Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Q and A

I asked Mad to ask me ... and she asked me some doozies.

1. List one film, song, book, poem AND TV show you would like to share with Miss Baby one day. Feel free to embellish.

Ack! I'm a little abashed by this question, seeing as the CURATOR OF A CHILDREN'S LIBRARY COLLECTION is asking me. And I'm remarkably illiterate in children's genres, actually. But. Here we go.

Film: I hope that Miss Baby comes to appreciate my favorite film of all time, Bringing Up Baby (1938, dir. Howard Hawks, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant). I first saw it when I was ten or eleven, on Saturday Night at the Movies on TVO with my Mom. I loved loved loved it, and have become a real fan of the screwball genre. I would hope that Miss Baby can learn to love things beyond her immediate historical context--different manner of speech, different social circumstances, different narrative pace, adult protagonists, leopards.

Song: Pynchon wrote a song for Miss Baby, soon after she was born. He taught it to me, and we sing it to her every day.

Little [Miss Baby] has pretty blonde hair, and
Little [Miss Baby] has big blue eyes.
Little [Miss Baby] has long eyelashes, and
Little [Miss Baby] has a cute button nose.
Little [Miss Baby], I love you,
From the top of your head, to the tip of your toes.
Little [Miss Baby], I love you,
From the top of your head, to the tip of your toes.
Book/Poem: I hope she likes Dennis Lee. I have fond memories of Dennis Lee from my childhood. We have a board book of Alligator Pie, and the singsongy-ness of it seems to enthrall her.

TV show: My fondest wish is that when she is a teenager or a young adult, she will ask me to share a TV show with her. I want to know what she likes, and I want her to like me enough to want to share her pleasures with me. I don't imagine (or desire) to be her best friend or anything, but I would like for her to initiate a shared ritual with me. As I say, my mom and I used to often watch Saturday Night at the Movies together, and sometimes, when we're together, we'll watch its current incarnation still.

2. Small town or big city: where's your heart?

Ahhh. I grew up in a small northern mining town in decline. We didn't get a Tim Hortons until I was near the end of high school. Small. In some ways my upbringing was golden-age-idyllic: childhood friends all on my street, single family home, walk home from school for lunch, roam around town to activities unaccompanied on my bike, nearby creeks and wild areas for exploring, everyone knows everyone else. In many more ways, it was stifling: parochial, nepotistic, closed-minded, racist, homophobic, leery of the arts, largely anti-intellectual. The town library has no copy of Jane Eyre. The town I grew up in no longer has much to offer me ... and has continued its decline over the years. People there now seem to invest more in movable property (ie skidoos and satellite dishes) than in their homes. It's dirty and depressing and there are no trees anywhere. Shudder.

But that's not the question. And the answer is: city. Maybe small city. I've lived in Toronto, Guelph, Edmonton, and now my new city. Toronto was really great in my 20s, but I can't really afford to pay for the lifestyle now. To be honest, I'm not likely to go to the galleries, shows, concerts any more if I lived there than I do now when I can drive there occasionally without the real estate premium. I loved Edmonton: a truly awesome, livable city. Now my small city has all the amenities: movies, shoe stores, public transit, university and college, airport, good hospital, variety of kinds of people. It also has some of the advantages of my small town: I often run into my friends and colleagues on my walks around our downtown area, and I can walk and bike pretty much everywhere I want to go. But the crucial thing is the openness and freedom I feel in cities.

3. If you could propose one piece of legislation in the House of Commons, what would it be?

Gah! So many causes I could help! This may seem a bit shallow, but I would really like for funding for postsecondary education to be stabilized and for a greater proportion of the burden for this education to be borne by the state, rather than by the learner. The costs now are outrageous and getting more so. Graduating with massive debt is a terrifying prospect, and this debt colors the entire experience and students' orientation to it: students at my university, at least, are increasingly anxious about getting 'good jobs' and picking the most marketable programs, and freaking out about getting 'what they pay for' that they're almost unable to learn. Unable to explore ideas and interests. Unable to grow as people. And of course, many prospective students don't come at all. Learning is such a powerful, self altering experience. And we're too anxious or poor to have it.

So. Bring on the Equitable PostSecondary Funding Act.

