 19 coup in the Soviet Union. The politician directed his

anger at Adam Michnik, editor of the 455,000-circulation newspaper. Said Tyminski: 'T was offended when it said that I supported the coup. It was a big manipulation." He added: ''I was described in the article as a decaying carcass, so Michnik was shipped a decaying carcass." Tyminski said that he deliberately kept the plucked chicken around his office for a few days to allow it to ripen before dispatching it by messenger to Michnik. The editor was not available for comment, but his secretary, Agnieszka Stawiarska, confirmed the incident. She described the hen as "unfresh" and said that "everybody laughed" when it arrived at the editor's office. Meanwhile, Canada's contribution to Polish politics said: "There is a custom in Chicago to send a head of a carp or of a horse to those who cheat. But I could not buy any."

Indulging in a bit of Idler tattle

Wanted: one wealthy Canadian, preferably with intellectual aspirations, to inject new life into The Idler—Canada's journal of erudite conservatism. Idler staff members bought the financially troubled magazine, which sells 10,000 copies six times a year for a cover price of $3.95, from Manny Drukier in 1989, and it is still limping along in the red. Mgr publisher Alexander Szemberg said that he has discussed the Torontobased magazine’s future with a number of Canadian blue bloods, but has been unable to find a benefactor. But he said that he may now be close to reaching an agreement

with Toronto publishing baron Conrad Black. He declined to divulge details, but said that the deal will enhance The Idlers circulation. Black could not be reached for comment. Saturday Night magazine, which is owned by Black, begins national distribution with

Southam Inc.’s newspapers and Toronto’s Globe and Mail later this month. But even with Black’s help, Szemberg emphasized that The Idler will not become a platform for Black’s views. Said Szemberg: “Black is concerned about the level of debate in Canada.”

ROCK ’N’ ROLL REVOLUTION

During the recent short-lived coup in the Soviet Union, Russian President Boris Yeltsin sought support from an unlikely somce in London— rock star Mick Jagger. Yeltsin's aides asked the rock 'n' roll giant to lend his voice to their cause. To their surprise, Jagger sent them a fax with the message, “We're rooting for you." Said Artemy Troitsky, head of Russian television and a Yeltsin ally: “We were stunned and delighted. Rock music symbolizes freedom and unity, and Mick's support meant more to the young people here than any politician's pledge. "

SHE STANDS TO CONQUER

A bidding war has erupted for the memoirs of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. And the price tag could go as high as $6 million—close to the amount reportedly paid to Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf for his upcoming autobiography. According to a highly placed source at HarperCollins in New York City, the company—owned by Thatcher supporter Rupert Murdoch—has already offered the Iron Lady $4.6 million. But the source added: “We have indications that we are

not the highest bidder.” The Macmillan Publishing Co. is also bidding for her memoirs, but com-

pany officials declined to reveal how much. Since the Conservative party forced her to step down last November, Thatcher has expressed her support of coalition forces during the Gulf War and for Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev during the recent coup. Meanwhile, Marvin Josephson, Thatcher’s agent, who also represents Schwarzkopf, has been meeting with publishers’ representatives. Asked about the state of negotiations, Josephson would only say that a deal will be announced “sooner rather than later.”

Dated books

That time waits for no man—or publisher—should be a lesson well learned at Key Porter Books in Toronto. In the final months of 1989, the publishing house had just put the final touches to a book titled The 1980s:

Maclean ’s Chronicles the Decade

when the Berlin -Wall collapsed, catapulting the world into a new era. But it was too late to turn back the presses, so the book does not include one of the most dramatic events of the decade. Now, history has repeated itself. Representatives from the Soviet Novosti News Agency saw the Maclean ’s book at the Montreal Book Fair in the fall of 1989 and were so impressed that they decided to embark on a similar project chronicling events in the Soviet Union. The book, U.S.S.R.: The Decisive Years 1981-1991, rolled off its presses in mid-August, and 5,000 copies are now on their way to Canada for Key Porter to try to sell—without an account of the overthrow and resurrection of Mikhail Gorbachev and the triumph of Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Said Key Porter editor-in-chief Phyllis Bruce: “That’s what happens when you publish books on current events.” Added Natalie Chung, a promotional assistant on the Decisive Years project: “It’s one of those things. History just marches on and on despite publishing dates.”

Taking it on the chin

Joe Clark got it on the chin recently, but the constitutional affairs minister appears to be recovering nicely. Addressing a group of lawyers in Calgary, Clark disclosed that the Inuit have given him a new name to get around them difficulty in pronouncing his moniker. According to Clark, whose physical appearance has sometimes been the subject of various jokes, it is Tallualaaq, which means “little chin.” Noting that Prime Minister Brian Mulroney fully supports his recent constitutional efforts, Clark declared: ‘Tm speaking on behalf of Big Chin. ”

A HISTORICAL INTERLUDE

Edmonton librettist Paul Conway has taken liberties with history in a new opera that opened last week in Edmonton. The Athabasca FurTrading Adventure of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the musical chronicle of a fictional visit by the composer to Alberta's Athabasca region in the 1780s, where the explorer Alexander Mackenzie persuaded him to write an opera about beaver hats in order to promote the Canadian fur trade in Europe. Said Conway: "The story is tongue in cheek, but the music and the characters are the genuine article and I try to treat them with respect." Conway used actual Mozart music for his opera, in which the composer dismisses colonials as "a flock of half-crazed, backwoods hat hunters."

A PENNY-WISE PREMIER

Nova Scotia's thrifty premier, Donald Cameron, appears

to be scraping the bottom of the trough with his latest cost-cutting campaign. As a result, some members of the civil service are now complaining. But Cameron claims

that he will save

about $400,000 a year by, among other things, cutting off free coffee and bottled water for

government employees. Also, there will be no more renting of plants to decorate the legislature and its offices. As well, elected officials who lease cars will have to replace them with vehicles worth no more than $21,300

when their leases expire. Declared one disgruntled bureaucrat: “This is really petty. Taking a couple of cups of coffee from cabinet ministers and staff isn’t going to save much.” He added:

“Maybe we should

bring our own coffee machines— or tell guests to cough up money.” Or let them eat cake.