In cod we trust

by Jini Stolk

Newfoundland is enchanting and otherworldly. When you’re there you feel instinctively that you’re at the farthest edge of the continent, far from Muskoka, the Rockies, the Prairies, Toronto.

You’re on an island, almost certainly on the sea – whose power and vast expanse is both appealing and unsettling. The weather is a force of nature bringing mist, drizzle, cloud, downpour, cold, heat and brilliant sunshine, all within the same 24 hours. The cliffs are higher, the drops more precipitous than you’re used to.

It is not a problem to eat cod every day, although it makes you sad and angry to know that greed and carelessness have destroyed the fishery.

The people are makers (how could they not be?), building, canning, sewing, knitting. Watch for my lovely hand-knitted hats that I plan to wear as soon as reasonably possible.

There’s music everywhere. People sing, play instruments, write songs, tell tales. They paint and create beautiful prints. The theatre artists we met are smart, funny, talented, courageous and charming. They’re well aware that their distinctive voices have added immeasurably to Canada’s culture – although I do understand that they are challenged by the same concerns about resources, sustainability, audiences and governance as any company in Toronto or elsewhere.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to go back?

Choose your puffin

Excellent puffin


Mari-Time, Oil on Plywood, Kurt Rostek (2014)

Mari-Time, Oil on Plywood Kurt Rostek (2014)

The one above is one we saw in the small harbour of Elliston, Root Cellar Capital of the World and a gathering place for hundreds of thousands of adorable puffins. The one below is from ARTBOMB, an art auction site I’m obsessed with, which brings up to three images to my mailbox (and 17,000 others) every day. I love looking at them, although people who know say that the Artsy and Saatchi Art newsletters are better designed and more visually appealing, and therefore provide a better user experience. If I were buying I’d subscribe to all three; if I were selling, I’d probably also try them all (although I’ve noticed that ARTBOMB sales, which they say are steady, tend to be of representational and recognizable pieces.) They’ve also done some interesting promo partnerships with the ROM, which I hope worked out well.

I wonder if a simple visual display of a few shows currently on stage, arriving every day, might help drive theatre and dance sales. What if Mooney on Theatre, for example, included a front-page production shot for each show it reviewed?

Vacation auto replies

Just a quick suggestion. Thank you for your email is unnecessary. If you simplify your automatic out of office response to one line only (I’ll be away between August 10 – 18. If you have an urgent question, please contact…) people will get the picture without having to click on your message to be sure you’re not on maternity leave, haven’t left your job, or recently retired! Thank you one and all.

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