James’ Brand New Blog

A salute to Meaghan Smith & a quiz

- April 22nd, 2014

Meaghan Smith WT_ILLUMINAQUA_3407_16_06_2012T011045

 Meaghan Smith performs during the second IlluminAqua concert of the season, Friday, June 15, 2012 in Welland, Ont. The Juno award-winning artist opened the show for Canadian vocalist Jill Barber.

JBNBlog needs to play catchup with Meaghan Smith’s new album . . .  Have A Heart is out today . . . & needs to be tracked down pronto

Here’s what the former Londoner had to say about its impending arrival a couple of weeks ago on meaghansmith.com . . .

It’s finally happening!! Physical copies of my full length album Have A Heart will be available everywhere on April 22nd! Yes, I will ship worldwide! You can Pre-Order the CD, or Vinyl with Bonus CD now and receive the album’s first single and the title track, “Have A Heart” digitally. And as an exclusive bonus, the first 200 Pre-Orders will receive a CD booklet autographed by yours truly.

Have A Heart will be available digitally within Canada exclusively on iTunes the same day. You can see the album trailer right now to get a preview of the second single from the album, “Mirror”! Check it all out here! (here as in her home base in the Halifax area. . . on her website . . .  JBNBlog)

Here is our Meaghan Smith quiz du jour to celebrate Have  A Heart’s arrival:

1) When Meaghan Smith won the best new artist Juno, two other former Londoners were also contenders. Name them . . . & for bonus point add details about the relative “newness”of all three London-tied aces in the category.

2) Name two schools she attended in London.

3) That ace guitarist with her in the Welland photograph is Jason Mingo . . . what is her sweet on-stage nickname for him?

The usual prizes await as the celeb judges play the Meaghan Smith we do have around the basement.

Go Meaghan go Jason . . . .& come  back  to #ldnont soon.

Johnny Clegg @Aeolian Hall & a setlist & quiz

- April 21st, 2014

Johnny Clegg Aeolian Hall

Johnny Clegg, centre, and Mandisa Dlanga, at right . . . taken at Aeolian Hall, April 17, 2014 with trusty BlackBerry

The Johnny Clegg concert under the Sunfest banner at Aeolian Hall on Thursday was triumph . . . JBNBlog was only vaguely aware of this great South African artist-activist & am happy to have discovered him at last.

Excellent songs & band, undeniable rhythms & memorable dancing from the crowd . . . .& performers visiting #lndont who can speak truth about Nelson Mandela’s heroic place in the universe are too rare.

Opening act was his son Jesse Clegg, who told us he was playing unplugged versions of his rock songs … again, the perfect pulse & beat was there & made him a champ in the Jason Mraz division (to these ears).

Here’s a Johnny Clegg in London quiz … a friend who was there both times said Clegg played the old Spoke setup at Western in 1983 and 1988 . . . Clegg recalled the 1988 gig (if not the locale or city) because of something that happened to the drummer’s hair on that visit. What was it? The celeb judges are willing to be impressed by the most fiery details you can provide .

Here’s the setlist . . . . song titles as printed on the list:

Johnny Clegg (London, ON Aeolian Hall April 17, 2014)

1. Heart Of The Dancer

2. I Call Your Name

3. Take My Heart Away

4. Giyani

5. Bullets For Bafazane

6. Kilimanjaro

7. Malonjeni

8. Africa

9. Digging For Some Words

10. Circle Of Light

11. The Crossing

12. Tuff Enuff

13. Great Heart

14. Scatterlings

15. Cruel Crazy


16. Asimbonanaga

17. Dela



TV wasteland, it’s all a TV wasteland:* PBS summer Mysteries

- April 18th, 2014


David Tennant Escape Artist


David Tennant as The Escape Artist (judging by the un-Dr. Who like look) . . . courtesy of pbs.org

JBNBlog is happy to pass along news of what PBS has in the summer Masterpiece Mystery lineup . . . but is much more concerned about The Bletchley Circle & its fate over in Britain …

Here are details on the summer schedule thanks to pbs.org . . .

