Cheers and Jeers

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Cheers: to an architectural revival. Thursday’s Globe and Mail contained a feature on a handful of architects and students from Toronto who’ve been helping to construct a wooden archway in Port Union that will serve as a gathering place in the Trinity Bay town. It’s part of a project called Culture of Outports, run by Toronto’s ERA Architects. ERA’s Philip Evans is descended from a long line of Newfoundland shipbuilders. He sees such projects as a way of recapturing communities that have been in economic decline. When you consider Zita Cobb’s new hotel complex on Fogo Island, designed by architect Todd Saunders, and Shaun Majumdar’s manor in Burlington, you just might get the impression there’s a new trend happening here. And you might just be right.

Jeers: to hypocrisy. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is under fire again, this time for daring to speak to an Islamic group. Conservative critics say the Islamic Society of North America is a radical group that supports the implementation of Sharia law, and that Trudeau was ill-advised to accept an invitation to talk. Odd thing, though. As Maclean’s magazine’s Michael Petrou points out, former immigration minister (and current employment and social development minister) Jason Kenney also spoke to the group in November 2008. But his speaking notes have mysteriously vanished from his own website and from departmental archives. “I’m sure this is due to a simple computer glitch rather than any attempt to re-write the historical record, and that the text of Kenney’s rather lengthy speech will soon be restored to both websites,” Petrou wrote. Our advice? Don’t hold your breath.

Cheers: to changing with the times. A few decades ago, Middle Cove Beach was something of a hidden treasure. A handful of young people from

St. John’s knew about it, and liked to gather there for beach parties and bonfires. It was even immortalized in song, featuring well-known bluesman Roger Howse. Well, the inevitable happened. Middle Cove Beach is now a major hotspot, with visitors all hours of the day and night. Parking is tight, and the number of fires along the beach on a nice night can conjure images of a Civil War encampment. Along with the mobs came garbage and other problems. So, the town of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove is taking measures to clean things up at Middle Cove and nearby Outer Cove. Visitors can soon expect to see portable washrooms, new lighting, signage, bolstered security — and less garbage. Now that’s a solution everyone can get on board with.

Jeers: to extreme solutions. What do you do when you’re the Russian president and a popular young lawyer is threatening your grip on power? Well, that depends on how much influence you have with the courts. On Thursday, Alexsei A. Navalny, a candidate for the mayorship of Moscow, was convicted of theft and sentenced to five years in jail. Navalny is presently out of prison pending an appeal. According to the New York Times, Navalny was one of Russia’s most resonant opposition voices against rampant public corruption, and became a personal irritant to President Vladimir V. Putin by branding his United Russia political machine as the “party of swindlers and thieves.” The judge in Navalny’s trial threw up several barriers to his defence lawyers, not allowing them to cross-examine the only crucial witness, and rejecting 13 defence witnesses. Famed Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev said the case was “proof that we do not have independent courts.”

Organizations: Globe and Mail, Port Union, ERA Architects Islamic Society of North America New York Times

Geographic location: Toronto, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland Fogo Island Burlington Russia Logy Bay Moscow

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Recent comments

  • Stig Stilletto
    July 23, 2013 - 13:26

    "[Middle Cove Beach] was even immortalized in song, featuring well-known bluesman Roger Howse." So it was in the great tune "Middle Cove Beach Party" by The A-Tones. The song was on the band's only album titled "The Quick and the Dead" which was released by Vikki Beat Tapes around 1980. The band featured Wallace Hammond (guitar), Craig Squires (bass), Terry Carter (drums, vocals), Tony Richards (vocals, harmonica) and Roger Howse (guitar, vocals ). Justin Hall may have played drums on a track or two, as well. At the time, the song received some minor air play on Oz-FM and, of course major air play on MUN Radio. Hammond, Squires, Carter, Richards and Hall were all members of Da Slyme. Roger was a good friend of all and made a great contribution to that classic, but little known song. It was a jangly beach/surf type riff with a chorus that went: "M-M-M-M-Middle Cove Beach Party, It's on tonight it'll be all right!" Gotta love the originality of the early years of punk in St. John's.