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10 ON THE COVER: Cooking for one is a lonely task, but a new program rolling out in Surrey is about making the kitchen a place to connect.

Members of the White Rock Wave masters swim club have been standing atop podiums and breaking records for years, but the club has become more about friendship than anything else.


Age hasn’t yet caught up to retired Vancouver police officer Don Owens, who stays as active as ever through martial arts.


After living in Canada for 33 years, 91-yearold Marion Jansen, originally from Minnesota, has applied for Canadian citizenship.



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Longtime Surrey resident Colin Hartridge has seen thousands of concerts, and his lifelong love of music is now reflected in his own creative pursuits.

Publisher Dwayne Weidendorf Editor Brenda Anderson Sales Manager Steve Scott Contributors • Tracy Holmes • Tom Zillich • Nick Greenizan • Alex Browne

This Is The Life is published by the Peace Arch News #202 15850 24 Ave. Surrey, BC V3S 0G1 Tel: 604-531-1711 Fax: 604-531-7977 Distributed free to select households in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs.

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Still getting his KICKS


n the world of karate, Don Owens has earned more black belts than most others who are alive and kicking. The Surrey resident, a master of the martial art, has practised karate for more than five decades, and still teaches at a dojo in Langley.  “I’ve been at it since 1965, so we’re looking at around 54 years now,” Owens recalled.  As a rare ninth-degree black belt, or dan, with World JKA karate association and others, he’s still at the top of his game.  “In this organization, the JKA,” he said, “the highest at one time was a ninth-degree black belt, because you can’t get your 10th until you die, so I don’t want the 10th,” he explained with a laugh. “Some of the rules have changed a bit, but ninth, to me, is the highest while you’re still alive.”  During his 71 spins around the sun, Owens has also earned a significant number of certificates, awards and accolades from several karate associations around the globe, and has learned from some masters of the martial art. Twice a week, as chief instructor, Owens brings those Shotokan karate skills and knowledge to a dojo in Langley operated by World JKA’s Canadian division, in the R.C. Garnett school gym at 7096 201 St.  It’s a long way from East Vancouver, where Owens grew up, grew to love karate and also worked as a police officer, starting in 1981 and ending with a 28-year career with the VPD.  “I was about 33 when I joined the police force,” he explained, “so when I got out of the academy, I started the police dojo a year later, around 1982. I just wanted to get the police (officers) involved, and a number of them joined and worked their way through, right up to black belt,” Owens added, proudly. In those days, he worked in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside, among other beats, and grew familiar with the gangs and thugs who frequented the area.  Earlier, on the mean streets of the mid-’60s, learning karate was a no-brainer for Owens.  “Well, I grew up in East Van – that says it all right there,” he said with a laugh.


Peace Arch Arch News News || THIS Peace THIS IS IS THE THE LIFE LIFE | |2019 2019

Retired police officer – and Surrey resident – Don Owens is staying active as a martial-arts master by Tom Zillich

“We got into lots of scraps and so forth, so I started off looking for a better way. I was always successful but you know, you always get hurt somehow when you’re fighting people, but I was looking for something where maybe I didn’t get hurt so much, you know. I looked at everything – kung fu, different karate styles, but they didn’t really suit my personality, but then I found my instructor now, Hiroo Yamashiro, and that was it. “The interesting part is,” he added, “I was fortunate to train with some of the great masters that started the JKA, like (Jun) Sugano and Nakayama (Masatoshi), the head of it, and with (Tetsuhiko) Asai, their technical director. Most people may not know these names but, you know, anybody in the karate world sure does.”  Today, Owens is vice-president of World Japan Karate Association, and takes seriously his role of teaching others.  “Years ago an instructor said to me, ‘you have to understand that you’re getting older and you have to pass it on and take that responsibility,’” Owens explained. “And really now I understand that relationship, as a senior person you need the credentials to be able to grade people and have them respect it. I started to accept that over time.”  Owens remains active in the dojo but he’s not as young as he used to be.  “I thought I was 21 the other day, so I’m limping a little bit today,” he said.  “I still have a group of students, and one thing I always tell them is, it’s great to have all the accolades and certificates and be accepted by your peers – wonderful, actually – but karate is the practice, and so I still practise every single day. “As for teaching, the rule is, for every hour you teach you should put two hours of practise in…. I still put in an hour every day, but sometimes I end up doing two hours or more, just because you get into it, and I love it. “I have a group of friends and we still get together and practise, and every week one person has the job to criticize everybody else, and we all have input. The problem is, once you get to my rank, nobody wants to criticize you. That’s just the culture of karate.” 

