Archive for the ‘Proust Q 5.0’ Category

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Proust questionnaire 5.0: jake moore, one degree of separation, repeated many times

April 11, 2014

I don’t have to go all the way up to six degrees of separation between me and jake moore. More like one degree of separation that kept multiplying: We both, though years apart, spent summers on Lake Winnipeg. As a Winnipeg punk dabbler in the early 1980s (I went by the name “Isn’t that Richard Duguay’s sister?”), I’d marveled at her fabulous, terrifying (in fairness, everything terrified me) stage presence, fronting the band Ruggedy Annes. Later, when I was writing about television at the Winnipeg Sun, I watched the birth of a TV specialty network called WTN (Women’s Television Network, RIP) and saw her host the short-film showcase Shameless Shorts. More recently and unaware of our new proximity, I was a student and she a teacher at Studio XX in Montreal, a multimedia teaching and exhibition collective. Along the way, a growing number of Winnipeg friends, including Linda English, mentioned jake to me as a fellow Winnipegger who’d decamped to Montreal, she an artist in the fine arts world of Concordia University and me hunched over a computer in the newsroom at The Gazette. Nothing happened until Linda, visiting Montreal on a business trip, put us at the same lunch table, because, “you guys would really like each other.” A shy start pretty much exploded into friendship right then and there. So I bugged jake until she did my newly tweaked Proust Questionnaire 5.0. Here she is:

Since we are conducting this interview via email, the world is ours for the inventing. If, as I some day hope, money is no object, in what city and establishment would you like this interview to be taking place?
Sel Rrose, an oyster bar in the Bowery.

Who and what would you be wearing?
In my dreams the clothes I wish for have no brand affiliation but they are beautifully made, clean lined, exceptional materials. I am obsessed by quality of materials and construction.

And, most importantly, what would we be drinking?
If it is summer, gin, Hendrick’s with Q tonic.
If it is winter, either a deep red, or Lagavulin, neat.

Okay then. What are the qualities you most admire in others?
Vision, intellectual capability, and kindness.

What do you like most about yourself?
How I see.

Least?
My fear/self loathing. Likely the same thing.

What is your greatest achievement?
Hasn’t happened yet.

What are you working on (not to be confused with What is your job/work? Although… fill yer boots on that one if you prefer)?
Articulating just what it is that I do,
Continuing to do it.

What is your more treasured possession?
This is difficult to answer for I have many treasures, but they are not of capital value.
My Opa’s handmade flour scoop.
MOMA machine exhibition catalogue 1968.
Big blue, a sweater my mom made.

What is your present state of mind?
Disappointed.

What is your first memory?
Being on the wrong side of the door to the basement in our house in [the Winnipeg neighbourhood of] Fort Garry and hearing my mother asking for me. I was exceptionally aware of the place I had gotten myself into, the kind of space – dark, slightly damp wood in humid Winnipeg summer, and the sound…. Spatialized and complex.
Her voice such comfort.

What was your worst job?
It might be my current one
As there is such a disconnect between its potential and its environment
Essentially anywhere you’re power doesn’t match your responsibilities

Your favourite colour?
Grey

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Warm light rain, mid afternoon, reading, he’s in the house but not necessarily right beside me, just in parallel, wine, (a very chilled sancerre), no plans for the evening.

Of misery?
When faced with overt cruelty.

If not yourself, who or what would you be?
A me with discipline and certainty.
I have no need to be other, just different.

If you could go back in time for one day, anyplace, but for just one day, when, where and with whom?
Paris, 1924, somehow I would know both Colette and Eileen Gray. Or maybe this is the answer to the last question – somehow I would be both Colette and Eileen Gray.

What is your favourite journey?
Summer, Manitoba, very, very, hot, midday heading to the water, either the pits or Whytewold.

What food, dish or meal takes you back to a special time?
Almost every one as I am cooking. Most things I cook are constructed from memories.

Name the person who influenced you most and how.
Overtly my mother Liz Moore/Elly Goring – she made me in so many ways.
But as far as someone changing you, Donald Lloyd McKinley.
 He was the studio master in the Furniture program at the School of Crafts and Design. He gave a 4 hour lecture on screwdrivers once that fascinated me.
Yes, screwdrivers. He talked about mechanical advantage, tools as an extension of the body, innovation, and nationhood all embodied in – or performed via – this everyday object. His ability to inform and expand on how our world has come to be changed my way of looking at every thing. He taught me to see that what is in front of us, is many things all together at once.

