James’ Brand New Blog

#ldnont hockey quiz: Nov. 28, 1967 Nats vs. Flyers

- November 28th, 2014

Nats vs Flyers Nov


Helmet-wearing No. 4 (JBNBlog thinks) for the old London Nationals challenges  a Niagara Falls Flyer in junior hockey action from this day — Nov. 28 — in Centennial Year. Courtesy of Western Archives

JBNBlog salutes whichever LFP ace photographer caught this junior hockey action at what is likely the old Treasure Island Gardens . . . you can see the spray off No. 4′s skates.

Here’s today’s #ldnont hockey quiz — who is the London National with the helmet in the foreground? Extra points for ID’ing the Flyer & the other GoNatsGo player seen at left. Any other details on the 1967-1968 OHA season here appreciated.

The usual prizes are at hand & the celeb judges are also wondering who the three players on the ice might be.

Here’s a thought . . .who on that night would have dreamed the OHL successor to the Nationals — the defending league champion London Knights — would be playing in downtown London  before about 9,000 fans vs. a hot team called the Erie (Pennsylvania!) Otters 47 years to the day later

#ldnont 1942: Bobby Hackett plays guitar w/ Glenn Miller

- November 27th, 2014

Bobby Hackett Glenn Miller

Apparently a rare shot of Bobby Hackett playing cornet with the Glenn Miller Orchestra (since he spent most of his time playing rhythm guitar); 1941-42, caption  and credit from the Nick DeCarlis collection of Bobby Hackett memorabilia. . . courtesy of bobbyhackett.com

More than 10 years ago, Quebec City-based Glenn Miller expert Alain LeBlanc & the late Chris Doty helped JBNBlog with a column about the famous night in early 1942 when the Glenn Miller played to a jammed London Arena . . . 6,500 fans or more.

Alain was in touch again recently & one of the memories passed along from here was a remarkable account sent sometime in the early 2000s by the late Jack Walters, a former Londoner who lived for many years in the U.S. Jack’s account has intrigued Alain — which is saying something.

Jack wrote to say he had read the My London column about Miller being here on Jan. 24, 1942  . . . & had his own vivid recollections.

Here’s a little bit about Jack and fellow musician Neil McKay meeting another of their heroes, Bobby Hackett who was playing in the Miller band. Hackett played cornet at some points that evening … don’t think it was the occasion for the photograph here however.

Over to Jack . . .  thanks for this, wherever you are!

Another highlight was Bobby Hackett the famous cornet player who was on stage with the Miller Orchestra!
He was playing guitar! There he was sitting by the piano, plunking away and it was not even well amplified sound so that he blended in with the bass, piano and drums almost like Green with the “Basie Beat” we were all familiar with but much more quiet. I do not remember him taking a solo on guitar at the dance. When the band took their half hour break, later in the evening, Bobby picked up his cornet and accompanied by the substitute players on piano,  bass and drums,  he played 3 choruses of SKYLARK. What a wonderful tone and sound he had. I can still hear those clear ringing notes which we hear on two of Miller’s records, the most famous of them String of Pearls.
In later years Earl Plunkett and I visited with Bobby who was featured at the great  Campbell’s Restaurant on Dundas Street near Richmond. Bobby remembered that night. He said had joined Miller, deeply in debt ($3000) in 1941. The debt resulted from a failed band he had  headed. He had problems with his teeth and could not play a whole night in a brass section but Glen hired him as his guitar. He gradually got out of debt with Glenn’s help.

Jen White & Gone With The Bullets deal

- November 26th, 2014

Jen White

Jen White in an undated image courtesy of knockgrafton.com

JBNBlog has been a Jen White fan for most of the 16 years she cheerfully has said it has taken to become an overnight success . . . & here’s some swell news. It looks as if Jen’s Celtic harp sounds have found a home in a soundtrack to a movie in China that’s apparently ahead ofwhatever Transformers flick might be there in advance ticket sales. Wow.

Here’s Jen on Facebook:

Loch Lomond will be part of the soundtrack for Gone with the Bullets, the sequel to Let the Bullets Fly, the 3rd highest grossing film in China. It has been an impatient bit of waiting, but the numbers have finally been negotiated. This opportunity introduces the music to a new (and BIG, really BIG) market, offers a nice chunk of cash up front, and royalties as the film makes it way around the world. It opens in China in mid-December. Woohoo! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to us. It has only taken 16 years for this overnight success.

Sloan #ldnont karaoke quiz

- November 26th, 2014

Sloan Norma Jean's Tillsonburg 2012

Veteran Canadian Cosmic Rockers
Sloan rocked a packed house at Norma Jean’s Friday, April 20, 2012 in Tillsonburg, Ontario. Guitarists Patrick Pentland and Jay Ferguson, Bassist Chris Murphy and drummer Andrew Scott each took their turn in the spotlight through a performance featuring material from their 20-years of experience in the music industry. Jeff Tribe/Tillsonburg News/QMI Agency

So last week. Sloan made it to the London Music Hall, but their equipment didn’t get through the miserable weather . . . undaunted, Sloan went off & karaoked with fans somewhere down Dundas St. — or at least that is the #ldnont urban myth JBNBlog is repeating here.

