Appeared in the North Shore News – January 3, 2014
Try to excuse a personal item, but as a column-provider I’ll remember 2013 as the year of my most embarrassing success.
It has become a howling nightmare.
I speak of accurately predicting in this space – “You Read It Here First,” the headline trumpeted, inviting boisterous derision had I been wrong – that the Christy Clark Liberals would win the May provincial election.
Every poll, pundit, politics-monger, tweeting twit etc. – and the Liberal cabinet ministers and backbenchers who deserted the apparently sinking ship, plus the entire body of smug New Democrats – predicted otherwise. I especially cherish the Jehovah-like finality of Martyn Brown, ex-premier Gordon Campbell’s former chief of staff, self-invented as columnist and radio prophet, who declared: “It’s over, folks – an NDP landslide.” By the way, where is Brown now? I admit I crowed a bit.
The morning after, the astonished Bill Good and the newspapers claimed “nobody” had predicted the result. I may be a nobody, but I informed Good and sent a letter to the editor of my old paper, the Vancouver Sun, gently stating the plain fact. Good and the letters editor declined to correct their unfactual reporting. (Good and I don’t exchange Christmas cards.) Only Sun legislature columnist (and regular CKNW contributor, PBS commentator on B.C. affairs, etc.) Vaughn Palmer had the grace to give credit where due, while properly noting my earlier equivocations.
My first printed call for a Clark victory was a year or two before the election. I was given preferred access to a high-roller whipround for Conservative John Cummins. I sadly detected a leader born to fail. He arrived late and stumbled through a badly read speech before moneyed sympathizers. Fatally, during the campaign he declared more affinity with New Democrats than with Liberals. Donations vanished. Some party members rioted. Downhill for the Conservatives – and all upside for the Liberals.
End of story? Nay.
Luckily it’s forgotten that, puffed up, I then rashly predicted Clark, beaten in Point Grey, could have a tough time winning the Westside-Kelowna byelection. I overlooked that Okanagan residents culturally are ethnic Albertans, displaced to the next province over, and believe God has ordained that B.C. premiers represent their northern desert.
The brief limelight properly shifted and obscurity thankfully returned. But recently my correct call was handsomely acknowledged in several 2013 retrospectives, first by Timothy Renshaw in Business in Vancouver and last week by Keith Baldrey, Global TV’s chief political correspondent, in a column in these pages.
Then on Monday CKNW host Philip Till and the unsleeping Vaughn Palmer – generous in self-criticism for his election mea culpa – kindly recalled my election prophecy.
My gratitude to the above. But – the nightmare? The pressure, of course, to get it right the next time. And by then my secret may have leaked out: My mother told horoscopes. Walked around with a big, black raven on her shoulder. Foretold romantic futures for many a beautiful, broken-hearted young female. I inherited the gift.
Vancouver’s Red Robinson is properly recognized as an international treasure of rock music’s pioneer days; moreover, he isn’t a clappedout, hollow-eyed ex-druggy who fits the well-known observation that if you can remember the 1960s, you weren’t there.
Nope, Red started out as an eager, clean, well-turnedout teenage disc jockey who met and interviewed the early rockers, including Buddy Holly long before he became a legend and the young Elvis Presley. (I once asked him: “What did you and Elvis talk about?” Well, Red replied, they talked about things teenage kids talked about – they were almost spot-on the same age. What, not the meaning of life, or causes of the French Revolution?) He’s heading for his 77th birthday in March and he’s still eager, well-turnedout, and delightfully literate and anecdotable about his career. Recognition includes induction into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, and he’s generated a mint of money for children. And how many entertainers have a theatre named after them? Ah, now past tense.
The Red Robinson Show Theatre in Coquitlam was a proper tribute and Red was properly proud of it. But the theatre owners, the Great Canadian Gaming Corp., just renamed it – in the face of some furious people, including some who were around in the ’60s and do remember it, and Vancouver’s own singing star Michael Bublé, who wasn’t.
The company’s executive director, Chuck Keeling, said – with a straight face:
“We are not ending the relationship with Red. We are changing it.”
As of Dec. 20 the name is gone, folded into – wait for it – the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver.
Wow! What a grabber! Just who was the genius, the imaginative innovator with the soul of a poet, who dreamt up that beautiful, stirring, evocative name?
© Trevor Lautens, 2014