Name the film/song/book/art that influenced you most and why?
Just one? Impossible.
There have been so many and there continue to be new ones every year.
From my childhood, Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew changed my world, but did so simultaneously to the Jungle Book soundtrack and Jesus Christ Superstar. I would perform special contemporary dance routines that involved the couch for especially gymnastic rolls, the fireplace used as a barre mixed with various floor routines. Anything that had a lyric I felt I could sing, was sung into this very large, blown glass, decorative brandy snifter, the kind of which was often filled with commemorative match books or a cork collection in the 70’s. That would produce the kind of reverb and resonance that made me certain I was an awesome singer.
I would pay money to have footage of any of those performances. (and there were many). I want to see and feel that joy again.

In this or any time, which real-life figure(s) do you most admire?
Virginia Woolf, Eileen Gray, every day people that make the difficult choices to stay true to what is right.

Who is your favourite fictional hero?
Franny in John Irving’s, Hotel New Hampshire.
Almost anyone written by Alyssa York in her short story collection, Any Given Power.

What fault can you most easily forgive?
Almost anything really, if one acknowledges it as a fault.
Though inflexibility is my least favourite thing.

Not forgive?
Knowing you have a fault and not working to change it seems unforgivable, though maybe it is admirable to fully embrace oneself. Though not if it involves cruelty.

What is your motto?
“There is no try, only do.”

How would you hope to die?
Quick and clean with no witnesses.

Anything I haven’t asked about that you’d like to volunteer?
Not on paper, though feel free to ask me anything.

Deep dark secret?
Because I have told steve everything, I feel like I don’t have any secrets. No one else really needs to know.

Any last words?
Let’s do this in person soon, but you answer the questions : )

Admit it. You read those celebrity Q&As and you know you’re easily as worthy of being profiled. I know I do, but my friends are way more interesting. So, with nods to the “confession albums” of the late 1800s  made famous by the fabulous Marcel Proust’s answers, to French TV host Bernard Pivot who adapted the questionnaire, to Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton who gave it another spin and to Vanity Fair, which uses its own elegantly spun version to anchor the magazine’s back pages, I submit for your entertainment and enlightenment, my own version of the Proust Questionnaire, re-retooled for a blog age.

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Proust Q 5.0, looking back and forward and into the mirror of Vanity Fair

January 21, 2014

I started my Proust Questionnaire partly because I love to grill people, to find out what makes them tick (tick as in what makes them work as well as what makes them go “tick tick BOOM”, the latter of which is quite useful when you work in a high-stress environment, like, say a newsroom).

But why, I wondered, are only famous people Q&A’d? Aren’t mere mortals also interesting? Well of course they are. As a former reporter, I can tell you that many seemingly ordinary people are chock full of surprising stories and are surprisingly willing to share. So I began my own version of the Proust Questionnaire (Proust Q 5.0 is what we call it here at the home office) and my subjects are the people around me. And there is nothing “mere” about my mortals.

Check out some of the respondents so far by clicking here and watch this space in months to come as I’ve actually got some new subjects lined up! Very excited.
From the archive:
Ani Cioffi will take your order now;
Montreal photographer Tim Snow;
Father John Mahoney;
Paula Tiberius is meditating like a mother… ;
fellow Winnipegger-in-Montreal Deanna Radford, muse;
(my fave) wherein I am Prousted by my mother;
Brandon photog Colin Corneau;
Richard Burnett (but you can call him Bugs);
Habs blogger Mike Boone;
yoga mistress and photo goddess Cheryl Hnatiuk;
Winnipeg photographer Ian McCausland (are you sensing a theme here?);
music man Bernard Perusse;
other music guy Jordan Zivitz;
shoeshine man and entertainer extraordinaire Harry Klein;
artist and wiseguy John Pohl;
mystery writer, mystery woman Susie Moloney;
Amy Buckland, librarianator;
Winnipeg street prophet Gaylene Dempsey;
Mary Lamey, land baroness;
I, Al Kratina;
and, starting it all way back in May 2009, mother dear, Betty Tomkins.

But there’s also some fun in store. Vanity Fair, which has a lively monthly Proust Questionnaire of its own, has an interactive in which you, yes YOU, can answer the character-revealing questions made famous when Marcel Proust answered them way back when. Bonus: Once you complete the questionnaire, you can see which celebrity you most resemble in your answers.

