Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fare Thee Well

I have been very lucky to have been blessed with working in a business that I love. Doubly blessed because of the people I get to work with on a daily basis. For the past 10 years I have had the honour of working with one of the most gifted, intelligent, classiest and kind person I have ever met. Her name, Janet Dirks.

Our first shoot many years ago was when she was part of our Arts and Entertainment unit. We were to interview the conductor of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. She knew the fellow from her days at CBC radio back in her native Winnipeg. Just by the way she conducted the interview, I knew she was something special.
After being reassigned to general assignment at the newsroom, we began to shoot more often together. It was in the field over those early years that our friendship, our bond, was forged. Janet always treated everybody, whether they were prince or pulpier with courtesy and respect. That always held us in good stead and enabled us to connect with all strata of society.
Janet and Murman during the first days of the Robert Pickton Murder Trial

Her mastery of the English language is the stuff of legend in our newsroom. Her knowledge of Law came natural as she had in a previous life been admitted to the BAR. It was no wonder that this University drop out turned camera hump, felt a little intimidated by her. Yet her smile, could put the most anxious person at ease.

Steve Murray, Janet Dirks and Murman the night the Pickton Trial went to the Jury

The two of us always enjoyed working together. Some of our most memorable stuff would involve persons at their most vulnerable. Her sincerity and empathy was not lost with our subjects. To be with her and to witness this was truly a privilege. Her way with people made me proud to be a journalist.

Everyday, when I would get in to the office, my first order of business was to check in with the desk and find out what Janet was working on. You see it didn't matter whether it was a good visual story or not, I would take a "Janet" assignment regardless over anything else. We always had good soulful conversations when we worked together. If one of us had been away or because of scheduling we had not worked together for a long time, I would suffer from "Janet withdrawal". The closeness that we shared, well I have trouble finding the words, but I trust this lady with my very life.

Three weeks ago, Janet got some great news. She had been named the new CTV National Calgary Bureau Chief. Janet would be leaving CTV British Columbia.

As her friend I was happy for her. I have always said to her, "I want what is best for my friend Janet". A Journalist of her calibre will be Calgary and the Nationals gain. But deep down, I am heart broken that I won't be working with her with the frequency that I am used to.

The other night as is tradition with us here at CTV BC we had a Send Off party for her and 3 others that are moving on. I have never seen one of these Send Off's more widely attended than this one. During the evening she said to me "I am not saying good bye to you Murray, I am not going to say it!"

At the Send Off party the other night

I am not going to say it either Janet. This business is a funny one and I hope that fate will find us sometime soon working together once more. I'll light you with the care you have come to expect from "Murray the camera guy" and until then I will just say:

Fare Thee Well, Janet

Fare Thee Well.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

My Ears are Still Ringing

The last few weeks have been difficult ones in the world of World Wide Murman. But that said, nothing can take away from the experience of this past Tuesday evening with my son.

This particular evening had been anticipated for some time. The excitement grew from the time the tickets were purchased. You see, my boy's favorite band was coming to Vancouver. I have always been proud of my son's musical taste. Long ago he didn't succumb to the sounds of Hip Hop Hell or whatever the flavor of the year happened to be, but he discovered my collection of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. From there he discovered Iron Maiden and they became his genre of choice.

Never has a father been so proud.

Fast forward to last Tuesday. Anytime with my son is valued time. Going to a rock concert with him is always special. As we walked to the Pacific Coliseum fans and concert goers of every age and description made their way to the doors. I could see the look on Ben's face. He was really looking forward to finally seeing Bruce and the rest of Maiden perform. An excited Metal Head saw the two of us walking toward the door.

He smiles and says to me in a rock concert sort of voice- "Dude you're taking your boy to Maiden!,,,,,,, You Rock Dad"
I was suddenly filled with pride, thinking for a brief moment that I was indeed a "cool Dad" and one that could share the power rock of Maiden with his 15 year old.
Then god love him, Ben says to me in his sarcastic funny voice of his "It's more like I am taking you to Maiden don't you think Dad?!"

Well I was cool for a second anyway.
Inside the venue our seats were stage right, two rows from the floor and very close to the stage. Very good seats indeed. After an opening act and some snacks and drinks, the main event was about to begin. Ben looks at me and says he's got to go to the washroom. Off he darts up the stairs, when suddenly the house lights go down indicating the show is about to start. He's back in a flash. He doesn't want to miss a moment and decides he'll wait for the next two hours

Iron Maiden opens with "Ace's High", power chords fill the building. The spectacle has begun.

(Photo: courtesy of Richelle Akimow)

Maiden's animated and energetic singer/pilot Bruce Dickinson waves the Union Jack during his performance of "The Trooper" (Photo: courtesy of Richelle Akimow)

When the stage lights come up and the familiar chords of "Aces High" fill the building and with a flash of light Maiden takes the stage. I caught a glimpse of his face. The smile and his euphoric eyes said it all. It was a moment I shall never forget.

Mummified Eddie makes his appearance during 'Power Slave" (Photo:courtesy Richelle Akimow)

Maiden cranks out "Power Slave" to the masses. What a show! (Photo: courtesy of Richelle Akimow)

It was indeed a great performance. The set was incredible. The crowd was wild. The sound, well my ears are still ringing. It was among the top 3 concert experiences of my life and I was grateful to have shared such an experience with my son.
For more of Richelle's photos check out her Flickr page.