Posts Tagged: "Vanessa Brown"

Letters to the Editor

- - Everything Else
The London Yodeller


[Re: The London Yodeller, Dec. 3 edition] Congratulations on The Yodeller. Picked up a copy at my motel on a recent trip to London, expecting to flip through it in a few minutes and then get back to a very good book I was enjoying. One hour and forty-odd minutes later I finished ‘scanning’ through The Yodeller. Packed with great articles; thought-provoking pieces and superb entertainment . . . And I couldn’t find a single grammatical error or typo anywhere. Well done. Best wishes for many more Yodellers. – David E. Scott (Former Freeps Travel Editor)


[Re: The Grand Old Lady finally reveals her story and secrets, Book Review, Dec. 17, Herman Goodden] Glad to hear the hotel experience is shining through and people are enjoying this book. When I was working with Vanessa Brown on this book it was easy to feel transported back in time when we immersed ourselves in the stories, history and photos/ephemera. It’s really exciting to hear others are having a similar experience which lets us know The Grand Old Lady certainly won’t be forgotten. – Roxanne Lutz Continue Reading

The Grand Old Lady Finally Reveals her Story and her Secrets

Herman Goodden - - Art & Books
The London Yodeller

VANESSA GRAND OLD LADY frontDo you remember that little book that flew off the shelves last December, Simpson’s at Christmas: A Downtown London Tradition? It mostly featured pretty grainy black and white photographs of the old Simpson’s department store in its aisle-clogged heyday when its special Christmas windows were just as big a draw as the Santa Claus Parade. It was the perfect gift for Londoners of a certain age, longing for just one more glimpse of a time when London seemed to have its own charmingly homegrown way of doing things. This year that market is being addressed with a significantly more substantial tome, The Grand Old Lady, a history of Hotel London by Vanessa Brown – aka the Yodeller’s Red Headed Snippet and one half of Brown and Dickson, the bookshop and the marriage – which has been published just in time for nostalgic stocking stuffing by the London and Middlesex Historical Society.

In addition to dozens and dozens of period photographs, the main bulk of the book is taken up by 38 interviews with people who worked there, stayed there, attended conventions and special events there, fell in love there and entertained there. While Brown cuts a few of these folks a little too much conversational slack and allows them to meander, taken all in all, it is the interviews which really give us the feel of the place. There are sightings of Joseph Cotten and Betty Grable, recollections of discreet call girls plying their trade, accounts of guests who really ‘checked out’ by killing themselves and the tale of one staffer who concocted a sort of harness which she fitted under her dress to smuggle top of the line sirloin roasts out of the joint. Continue Reading

A Forest Filled with Murderers

Vanessa Brown - - Art & Books
The London Yodeller

“He tells us the name of Lynda Shaw’s killer and asks very simple questions like, why was that DNA left in a drawer and never tested?”VANESSA murder city (1)

Murder City: The Untold Story of Canada’s Serial Killer Capital, 1959-1984 by Michael Arntfield. Victoria, B. C.: Friesen Press, 2015. Illustrated by Nikolina M. Wallis. Research by Lee Mellor.

As I write this book review, infamous rapist and murderer Paul Bernardo has applied for day-parole in the Toronto area. He won’t get it, of course. The people of Ontario wouldn’t stand for it. The most generous observation a person could make is that this is certainly for his own good. He would doubtless be killed by vigilantes. Ah, the great irony: our law enforcement protecting deadly bastards like Bernardo. Behind the walls of a maximum security prison, he can escape the arguably justified mob-mentality of so many who would like to see him tortured, beaten, raped and ultimately killed. Just desserts, some would say.

This little bit of exposition brings up a whole lot of discussion points—vigilantism, the court of public opinion, protection of criminals, the parole system—that I’m sure Michael Arntfield could discuss at length in light of his recently released title Murder City: The Untold Story of Canada’s Serial Killer Capital, 1959 – 1984. The “Profficer,” a Western University professor and former cop, is a brilliant man. This is beyond question. With the help of Canadian musician and editor-in-chief of Serial Killer Quarterly, Lee Mellor, Arntfield has crafted a compelling and potentially revolutionary text that compels the reader to action in as much as it horrifies us. His call-to-arms is the final sentence of his book: “The last detective will be someone who has read this book and follows his lead.” Continue Reading

Stephen Fearing’s Incredible Journey

Vanessa Brown - - Music & Food
The London Yodeller

VANESSA fearing_8x10_web“You’ve gotta take your music very seriously and you’ve gotta put everything you have into it, but there’s no ‘fair.’”

It’s been seven years since Stephen Fearing put out an album and a lot has happened since then. He lost a marriage, found a new one, became a father and completely altered his professional relationships with his former manager, Bernie Finkelstein, and his former label, True North Records.  He moved from Guelph, Ontario – where he had lived for 16 years – to Halifax, Nova Scotia. All of this took place while still collaborating on musical projects and touring with Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and Andy White. Underneath the chaos, moving from one storm to another, the creative forces were brewing to bring about Between Hurricanes, Fearing’s eighth solo effort. Continue Reading

Simpson’s at Christmas: A Downtown London Tradition

Vanessa Brown - - Art & Books
The London Yodeller

2030“Look at the way it was. This was an amazing time, and I think there’s value in having a better idea of our past.”

If you were looking for a Christmas stocking stuffer, I have it for you and it’s a total no brainer. With support from Museum London and London Fuse, a book has been published about the downtown Simpson’s Christmas windows from the 1950′s and 60′s. These storefront displays were a fixture at Dundas & Richmond, fondly remembered by so many of our city’s residents, and included elaborate scenes and animated characters. The new local history book, Simpson’s at Christmas, was researched and written by Ryan Craven, is filled with photos, adorably small sized, and available for only $10. Did I mention there are only 250 copies? You’d better snatch one up while you can, because they will go fast. Continue Reading

I am not a Joiner: What I Learned as a Deputy Returning Officer

Vanessa Brown - - News & Politics
The London Yodeller

VANESSA stooges WEBHow do these people manage to vote when they cannot follow simple instructions? I’m surprised they are capable of making spaghetti, driving a car or brushing their teeth.

I knew that the day would be long. Monotonously long. They warned us in training. My darling partner agreed to deliver lunch and supper, as I was fortunate enough to be working at my own voting poll right near our house. I brought two books, a journal and a smart phone. I was ready for anything. I braced myself for an annoying compatriot – because with my track record, I would end up paired with some chatty bugger who could only be rivaled by that idiot you always manage to sit next to on an airplane. Continue Reading