Once On A Time, Wikipedia tells us, is the title of a fairy tale created by A. A. Milne, written in 1917. I remember being baffled by it as a child, feeling as though it wasn’t really for me. But the title stuck, and I was searching for one for this opener, so I thought what the heck, and the table of contents already having gone to the printer, now I am stuck with it.
Milne’s own introduction to the book begins with the words “‘This is an odd book” by the way, and I suppose the same thing could be said of this, and indeed every, summer issue of The WholeNote, covering, as it does a full three months rather than our more usual monthly cycle.
Once on a time we used to do a June issue like the others and then follow it with a combined July/August only. But as global warping has steadily played havoc with when the regular season ends and the lazy, hazy days of summer start, it has become increasingly difficult to neatly define where one stops and the other starts. Add to all this the explosion of summer events, large and small, and the task of laying it all out in orderly fashion for you, the reader becomes well-nigh impossible; and giving editorial credit where it is due, to the explosion of creative and communal summer music becomes a depressingly arbitrary exercise.
All is not lost though: our annual green pages guide to summer music (page 45 and following) offers tantalizing glimpses into dozens of musical events, province-wide and beyond, and ways to access detailed information for those that strike your fancy.
As for our editorial coverage, think of our writers as slightly tipsy Virgils to you, the reader’s Dante: more than happy to be your guide, but more likely to guide you down their chosen path than yours. In other words, enjoy their passion (and occasionally even humour), but take their recommendations with a healthy grain of salt, a slice of lemon and a shot of your favourite tequila.
And please, stay tuned over the coming months via our electronic media. We’ll be posting regularly to our website, updating listings as the summer goes, and publishing our between-print-cycle e-letter, HalfTones, usually only once a month, on an accelerated basis. So if you haven’t already, do consider signing on.
Back to A.A. Milne for a moment, though: I may have opened a bit of a Pandora’s box by so glibly snitching its title, because as I write this I find myself once again with the queasy feeling the book gave me as a child. The Wiki entry perhaps offers some clues: “Milne created the story to contain believable, three-dimensional characters, rather than the stereotypes which will satisfy children” it opines. “Hence it introduces us to a princess who is far from helpless; a prince who, whilst handsome, is also pompous and vain; an enchantment which is almost entirely humorous; a villain who is not entirely villainous and receives no real comeuppance; a good king who is not always good; an evil king who is not always evil, and so on.”
I thought it was supposed to be fantasy. Reads more, from this description, like the daily news.
Oh well. Take your musical comfort where you can. And we’ll see you on the other side.