Have a go right here and report back. Bisous!

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Proust Q 5.0 modified: Shaney Komulainen

December 11, 2013

I have known Shaney (or Shani) Komulainen since shortly after I moved to Montreal, in November 1997. I knew her as a photographer among the many that I came to know through my work in the Montreal media at the Mirror and then at The Gazette, where I would soon work. Beers in the American, the great horrible seedy bar opposite the old Gazette building on St. Antoine St., a grimy old pub where many a great journalistic venture was hatched or threatened and where photogs would hang out. I knew she was a photographer who didn’t work as much as she once had, but didn’t know why, though I’d heard some rumblings about an accident. Then I discovered she was the one behind one of the most iconic photos of the last … (cripes!) 23 years in Canada – soldier nose to nose with a Mohawk warrior wearing a scarf over his face, in 1990. A moment in time, during the Oka crisis, that caught the breath of anyone who saw it.

This Q&A with Shaney, conducted by Mark Taylor and posted by Tamara Baluja at j-source, is a very thoughtful profile of Shaney, her past work, her accident and what she’s up to now. A pleasure to fill in the blanks on a relentlessly cheerful, generous person. (Incidentally, the Q&A is part of what will be more photo coverage at this journalism project, which you can read about here.)

Here’s Shaney. Catching up with the photographer behind the iconic Oka standoff photo

And I’ll be getting back in the Q&A business myself. Stay tuned. And hey, thanks for dropping by.

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Proust Q 5.0 modified: Graeme Roy aka @g_wah

September 12, 2013

Graeme Roy is an interesting guy. Photo boss at Canadian Press. But also street photographer. He is one of the many top photojournalists in the world who have take to Instagram (@g_wah) and other social photo sites and become stars, not for their journalistic photos (although you could argue it’s all journalism), but for their street photos, candid and otherwise. What I love about what Graeme does is the fun he obviously has in this non-working photography and the masterclass he provides in every image, where his framing and light choices are spectacular: inspiring, instructional and damn gorgeous. Also, he’s one of the nicest guys in the business.

This Proust Questionnaire 5.0 is where I usually badger someone into submitting to my version of the Proust Questionnaire. But since Graeme had already done a wonderful Q&A, I thought I’d just piggyback on the excellent work already done. Click here to read a great Q&A with Graeme on the photo blog Ink361.

 

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proust questionnaire 5.0: Ani Cioffi will take your order now

February 11, 2013

I miss Ani. Ani Cioffi was our office mom, who not only could listen like no one else, but also baked a mean lemon poppyseed  loaf. Oh and the mini cheesecakes. And the… Like I said, we miss Ani.

But she has left the nest of The Gazette in favour of her home bakery and catering business, Biscotti & Dolci, and also to work at the beloved cooking and housewares store Williams Sonoma which, thank GOD, is finally in Montreal via Carrefour Laval. I caught her before she emptied her desk, sniff sniff!!, and made her submit to the Proust Q 5.0 (What’s this? Scroll down for a little background.) Here are her answers. Best wishes to you Ani. And let me know about the next sale, wouldya?

Since we are conducting this interview via email, the world is ours for the inventing. If, as I some day hope, money is no object, in what city and establishment would you like this interview to be taking place? Italy! In Capri, the Amalfi coast, overlooking the ocean, on a beautiful terrace.

Who and what would you be wearing? Something white and crisp…(not black for a change! ) Perhaps, a beautiful outfit from my sister’s boutique, San Remo, at Peel and Sherbrooke!

And, most importantly, what would we be drinking? A wonderful chilled white wine or a lovely sangria with lots of fresh fruit.

Okay then. What are the qualities you most admire in others? Strength, loyalty, sincerity, compassion and a great sense of humour. Being there through thick and thin! Also to see a passion for something they love!

What do you like most about yourself? I am told that I am pretty strong, a survivor, have a very positive outlook in life and the ability to make the best of a given situation, and make it work, whatever it might be! A very big heart! Extremely giving! And always being there no matter what for those I love. Good sense of humor (and need I say, a passion for baking!)

Least? I can be a little bit impatient at times….

What is your greatest achievement? My two sons are my treasures in life. And enjoying 30 years of marriage in September 2012 with my hubby! We are still having fun! I feel blessed.

