There’s a piece in the Globe this morning that’s written off an “exclusive” interview with Stephen Harper on the topic of the arts and his government’s cuts to certain culture programs. I read it online, but can safely assume the print version comes complete with a smudge of lipstick and a dab of perfume, as all love letters must. (“…a more sophisticated and artistic Stephen Harper… ‘This is not a Philistine’… life-long affair with music,” etc. etc.)
A particular highlight of this bittersweet symphony comes when the intrepid reporter trumpets that his “source” has “confirmed that the Tory Leader plays [the piano] regularly.” Your move, Woodward and Bernstein.
But the two most memorable revelations in the tender ode to the Conservative leader’s sensitive side are that:
a) Harper “used to write poetry.” An image immediately leaps to mind of a young Harper, clad in black turtleneck, perhaps a bongo drum off to the side, looking up from his pad of paper through the haze of smoke and asking of a barely dressed female companion: “Hey baby – what rhymes with ‘demand inelasticity’?”
b) Harper “occasionally performs at parties with his informal band of friends and staff, Stephen and the Firewalls, a delightfully ironic name given his government’s reputation for secrecy.” Actually, the name is “ironic” because it references his pledge to build a firewall around the province of Alberta. Isolationism – hilarious! It’s also “ironic” because Harper sees no irony at all in the name.