life rattle show no. 1202

Presented on Sunday, april 29, 2012


Hosted by Laurie kallis


Martha Maclachlan reading her stories
"Dreaming" and "Blind"


Kathy Barney reading her stories
"Our Toronto" and "Paul"

tonight's Show

Tonight, on Life Rattle No. 1202, we bring you four Life Rattle classics. Two from 1990, written and read by Martha MacLachlin, whose “Radio Caravan” we heard last week, and two stories last aired in 1989, written and read by Kathy Barney.

Tonight’s first writer, Martha Maclachlan was born in Toronto and lived in Thunder Bay, Sault St. Marie and Duluth, Minnesota before she returned to Toronto in 1983, where she worked to organize co-op housing. We have been out of touch with Martha for almost twenty years, so her Life Rattle bio ends there. Martha, if you are listening, please get in touch with us!
Arnie Achtman descibed Martha’s first story tonight as having an atmosphere that is dark around the edges, with a deep sense of mystery. “Dreaming,” the dream of a young single mother, is shot through with fear and uncertainty. People walk in disjointed fashion and the narrator can't recognise houses on a familiar street. The dream turns into a nightmare and the narrator becomes a paralysed witness to her worst fears.
In her second story tonight, "Paul," Martha tells us of a startling encounter with a blind man. From a beginning of curiosity and casual chatter between two people who meet on the bus, to almost intrusive grilling and graphic commentary, their conversation bizarrely moves into private territory.

Tonight’s second reader, Kathy Barney, came to Toronto from Guelph. Her story, “Our Toronto,” takes place in the early 1980s in a pool hall and a greasy spoon on Queen Street, before it was trendy. The narrator, a regular at the pool hall, presents an ordinary weekday there. Most of the regulars are out of work. They go to the pool hall instead of the office; They drink coffee, they read the paper and they see familiar faces. The lifestyle is outside the law but not in a romanticised unrealistic way. Drug abuse and theft are presented simply and undramatically. The narrator observes the characters without judging them, and so lets us see them more realistically, that is, less sensationally than most accounts of this community.
Kathy’s second story tonight, “Paul,” brings the story’s namesake to life, as freshly-out-of-jail Paul, a brilliant character who the narrator describes as bearing a resemblance to William Burroughs, convinces his friends to go to the race track.

Tonight's stories contain situations and language that some people may find offensive. Listener discretion is advised.