Tuesday, July 21, 2009
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<