Lorna Mills and Sally McKay
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R.M. Vaughan's Ten Most Disappointing Things About 2009
10. The Michael Jackson Funeral.
Brooke Shields? Brooke fucking Shields? That's the best they could do? She even admitted she hadn't spoken to MJ in over a decade.
Here's what I learned: Plan your own funeral, now, or you get that guy who shared your lab desk in grade 9 biology class, the one who smelled like a three day old peeled apple, delivering your eulogy.
9. Barack Obama
There, I said it. You are all thinking it, but I said it. Don't yell at me.
8. The Sobey Art Award
David Altmejd is a very nice man, but that's beside the point. David Altmejd makes wonderful art, but that too is beside the point. I sometimes think we don't really award culture in this country so much as confirm it - see a wagon, hop on board. Bring your band with you, kettle drums and brass section in front. I think this way because …..
7. The Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Award
I was on the jury, and I was flattered and happy to be asked, and I am ultimately very pleased with the books we selected and I got along just fine with my fellow jurors - but, well, sometimes it felt like the choices were somewhat pre-determined, by factors not entirely relating to literary merit. This feeling was confirmed when I did the announcement of the finalists for the press, and Every Single Media Outlet present asked me "What about the Atwood book?", as if I'd run over a pedestrian and kept going, oblivious, a pedestrian dressed in a brightly coloured clown suit and a three foot high top hat.
6. My Total Poetry Award Shut Out
I'm not bitter-ing, I'm just noticing. My book (his book), Troubled got some of the best reviews of my life, and of any poetry book in the country. And yet, not a single nod. No Griffin, no Governor General's, no Toronto Book Award, no Lambda, no Trillium.
This guy, Jeramy Dodds, got it all instead, on his first book yet. Mr. Dodds is tall and handsome and straight. I am short and fat and gay. The top of my head is all scratched up by the lovely but very pointy lavender stucco that coats the ceiling of my career.
5. Swine Flu
I was promised an Omega Man-like flupocalypse, and I had plans, dammit, plans! There are several houses on my street I have already redecorated in my mind, once the corpses are cleared out. Cheated again.
4. Drag Queens
Not one Susan Boyle impersonator. It's not like any of these hags would have to do all that much to get her look down. Yes, Keith Cole, I am looking right at you.
3. Elizabeth Taylor
As I write this, there are 9 days left for her to become the Best Dead Person of 2009.
2. My Complete Lack of Feeling A Lack
At the start of 2009, I decided that I was only going to go see art that was either made by my friends or that I was being paid to assess. As you can imagine, this gave me a hell of a lot more free time, because I don't care for that many people in the first place, and newspapers don't run art reviews anymore. What I thought would happen, however, was that by about June or July, I would start to miss going to see art. Nope, not one bit. When the fall season started, I felt the same. No phantom limb syndrome, no 5 stages of grief. Maybe I never really liked most art in the first place? Or, maybe a life without art is actually a perfectly acceptable type of life? Or, maybe I am just a tired, washed up hack (ask the poetry award juries)? My resolution for 2010 is to go to at least one art show a month by somebody I have never heard of and/or no newspaper will ever cover. Go bi-polar or go home.
1. Andrew Harwood
Herself moved to Winnipeg. He had many good reasons, and his life has improved - but what about the rest of us? The city is boring without him. I honestly didn't have great expectations of Barack Obama, but Mrs. Harwood, well, he always delivered.