Thursday, 14 November 2013

Greg Curnoe

21 years ago today.

My girlfriend and I went out for breakfast, and spent the rest of the morning sauntering around town, doing some shopping at the market. At one point she suddenly started to cry. Her having a cry wasn’t so unusual. But she also had some eerie psychic powers.

“I’m not sure....I just feel incredibly sad all of a sudden.”
It seemed to pass, and we went about our day.
Later that evening, the phone rang, and she answered it. She began balling her eyes out.

A friend called us to inquire if we had heard the bad news.

Greg had been killed. He was riding with his cycling club, the London Centennial Wheelers, and an inattentive driver had smashed into the entire peloton, grievously injuring many, killing Greg.

Later we ascertained when it had happened, and her crying spell had happened around the same time. Like I said; eerie.

I went to school with Greg’s 3 kids, and we became good friends. I spent a lot of time at their house. Over time, Greg became more than someone who was my friends dad, and a Canadian artist of quite some renown. I loved hanging out in his studio where we would talk about music, with him pulling records out of his extensive collection to introduce me to stuff, and thrusting books into my hands on a variety of subjects from his vast library.

This connection with books extended to his having his book Deeds/Abstracts printed at the company I worked for in the months leading up to his untimely demise. It was an honour and a privilege to shepherd it through the whole process.

He called Kathryn and I up to ask if we wanted to come over to drink a bottle of wine he was about to open. We declined the offer, since we had to catch an early flight to Montreal the next morning, to visit coincidentally enough, his daughter. We got back on the Friday. He was killed the next day. Do I ever wish we had stayed up late to have that last bottle of wine with him and Sheila.

Still, I am blessed that I got to know him, and his family.

Greg loved bicycles and they were often featured in his prodigious output. This one is called Mariposa T.T. and it’s a serigraph on plexiglas and hails from 1979.

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