Random things happening on this first week of May 2017: My wife has extended family visiting this week. Always neat ...
Yesterday, the news came that Toronto former’s mayor, Rob Ford, had passed away at age 46 after a lengthy and hard battle with cancer. A person like me doesn’t typically write a tribute about a person like Mr. Ford, but that changes today.
It’s a pretty obvious statement to make that I was not a big fan of “Ford Nation” politics. If he had his way, Mr. Ford envisioned a Toronto where there would be little or no taxes, social services, unions, bicycles and arts funding. I, on the other hand, have always envisioned a Toronto where the TTC is free, $20 tolls to drive into the city, extremely high property taxes on the rich to fully support the poor and funding for all Toronto artists. I guess we were polar opposites.
So when scandal erupted in November 2013, with explosive allegations and details of Mr. Ford’s malfeasance (and the oddest public display of behaviour ever), us left wing artsies and intellectuals salivated. Calls of impeachment and criminal charges were rampant. Artists replied with their disdain, ridicule and observations of the media hysteria that surrounded this time period.
I guess it was a bit of these last three things that motivated me to add my own artistic statement to the pot. I composed a piece of music that took a surreal view at the whole episode, almost like in a “House of Cards” way. While this composition can be interpreted in many ways, it’s safe to say that the piece does not defend Mr. Ford.
Based on yesterday’s news, I’ve thought a lot about this piece and it’s place in the world now. I really like the sound of it musically and am proud and stand by the premise I dreamed up. Furthermore, I really would like to get it recorded in the future and share a finished version more widely with the public.
But after yesterday, I’ve decided that any future recording of this piece will be accompanied by a new composition in memoriam to Mr. Ford. Despite his flaws and mistakes, the man suffered much pain in his last days, weeks and months. No one deserves that.
And maybe he wasn’t such a bad guy after all. From firsthand accounts, he definitely gave a 110% effort to provide service and he exuded great passion for what he believed in. I’m respectful of these traits in my fellow human being despite our different visions for this world.