Sloan is back at the London Music Hall 2nite (Wednesday) for the makeup gig . . . to celebrate this ace outfit’s no-quit attitude, here’s a Sloan-aoke quiz:

1) Where did Sloan & fans go last week?

2) Who sang what?

3) Which Sloan-ster is in QMI Agency ally Tillsonburg News photograph here . . .meanwhile,  JBNBlog is thinking back to Sloan’s gig at the old Balloonfest . . . Aug. 6, 2006  . . .

Sloan couldn’t help floating on high at the London Balloon Festival outdoor concert at Harris Park last night.
The Toronto-based rock band was preaching a little balloon love to go with its catalogue of hits before a paid crowd of about 3,000 fans, with an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 more in the fest free space.
“Did everybody get up today?” Sloan bassist and vocalist Chris Murphy asked the happy Sloan-lovers pushing up to the stage. “Cool — us, too,” Murphy said. “Statistically, it’s the safest way to travel. We should all be travelling by balloon.”

For bonus points, what was the last year for the Balloonfest?

Celeb judges are ready & sick with envy they didn’t know about the karaoke night. If it happened. It did, didn’t it?

Richard Stingle remembered: Donald Hair

- November 25th, 2014

Richard Stingle 1980

Richard Stingle, in a classic image from Sept. 11, 1980 by former LFP colleague Rick Eglinton . . . Dick had just been nominated for a Western teaching award — he would win one in 1986.

The emotions are strong as JBNBlog reads the following tribute to the late Richard Stingle by his former colleague Donald Hair . . . a terrific piece. Donald has details about Richard which confirm his greatness in many fields . . . another former colleague Ernie Redekop mentioned Richard’s role in the battle for academic freedom in Canada. More about his courage & commitment is here.

Meanwhile, JBNBlog is happy to find this photograph — Richard may have had a copy of it — in The Free Press file. A brief story accompanying the photograph ran on Sept. 20, 1980 … Richard had been nominated as Western’s top professor.

He borrowed a quotation from my late father — “energy is essential” — when discussing his own teaching methods.

“I think it’s important to involve other areas of their studies as well. If you’re teaching English, you should involve philosophy & history as well,” the then-55-year-old Richard told the LFP.

… over to Don Hair


by Donald Hair

Dick Stingle was the very model of the teacher-scholar, in the undergraduate classroom, in graduate seminars and supervisions, in private conversations with his colleagues, and in his public talks and lectures, his essays, reviews, and monograph. Moreover, his principled and courageous stand during the Crowe case at United College, Winnipeg, in 1958-59 was a significant part of the development of the defence of academic freedom and tenure in Canada.

Dick was born into a family of miners in Timmins, Ontario, on November 26, 1925, and grew up in Timmins and Kirkland Lake, but his roots were deep in Nova Scotia. On his mother’s side, he was descended from planters — the Millses — who came to the province in 1759; and from Scots immigrants, the Macmillans, who arrived in 1802. On his father’s side his ancestor was a Hessian mercenary named Stengel who settled in Nova Scotia after the American Revolution.

Dick entered the honours program at Victoria College, Toronto, in September 1944, part of the class described by Northrop Frye as the most brilliant he had ever taught. At University College in those same years was James Reaney, who became a close friend, and Jamie’s future wife, Colleen Thibaudeau, as well as others, such as Ron Bates and Earle Sanborn, who would become colleagues at Western.

Dick earned his M.A. from Toronto in 1950, with a thesis on William Morris. By that time he was enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin, where he remained for three years before accepting his first major teaching position at United College, Winnipeg.

On April 16, 1958, Dr. W. C. Lockhart, the principal of the college, called to his office W. A. Packer, associate professor of German, and showed him a letter addressed to Packer and signed “Harry” — Harry Crowe, that is, associate professor of history. Packer had not seen the letter before, and asked how it had come into the possession of the principal. Lockhart eventually told him that the letter had appeared in a blue envelope with an unsigned note: “Found in College Hall. We think you should read it. Some staff loyalty???” Such was the beginning of the Crowe case, in which the central issue was the principal’s use of a private letter addressed to a colleague to dismiss the author of the letter.

Dick was at the time a member of the executive of the college’s faculty association, and his role in subsequent events has been well documented in his friend and colleague Kenneth McNaught’s autobiography (Conscience and History, 1999), in Michiel Horn’s history of academic freedom in Canada (also published in 1999), and in Philip Girard’s biography of Bora Laskin (2005). At the inquiry into the affair Dick was praised for relying on what he knew, and only on what he knew, when hearsay and rumour had obscured both issues and facts. He, Stewart Reid, and Ken McNaught were the first three faculty members to resign in protest against the principal’s actions. Students did as well, and eventually most of the third- and fourth-year honours students transferred to the Fort Garry campus. Among them was Bruce Lundgren, Dick’s student and friend, and later long-time colleague and friend at Western.

