Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Doug Murray

Today was my friend Doug Murray's birthday, who passed away a couple of years ago. July 21st doesn't go by without making me think of him and making me wonder about how things would've been different had he lived.

I met Doug when I started in the Animation-Television programme at Algonquin College back in 1997. A lot of people knew Doug as a teacher at the school in their Design programme, but at that time, he was a student. It was gratifying meeting him because he was also one of the older students too, at 33. I had been quite intimidated at the thought of returning to school at the age of 27, when many of the other students were 18 years old.

Doug was immediately charming, funny, intelligent, silly, genuine, and engaging. He could warm to any subject and had ideas and opinions on many. He was always up for a "wee pint" as he called it, and then would lapse into many Monty Pythonisms thereafter (including "Decomposing Composers" and "The Philosopher's Song").

Not long after our Siers-survival group was formed, and we were meeting regularly at the Ob, Doug showed us one of his "tricks", which was to squeeze his hands together and thus produce a credible fart sound. Hilarious! Often we'd tease him into doing it for us time and time again, and he would comply. I remember Lorne saying: "Give us a fart Doogie", and Doug, grinning like a madman, happily made the sound over and over.

I partnered with Doug in Drama class a number of times. Lorne has tapes of our Drama efforts (God!! Blackmail material for sure!) It is so poignant to watch them--usually we manage to every year at Lorne and Kim's Christmas party. Doug and I go through the pantomime motions of 1st year Charlie-Chaplin wannabes. I pretend to kill him or something, or cut off his arm... and it is all silent.

I wish that we had been more adamant about taping our later, spoken Drama moments. I really miss hearing his voice, and his laugh. I miss seeing the twinkle in his eye and the crinkle of skin that preceded great laughter.

I remember I had someone brow-beaten he and Rene into being in my Drama group, where we had to act out scripts from our scriptwriting class. None of us had practiced really. The script made sense to me, because I'd written it--but Rene and Doug were a little baffled. I finished my lines, something to the effect of being the Chief of the Tribe and having all this power.. and Doug, completely forgetting his lines, grinned up at me and said: "And I suppose that makes you special??" Fantastic!

I have our illustrated yearbook "Flip This" from 1st year, and it has Doug's drawings in it; lush, lovely life drawings and silly, whimsical animation designs. He signed in my book and I treasure the note. Another note I have is on a birthday card from our Dynomight Cartoon days. Scribbled at the back is: "Ich bin ein donut!", which is pure Doug--silly, yet very literary and historical.

Anyway, I am trolling the memories and they come fast and furious. If I dig into them too much I will be crying, and I don't want it--sometimes it is too difficult to stop, you know? Suffice to say that all that I have of Doug, I treasure thoroughly, making me miss him all the harder. He was one of the good ones, and the world is diminished without him.


Algonquin College's Doug Murray Life Bursary
Some great Flamenco guitar music (Doug was an accomplished musician as well!)
And the old Elmdale Tennis Club where he played much tennis >v_v<

Monday, July 20, 2009

NEW Ottawa Comix Jam in Guerilla Magazine's g-Gallery

The NEW Ottawa Comix Jam is not toast. In fact, it is off to a good, energetic start. There has been a continued interest and support that has amazed and gratified this artist and gives me hope that the jam will continue for a long, long time!

One of these latest shots in the arm came from Guerilla Magazine's Tony Martin who contacted me about doing an interview and showcasing June 30th's jam in his weekly online publication of art called the g-Gallery. I was delighted, and everything went along quite well.

Until I realized that I had a file full of artwork that had to be scanned, and my scanner was in the basement. Normally a set of stairs isn't all that intimidating... however I have been recovering this last month from a torn ligament. In my knee. Yeah...

I was going to just get Clayton to haul the scanner upstairs and plug it into my laptop when I had a sudden thought. "Clay--look at the back of the scanner. Does it have a gi-normous plug? Or is it tiny?" (aka: is it a USB plug, or something from the dawn of computer time...?)

"It's huge! Huge!" came the muffled reply from the basement.

Great. So I had to get down the stairs somehow. This involved waiting until the last possible moment, when I hoped that the knee wouldn't hate me for what I was going to do to it. Then doing it. I crept down the stairs using cane and hand rail, good leg first, brace, bad leg next. It took a loooong time. But there was no way to sit at the top of the stairs and explain how to scan to Clay. I couldn't do it without seeing it. And I had to get the art scanned now.

Thankfully, I didn't reinjure the healing ligament, and slowly managed to get back up the stairs with many pauses in between to rest. The artwork was scanned, and I formatted it on my laptop so it would fit the gallery's requirements. Hurrah!

I am floored by how nicely it came together, both the interview and the artwork look great in the g-Gallery. Tony was awesome, and the artists that came out and had a chance to draw did a great job. I am looking forward to next Tuesday's gathering at the Shanghai (July 28th, 7pm) for more fun hijinx, art, dumplings and silliness. I should be ok...I hope! At least the resto only has 3 stairs.

Thanks to Janet Hetherington for the photo!

Notable Links of Featured Artists
Suzanne Marsden
Morris Rothman
Ron Martin
Clayton Jacobs
CD Rudd
Colleen Temple
Julie Cruikshank
R.R. Steven Bissonnette
Mike Pender
Ronn Sutton
Janet Hetherington
Mike Valiquette