A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Lisa - The Kitchen Goddess Of The Arch
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In the mid 90s and even into the first year of the 21st century a group of four architects (not quite, as one was close to being one but wasn't), one freelance journalist and one Vancouver Sun writer would meet on Thursday early evenings for beer at the Marble Arch. Without getting into trouble I think I can name Sean Rossiter as being the freelance scribe in question. I would occasionally attend these gatherings, bracing myself to tobacco fumigation as a couple of the architects smoked lots. They would order pitchers of beer and talk about golf, sports and comment on the salient attributes of the women on stage. I never did drink and I abandoned pipe and cigar smoking about 15 years ago. But this is the closest I ever got to the idea of male bonding. For me it has been always difficult as I don't fish, golf or do any sports or care for hockey. I felt like an interloper but I was made welcome. I marvelled at how these guys would suddenly know they had had enough to drink and no matter how interesting the conversation or the sizable beauty of the dancer's attributes these guys would stand up and go home. I felt like a wimp as I only drank soda water. If Tony Ricci, the guy who ran the joint, happened to be there we would be unable to pay for any of our drinks. I received unlimited soda waters. Even when Tony wasn't there, Danny the Greek would send a tray of flaming Sambucas our way. We would toast in his direction and down the hatch the concoction went.

Since we were all Canadians, we exercised our male right to eat a hamburger while watching a woman undrape (as they say at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design). We had gained this right by going all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada via our proxy, Gary Taylor, God bless him! The menu was brought by a variety of employees who were in that Never-never land of not being exotics or sassy waitresses. Tony Ricci would have thrown us out if we had ever called any of them servers. After all he had literally hand picked them. So the persons emerging we gave several nicknames and our favorite of all was Lisa The Kitchen Goddess.

She was intelligent, slim and tall. She served us well and when I requested she pose for me in my studio she did. For this photograph I used the unlikely combination of a very sharp and fine grain film called Kodak Technical Pan Film with a terrible, unsharp, single focus box camera called a Bessa with a 6x9 cm format.

Little by little the architects went their separate way. The Arch closed and I have never seen Lisa the Kitchen Goddess again. If Danny is no longer with us I am sure he is serving flaming Sambucas somewhere up there.


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Louis de Bernières's Mandolin & The BMW's Advance/...

Jim Cummins - Avant-garde Forever

Safe & Sound In Celestún

Pannekoeks, John Dys & His Wooden Shoe

Dickens, Phiz, My Father & Ronald Colman

Sweet Juliet & A Burden To Bear

Ray Spaxman, Bill Yee & All Those Other Fine Men

The Hose, The Fence & The Chain

The Great Gatsby, Tim Bray & The Mayan Long Count

The Epson V700 & Charlie The Guardian Angel

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