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"One of the delights known to age, and beyond the grasp of youth, is that of Not Going."
Anthony Burgess wrote that, and as someone accused of rushing to go to the opening of an envelope, Not Going couldn’t come a moment too soon for me.
In the thimbleful of benefits of Growing Old, surely this is the best, with nodding off at will a close second. Life costs less when you stay in, takes less time and brings on less stress, certainly than when Going counted for so much more.
I was reminded of this because TIFF opened this week, and at age 48 is deeply into its own middle age. I was involved in the earliest years when you could walk into any movie, and if you didn’t like it, you’d walk out and go to another movie next door. My wife and her medical colleagues would take a week off work in order to binge on Festival films. Their diet was coffee and croissants, and they competed to see the most films each day.
I was a Patron for awhile and luxuriated in my Gold Star status and the front-of-the-line access it offered. In 2000, TIFF’s 25th anniversary year, they asked Canadian filmmakers to make short films that would premiere at the Galas at Roy Thomson Hall. Nova Scotia director Daniel MacIvor’s film was about the Festival’s patrons. Popping a very big hole in the rigid class system TIFF had imposed (the way Air Canada Super Elite does now), McIvor implored the audience from the screen: “Ladies!.....Gentlemen!... It's just a movie!”
He was right, and right all along. Not only can I access pretty much every movie ever made on my computer, this tsunami of choice has simply made me not choose anything. Out of anxiety maybe. But I suspect much more out of one of life’s great undervalued qualities: active indifference.
1. Canada’s richest people. This list combines the Forbes list and the new Bloomberg list to produce Canada’s 69 richest citizens. In last place is Apoorva Mehta, age 35, worth $1 billion US. In 1st place, Sherry Brydson, worth $14.4 billion US. She owns 23% of the Thomson family’s investment firm, Woodbridge, while her relatives own the rest.
2. You may speak English, but do you really understand it? Here are some English accents from all over and especially the US that may stump you. That said, Liam Neeson’s accent here is so clear, even bears understand him.
3. Google turns 25. Few nouns (let alone pronouns) become verbs, but what would life be if we couldn’t google? It was created in 1998 by two Stanford Ph.D. students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Today they’re worth $223 billion. If you’d invested $10,000 in Google in its first year, you’d be worth $600,000 more today.
4. The Bechdel Test. It assesses the depth of female characters in a film by determining if at least two women speak to each other about something other than a man. Ladies Room is a short film about that long subject.
5. Writers discuss books! These authors deserve that exclamation mark. Masha Gessen, Charlie Foran, Emma Donoghue and Sarah Polley are just a few of the more than 180 writers at the 2023 International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront, September 21 to October 1. Need I say, get your tickets here.
7. Lessons from the longest study on happiness. It used to come from living the good life; now it’s changed to living a good life. With courses on happiness popping up everywhere, it’s time to look at what 80 years of research discovered about it.
On the other hand, creepiness is new to scientific analysis. It was just 8 years ago that The Smithsonian first reported on a rising tide of creeps, some years after the phrase “creeps me out” first appeared.
8. MAiD isn’t new. Medical Assistance in Dying, legalized in 2016, is now mainstream. But MAiDHouse is new. It’s where people who qualify for MAiD, but don’t have a place to live, can have MAiD. As you can imagine, MAiDHouse needs financial support to keep its doors open. They’re also holding a fundraiser on Nov. 3 called Art for the Soul. Tickets are just $30.
10. Prison chiefs axe gay opera. Only the Brits could write a headline like that. I didn’t even know British prison chiefs were opera lovers.