Time Passages

by Rick Johansen

On my first visit to Canada, which was way back in prehistoric times (1975), being abroad meant that you had literally no idea what was going on at home. We didn’t even have a home telephone so the only method of communication was by way of air mail, or Par Avion, and given that letters (ask your parents, kids) inevitably took many weeks to reach their destination, just like postcards from Greece, it was all rather pointless. I don’t think the absence of any links from home registered with me, particularly as the things upon which I am so dependent today didn’t exist some 48  years ago. Fast forward to the here and now and the whole world is at my fingertips. And I like it that way.

The first thing I learned this morning was that Liverpool had beaten Wolves, which briefly led me to wonder why the game had kicked off before dawn. The time difference had done for me and by the time I had managed to work out we were eight hours behind the UK, the entire football programme was all but over. Another beautiful morning in Vancouver made even better when I learned that Man Ure had lost 3-1 at home to Brighton and, even funnier,  the odious Sheffield United threw away a lead at Spurs to lose deep into injury team. It’s the little things in life that matter.

From what I can tell, the big news from England is that Russell Brand isn’t funny. At least I think that’s what the story should have been about, although further investigations revealed that actually the former TV unfunny man turned right wing conspiracy theorist nutcase  has been accused by multiple women of rape and sexual assault, ALL OF WHICH HE EMPHATICALLY DENIES. I have no idea of the validity of such allegations and will leave it to those who can afford lawyers to debate the nuts and bolts of the stories. All I can say is that I have always found him to be a pseudo-intellectual whiny wanker who has always been as funny as a burning orphanage (thanks to Bernard Manning for that one). In 1975, a ‘story’ about a fifth-rate (at best) comedian would never have reached me as I sit here on the other side of the world, but now, gazing to the mountains of Vancouver to my left, the world is a much smaller place.

As for our Canadian adventure, well, it’s hurtling by at the speed of sound, or even much faster than that. It’s been an incredible experience, the most profound and intense aspect of which has been the family time. I cannot be 100% certain that we will ever pass this way again and in my own dysfunctional, fucked up way I am taking in every moment. Sure the sights and sounds are an unforgettable part of the trip but really this has mainly been about people, especially though not solely family.

Incredibly, it seems to me, we are now down to our final three nights in Vancouver before we board the big old jet airliner back to Old Blighty. Grouse Mountain today and Virgin River tomorrow, followed by a slow wind down and the return to a different kind of reality.

I am more convinced than ever that the best photos are in your head and not on social media where they are inevitably placed for the consumption of others or even in faded photo albums stored in boxes in cupboards or in the loft, retrieved every once in a while with all the seriousness of a visit to a grave of a dead relative.

One thing is for sure: I’m so glad we finally made it here to Canada. Devoid of all sophistication, my idea of a holiday has always been a lazy time by the pool and by the sea, all washed down with the local grog. My partner, who has the patience of a saint, has long tried to persuade me that actually there is a world beyond the same Greek island and her persistence has paid off.

Now, the world is my lobster and I need to explore more of it before time runs out, as it does for all of us. Now excuse me while I get back to the important stuff of reading about Russell Brand’s ALLEGED bad behaviour. Or maybe not.

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