Congratulations to Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals for their stunning election victory last night. To celebrate the ouster of King Stephen, I offer a bit of nostalgia: some photos I took of Justin’s father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. I think it was during the 1979 election campaign. Our high school orchestra was invited to a Liberal shindig to play the national anthem. The theme to Star Wars was big then, what with the Force and all, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we played that too. I brought my viola and my camera bag, so when I wasn’t bowing furiously, I was lurking around the stage trying to get a decent shot. I had a Konica T3 35 mm camera and Bushnell 35 mm lens. These aren’t great photos (made worse by the fact that they’re scanned from slides), but sometimes it’s useful to revisit earlier efforts. I can see the makings of a street photographer here.
Put a camera in my hands and I transformed from a mild-mannered polite kid into an aggressive prick. I pushed my way to the stage and didn’t leave until I got what I was after. By today’s standards, security was lax and I had no problem getting close. After Trudeau spoke, he wandered into the crowd. People rushed him like he was a rock star or Jesus dispensing miracles. I got crushed by a mob of elderly Italian women who absolutely adored him.
Above is our music teacher, Phil McConnell, conducting the stage band while the string players sit and twiddle their thumbs (or ignore the music and wander off to take photos).
Curiously, Trudeau appears to have preferred the strings. Is he bowing a violin or a viola?
I remember Trudeau as a marvelous extemporaneous speaker, swift on his feet, and formidable in the face of stupidity. I have the sense that maybe Justin has inherited some of those gifts. Here’s hoping.