The rain pounded down on the roof of my boat; it sounded like a gorilla banging away up there. At the same time, the storm-force gust hit the boat broadside and almost threw me out of my bunk. But I knew that the salmon were now finally entering the forest and would get to their spawning grounds. And the wolves would be waiting for them.
This had been the driest season on the central coast since records had been kept – the driest for a hundred years. It was the first time in Waglisla had ever seen so many snowless mountain tops from the village. Even the lake fed systems had not contained enough water for the salmon to migrate upriver, so they had been pulling at the mouth. Marine predators such as seals, sea lions, halibut, whales, eagles, and humans had taken their fill.
I had been gone only a few months from the Fish Trap Pack’s territory, but I sailed up the inlet, I could sense that things had changed. It was strangely quiet.
With the Fish Traps Again
I stopped off to check the pack’s den site. I knew they were absent before I had even set the anchor, and not just because I couldn’t hear or see any birds in the forest. This den island does not have the salmon resources that the neighbouring one does, so before the salmon migrate upriver, the Fish Traps change location and swim across the channel to the spawning grounds. Islands that provide greater spawning density tend to support more resident competitors such as bears. The wolves thus avoid such islands in the spring and early summer while the pups are vulnerable.
The swim would be the longest the pups had taken so far, but I knew they would have made this aquatic journey with ease.
I was fortunate enough to watch the wolves make the swim one August. I can’t usually observe every pack member at once, but they were all on hand for this move. They made the crossing in single file, with adults bringing up the stern and the bow of the wolf flotilla. Wolves swim across channels and inlets as we cross sidewalks, looking both ways to make sure there is no oncoming traffic.
Many times I have come around the bend in a motorboat and unintentionally forced a wolf to turn around and abandon a crossing. Wolves need to be cautious, since moose and deer swimming between islands have been swallowed by orcas, and some humans armed with guns or gaffs would show little mercy.
When the wolves reached the opposite shore that August, they shook off the salt water and looked back the way they had come, waiting for Three Legs to arrive. I could only imagine how this new experience would be for the pups – a different set of islands, an expansion of their territorial world, a new playground to explore.
Back in the present, at the tide line I located the main trail to the den site. Just one fresh set of adult tracks crossed the mud flat; there were no pup tracks anywhere. Since thousands of tracks are typically associated with active rendezvous and den sites, it was clear that the pack had moved on in search of salmon.
[Excerpt from Following the Last Wild Wolves by Ian McAllister]
I met with Arthur Rimbaud on February 28, 2014 in the cafeteria of Le Bateau ivre, the prize container ship of his Arabica coffee conglomerate, Gentleman Savages Inc. He generously, if inconveniently, summoned me to join him on a transoceanic passage to deliver a shipment from Ethiopia to New Jersey. He doesn’t do phone interviews and doesn’t have the time to indulge in the erotic mechanics – his words – of sitting around some merdique hotel answering the merdique questions of culture salesmen. Well aware of his reputation for solitariness, general orneryness, and robust cynicism, I was naturally taken aback when I received his invitation. I nonetheless interpreted his mandate – come to Ethiopia – as somewhat of a geographical deterrent. Right. Off I flew to Dire Dawa International near the Gulf of Aden. The present interview was conducted on a series of afternoons during our journey. Generally, Monsieur Rimbaud would get around to “answering”, in his way, only a single question in a sitting. What follows is the tapestry of these afternoons, each panel joined as well as could be along a seam of thought. On these occasions we would mostly sit eating bread and salted butter and jam, drinking coffee, and speak about what humans and art could be and do and why these days he, for the most part, detests both. By way of preamble, a note on the interviewee’s brief but startlingly radiant pre-mercantilist career. The touchstone of generations of avant-gardes, Arthur Rimbaud was the punk wanderer par excellence, the poet of universal consciousness, tragic and mythic, the hobo god of gods, and I would argue a supreme, albeit, phenomenally nascent wave rider. He completed the works that would revolutionize the written word by the time he was nineteen, abandoning and violently repudiating it all when most kids are picking the last booger of their tidy, if slightly overpriced, little university degrees and smearing it to the under-brim those ridiculous tasseled square caps. Like all good bodhisattvas he was the herald of the adventure into (other)self(lessness) – the self being a middle/mediate term/mode at best, annihilation, and transformation. He killed all who followed him, after the hunt or libation. All followed him…