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2019 | THIS IS THE LIFE | Peace Arch News


Everybody into the POOL

After nearly two decades, the White Rock Wave masters swim club has grown to be about more than just swimming by Nick Greenizan


hen the White Rock Wave masters swim club was formed in 2001 it was, more than anything, a matter of convenience. A group of swimmers with the Winskill Otters club – most of whom knew each other through the White Rock Amateur Swim Association, where their children swam – had started to grow weary of driving to Tsawwassen, where the Otters were based, multiple times each week. Longtime coach Carole Gair was tired of it, too, and started


| THIS IS THE LIFE | 2019 Peace Peace Arch Arch News News | THIS IS THE LIFE | 2019

checking around for options closer to home. Soon, they were granted space each week at the South Surrey Indoor Pool, and the Semiahmoo Peninsula-based Otters members splintered off to form the Wave. “We had three nights a week in South Surrey, and we started with about 30 or 35 swimmers,” Gair explained. “A lot of them had been swimmers as kids… with WRASA or at Crescent Beach, or they’d played water polo. And there were some that had no experience… some were just moms (of swimmers) who wanted to

Though she is now retired from competitive swimming, Elsa De Leeuw is one of White Rock Wave’s most successful competitors. (Contributed photo) while the oldest, Betty Brussel, is 95. The club’s average age, Gair said, its 54.6 years old, making them one of the more experienced groups to swim in B.C. Compared to other clubs, “54.6 is really old,” the 80-year-old said bluntly, noting that “we have so many” swimmers who are in their 60s and 70s. They all come from different athletic backgrounds, and different walks of life, too. Among Wave members are a provincial

come out and swim.” From that original group, nearly 20 are still members of the club, Gair said. “It’s amazing how many have stayed.” Now, the Wave boast more than 50 swimmers of varying ages. Masters swimming is open to those as young as 18, and the age brackets increase, in five-year increments, to as high as divisions for those more than 100 years old. The youngest member of the Wave is 23,

court judge, three doctors, three retired UBC professors and one swimmer who just became a university professor herself, plus business owners, nurses and teachers – some retired, some still working. “We have a real mix,” said Gair, who has been coaching since 1954 and began swimming in the mid 1940s with the Crescent Beach Swim Club. As as diverse as members’ histories are,

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White Rock Wave coach Carole Gair (left) gives some last-second pointers to Else De Leeuw during a meet. (Contributed photo)

levels of competitiveness among group members vary as well. Some – like the record-breaking Brussel – have found that participating in masters swim meets has ignited a competitive spark that they either did not know was there, or has largely sat dormant for years, since youth sports. Others, Gair notes, are less concerned with podium finishes and more interested in having fun, getting some exercise – which is important at all ages, including for seniors – and socializing with friends. “Quite a few are more social swimmers. We have two lanes of them and they always spend the first 15 minutes yacking and I have to practically push them into the water to get them going,” Gair laughed. “But my daughter is one of them, so I have to be careful.” Of course, the club has plenty of successful competitive swimmers, too, who can routinely be found standing on podiums at meets across the province. Some swimmers even

take on bigger challenges, such as open-water swims like the Across the Lake event held in the Okanagan every summer. In total, Gair said, club members past and present still hold 35 individual provincial records and 15 relay marks. Club members – led by Brussel and longtime swimmer Elsa DeLeeuw, who retired from the pool last year – hold 14 individual Canadian records, as well, and two in relay events. Earlier this year, Brussel, who competes in the women’s 95- to 99-year-old category, also set a world masters record in the 50-m breaststroke. Gair, who spoke to Black Press Media in mid-April, said the record tally will have likely gone up even further by the time This Is the Life goes to press; she was predicting good results from provincial championships in Victoria later in the month. And while the records and medals are wonderful – for both the club and its members – and finding ways to stay fit is as important as ever, Gair is quick to