News: MASTERPIECE 2014 Summer Schedule

Summer 2014 promises to sizzle as detectives, defense lawyers and doctors bring intriguing and stylish mysteries and drama to MASTERPIECE! David Tennant opens the MASTERPIECE MYSTERY! season with The Escape Artist, favorite sleuths Endeavour Morse and Hercule Poirot return with all new episodes, and Jack Davenport stars in the 1960s London medical drama, Breathless.


David Tennant in The Escape Artist



Sundays, June 15-22, 2014, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

David Tennant (Former MASTERPIECE Contemporary host, Doctor Who) stars as a brilliant defense lawyer with a storybook family and a potent nickname, “The Escape Artist,” for his ability to spring the obviously guilty. Then he gets a trial that changes his life forever. This gripping legal thriller costars Sophie Okonedo (Hotel Rwanda) as the hero’s rival, along with a courtroom full of ambitious attorneys and one very unnerving defendant.



Sundays, June 29 to July 20, 2014, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

Before INSPECTOR MORSE, there was the rookie Constable Morse. Shaun Evans returns for a second season with four all-new mysteries as young Endeavour Morse, before his signature red Jaguar…but with his deductive powers already running in high gear.



Sundays, July 27 to August 3, 2014, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

David Suchet returns in his signature role as suave Belgian super-sleuth Hercule Poirot in two new mysteries, The Big Four and Dead Man’s Folly, based on the novels by Agatha Christie. Whether he’s on holiday abroad, taking a countryside break or simply going about his business, Poirot exercises his “little grey cells” by helping police investigate crimes and murders — whether they ask for his help or not.


Sundays, August 24 to September 7, 2014. 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET

In this stylish and compelling new medical drama set in London in 1961, Jack Davenport (Smash, Pirates of the Caribbean) stars as a brilliant surgeon who believes he can make a difference in women’s lives.

(Back to JBNBlog) . . .

Meanwhile, there is another episode of The Bletchley Circle  (beloved by JBNBlog) on Sunday 10 p.m. ( better check) … here’s depressing news from Milton Keynes, England via mkweb.co.uk about its being cancelled by ITV in Britain …

The Bletchley Circle, filmed at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, has been axed by ITV.

The period drama, starring the lady nerds Anna Maxwell-Martin, Rachael Stirling and Julie Graham, was set in the early 1950s and focused on four women who worked at the wartime code-breaking centre Bletchley Park.

Series two of the hit ITV drama attracted more than 4 million viewers per episode on ITV in January.

New this year is Wren Bombe Operator Alice Merren, played by Olivier award nominated actress Hattie Morahan, who’s plunged into mortal peril as the series begins.

Despite the success, cast members including Julie Graham have re-tweeted the news of the axing, and encouraged viewers to protest the decision.

A ITV spokesman said: “ITV has decided not to pursue a further series as we continue to refresh the mix of drama available to our viewers.”

MKWeb have requested a comment from Bletchley Park,
Read more: http://www.mkweb.co.uk/News/Leisure/Social-media-campaign-after-The-Bletchley-Circle-reportedly-axed-by-ITV-20140416210000.htm#ixzz2zF4GVJSg

*An occasional series (with a derivative title — Who knows where it came from  – devoted to what’s on TV channels available in northwest London on the old over-the-air, bunny ears basis of bygone days — ie. TVO, CBC French, CBC, CTV Two (aka CFPL), CTV, City, the Omnis, CTS & CHCH … & sometimes WQLN (PBS Erie & London) & TFO if needed.

Head table (!) at the 1948 London Normal School banquet

- April 17th, 2014

banquet my london Normal School 1948


In a photograph from the old London Normal School’s annual banquet on May 11, 1948, retiring principal C.E. Mark addresses staff, students and guests. The photograph is from the class yearbook, The Spectrum.

Okay. Maybe JBNBlog is hallucinating . . . but isn’t that the big (outsize) head of a man seen seemingly in the centre of a table & just over the shoulder of the woman, back to us, in the foreground?