What is your more treasured possession? Cards that my mom (who passed away 20 years ago) wrote to me on different occasions telling me how proud she was and what a good job I was doing with the kids, even though they were still very young. Her handwriting was beautiful and her chosen words even more so… I take them out every so often and it feels like she is there. Also, the beautiful paintings that my mom used to paint. I also love to collect wonderful cookbooks.

What is your present state of mind? Looking forward to new challenges around the corner!

Where and when are/were you happiest? When I have the whole family / my best friends all gathered around my table enjoying something wonderful that I have made with love for them, laughing a lot… This makes me feel blessed.

What, currently, do you most love doing? I love to travel! We have been on several cruises with friends and family. They have been so memorable! I love baking of course! I love to read fun books, lately about people in the food / restaurant business and of course really great cookbooks! Also, making an awesome meal with the kids and their beautiful girlfriends, all of us in the kitchen, experimenting, and admiring how grown up they all are! They are such interesting and great kids! They make me so proud!

What was your worst job? Working at a notary’s office one summer. I tried it out to see if I would be interested in following that path one day. It was not for me!

Your favourite colour? Black….and white too!

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Having no financial or health worries, to have the kids close by, and to continue to be there for them, and to be able to travel often! Hopefully, to have many more years of the wonderful journey with my hubby.

Of misery? Worrying too much about everything!

If not yourself, who or what would you be? I would love to apprentice with some great chefs and expand my culinary knowledge.

Where would you like to live? We have really happy memories in our present home, but I would really enjoy a cottage by the ocean with my family.

What is your favourite journey? To travel to Italy! I have also enjoyed cruising in the Caribbean very much!

What is your favourite or most memorable meal and when is the last time you indulged? We love to celebrate special occasions with the family at a lovely high end refined Greek restaurant. Their food is exquisite and very fresh! We were there last year on our anniversary!

Name the person who influenced you most and how. My parents were very strong people, true survivors really. They came to Canada from the Middle East, with four young children, to give us a better life! One grandmother refused to come to Canada. That must have been so difficult. They had lost some family members in the [Armenian] genocide, sacrificed so much, and lived through two world wars. Their hard work ethic, dedication to helping family and many other new comers to Canada, lots of love and great cuisine are some of the gifts we have inherited, and pass on to our own kids. I hope they see us from heaven and that we have made them proud. How sad that my dad passed away at 52 years of age. He did not see any of us get married, or meet his grandchildren. My mom, a school principal, passed away at 82 years of age, truly an amazing woman! Watching her paint beautiful paintings in both watercolor and oil… She would always try to make us see the color and beauty in nature around us.

Name the book that influenced you most and why? Reading many great cookbooks over the years, have really inspired me to follow my passion… I’m looking forward to expanding www.biscottidolci.com.

In this or any time, which real-life figure(s) do you most admire? Being the youngest of four children, my siblings were great examples to follow. I also admire the way my kids have grown up. They are both wonderful young men, Anthony, 29, and Christopher, 25. I am so very proud of them!

What fault can you most easily forgive? Forgetfulness.

Not forgive? Insincerity and lying.

What is your motto? This too shall pass. And life is short. Enjoy each moment and be kind to each other.

How would you hope to die? Peacefully, without suffering, in my sleep, surrounded by my loved ones.

Anything I haven’t asked about that you’d like to volunteer? I wished I had asked my parents more about family that was lost in the genocide, etc. I did not want to bring up any sad memories for them. I was busy raising my kids and working full time and now those stories are gone with them..

Any last words? After 32 years at The Gazette, I am looking forward to what the future holds! I hope that it will be filled with many joyous occasions! And I have just the right cake for that!

Admit it. You read those celebrity Q&As and you know you’re easily as worthy of being profiled. I know I do, but my friends are way more interesting. So, with nods to the “confession albums” of the late 1800s  made famous by the fabulous Marcel Proust’s answers, to French TV host Bernard Pivot who adapted the questionnaire, to Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton who gave it another spin and to Vanity Fair (which now invites you to participate in a new interactive PQ!), which uses its own elegantly spun version to anchor the magazine’s back pages, I submit for your entertainment and enlightenment, my own version of the Proust Questionnaire, re-retooled for a blog age.

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Proust Questionnaire 5.0: Meet Montreal photographer and teacher Tim Snow

September 10, 2012

The name Shaun comes up twice in this Proust Q profile and that makes me double happy. One of those occurrences can be guessed easily by those of you familiar with my goings on over the past 15 months. The second made me smile double wide because it’s one of my favourite movies (sb’s too, btw Tim).

