Among the rigorous requirements of being conferred a graduate degree from the University of Western Ontario was climbing the considerable academic hurdle of a typing course.
I speak not of an intellectual examination of typing as it might have had an influence on the development of the written language or its impact on publishing or how it ultimately, along with it’s brethren the mechanical printers, put so so many monks out of business in so so many abbeys. Nor do I speak of, perhaps, the (literally) brain surgeons in the university’s neuroscience faculty lecturing on the interface extant in the process of fingers to keyboard, thought to fingers to page.
Nope, I speak of typing as in keystrokes as measured by WPM (words per minute taking into account error rates) as a requirement to gain an MA in Journalism at UWO.
Among the minor gifts my securing of one of those awe-inspiring J-school degrees was that I was exempted from the typing requirement, thanks to what was a pressure filled, heart-stopping typing test which proved to the board of regents, the dean, even, I suspect, the chancellor's office, and the humourless typing teacher that I was an accomplished typist and thus deserving of the robe come the day of convocation (which I skipped, after picking up my cheque, made out to a minor amount, as winner of some humour writing award -- I was, I believe, the ONLY person who wrote anything that year that qualified, so the competition was not precisely intense...).
The major gift I took away from UWO (ahem, besides the profound UWO granted credential the certificate conveys to me) was having met a particularly talented person.
Ms. Angela Antle was my desk partner. In the early '90s computers in universities were still a bit rare outside labs where people lined up to use the computers as word processors, or to wade into Unix based email and thus to type more code than message. People in the MA journalism program were doubled up at pulled together desks and were assigned (if memory serves)one typewriter and one computer to be shared, and then took (ever so diplomatic)turns working on one or the other. Angela, and I shared that tandem arrangement.
As I, she too had (radio!) journalism experience before arriving at UWO. She also had (has) a scathing wit (born, with her, in Newfoundland) which can remove flesh with mirth before tossing some verbal salt on the tender wounds. I mean, what good is language fun if it ain't used to insult!
I also fell in love with Newfoundland without ever, at the time, having been there because of Angela's parents who, if I'm remembering properly, shipped her a crate of fresh cod, from Newfoundland to London, Ontario, as a means to ease their daughter’s homesickness and to treat her school pals--I arrived too late at that party to get any of the cod cheeks. Just something about that act which suggested to me what I've long since confirmed over and over again--that folks in Newfoundland are just so damn "small town" by which I mean to give the most profound compliment and by which I mean not at all any condescension.
Anyway, I left UWO and fell into the dead end life of corporate truth whoring, where I've remained, and Angela has lighted the world with big globs of coloured wax, and with her deft and intelligent dance behind a CBC radio microphone.
This blog is really a shameless endorsement for Angela on two fronts.
1) She is an award winning artist -- Arts & Letters Award recipient; first recipient of the artist in residence program at Toronto's Spadina House in Toronto last year -- and her works are in the collections of both the City of St. John's and the government of Newfoundland and Labradour. The photo above is an example of her recent show (@ sandra goldie gallery in Montreal) and, obviously, an example of stunning, haunting beauty. The medium is encaustic (wax) on panel, which of course, because we’re viewing it as a digital photo means the (perfect for the subject) texture and depth and real colour, are very much lost. Yet, even as a flat photo is's so, so nice. You can see more of her work at angelaantle.com (And if it's a bad thing that I've posted a photo of your work that I don't own Angela, let me know and I'll take it down). The work shown is four panels of 12" x 12" each. Glorious.
2) Angela, long the host of a weekend arts program on cbc radio one in St. John's
and is producing and hosting a weekly arts program on the national network this summer and I think everyone should listen to "Socket" (the program name)and then send messages to cbc audience relations singing the show's praises, while pointing out that more programming about the arts just might be a good fucking idea!
Now go listen to the program (4 p.m., 99.1FM Toronto time and dial on Radio One TODAY, Saturday) and for god's sake buy Angela’s art, even break my heart by choosing the piece above (it’s still available), before I save my pennies enough so I can put the work in my life.
And, oh. I don't remember if Angela had to take those typing classes – You would think I'd remember her bitching bitterly (of which she's capable) about it, if that were the case, but my memory...