Remembering Matthew Grimson
Tuesday night, July 24, saw a packed house at Gus' Pub to celebrate the life and music of Matthew Grimson. It was a night of high emotion, tears, laughter and reflection as a formidable slate of our best musicians and artists—former colleagues and bandmates of Matthew's—took the stage to share his songs with characteristic tenderness, humour and gusto.
The evening was brilliantly organized by Joel Plaskett and Erin Costelo. My gratitude goes to Joel, Erin and her partner Clive McNutt (who played his heart out for Matthew). Joel's introduction to the night and his selection of songs was inspired and moving, and included an original song for Matthew. Great thanks for Chris Murphy of Sloan, who came home to join in honouring his old friend; for Al Tuck, the "brother from another mother"; for Matthew's cousin, Curphey Forrestall, who sang an original piece and who went the extra mile by helping us in clearing Matthew's apartment.
For longtime friends and partners in bands and jams Andrew Glencross, Gillian Austin, Greg Kendrick, Chris Cookson, Mitchell Wiebe (who wrote a poem for the occasion), Andy McDaniel—all so big a part of Matthew's personal and artistic life. For Lily LL Hall, who wrote a moving piece, Phil Sedore, Lukas Pearse, Roger Nelson and Ronok Sarkar who understood and sang Matthew's work as he meant it to be. I send much gratitude to Maria and Dimo Georgakakos of Gus' Pub, who treated Matthew as family and whose beloved venue has encouraged so many Halifax artists.
And then my dear supportive family, who came with loving hearts to listen, remember and help. Renee Forrestall Webb and her daughter Marie Webb, of Lemonade Stand, who made those great buttons. My nephew Will Forrestall of Fredericton, who put together the pamphlet of pictures and Matthew's life and their sister Monica Forrestall Schuss, who brought the roses! A perfect touch. And to all my siblings and nieces and nephews. Niki De Vries who gave me three straight days of good old housework at Matthew's apartment. And Matthew's beloved sister Kristin Grimson Sanford and her sterling husband, Nico. Both have worked long hard hours ferreting out the collections of records, CDs, tapes, journals and notes of Matthew's work, scattered in his apartment, his studio and his bedroom at home. And Nico manned the table all night with the buttons, the papers, the donations and the menagerie!
My gratitude and fond memories of the old gang of school friends from the Halifax Grammar School and Bridgetown, from Kings' and Dal, who loved him and who came out for his night. I love the stories! Thanks to the loyal fans who came to all the shows and who watched every posting. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of Joel, Erin and Dana Perry who have taken on the task of organizing Matthew's massive body of work into a usable catalogue. And speaking of generosity, your kind donations to Unison Benevolent Fund that helps Canadian musicians in crises, reached nearly $800!
Finally, to my stalwart partner and Matthew's stepfather, Bob Russell of Taz Records, my love and gratitude for just everything, and to Kerry Russell, true friend. How can I really thank you all? You made the night a legend.
With love from Matthew's Mum, —Kitty Forrestall, Halifax
Move it, McNeil
New protected areas are ready to be implemented in Nova Scotia, so last week we wrote premier Stephen McNeil to ask him what the holdup is on this. The Margaree Environmental Association, and myself in particular as co-chair, were responsible for identifying two of the new areas ready to be declared as wilderness areas of Nova Scotia, one being the Chimney Corner protected area, and the other the Humes River protected area. As well we have supported the Mabou Highlands protected area.
The protected areas division of the department of the environment has done all the necessary work, and the only thing that seems to be preventing these new protected areas from being declared is some kind of delay by the McNeil government at the senior level. We are very concerned about this delay, and urge Nova Scotians, like we have done, to communicate to premier McNeil to officially declare these new protected areas this summer. —Neal Livingston, co-chair, Margaree