[Interview by Thaddeus O’Neil / Illustration by Hugo Guinness]
Tilda Swinton’s language is as bewitching as her look. The ethereal Scot drops truisms like Jenny Holzer and evidences her claims in metaphors of nature, adventure, and lore. Life, as per Swinton, “is a wander through strange woods, whistling and following bread crumbs.” She plays. Not acts, plays. She’s played the widow of a high school shooter in We Need to Talk About Kevin, an adulterous Russian trophy wife in I Am Love, the White Witch of Narnia, David Bowie’s double, both man and woman in Orlando, and a too-dutiful general counsel in Michael Clayton. Most recently, she’s played an 84-year-old lover to Ralph Fiennes in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, a computerised therapist in Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem, a dictator in Bong Joon-Ho’s sci-fi Snowpiercer, and 3000-year-old vampire, Eve, in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. The latter role is most of what Swinton and I discussed in this interview, which was conducted via e-mail; she writing from her home in Scotland, me from mine in Brooklyn. This distance set my hypermediated imagination in overdrive – Tilda, to me, is both star and constellation: a singular artist, a self, but also a composite of every role she’s played. I pictured her in a stone chateau in the country of my forefathers, wrapped in tapestries like Eve, “Moonage Daydream” playing in the background.
[Interview by Fiona Duncan / Photo by Juergen Teller]
At the edge, at the limit of breath,
time for a new sensation —
the gun abrupt and clumsy in his hands.
Thumb tracing the line of his lip,
sun-dazzle over trees, and then the bridge,
the river flowing under Notre-Dame.
Her T-shirt on the Avenue, tribune:
herald of a new wave rising.
Tonight I will be with you in Paradise.
What you believe in the long conversation,
Matisse and Renoir on the wall, the tiny room
filled by a bed and William Faulkner.
The man on the street pointing him out, and
pointing you the way to go. A phone call’s betrayal —
Trying to reach the intersection,
staggering, falling, falling again.
What does it mean?
What does that strange word mean?
[Poem by Stephen Scobie]
His farmhouse in Normandy
foursquare and stone
like an apple
As soon as I learned that the Grand Palais in Paris was going to host a major retrospective of the work of Georges Braque in the autumn of 2013, I knew that I had to drop everything and go. It was, after all, the first major retrospective of Braque in Paris for over thirty years.2 It would be the first time that the complete series of nine paintings named Les Ateliers, the Studios, had ever been shown together in Paris (for some of these paintings, the first time they had ever been shown in Paris at all, even singly). This was a major event.
I have been in love with Braque ever since the winter of 1975-76, when I was staying in Paris with my late wife Maureen, and I used to spend long gloomy afternoons in the basement of the Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris,3 communing with the dark splendours of his 1920s still lifes, and with the deep and glorious mystery of his billiard tables. In 1997, I travelled to Houston, Texas, for the monumental exhibition of his late work at the Menil Collection. So I scarcely came to Paris this November as a neutral or unbiased spectator.
But that “bias” was born out of instincts – visual, theoretical, aesthetic – which I still trust. To go into the show in a spirit of determined skepticism, distrust just for the sake of it, would be simply perverse. So, well before I left, I tried to write out what my biases were, to give them even a deliberately exaggerated and provocative form. The following section, scrupulously not edited or altered, though at times it is rashly overstated, is what I wrote here in Victoria, several weeks before I set foot in the Grand Palais.
[Essay by Stephen Scobie]
[Photos by Shawn Dogimont / Model Patricia Schmid]