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point out that the social aspect of the club has been as integral to its longevity as anything else. Wave members get together often for birthdays, holiday parties and winery visits, as a quick perusal of the club’s Facebook page can attest. A group chat on Facebook is also very active, Gair noted. “One person puts ‘happy birthday’ in the chat and suddenly there’s 25 other messages to that person. It’s become quite a family,” she said. As another example of the camaraderie that has developed on the team, Gair points to three Wave women who range in age from mid-40s to 60. Each year, the trio flies to cottage country in Ontario, where they spend a week at a lakeside cabin owned by the youngest’s family. “So here’s this mismatched group – they didn’t know a thing about one another before they started swimming, and now they’re the best of friends,” Gair said. Recently, members of the club gathered to hold a baby shower for two other members, who are originally from Iraq. “They have no family here at all, so the club got together. There were so many gifts – furniture for the baby’s room, everything,” Gair explained. “Everyone really looks out for each other. It’s gone way past just being a swim club.”

Wave member Tony Pease competes in an open-water outdoor swim. (Contributed photo)

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Come Share Society’s Taya Vantol and volunteer Russell Kent spread the filling for some date squares at Newton Seniors Centre.

Comfort food

Newton-based Come Share Society aims to alleviate loneliness while keeping seniors healthy with its cooking program Story and photos by Tracy Holmes

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hink cooking for one is easy? Ask Karen Holstrome and she’ll set you straight. “Try it,” the senior says matterof-factly, when asked to explain the difficulty. Holstrome, 70, says she grew up cooking for “10, 12” people, and neither a reduction in the number of mouths to feed over the years nor the passage of time have made it easy to scale back. “The number-one thing with seniors is you’ve cooked all your life for (many),” says Holstrome. “It’s really hard to cook for one.” And that, say Taya Vantol and Andrea Cox of Come Share Society, can leave seniors – particularly those who are isolated or on a fixed budget – choosing from two options: eat the same meal for several days due to excess leftovers, or prepare the simplest of meals “A lot of seniors eat a lot of tea and toast,” Vantol says. A desire to counter the issue – spurred by an interest from seniors themselves – led two years ago to a program that brought seniors together on a regular basis to plan, make and share nutritious meals. In addition to learning a few new skills for the kitchen and having an opportunity to bring some dishes home for the days ahead, Come Share Around the Table provided a time and place to socialize – share stories, know-how and laughs.

“The concept around it was to make meals together and eat together,” Vantol says of the program that was offered in South Surrey/ White Rock, Newton and Bridgeview. “It wasn’t really about teaching them to cook.” Funded by a New Horizons for Seniors grant, nearly 900 seniors benefited from Come Share Around the Table. The number includes those who participated in cook days, those who received meals that were cooked during the program, volunteers and seniors who connected to other Come Share programs as a direct result of the cooking program. Holstrome and her brother, Russell Kent, were among those who revelled in everything it had to offer, and Vantol says the past year without it – due to lack of funding – did not go unnoticed. Past participants who frequent

the Newton Seniors Centre inquire about it whenever Vantol stops in. “Every time I come here for one of our programs, they’d ask ‘when are we cooking again?’” Fortunately, Vantol and Cox can now answer that question with certainty, following word last month of funds – in the form of a $25,000 NHS grant – for a new Come Share Society cooking venture. Cooking up Connections is anticipated to roll out in late May, once kitchen spaces and times have been confirmed, equipment purchased and volunteers trained, including with completion of a Food Safe course. The program will bring seniors together for “batch cooking,” where they will prepare a variety of nutritious meals at once, which can then be taken home and popped in the fridge or freezer for consumption in the days or weeks ahead. In addition to the social and health benefits, batch-cooking is a money-saver, Vantol says, as it involves buying food in bulk; something seniors who cook for just themselves simply don’t do. And, participants will have opportunities to use kitchen equipment that they may not have at home, such as Instant Pots or a Vitamix blender. “We make everything, we eat and then we

