Basket case

In Focus column by Andrew Tripp, Jan. 14 Boundary Creek Times.

I was standing in the kitchen the other day when I heard a very faint sound that I didn’t recognize. I stood beside the refrigerator and listened closely, concerned that the five-year-old appliance was beginning a slow painful death.

I was pleased when I concluded that it was not the fridge, yet, still, the sound was coming from its general location so the search for the source continued. It was such an unexpected sound, almost like there was something alive inside the walls; perhaps the muffled squeal of a dying pack rat. We’d had one of those critters in the house before; they ran around inside the cavities of the walls, making so much noise we initially thought we were haunted.

The house was build in 1916, so we figured the noise coming from inside the cavities could indeed be the rattling of chains being dragged by some poor soul stuck in purgatory; by all accounts, the house was used temporarily as a bunkhouse for men working on the Vancouver, Victoria & Eastern railroad that used to pass through the area, so it was not at all unlikely that one of them may have drank a bit too much at the nearby hotel one night and hit his head on the concrete steps leading into the house.

Anyway, I digress—back to the phantom noise in my kitchen. I continued to stand quietly at my refrigerator, scratching my head, looking behind the fridge, yet still finding nothing I could deem responsible for the low, grumbling-like sound. And then, all of a sudden with a jump in my heart, the mystery was solved when a storage basket came tumbling down off the top of the fridge, and out of it leaped a black cat! Yes, it was Mickey, one of our four felines (all black, incidentally), who had apparently discovered a perfect place for a nap, and guess what?

Yup, Mickey snores, and that was the sound that drove me crazy for those few strange minutes in my kitchen.


David Bowie died from cancer on Jan. 10; I had no idea he was ill, so his passing came as a great shock. I was fortunate enough to photograph him in concert many years ago, and the pictures remain some of my favourite live performance shots.

As tributes flood the Internet, it becomes abundantly clear that Bowie influenced many music, art and film lovers, both young and old, and his passing appears to be one of the more momentous occasions in pop culture since John Lennon was gunned down in New York some 35 years ago, adding Jan.12, 2016 to Dec. 8, 1980 as dates that some of us will likely never forget.

It is impossible not to compare the two musical icons, despite their distinctly different musical styles, perhaps in part because both were completely unafraid of controversy, often bucking musical and social trends and never fearful of the public’s response to their personal or artistic pursuits. Lennon’s claim in 1966 that the Beatles were “bigger than Jesus” led to outcry in the U.S. (though no response in the U.K. when it was published), and that year’s tour of North America proved the group’s last.When David Bowie referred to himself as bisexual, it caused ripples through what was still a largely closeted music industry. Both were musical innovators and, especially Bowie, chameleon-like in an otherwise trend-driven world of pop.

Long-time friend and producer Tony Visconti summed Bowie up perfectly, in my eyes at least.

“He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life—a work of art. He made Blackstar (Bowie’s final album) for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn’t, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry.”

So long, Thin White Duke.