Monthly Archives: September 2010

Visiting Raymond

I enjoyed the John and Ruth’s Colombo’s hospitality last Saturday night, but Sunday was an even more eventful day. John and I drove to High Park to visit a large private library which holds all the core writings and correspondence of Madame H.P. Blavatsky. It was originally assembled before the turn of the century, and moved from London England, to Victoria B.C, and now resides in Toronto. I look forward to looking through a complete run of Lucifer and The Theosophist later this fall. We enjoyed a cup of tea with the present custodian and we both received an inscribed book of her poetry.

We drove along the Greandier pond to visit Raymond Souster at The Grenadier Retirement Residence. Ray was in fine form, and I presented him with his Battered Box Medallion for publishing Millenium Madness (2010) I took the coin out of its acetate sleeve, so Ray could feel the surface of the coin because is blind, and accidently dropped it on his bedside table, it produced a rolling, bobbly, sonorous sound, which was impressive, and I must purposely do that in the future when other coins are presented. The conversation went back and forth between all three of us. Raymond talked of his projects scheduled for publication — Big Smoke Blues and Rags, Bones and Bottles and Not Counting the Cost (2011) and Easy Does It (2011). I discussed James Deahl’s introduction to the former volume, and we also discussed what to use on the cover. We discussed the founding events of The League of Canadian Poets, and these two fellows were two of the founding members. I took a picture of John and Raymond and both photos are included below.

At mid-day John had to get home for a visit with his grandchildren, and I travelled south to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to attend the 2010 Toronto Resource Investment Conference. It was a good conference, and I came away with a bag full of squeeze balls, hats, pens, night lights, water bottles and great USB memory sticks.

Then off to 2010 Toronto Word on the Street at Queen’s Park. I did the rounds, and it was my subjective opinion that attendence was down for the year. I talked with all the usual suspects, gave and received much information, useful only to me, but essentially not gossip. Got a lead for Souster’s covers.

Adjourned to Charles Pachter’s studio on The Grange Avenue and presented him with a Battered Box Medallion for his cover art “Oscar Wilde Moose Kiss,” and passed along one of those USB memory drives. Charles has a busy fall and we discussed new projects in the abstract. Charles is hosting an open house at his Ice House on Lake Simcoe over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Retired to Chinatown for dinner … and home.


Musing on Bookmarks and Bookplates

It has always been a source of irritation for me, that large retailers of books, purchase large quantities of books, undercut your established retail price, and then request return privileges for the unsold books in 180 days for full credit, that is if they have actually paid for them. Frequently they have not paid in the first place. Is it any wonder then that I have declined the opportunity of enjoying their business in the past. Imagine my surprise and displeasure then when I learned that a large US retailer of books was advertising on line the opportunity of pre-ordering a book that I had just approved to go to press not 24 hours before — at a substantial discount which also included shipping. I imagine, but do not know, it was on the basis of a starred review that had appeared in Publishers Weekly. With the basic premise that all resellers have to be treated the same — what to do? Well there is a tipped in page signed by the author or the illustrator. There’s a limited edition bookplate and or perhaps a creative bookmark. I decided on the latter two, and here is the result of my musing. The two interpretive paintings of Lovecraft and Conan Doyle are by Victor Molev. The Lovecraft will also be used on a cover of a volume of Poetry that August Derleth originally compiled in 1947 entitled Dark of the Moon in 2013; The Conan Doyle will also be used on a package cover for an electronic edition of an ACD Bibliography originally compiled in 1981 by Richard Lancelyn GReen and John Michael Gibson, and revised and updated by Philip Bergem. This project is in the final stage, and shold appear early in 2011.

Arkham House Bookmarks

BSI Bookplate 6 — Trade Edition


Contemplating Deerstalkers

I have observed over the years that most Sherlockians own a deerstalker hat. They don’t often wear them, because perhaps they are afraid of being identified as part of a fringe group of readers who might firmly believe in something their heart believes is true. But I purchased my own Fore-and-Aft Cap from a mailorder firm in Florida many years ago now, and which, undoubtedly, has gone out of business by now. It is well used and is beginning to fray at the edges, but it will do me for my remaining breathing time. But I have also inherited some deerstalkers from other Sherlockians.

My friend Bob Gray died some years ago now. He gave me two first editions of the Hound shortly before his death, along with countless other Sherlockian Treasures, including signed material from Richard Lancelyn Green whom he met at the Metro Toronto library in 1980 when Richard was doing research for his ACD Bibliography with John Michael Gibson. When Bob passed away, his family invited me to select some stuff and I ended up with Bob’s deerstalker, his reading lamp and his Betamax tape collection. The hat is a little small for me, but I will always treasure it.

When my friend Bill McCoy died last year, I was in the unenviable position of emptying his apartment. Most of the cupboards and drawers went to Good Will or The Salvation Army, but not his WWII Air Force Uniform, and not his Deerstalker. It too is a little small for me, but I will treasure it always.

When I travelled to Don Izban’s CCC (Canonical Convocation and Caper — I think) in 2005 Don Izban presented me with a handsome black and white checkered deerstalker which did fit, and I wear it proudly, and each time I wear it I remember the events of that late summer weekend in Door County, Wisconsin very fondly. It is a wonderful place to visit on the south shore of Lalke Superior. We took the ferry across Lake Michigan on the way home.

In early 2010, I purchased some of the books from the library of August Derleth from his daughter April Rose Derleth. His deerstalker came as part of that package. It was still hanging on a coat & hat-rack in his studio library upstairs at The Place of Hawks. I tried it on with trepidation. Alas, it too was small. But it had a label inside which intrigued me “Hawkshaw” this was undoubtedly the manufacturer. BUt it also reminded me of a comic Strip that Derleth collected over many years, and I plan to extract and republish from the State Historial Society in Madison. Hawkshaw the Detective. It had some name changes over the years because of conflict with those two reprobates Denis and Adrian Conan Doyle, but I think a collection of the Hawkshaw strips by whatever name would be a useful adjunct to the Sherlock literature — always remembering, never has so much been published by so many for so few!

And finally I contemplated Derleth’s Deerstalker itself. It had a shades of green and dark green checkered design that was familiar to me. The Mycroft & Moran logo than Coyne (not Utpatel) designed for Derleth in 1945. This hat was the model Derleth used for his logo for his Solar Pons stories!


The Church Parade

Since 1963 the members of 23 (Hamilton) Field Ambulance have met in Ancaster in the early fall at the beginning of the training year to participate  in the annual Church Parade to St John’s Anglican Church. This is one of the unit’s strong traditions started by veterans and members of the unit to celebrate the members of the Farmer Family who served with the unit during the two wars. Colonel George D. Farmer commanded the Fifth Field Ambulance from mobilization to November 1916. The unit was founded on 4 December 1900 and was known as the 7th Bearer Corps. The unit will celebrate it 11o Annivesary this December at the Unit Christmas party.

On 19 September 2010, at 09:30 hours the members of the unit formed up in the parking lot of Tim Horton’s in Ancaster and marched to the St. John’s Anglican Church. After the service, the members conducted a laying of the wreaths at the Farmer plot in the cemetery adjacent to the church.

The unit then adjourned to the garden party hosted by the Farmer family for the annual award ceremony and a light lunch. The entire exercise engenders Esprit de Corps and reunits colleagues after the summer away on course and serving. All the members present remembered the six soldiers serving abroad and in Afghanistan, and wish them a safe return — so they can participate in the parade in 2011.

Three photos follow: 1. forming up 2. on the march and 3. at the church.