That Montreal photographer and teacher Tim Snow made me tear up and smile a couple of times as I read his answers for this month’s Proust Q 5.0 is no surprise. I know Tim from his freelance work for The Gazette, where he usually blows me away with his photos, including one of Eddie Vedder, with his head tipped back in pure abandon, that was pure gorgeousness. More intimately, this being the era of social media, I know him from Twitter and Facebook, where we have talked about family, art, music and work. I rarely see him face to face, but his 1,000-watt smile radiates in every youtube link to a punk thrasher that he’s sent my way just because.

So here’s Tim. And you can find out more about what Tim does here and here.

Since we are conducting this interview via email, the world is ours for the inventing. If, as I some day hope, money is no object, in what city and establishment would you like this interview to be taking place?
We are sitting on the wrap-around deck of my cottage up in Vermont’s Green Mountains, sipping tea and taking in a crisp fall breeze.

Who and what would you be wearing?
Probably some too worn out to wear but doing it anyways punk rock t-shirt and a pair of shorts. It may be chilly out but we are being kept warm by the fire, so it’s all good.

And, most importantly, what would we be drinking? Tea! David’s Tea Coco Chai Roiboos or Orange Pekoe. I stopped drinking alcohol at 18 for personal reasons and haven’t had a sip since, so I usually stick to tea and water unless I am out hiking and drinking Gatorade.

Okay then. What are the qualities you most admire in others?
Drive, determination, fearlessness. Self-confidence. Good hair.

What do you like most about yourself?
I like myself?

 Least?
I sometimes lack the drive, determination, fearlessness and self-confidence others possess. I also lack the good hair. Also, I have a terrible memory.

What is your greatest achievement?
Following my dreams to become a photographer. I am in no way at the level I aspire to reach, but so far so good and I strive to improve my eye and my business every year. Hopefully one day I will make it to a level where I am completely comfortable, but that is many years away.

What is your more treasured possession?
Hmm. I have absolutely no idea. Maybe my wedding ring? Though I suppose it’s not the ring that I love but what it represents…

Where and when are/were you happiest?
When I am completely spent, depleted and have no power left, but I somehow make the last push to the summit of a mountain. Completely exhausted, I sit down and stare in every direction, taking in the sights and realize that the only reason I am up there is because I didn’t give up.

Also, when I nail a photo. Just nail it, it is one of the best feelings!

What is your first memory?
I wish I had some kind of cheery cute story, but I have such a bad memory it really bothers me.

What, currently, do you most love doing?
Working, hiking and spending time with Sarah.

What was your worst job?
I had a job washing dishes for one night. It was brutal, fat drippings in a 3×2 foot pan that I had to wash in a 1×1 foot sink…not cool. I think I was 14…

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I want to get to the point in life where I am comfortable. Where I don’t have to worry about the next check that is supposed to be in the mail but hasn’t shown up yet. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be a millionaire or anything, I just want financial comfort. I am not destitute or anything, but freelancing can be tough sometimes.

Of misery?
Feeling like I have let down those who love me. I have been there a few times, and it is the worst.

If not yourself, who or what would you be?
John Cusack. But I suppose I’m OK being myself.

Where would you like to live?
I like my current house, a simple bungalow. It’s nothing special, but it’s mine. I would love to add a house in Vermont, Ireland and Santa Monica, but that’s all way out of reach for now…

What is your favourite journey?
The one I will take tomorrow! (Tomorrow being a fictional date in the future, not a real-life time and/or place) (I’m trying to be philosophical…)

What is your favourite or most memorable meal and when is the last time you indulged?
I have to say that the past couple of weeks have been awesome! I am part of the team of photographers for the Osheaga and Heavy MTL festivals, and I have access to the backstage catering for the bands. Insane … as usual the head chef was Chuck Hughes from Chuck’s Day Off/Garde Manger. Shooting some amazing bands and eating some of the best food I have ever had … my job rules.

I have actually started becoming an OK “chef”. I try to cook as often as I can, and actually have a few pretty good recipes including Pulled Pork, Fish Tacos and a Senegalese Peanut Butter soup!