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package it all up,” Vantol says, adding “the eating part’s the fun part.” Each location – South Surrey/White Rock, Newton and North Surrey – will host the program once or twice a month, and, unlike with Come Share Around the Table, participants will be integral in planning the meals. It’s anticipated that three recipes will be prepared during each session, and participants will leave with an estimated 10 meals “to get them through to the next cook.” A batch-cook guide is to also be developed and distributed, complete with contributed recipes, information on shopping options and other tips. Kent, 59, volunteered with Come Share Around the Table, and says he’s looking forward to getting back in the kitchen. The benefits of such programs are easy to see, he says. “It’s nice to see the seniors happy,” he says, reflecting on both the previous community kitchen program as well as other programs he’s been involved with that provide opportunities for seniors to get together. Kent got started volunteering while undergoing dialysis, and “I want to do more,” he says. His own goal for getting involved is simple: “to have fun.” “It’s nice for me, I like helping out.” When asked to help with Cooking up

Karen Holstrome and Russell Kent share a laugh while prepping some food at Newton Seniors Centre. The siblings know well the benefits of cooking together. (Tracy Holmes photo) Connections, Kent’s response came as no surprise to Vantol: “No problem – I’ll be there.” “He’s a helper,” she says. “Both (Kent and Holstrome), they just walk into things and get involved.” Cooking up Connections is also intended to promote intergenerational connections, as volunteers of all ages are welcome.

Vantol is hopeful the program will take on a life of its own beyond the year it is funded for, through the connections made, and that participants will be sparked to do some batchcooking with their friends. As Holstrome aptly summarized, “Nobody likes to cook for one. It’s a lonely number.” For more information on the program, or to inquire about volunteering, call 604-531-9400.

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Table read White Rock writers group aims to help members improve their craft Story and photo by Alex Browne


any times, writers strive to have an element of surprise in their works – but it’s often more difficult to manage in real life. On April 5, however, five members of a White Rock-based writers group, The Oval Table, created a surprise moment to cherish for the sixth, founder-member Kathy Brooks. Brooks, who is pulling up stakes in a move to Nova Scotia to be closer to family and a young grandchild, was meeting the others for a farewell luncheon at Northview Golf and Country Club.

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Oval Table members (left to right) Robert Ramsay, David Rasmussen, Doreen Tadros, Karen Shaw and Karen Kristjanson surround Karen Brooks after gifting her Writings from The Oval Table.

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Thanks to the constructive criticism, several writers’ stories and poems have won prizes in local contests. But when they passed her a gift bag, she was stunned to discover it contained a paperback book – Writings from The Oval Table – containing not only her writing, but a selection of pieces by other members. “This is fabulous – this is amazing, guys,” she said, as she leafed through the anthology, edited by member Robert Ramsay and published by him on behalf of the group. Leading the stories is Brooks’ Go Danny Boy, Go, a brief nostalgic rite-of-passage piece about a young man’s growing maturity. Also included in the book, available from members or online through Amazon, are short stories and some poetry by Ramsay, David Rasmussen, Karen Shaw, and Doreen Tadros. Only one writer’s work is not included – new member Karen Kristjanson is a very recent arrival to the by-invitation-only group, which had stayed at five members since the passing of member Eileen Spencer in 2015. “We never ever thought about doing something like this,” group co-founder Tadros said. “It was so hard to keep it secret. I remember telling a few people about the book and then thinking, ‘I hope they don’t mention

