Hi. If you haven’t seen me for a while it’s because I’m living in a seaside cottage in Nova Scotia for the summer.
If you haven’t seen me for a while before that, it’s because I’ve been in graduate school for the past two years. I’m working on my last big paper now. It’s about this funny back-to-the-land magazine called the Canadian Whole Earth Almanac, which was published by the Coach House Press in Toronto in the early seventies.The Almanac was sort of like the Canuck version of the Calfornia-based Whole Earth Catalog, but also totally different. It’s been fascinating to unearth the past of the Coach House through various textual sources and a bit of hearsay. For my project I’ve also been researching Toronto’s utopian/dystopian free university Rochdale College, which has a large part to play in the creation of the Almanac. Here are the covers of a few issues. It was these beautifully-detailed and cryptic images which first piqued my interest in the Almanac to begin with.
The Food Issue – Beavers in space!
The Shelter Issue
I’ve only be out east for three weeks and have already gone on a roadtrip with Spike to Saint John and Fredericton. New Brunswick has always been a bit of an unknown on my personal map of the country so it was nice to finally see it up close. One day we crossed the swollen Saint John River on three (!) separate cable ferries, one which had birdhouses for the swallows that follow it back and forth across the river every morning.
Cable ferry birdhouses
In Fredericton we stayed in a haunted-feeling old university residence and the next day I explored the town, picking up some manga at Strange Adventures, acquiring a local zine at Backstreet Records, and downing a few tasters at the Picaroon’s Brewery storefront. The next day we bought a 2.5 lb. bag of fiddleheads for $5 from a teenager selling them on his front lawn outside of Woodstock and then crossed the world’s longest covered bridge at Hartland.
Longest covered bridge!
Before leaving for New Brunswick we went to the farewell barbeque/punk show for the Roberts Street Social Centre, home to the Anchor Archive Zine Library, as well as a silk screen studio, meeting space, photocopier, and other amazing community resources. They have been evicted and are currently looking for a new space to move into for June 1st. If you are a benevolent Halifax landlord who wants to host this amazing project, or can help out in any way, now’s the time to get in touch.
Spike and I serving during our tenure as writer- and historian-in-residence at the Anchor Archive back in the day (Daniel MacDonald photo)
It’s still cold out here by the waterside, but signs of spring are all around. In one of the Almanacs I found the following quote
“Spring: Forms of life which have been gathering their forces underground now come forth. Ideas and insights which have been developing through the dark months enter the light.”
After several very busy years it’s nice to be out here on the shore, listening to the spring peepers and loons, trying to dig deep and get some work done. Sorry for being out of touch for so long. Hopefully you’ll be hearing more from me soon.
Sunset in Head of Jeddore on Saturday night