16 April 2005

Farewell to Vancouver

I can't, alas, write as much as I'd like -- every blogger's excuse, and thank God for it -- because we are minutes away from stepping out the door and driving to Revelstoke. We've been staying at my Uncle Peter's apartment in the West End of Vancouver; a great spot, very central, and (we discovered) in range of some naive Samaritan's non-password-protected wireless station. What more could you ask?

There have been two shows since I last blogged. The first was at the Vancouver Museum, a very fine hall, where the Fraser Highlanders introduced me: both verbally and with marching bagpipers, everyone in full Highland uniform. (The Fraser uniform is interesting because it displays no insignia, medals, or anything of that sort, being a throwback to the semi-civilised costume worn when they were making the transition from clan warfare to 18th century-style drill fighting.) Jim Mair, who introduced me, very kindly lent me his Claymore (huge broadsword, which the Highlanders still used in those days as an alternative to the bayonet), which I will have with me for the rest of the Tour. The audience was small, but extremely appreciative, and it was wonderful to have the view out over English Bay towards the West End. (We are still working on video clips for upload, but those will come soon!)

The second show was at Windermere Secondary School, where I gave what was undoubtedly my best performance yet. There were about 250 Grade 9 students in the auditorium, and the poem definitely kept their attention for about 45 minutes. That, if I do say so myself, is no small feat. I never stumbled -- except for one point where I had to correct "the soldiers of the Eng--" to "--of the King of France" hastily, as you can't get a piece of info like that totally wrong -- and I think that is key. The poem really is internalised by now. I can pick and choose as I go which episodes to include, allowing myself the time for expansion when the audience is looking benevolent and speeding up the compression when I need something exciting right away. Everyone continues to express amazement at the feat of memory, and are less and less inclined to believe me when I assure them that it's not memory, just visualisation; but that is more and more the case. The "secondary reality" I'm trying to create has to start with me, and that's coming along pretty well! Also, as we had some wireless mic problems, I did the whole thing viva voce; nice to know that's still possible, even with the current length. Your lungs do feel a bit tired after 3/4 of an hour of projecting, though! How did the old orators do it?

As I say, video clips and pictures coming soon. We had sushi last night to celebrate; also saw "Ocean's Twelve," an enjoyable flick.

Now, back to the open road!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a grand beginning in Vancouver to the tour. Safe journey to your next stop in Revelstoke and then Calgary - will follow your blog with interest. The pics are a great addition.