anything about it to Kathy!’” Tadros explained the group – made up of people in or approaching their senior years, with an ongoing passion for writing – started informally in 2013. “Karen Shaw and I had met and agreed we needed to do something like this,” she said, adding that everything fell into place when Brooks proposed a regular group to share and critique each other’s writing, every second Friday at Brooks’ White Rock home. As Ramsay explains in his foreword to the anthology “the authors met around Kathy’s oval-shaped dining room table – thus the name The Oval Table, a shameless throwback to the round table of authors who met during the 1920s at the Algonquin hotel in New York. “Thanks to the constructive criticism, several writers’ stories and poems have won prizes in local contests,” he adds. “Constructive” criticism is key to the continuing existence and friendly atmosphere of the group, Tadros said. “It’s not always easy to show your work,” she said, adding that some groups founder on over-emphatic or scathing judgments of work

in progress. “Some people get really upset if you criticize their work,” she said. But having a small group supportive of each other’s creativity can be beneficial, no matter the age or experience of the writers, she agreed, and that’s why it looks as though the Oval Table group will hold together, even though Brooks’ input will be sorely missed. “We’re a closed group and we’ve kept it that way,” Tadros said. “It works wonderfully – we’re very happy with the group. We’re friends and we trust each other. And it helps us all to be edited.” While editing can be a tough job – and Tadros acknowledges Ramsay’s excellent work in putting together the anthology – it’s a necessary one for every writer, no matter how talented, she said. Self-editing is problematic, too, because most writers are too close to the work for an objective overview. “You can’t cut out your favourite bits,” Tadros said. “But we each know what we need, and we work together accordingly – I feel very honoured to be part of this group.”

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Canada At 91, U.S.-born Marion Jansen is looking forward to becoming a Canadian citizen

or all the opportunities life in Canada has afforded her, one thing remains that Marion Jansen wishes she could do here, but cannot – vote. That’s why, at age 91 and after more than 30 years of residency in the Lower Mainland, the American-born landedimmigrant decided to apply for Canadian citizenship. Chatting over tea inside her cozy apartment in a South Surrey retirement village, Jansen explains the decision to apply was one that had percolated for years, but that she hadn’t actively pursued until a couple months ago. “Voting was always very important to me,” she said, reflecting on the first six decades of her life, spent in the U.S. It was after her husband of more than 70 years – Bill, a Canadian – passed away in 2017 that her daughter encouraged her to look into the citizenship process. “My daughter said, ‘Mother, you’re in charge.’ “Not that he ever told me not to, but he would ask why would I want to (become a Canadian). “I think he thought I’d go back to Minnesota, but there’s nothing to go back to . . . children, grandchildren – everybody’s someplace else.” It was in Minnesota – on a train in 1944 – that the couple first met. Sixteen-year-old Marion was working and going to high school as the Second World War raged in Europe and the Pacific. She was leaving Minneapolis with a group of friends, headed back to school. The train car the girls chose was filled with servicemen from a number of different countries, she recalled. “There were Australians and there were English, and I think some French in there, too.”

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But she assumed the young man who approached her, wearing a sweater with a strange crest, was a prep school student. In fact, Bill Jansen was another military man and the crest was the insignia of the Royal Canadian Air Force. “And I wasn’t one bit interested,” she laughed “I gave him my address and I really thought I’d never hear from him. I mean I completely forgot about him. Completely.” Then the letters started to come. And come. And come. “I was just carrying on normally in high school,” she said. Bill returned to Minnesota for a week-long visit in August 1945. By October the couple was engaged. They married two days after Christmas, then lived and worked in Minnesota for the next 40 years, raising two children. During that time, “I always voted,” Jansen said. The pair remained in the U.S. through the Kennedy years and the height of the civil rights movement. “I used to be kind of active, during the Kennedy administration and Hubert Humphrey and so forth, you know. “One time, my friend and I went to Duluth, and the Kennedys and all of them were there.