Name the person who influenced you most and how.
I have a few:

  • My dad. He passed away last summer (My dad and Shaun [Best] passed away within hours of each other [June 2011), something which Denise and I have spoken about many times). He did so much for me, made so many sacrifices and encouraged me to follow my dreams even though he probably thought I was nuts. I miss him every day.
  • Ian MacKaye. His music and his fearlessness to do what he wants paved the way for an entire movement. His DIY spirit remains to this day, and he is genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever met.
  • Photographers old and new like Zack Arias, Joe McNally, Peter Read Miller, Walter Iooss Jr, Arnold Newman, Glen E. Friedman, Steve McCurry, Chris Orwig, Steve Simon, Larry Towell, Gordon Parks, Sam Abell … and all of the Gazette guys who have helped me tremendously as I still continue to develop as a photographer.

Name the film/song/book/art that influenced you most and why?
I find it impossible to pick just one since there have been so many small things that have added up to who I am today. I think picking just one would do a disservice to everything else.

Who is your favourite fictional hero?
Shaun from Shaun Of The Dead.

What is your motto?
I’ve never really had a carved-in-stone motto, I have lots of quotes I love but have never really adapted them as my personal motto. I’ve always loved James Dean’s “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today” but that’s kind of too idealistic the older I get. It’s a great sentiment, but not very realistic. I’m just not that fearless.

I strive every day to better myself as a photographer and as a person, and I have also been trying to inspire others to do the same. I’ve been very influenced by Chris Orwig lately, his passion for photography and life is refreshing, especially to someone as cynical as I tend to be. Reading his books got me thinking about how I approach my own teaching and workshops, and how I want to influence the people who trust me to teach them something. So I came up with this:

Connect

Create

Share

I guess this would be my motto lately. I want to connect with the people I am photographing on a deeper level to make photographs that have more depth. I want to connect with the people I teach to inspire them as much as I can.

I want to continue to push my personal envelop and to create photographs that have resonance with the people who see them.

I want to share my work and my knowledge with as many people as I can. Especially my knowledge. I got where I am today because I have put in years of work and will continue to do so as long as I live, but the thing with photography, as with anything else in life, is that if you put in the time and the work, you will get there one day. There is no secret to it, put in the hard work and you will see the benefits.

How would you hope to die?
With a smile on my face knowing that I have given it everything I had.

Any last words?
I’ve got too much life left in me for last words.

Admit it. You read those celebrity Q&As and you know you’re easily as worthy of being profiled. I know I do, but my friends are way more interesting. So, with nods to the “confession albums” of the late 1800s  made famous by the fabulous Marcel Proust’s answers, to French TV host Bernard Pivot who adapted the questionnaire, to Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton who gave it another spin and to Vanity Fair, which uses its own elegantly spun version to anchor the magazine’s back pages, I submit for your entertainment and enlightenment, my own version of the Proust Questionnaire, re-retooled for a blog age.

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Proust Q 5.0 June 2012: Father John Mahoney

June 12, 2012

John Mahoney is a colleague at the Montreal Gazette, a photographer, chair of our union and a father and husband. He is a rock solid friend, one of only three who joined Shaun’s parents and me last summer to tell stories about the late great Shaun Best. And while he is nearly my match in years, I think of him mostly as a father. He lights up, as you’ll see, whenever he gets a chance to talk about his children, a couple of whom I have worked with at the Gazette, Riley being the current secondary Gazette Mahoney. Fine lad. Though judging by what John is like as an occasional desk mate, he didn’t have much of a choice. I have a swear jar on the half wall between me and the photo editor’s desk, where John sits in on occasion. No one else complains about my swearing. John complains. For my own good, of course. So I give you, for this month’s Proust questionnaire 5.0, Father John Mahoney.

Since we are conducting this interview via email, the world is ours for the inventing. If, as I some day hope, money is no object, in what city and establishment would you like this interview to be taking place? In Venice, in Piazza San Marco, in the spring before too many tourists bring the pigeons with them. At any one of the many cafe tables. Preferably later in the afternoon on a sunny day when the Piazza is bathed in the warmth of the late day sun.

Who and what would you be wearing? Probably jeans and Blundstones with a shirt and sweater under a windbreaker.

And, most importantly, what would we be drinking? I’ve never drunk alcohol and my New Year’s resolution this year was to go a year without Coke or Pepsi (last year I went a year without eating McDonald’s) so I’d be drinking water or lemonade.

Okay then. What are the qualities you most admire in others? Down-to-earth self-confidence, a good sense of humour, loyalty and some sort of recognition of the need for people with shared interests to pull together.

What do you like most about yourself? I think I’ve been a pretty good Dad.

Least? Procrastination and claustrophobia.

