Friday, 26 October 2012

L'ange vagabond

There's nothing finer, on a beautiful autumn day, to take the train through eastern Ontario from Toronto to Ottawa. Can't help but put a spring in one's step, creativity in one's soul, and a song in one's heart.

I had this song L'ange vagabond (Vagabond Angel) swirling through my mind from the instant I walked into Union Station in Toronto. Although Richard Séguin is a singer/songwriter from Montréal, I first discovered him when I lived in Ottawa, and got to listen to francophone rock and roll for the first time. There were a lot of great bands around in those days, like CANO and Harmonium.


And I knew the first half of my time in Ottawa was going to be filled with music as well, as I was going to be staying with friends who are professional classical musicians, and I had been given permission to photograph them in rehearsal with the community orchestra they play for.


The first half of the evening was spent on Love from Antonin Dvorak's Nature, Life and Love suite, and I gently crept around the outer edges of the orchestra in the back, shooting them without a flash or a tripod, and with my camera set on the highest ISO equivalent and the shortest exposure possible. Tricky stuff with just a point-and-shoot camera!


It was a lot of fun, and I'm glad that a fair number of the shots turned out as well as they did. At the neighbourhood pub where several members went after rehearsal, we had a great discussion about art, both visual and musical, and the role of creativity in life overall. I love participating in evenings like that.

Fall reflection

Most of the rest of my time in Ottawa was taken up with going to a lot of galleries and walking around Centretown, the residential area just south of Parliament Hill, where I used to live, and where I was staying for the second half of my week. Visited several of my old haunts, discovered a few new ones, and enjoyed the sunshine and changing colours around town.

A week like the one I had there that almost makes me want to move back. Almost is the operative word, however: spring, with the tulips along the Rideau Canal, and autumn, when the leaves glow with colour and the crisp smell of change is in the air, is great. Summer, with heat and oppressive humidity, and winter, with damp cold and slush, remind me I'm happier elsewhere.

In a flap

And after a week, it was time to head to my last stop -- Montréal, so with Richard Séguin playing in my headphones, it was back to the train station.

Dans ta mémoire
Y'a des tiroirs
D'amours brisés
D'canucks fuckés
On the road again.

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