“It was a big deal for us. We didn’t get to talk to them, but we saw them from afar.” Reflecting on treatment of African Americans during that time, “It’s embarrassing,” she said. In Minnesota, the divide wasn’t as obvious, but when Bill made a trip to Chicago, he raised eyebrows by stepping into the back of the street car. “Somebody said, ‘What are you doing that for?’ “That was where (black) people would be, and he couldn’t understand that.” The couple retired from their respective careers and, in 1986, moved from Minnesota to the Lower Mainland – following Bill’s parents who’d relocated here from Winnipeg in the late ’40s. For the past 33 years, Jansen has kept an eye on the political goings on south of the border, but hasn’t participated. “I could vote in the States, but I chose not to because I didn’t feel it was right.” That said, she’d be happy to have an opportunity to cast at least one more ballot. Whether it’s at the federal, provincial or municipal level doesn’t matter, she said. “Whatever comes up first, if I’m still here, then I will (vote).” Helped out by a friend, she set out to make

Voting was always very important to me.

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that goal a reality – a relatively simple process for a senior citizen, it turned out. In Canada, only applicants between the ages of 18 and 54 are required to write a citizenship test, a fact Jansen found a tiny bit disappointing. “I think I wouldn’t mind seeing the test for myself, because I’m interested.” At 91, she was asked to simply fill out the right paperwork and pay the fee, she said. Of the two, it was the documents that caused her a bit of difficulty. “We were desperate. Some papers, we didn’t know what it meant,” Jansen said. The forms called for a non-existent number off her landed-immigrant status, which, it turned out, hadn’t been updated since the ’80s. So she took the papers to MP Gordie Hogg’s office, where a young staffer quickly helped her sort it out. “They were so nice,” she said. Now, all she can do is wait. “Heaven’s knows when I’ll hear,” Jansen said, adding she doesn’t anticipate being able to vote in the federal election this November. “I’m sure that they have millions of applicants – that I’m one of a million. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it takes two or three years. “I’m not going to worry about it – if I’m not here . . . . I’ve done it. “If it isn’t to be, well, that’s OK.”


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Ticket to ride Story and photos by Tom Zillich

From the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Blue Oyster Cult, Surrey resident Colin Hartridge – a musician and online radio host – has attended more concerts than just about anyone 20 20

| 2019 Peace PeaceArch ArchNews News | | THIS THIS IS IS THE THE LIFE LIFE | 2019

The best concert I ever went to was the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and that was ’68 at the Pacific Coliseum


hink you’ve seen a lot of concerts? Meet Surrey’s Colin Hartridge, a walking, talking encyclopedia of rock ‘n’ roll music. By his count, the Guildford-area resident has witnessed close to 1,000 concerts in his 68 years, and has some of the ticket stubs to show. The kicker is, Hartridge is still an avid concert-goer, with two or three on his calendar every week. He also still frequently drums at jam nights in Surrey and around Metro Vancouver, as a blast from his Sparkling Apple band days’ past. In another music-related passion, he’s hosted his own “Captain Maniac” internet radio show from his townhouse for the past four years, giving listeners new themed shows every Monday on A recent episode, his 256th, is dubbed “Destination Moon” and features 34 songs with the word “moon” in the title, including tunes by Nat King Cole, Ozzy Osbourne, Captain Beefheart, John Mellencamp and others. “It’s just something I like to do, for fun,” Hartridge said. “On Mixcloud, there’s a listener count for each show, but I have no idea where they’re listening from unless they ‘favourite’ or repost the show,” he added. “If they do that, I can see that Captain Maniac Show friends have tuned in from Greece or South Africa, or France or England or wherever.” Hartridge, a retired graphic designer who still creates posters for buddies in bands, moved to Surrey with his family when he was six years old, and has lived in the city ever since. He started playing drums at age 16, a couple years after he saw The Beatles play Empire Stadium in Vancouver. The landmark show, in 1964, was his first as a concert-goer. “I’d seen The Beatles on TV, Ed Sullivan’s show, and of course I saw Ringo and said, ‘Well, I can do that!’” Hartridge recalled with a laugh. “I’d always be tapping on window sills with my mom’s knitting needles and my dad finally said, ‘You should take drum lessons.’… I took lessons for about six months (at a place in Vancouver), but they were more interested in Latin rhythms, sambas and all that, but I just wanted to play rock ‘n’ roll. So I sort of ended up teaching myself just by listening to records and playing along to those.” As a teen in the late 1960s, Hartridge saw concerts by several iconic rock bands that travelled through Vancouver, including Jimi