What is your greatest achievement? My family. Jocelyne’s and my four kids are adults now, and people seem to like them and they all have different individual skills. And they’re all still talking to us.

What is your more treasured possession? Our house. We raised the family here and now that they’re slowly leaving we have no desire to move. Nice house in a nice location with a killer 54″ tv.

What is your present state of mind? Concerned. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the news business and no one really knows the long-term viability of many news organizations. We’re also living through a period where Anglo Montrealers are under renewed pressure from the French majority. As much as I love living and working here the idea of leaving Quebec after I retire has crept up recently.

Where and when are/were you happiest? February 19, 2011 at my daughter Adrian’s wedding. She married an Italian so it was big, with lots of build-up. Great wedding; terrific food, great band, dancing until 2 in the morning.

What is your first memory? I don’t know exactly how old I was but probably around 2 years old. My family was living in an apartment building and my mother would dry laundry on racks over the big round heat registers in the hall. One evening a diaper fell through the grate and started smoking and we all had to evacuate the building for a bit.

What, currently, do you most love doing? Making a big weekend meal for our family and their spouse/girlfriends.

What was your worst job? I’ve been very fortunate to have had some good, stimulating jobs, even before the news business. I can’t say I ever really hated any one of them. One of my summer jobs was court monitor at a municipal tennis court in Lachine. People would show up looking for someone to play and if there was no one else around I’d play them. Or fill out a foursome for doubles. Got paid even when it rained. Great job when you’ve 18.

Your favourite colour? Blue

What is your idea of perfect happiness? To have the financial wherewithal to travel where I wanted when I wanted. Especially to escape the winter.

Of misery? Stuck in a job where I’d only have 2 weeks vacation a year.

If not yourself, who or what would you be? I’m pretty comfortable with who I am but if pressed, it would be pretty cool coaching an NCAA basketball team.

Where would you like to live? I’m a bit of a Montreal chauvinist. I think it’s still the most stimulating city in the country (not always for good, but rarely dull), so in Canada I’d stay here. Winter in Barbados sounds pretty inviting, though.

What is your favourite journey? Jocelyne and I spend two weeks every summer in Truro in Cape Cod. Total rest and relaxation.

What is your favourite or most memorable meal and when is the last time you indulged? I like the veal at Vago on Greene Ave. Was there last about a year ago.

Name the person who influenced you most and how. Chris Haney was the photo editor at Canadian Press in Montreal when I brought him my feeble student portfolio in August 1976. He invited me to come spend a day with the photo staff and later got me a job as a copy boy (there’s a job title from the history of newspapers) in the bureau. He pushed me to take a job in the darkroom at CP in Ottawa and then hired me at the Gazette in June ’79. He then went on to co-invent Trivial Pursuit. I didn’t have the guts to invest in the game when I had the chance, but much of what I have and much of what I’ve experienced professionally I owe to him. He gave me a chance and every bit of advice he ever gave me was right.

Name the film/song/book/art that influenced you most and why? In the 70’s there was a series of photography books titled Masters of Contemporary Photography. I had most of them. My favourites were about sports photographers Mark Kaufman and Neil Leifer. I think that was when I first thought of making photography a career.

In this or any time, which real-life figure(s) do you most admire? My dad. He lived the Death of a Salesman with six kids and somehow remained a loving and lovable man.

Who is your favourite fictional hero? Don’t really have one.

What fault can you most easily forgive? Forgetfulness. Our clan of Mahoneys are notorious for having lousy memories.

Not forgive? Lack of loyalty.

What is your motto? No guts, no glory.

How would you hope to die? In my sleep under the sun on Longnook Beach on the Cape.

Anything I haven’t asked about that you’d like to volunteer? Deep dark secret? When I was in my 20’s my Dad had a stroke that left him unable to speak. At the time I was busy starting my family and my career. Now that I’m in my 50s and have lived a lot more, there are some questions I’d like to have been able to ask him. He passed away a dozen years ago.

Admit it. You read those celebrity Q&As and you know you’re easily as worthy of being profiled. I know I do, but my friends are way more interesting. So, with nods to the “confession albums” of the late 1800s  made famous by the fabulous Marcel Proust’s answers, to French TV host Bernard Pivot who adapted the questionnaire, to Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton who gave it another spin and to Vanity Fair, which uses its own elegantly spun version to anchor the magazine’s back pages, I submit for your entertainment and enlightenment, my own version of the Proust Questionnaire, re-retooled for a blog age.

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