Fifty years later CAUT honored the remaining participants in the affair, and Dick, looking back on that time, defined the most lasting part of the experience: “The working together of those of us involved at the local level of the CAUT in Winnipeg created a community that drew on very different personalities, talents and experiences. For me, that earlier community turned out to be the origin of a very similar experience in team teaching.”

That was in the Department of English at the University of Western Ontario, where Dick came in 1962, after one-year stints at the University of Saskatchewan and Laurentian University. He was to stay for the next thirty years.

His areas of specialization were Victorian literature, seventeenth-century English literature, and Canadian literature. He taught everything from first-year surveys to graduate courses in Dickens, Rossetti, the Pre-Raphaelites, Morris, Carlyle, and the Victorian novel, but it was his experience of team teaching, in the first-year survey and in the Canadian Literature and Culture course, that had the greatest impact on him — and on which he was a major shaping influence. The chief innovations were the presence of the whole team in every hour and the interaction of team members in dialogue, discussion and symposia instead of the usual lecture by one person. The effect on dynamics in the classroom and on the curriculum is documented in the article Dick and I wrote for Canadian Poetry in memory of James Reaney (2008), and in a subsequent article I wrote about the Canadian course for that same periodical (2010).

Dick was an outstanding teacher, whether with a team or on his own, and in 1986 the university gave him its award for Excellence in Teaching. The honour depended to a large extent on the testimony of students and colleagues, and their letters document their experience of his classroom. “Intense,” “challenging,” and “intellectually stimulating” were adjectives that turned up again and again, and are conventional enough, but Ken McNaught’s letter came closest to defining the unique nature of Dick’s classroom: “a passionate struggle to achieve understanding.” McNaught recorded Dick’s “conviction that a teacher is supposed to teach — not just hold a ring within which unformed minds can practise self-expression.” Some students resented Dick’s demands upon their attention and mental energy, but many more — those who were real students — flourished under such discipline.

As a teacher Dick, like Reaney and others, was constantly moving in two directions: centripetally, into the tropes and schemes and shapes and patterns at the centre of all literature, and centrifugally, into other disciplines and into cultural and social patterns. Though students saw Dick as demanding, they also saw him as fair, kind, and open-minded, himself an example of the high expectations he had for them. His classroom was never just one more room in the ivory tower of popular myth, remote from so-called “real life,” but a testing ground where the “mental fight” Blake named as crucial to the future of society could be waged. One student remembered Dick’s saying about the classroom, “But you know, this also is reality.”

Dick had the kind of mind from which colleagues, as well as students, could learn. Conversation with him was a seminar, punctuated with laughter. Its impact becomes apparent when one looks at the unusually large number of acknowledgements naming him in scholarly books and articles, in a wide variety of fields: in the nineteenth-century novel and prose of thought, in Canadian literature from our earliest poets to contemporary writers, in Victorian poetry.

Dick’s own preferred method of publication was the essay and the short monograph. One of his earliest pieces was on William Morris, a brief essay published rather obscurely in the 1960 report of ACUTE, but singled out by W. E. Fredeman in the widely circulated 1968 guide to research in Victorian Poetry as “an excellent (but generally unknown) introduction to Morris’ writings.” He contributed a number of essays to James Reaney’s Alphabet, the most important of which was “The Donnellys: Ritual Victims,” which fed into Reaney’s thinking about the material that would eventually become The Donnellys trilogy, and which was reprinted by Douglas Dayman and Leslie Monkman in their 1984 collection Towards a Canadian Literature. He also wrote about Reaney himself, in a 1982 essay on Reaney and Frye, “‘all the old levels’” (which appeared both in Essays on Canadian Writing and in Stan Dragland’s 1983 collection of “approaches” to Reaney’s work), and he expanded that material into a longer monograph for ECW’s series Canadian Writers and Their Works (also 1983). Included in the 1982 essay was the first extended analysis of Reaney’s Gyroscope, not yet published at the time: Dick worked from the author’s script. An essay on the poetry of Colleen Thibaudeau appeared in Brick in 1979. When Martin Kreiswirth and Michael Groden were preparing their Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism (1994), they asked Dick to write the entry on Northrop Frye — a substantial piece which Dick updated for a second edition (2005). More recently, Porcupine’s Quill published a new edition of Reaney’s A Suit of Nettles (which Jamie had dedicated to Dick), and Dick gave a brief public lecture at the book launch. It might have been only a slight piece, drawing upon reminiscences, but Dick characteristically dealt with a complex critical issue — the relations in literary history of the learned poet and the natural genius — and he did so with his usual clarity of exposition and his usual ability to relate theory to actual experience.

Dick died on November 22, 2014, in University Hospital, London, Ontario, a few days short of his eighty-ninth birthday.


Kenneth McNaught. Conscience and History: A Memoir. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1999. Foreword by J. L. Granatstein and Michael Bliss, who single out McNaught’s account of the Crowe case and say it was “a seminal event in shaping concepts of academic freedom in Canada.”

Michiel Horn. Academic Freedom in Canada: A History. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1999.

Philip Girard. Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2005.