January 14, 1980

Lady dances the blues 5051

Lady dances the blues

She stands there in an old dress, hair falling rapturously below her waist. She’s listening to the sorrow-soaked voice of bluesman Tom Waits singing his down-and-out version of Waltzing Matilda. Suddenly, her feet gnarl, her calf muscles turn rigid as rock, her arms and hands shake, then shoot out with revivalist fervor.
Claude Ryan’s national dream 1617

Claude Ryan’s national dream

Claude Ryan is one of those singular Canadian politicians that, lately, only Quebec seems able to beget. Imagine a class portrait of the current crop of federal and provincial leaders: who besides Ryan, René Lévesque and Pierre Trudeau would stand out as men of vision, character and, as their redeeming flaw, petty cussedness when they don’t get their way?
Attacking Irish myths of violence 1213

Attacking Irish myths of violence

On the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 14, a packed debating chamber at Trinity College, Dublin, heard Dr. Conor Cruise O’Brien lay yet another Irish nationalist myth to rest. He denounced “these miserable, vacuous centenary celebrations” of the birth of Patrick Pearse—executed by the British for his part in the abortive Easter Rising of 1916.
Small victories in the war on cancer 4647

Small victories in the war on cancer

It is still a war for believers, sluggish battles fought in laboratories, clinics and boardrooms throughout North America against the disease that claims one in four lives. Only a few decades ago the arsenal was slight, the war chest a meagre $1.5 million—less than many companies spent to “sell soapsuds,” recalls one full-time U.S. fund-raiser.
Letters 1415


I could not have written four hit plays and won three awards, national and international, without the grants of the Canada Council. I am grateful for what Ms. Amiel calls the grant culture in A Simple Path to Cultural Improvement ... (Dec. 3).
Death for détente? 2627

Death for détente?

The message from the Kremlin clattered over the rarely used Telex hotline in the Pentagon. Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev was responding to a sharply worded message from U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who had called the invasion of Afghanistan “gross interference” in the country’s internal affairs and a “blatant violation of accepted international rules of behavior.
People 3435


When you are 19 years old and have no acting experience, it’s not easy to land the lead in a million-dollar movie. Unless, of course, you are pretty and happen to meet the genetic criteria of an unusual character. But Burnaby, B.C.’s Cindy Jensen met those criteria and she is now starring in Up River, an adventure that is being filmed in the B.C. interior.
Ottawa West: where turnabout is fair play 2223

Ottawa West: where turnabout is fair play

It isn’t a problem likely to rouse much sympathy in a nation that already roundly detests Ottawa, but political organizers in the comfortably middle-class riding of Ottawa West face a particularly vexing situation Feb. 18: many of their staunchest supporters will miss the election because they’ll be wintering in Florida.
Heroic and human explorations 5455

Heroic and human explorations

Robert Flaherty’s vision of the North, a harsh environment where figures play out the rituals of survival in black and white against the horizon, is one that has dominated the perceptions of southerners since the release of his 1922 documentary masterpiece, Nanook of the North.
From sea to dying sea 67

From sea to dying sea

Almost 10 years ago I made my first dive beneath the ice of the Arctic Ocean. It was a marvelous feeling, knowing that my diving companions and I were the first to see this remote corner of the ocean floor. Above us were blocks of white ice, framed in cobalt sunbursts.
January 71980 January 211980