Colin Hartridge’s ticket stub for a Jimi Hendrix concert at the Pacific Coliseum. (Contributed) Hendrix, Cream, Led Zeppelin and more. Hartridge has a sharp memory for details of those performances. “The best concert I ever went to was the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and that was ’68 at the Pacific Coliseum, and they had about three other bands on before him – Eire Apparent, Soft Machine and Vanilla Fudge, so by the time Hendrix came on, it was about midnight,” he recalled. “So he came on and said to the crowd, ‘I’ve got a cold,’ but he still played like nobody’s business. I remember that his grandmother was in the audience, because she lived not too far away from there, in Strathcona, around there. So when he did Foxy Lady, he dedicated it to her.” Earlier that year, the Coliseum also played host to Cream, with Eric Clapton on guitar, Jack Bruce on bass and Ginger Baker on drums. “I remember them playing only six songs, but of course each song was at least 10 minutes long,” Hartridge said. “They’d do a framework of the song and then they’d jam – Sunshine of Your Love with extended solos that went on for years.” Back then, he’d attend a lot of concerts “because they were events you just had to go to,” he explained. “By today’s standards it was cheap – I saw Led Zeppelin for $5, so I guess that’d be like $50 today, or something. And back then we didn’t have any digital distractions, and we didn’t spend a lot of time watching TV, so we went to concerts. You know, ‘Thin Lizzy’s in town, let’s go see ‘em.’ One time it was T. Rex and the opening band was Blue Oyster Cult, who we really liked back then, so we went and couldn’t stand T. Rex, so we left after a couple songs.” The band Hartridge has seen most often

in concert is Blue Oyster Cult – probably 10 times, he said. “I know they’re coming here in the summer, to that Ambleside concert (in West Vancouver), but I’m pretty sure it’s not all the original guys. So I’ll probably go see that. And a band like Zeppelin, every time they came to town we’d go see ‘em, just because it was Zeppelin. They were here in ’68 for the first time, and a bunch of times after that. I saw them all, I think.” Not surprisingly, the music of many of the bands Hartridge has seen in concert is played on his Captain Maniac show. Out of the gate, his very first episode was called “The Greatest AC/DC Songs Never Written by AC/DC,” a two-hour collection of songs recorded by Jet, Rose Tattoo, The Cult, The Sex Pistols, Big Sugar and others. The weekly series is “devoted to the music *I* want to play – not what I’m TOLD to play, but what *I* want to play, with the emphasis on loud and proud rock and roll!” Hartridge wrote in an introduction. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the power trio Sparkling Apple, launched in 1969, just after Hartridge had graduated from high school. “It started off as the Plastic Rat Blues Band, and we had one guy leave so we wanted to change the name to something else,” he recalled. “We had a bottle of cider in front of us, and that was it, OK. It stuck.” For Sparkling Apple, a final gig is in the works for later this year. “We haven’t played for a while because Art has sciatica, and I have problems with my eyes,” Hartridge said, explaining he had a torn retina. “It’s going to happen, possibly at Donegal’s (in Surrey) but not until after summer, probably in the fall. I don’t see us playing beyond that show.” Earlier this month, Hartridge helped celebrate the 70th birthday of Doni Underhill, the former Trooper bass player, at Jolly Mac’s pub in Guildford. The night included a four-song reunion performance by singer Ra McGuire, guitar player Brian Smith, drummer Tommy Stewart and Underhill on bass – the band’s “classic” edition, minus keyboardist Frank Ludwig. They played the classic cuts We’re Here for a Good Time, 3 Dressed Up As A 9, The Boys in the Bright White Sports Car and Raise a Little Hell. Early Sunday, Hartridge posted on Facebook: “Wasn’t that a party?”

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