A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Archive for April 2015

[LINK] “Jian Ghomeshi scandal exposes workplace markers”

MacLean’s carries the CBC’s internal report investigating why Jian Ghomeshi was allowed to get away with so much. The corporation’s internal “culture of fear” is key.

A damning report detailing CBC management missteps in stopping alleged inappropriate behaviour by former radio host Jian Ghomeshi reinforces the need for safe work environments and mechanisms for employees to freely voice concerns, experts say.

The probe by outside investigator Janice Rubin found several of the allegations levelled against Ghomeshi initially went unpunished, most of them non-sexual in nature such as chronic lateness, being “moody and temperamental” and “critical and mean” to co-workers.

The report also included allegations that managers who worked with the former “Q” host failed to investigate his behaviour or take steps to stop it, describing any actions they did take as “ineffective, infrequent, and inconsistent.”

Employment lawyer Catherine Milne of Toronto-based firm Turnpenney Milne LLP said a key takeaway for human resources departments is the need for greater proactivity in addressing workplace issues that arise.

Other signs HR should be on the lookout for are increases in absenteeism or turnover in a particular work unit or a drop in performance standards, she noted.

“Those are the sorts of markers that HR should be thinking to themselves: ‘Is there something else going on there that we need to think about? Are there interpersonal workplace issues that we should look at?’” said Milne, whose firm conducts workplace investigations and represents employers and employees in workplace matters.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 20, 2015 at 9:43 pm

[PHOTO] Everybody’s looking for something at College Park

Seen downtown, an ad of my youth.  #boom97.3 #toronto #eurythmics #radio #collegepark

The lyric “Everybody’s looking for something”, taken from the Eurythmics’ breakout hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, adorned this streetcar shelter ad outside College Park for Boom 97.3, also known as CHBM-FM.

As the station’s website notes, it plays “rock hits mainly from the 1970s, 80s and 90s”. It is an oldies station, in other words. This song of my youth now features prominently in the advertising of an oldies station.

I am trying not to feel old.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 20, 2015 at 6:26 pm

[PHOTO] Looking east at downtown Toronto, evening

Looking east at downtown Toronto,  evening #toronto #highpark #highparknorth #evening

Written by Randy McDonald

April 19, 2015 at 5:58 am

[CAT] Shakespeare, looking up from bed

Shakespeare, looking up from bed #cats #caturday #catsofinstagram #shakespeare

Written by Randy McDonald

April 18, 2015 at 11:42 pm

Posted in Photo

Tagged with , ,

[PHOTO] On a sky that was a Derek Jarman blue

Yesterday was a glorious spring day in Toronto. I was out early in the morning to do my laundry, and was walking around my neighbourhood. The warmth was glorious, as was the return of life, but the sky stood out. It was perfect, cloudless, what I called on Instagram and Twitter a “Derek Jarman blue”.

Sky of Derek Jarman blue #toronto #dlws #weather #spring #blue #derekjarman #Derek Jarman’s last film was the 1993 Blue, completed as he was dying of HIV/AIDS. Visually, the film was a constant blue, “International Klein Blue”, a manifestation on film the deterioration of filmmaker Jarman’s sight worn away by cytomegalovirus.

The words, spoken by actors including Jarman himself and the later-famous Tilda Swinton, are beautiful poetry, preserved at the website of the Queer Cultural Centre.

Blue Bottle buzzing
Lazy days
The sky blue butterfly
Sways on the cornflower
Lost in the warmth
Of the blue heat haze
Singing the blues
Quiet and slowly

Blue of my heart
Blue of my dreams
Slow blue love
Of delphinium days

Blue is the universal love in which man bathes – it is the terrestrial paradise.

Jarman has appeared on A Bit More Detail before: he manifested in a 2006 post looking at a poetic passage from Terry Eagleton’s script for Jarman’s Wittgenstein; a 2009 celebration of the video for Annie Lennox’s “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”, to which he contributed; a somewhat silly 2010 meditation on a photo that did not quite turn out; a <ahref=”https://abitmoredetail.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/photo-purchased-at-word-on-the-street-toronto/”&gt;2014 celebration of a Derek Jarman biography I bought at Word on the Street. (The Ke$ha book also photographed there was extra, free.)