4. When you just need to dance what is the song on your mental 8-track?

Mostly, I dance with and for Miss Baby's amusement, and we're really into Salt-n-Pepa's Push It right now. Although we heard Young MC's Bust a Move on the radio last week and just had a BLAST rocking out old school. God, I have GOT to get out of the 80s ...

5. If you could be any kind of artist (actor, musician, painter, poet...), what kind
would you be and why?

No question: I would sing. I love singing. I hear harmonies in my head and love the way voices move together, love the ranges of notes, of tones, of volume. Gives me chills. The power to make music with your body! Awe-inspiring. But, boy, do I suck. Mad, you know me from my acting days, and I'm not terrible. I can play the piano, and earned a high school credit for it. I once made finalist in a provincial poetry competition in high school. I cannot draw or paint. But what I really wish I could do is sing. Sigh.

Well, that's me. What about you? Can I ask you some questions, blogosphere? Just say the word ...


Denguy said...

What a great song for Miss Baby.

As far as dancing, anything by Ricky Martin will get my feet moving, I tell ya.

NotSoSage said...

Mmm...loved Saturday Night at the Movies. Loved TVO when I had a TV.

Your song for Miss Baby is much more inventive than ours for Mme L...and Joe's a musician (though not a lyricist). I can't really write it out, as it doesn't make much sense unless you know her name. You'll just have to trust me.

Beck said...

Sigh. You know that I'm currently living in that small, dying town, and yep, you got it exactly right. My husband and I think that we're small city people, too - but we live here.

cinnamon gurl said...

I would like to explore more older movies... I really haven't seen very many. I think one I loved was Philadelphia Story? I have the worst memory for movies but it had fast fast snappy funny dialogue. I'll have to check out Bringing up Baby.

ewe are here said...

Great Answers. And lovely song.

And I adore the movie Bringing Up Baby; the timing in the movie is impeccable, and I love Grant and Hepburn.

Beck said...

Oh Mimi! No, I was in my usual pre-menstrual Why DO I LIVE HERE sulk when I read that this morning, but your post certainly didn't cause my funk. And we live here, for the record, so I can stay home with the kids and my mortgage is - don't tell anyone - about $200 a month. Not bad, not bad.

gingajoy said...

you've made me realize I am a small city person too. I've been thinking a lot about where we belong lately (brewing a post on it) but your points here actually
have helped me out a little.

Push It. Gets total play in our house! (Oooh baby baby. b'baby babAY")

Mimi said...

Beck -- phew! and you know MY mortgage costs $991 (and we have a CHEAP-ASS house) and daycare is $965. Which means when we have coffee someday, and complain about our respective hometowns, you're buying. :-)

CG: like the PS? love BUB! seriously. just ask Ewe!

Mad Hatter said...

Great answers indeed! I live in a small city but perhaps it's just a wee bit too small--only one mall, movie theatre... The art gallery is fantastic (thank you to the judge who recently ruled in its favour) but there is not a lot in the way of arts here. Still, Sleepy Town is a pretty good place to live and it's an excellent place to raise a kid. Now Edmonton? I still think of Edmonton as paradise on earth except for that wee problem of the Idaho Low and the Artic High. There's only so many -20 days in a row that my heart can handle.

As for songs, we have a number of Miss M ditties but none so sophisticated as Miss Baby's song.

I like your legislation a lot. It's very Trudeau-era and given that so many bloggers seem to want to do this dead guy, your answer here is inspired.

I don't think I have ever heard you sing. Next time we're together we'll have to have a "Songs to our babies" pagent.

Oh and I just found out yesterday that I have one leg 2 inches shorter than the other. All the better for walking on the sides of hills, woouldn't you say? (That is Bringing Up Baby, I'm remembering right?)

Mimi said...

Yes, Mad, that's the line: and did you know it was an ad-lib? Provoked, of course, by the broken shoe-heel, which was not scripted.

Omaha Mama said...

Look at you with your fancy nightclub look! Somebody's been playing with her template. Very cool - I like it.

mo-wo said...

OK I thought about asking Mad to question me.. but no way. Her questions are too hard.

You did a stellar job though. Very entertaining. Bringing up Baby is a really great movie but I am a sucker for the Philadelphia Story and High Society, too.

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