Maybe it’s a trick of perspective . . . or maybe the work of somebody who was a wizard with the 1948 equivalent of Photoshop. At least, it gives new meaning to the phrase “head table.”

Your thoughts & clearer views are appreciated.

More on The Tale of London Town. Yay. Triple yay(s).

- April 17th, 2014


Fixt Point artistic director  Lisa Marie DiLiberto in an undated photograph courtesy of diasporadialogues.com

LFP colleague Chip Martin & JBNBlog chatted with  Lisa Marie DiLiberto & Fixt Point managing director (Ingersoll-raised!) Charles Ketchabaw on Wednesday re The Tale of London Town  . . . it all sounds fabulous & will strut the streets of downtown #ldnont in May.

Thanks to media ace & associate producer  Dominic Mann-Bertrand for all the following (slightly edited) . . .

The Tale of LONDON Town is a live site-specific performance that tells the tale of downtown London as remembered by you. Weaving archives and live music with oral histories collected from interviews with residents, business owners and local heroes, this multi-media theatrical adventure will bring legendary London stories to life!

Show Dates:

From 8 May to 17 May, 2014

We’ll start with a short promenade walk, leaving from the Grand Theatre box office, and end the show at the new Fanshawe College downtown performance venue.

Meet at The Grand Theatre Box office and take a trip with us downtown as we remember when everything was the best…or was it?

Maybe the best is yet to come…

Performances May 8-17, 2014. Dress appropriately for the weather. No bags. No latecomers.

Created and Produced by FIXT POINT, with support from The Downtown London, The Grand Theatre, The Ontario Arts Council and

The Canada Council for the Arts.


From the acclaimed FIXT POINT comes a thrilling theatrical promenade ride down your local main street…

The Tale of LONDON Town

This cross-disciplinary production is a celebration of main street stories gathered from London’s downtown core, and the result of a two-phase endeavor begun in the summer of 2013. Step inside the storefront newsroom for our live retrospective report on the evolving nature, cultural happenings, and unfolding news events of this vibrant, changing town over the years.


Based on interviews with business owners, local heroes and residents, The Tale of LONDON Town is an original creation that mixes sound bytes, archives, music, and interviews into an unparalleled multi-media experience. Inspired by these living memories, meticulously gathered, the show chronicles the changing core of the city by weaving oral histories and archives with live performance, bringing legendary local stories to life!


Meet us at The Grand Theatre Box office and promenade with us as we take a trip through downtown streets and alleys. Very special guests, like living London legend Jack DiCarlo, will take part in helping us remember the glory days when everything was at its best… or was it? Maybe the best is yet to come, as these local tales from the past inspire dreams for the future.


The Tale of LONDON Town is part of a multi-year venture, culminating with Canada’s sesquicentennial in 2017, which celebrates main streets across the land. One story at a time, The Tale of a Town project will capture the collective community memory of our country, preserving our oral history and the stories that define us, while building new ones for future generations to come!




Founded in 2006, FIXT POINT is a professional theatre and media company based in Toronto’s Queen West neighborhood. Headed by Artistic Director Lisa Marie DiLiberto, and Managing Director Charles Ketchabaw, the FIXT POINT mandate is to engage with the community through a combination of site-specific performance and audio art. Our artistic goal is to tell tales, across multiple platforms, which serve to preserve local heritage and promote neighborhood culture from coast to coast.


Visit www.fixtpoint.com for more info.


Created and Produced by FIXT POINT, with support from The Downtown London Association, The Grand Theatre, The Ontario Arts Council, and The Canada Council for the Arts.http://www.canadacouncil.ca/



Add to listings immediately:


The Tale of LONDON Town

Directed by: Lisa Marie DiLiberto

Created by: Lisa Marie DiLiberto, in collaboration with:

Performers: Rob Feetham, Sandy Gribbin, Deanna Jones, and Norah Sadava

Sound and Video Design by: Charles Ketchabaw

Set and Costume Design by: Kelly Wolf

Lighting Design by: André Du Toit