I like the poetry of Jarman, his art. His life is also a wonderful example of struggle and survival despite everything. Yesterday morning, his blue mattered particularly to me. It was a hard winter, and I’m glad to be rid of it, and more glad to have proof of it.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 16, 2015 at 7:17 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Lesbians lead the way when it comes to neighbourhood gentrification, research shows”

Zosia Bielski’s interview last week with sociologist Amin Ghaziani about the different roles played by gay men and lesbians in different stages of gentrification is fascinating. A sample is below:

You found that – like artists – lesbians are early gentrifiers in cities. They’re the trailblazers in frontier neighbourhoods, not gay men. How do they start to gentrify areas?

The idea that gay people instigate urban renewal is widely known, but it’s imprecise. Lesbians actually come first. In a 2010 interview with The New York Observer, sociologist Sharon Zukin offered a provocative image of lesbians as “canaries in the urban coal mine.” The idea here was that lesbians were actually the urban pioneers.

Gay women create a “girl’s town” for themselves. It’s a stage of incubation or pre-gentrification; there isn’t widespread awareness that the area is a gay district. Women are motivated by feminism and counter-cultures. This is why lesbian neighbourhoods often consist of a cluster of homes near progressive – but not flashy – organizations like co-operative grocery stores, coffee shops, alternative theatres, bike shops, secondhand bookstores and performance spaces.

That sounds like a hipster’s dream.

Gay women plug into existing progressive facilities in affordable neighbourhoods. The effect is that lesbian neighbourhoods, if you even know about them, will feel quasi-underground or hidden.

What’s the difference between a lesbian enclave and a gaybourhood?

Men are much more influenced by sexual transactions and building new commercial establishments like bars, big nightclubs, saunas and trendy restaurants. As property values increase, because women make less than men, gay women will feel priced out, before straight people arrive and push out the gay men. Straight households come last in the advanced or late gentrification stage.
What’s the difference between a lesbian enclave and a gaybourhood?

Men are much more influenced by sexual transactions and building new commercial establishments like bars, big nightclubs, saunas and trendy restaurants. As property values increase, because women make less than men, gay women will feel priced out, before straight people arrive and push out the gay men. Straight households come last in the advanced or late gentrification stage.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 16, 2015 at 1:04 am

[URBAN NOTE] On a park crisis in Toronto, after Spacing

Over at Spacing, John Lorinc and Alex Steep have begun an extended series (1, 2, 3, sidebar) about the impending shortage of park space in many of the city’s most rapidly growing neighbourhoods.

The demographics tell the tale. Between 2001 and 2012, Toronto’s population jumped by more than 10%, or 226,000 residents, to 2.7 million – a trajectory that puts the city well ahead of growth projections set down as part of the official plan in the early 2000s. At the time, planners figured the City would add 540,000 people in 30 years. In just over a decade, however, we’re now 41% of the way to hitting that target.

Much of that growth has been concentrated in high development precincts, like the Bay Street corridor, King West and Liberty Village, which saw its population leap by 143% between 2006 and 2011, according to census figures. (The overall population of Niagara, which encompasses both Liberty and King West, grew 83% between 2001 and 2011.)

The City likes to boast about its open spaces, citing how its 1,600 parks and 600 km of trails encompasses 8,000 ha, or 13% of Toronto’s area. As every park entrance sign duly notes, Toronto is “a city within a park.”

Yet it’s become apparent that there simply aren’t enough parks within the city, or at least certain parts of the city. In areas of high growth, and the dense older neighbourhoods that abut them, the City of Toronto has largely failed to create new networks of parks and substantial public open spaces sufficient to accommodate the needs of tens of thousands of new apartment dwellers.

The 1.1 ha of park space in the middle of Liberty Village is almost comically inadequate for an area with an estimated 6,000 residents and thousands more day-time office workers. The City, meanwhile, has neglected to properly maintain the 3.1 ha Canoe Landing Park on the City Place lands. David Pecaut Square and College Park have limped along for years with no improvements, despite increasing density all around both and calls for revitalization from residents and local landowners. And there appears to be no money, or political will, to transform marginal spaces – e.g., the string of parkettes known as The Green Line that run along the midtown Toronto hydro corridor or extensions to the West Toronto Railpath – into viable parks and trails.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 15, 2015 at 10:43 pm