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


Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Pico Iyer & Me
Friday, November 23, 2007

I have often written here how my father was a writer, an expert tango dancer, a graceful swimmer and a very good cook. Of his four talents I can only vouch for the fourth one as we often cooked together. I never saw him swim or dance the tango nor do I ever recall seeing him write or see anything he ever wrote. In fact the only record of his writing that I have is half his signature in his copy of the King James Bible.

The last time I was in Argentina, four years ago, I made it a point to go to the Buenos Aires Herald where he had worked in the 40s and early 50s. I met up with a very sad British expat editor who reminded me of Graham Greene's Charlie Fortnum in his The Honorary Consul. The melancholic editor, smoking Player's (just like my fathe had) told me how he was about to go back "home" after so many years in "BA". He stuck out as a Brit in that Herald newsroom and if he ever sobered up to make it to the airport he would have been branded as a colonial in Britain. The man told me that I could help myself to look at the paper's microfiche library but he warned me that reporters in those days had never uesed a byline. He was right and I found no record and no article that my father might have written. He had simply never existed.

As I look back on my father's life I realize that if I compare his five talents (the extra one was that he could drink) with my own, I can assert I cannot drink, swim gracefully or dance the tango beyond being efficient at it. I can cook fairly well and I have managed to write, like I dance the tango, efficiently.

But I have written lots.

One of the places I have enjoyed writing for is the web-based arts magazine from Montreal Arts & Opinion. I can write about anything I want and I rarely get more than a perfunctory editing. The essays I have written up to now are these 1 2 3 4 5 6

Another is appearing shortly that is an extended variation of this.

But I have another one in the works tentatively called The Dancer where I will collaborate with a very good local modern dancer to produce images where we will attempt to picture her as a string of dance essences.

There is one more think I would like to mention about Arts & Opinion. I share the masthead with a few contributors including:

Noam Chomsky
Pico Iyer
Naomi Klein
Evelyn Lau

I wonder what my father would have thought of that?

More Graham Greene, Sort of.


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