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August 9th, 1969
p. 40

An 'anti-everything' mob and circus aura


Outside the Seaforth Armory, as we came in, a calliope wailed it's plaintive melody, lost soon among the shouts of a clamoring mob of anti-everything students, who had gathered to shout insults at the prime minster.

Inside the bare barracks had taken on a circus air. Ribbon-held balloons soared above each pink or gold covered table, in the center of which sat squat hurricane-glassed candles, ringed with country flowers.

Over near the bandstand where Brick Henderson's orchestra tootled a dry run, and singer Eve Smith hummed the lyrics into a lonely mike, a mirrored ball hung suspended from the lofty raftered roof. Then, as colored spots hit, it turned and whirled, shattering the light into thousands of flickering colors.

Great cones of colored ribbons hung down over the tables. And screens of white ribbon, suspended from poles of bamboo, hid the homely green walls of the armories from view.

Joan Foster, chairman of the decorating committee, collapsed onto a chair beside me and explained the idea of the screens.

"We wanted to decorate the space instead of the walls," she said. "The mirrored ball, shatters the light as it turns — the cones of white ribbons — those hanging screens of white — are all an attempted to create a mood of movement, gaiety, excitement.

"Later, when its dark enough in here, you see pictures flashed on those screens — pictures of the PM with a rose in his teeth, or hanging himself with his tie, goofy pictures of the city, opulent vegetables. and the moving ribbons of the screen will fracture the pictures, breaking them up making them come alive.

"You know," she turned to say to me, "we had such talented young artists working on this — working hard all week. And today when it was all put together, and we were all exhausted, I heard the sound of a flute rather plaintive, and there, up in the balcony, one of the artists all by himself, just happy to have a job well done.

It was I told her a masterful job.

One touch of whimsy turned up in the tour of the building. The bathroom had become the ladies' "powder room," with offending masculine accoutrements concealed behind hastily- constructed screens and with great bunches of flowers thrust into wicker baskets, and standing here and there in awkward empty places.

(The mens john, by the way, we tracked down outside — it was a portable effort lugged over for the occasion).

The Prime Minster, once inside and away from the boisterous crowd outside, started making his way around the tables of the guests.

Tanned and smiling, he moved quickly from table to table, while in the background could be heard the sound of breaking glass, the yells of the rowdy students, who pounded on the doors of the building.

We moved with him photographer Dave Paterson and I, heard him greet the dinner guests, watched their faces de-solve into delighted smiles as he turned those blue eyes upon each in turn, and shook their hands. And then we saw him turn to Liberal crony Russel Brink and wipe his hands on a paisley silk scarf before moving to the next table.

And hard on their heels followed tall sub-inspector V. Irving, ready to take over at a moments notice, in case anything untoward happened.


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