Closer to the Heart

Farewell to the King

In September 2016 a friend I had not seen since 1979 or so re-appeared.

Peter managed to track me down (after all these years) through the Pipes of War website. Back in the day -…1978 – 1979…the days of youthful university Peter and I spent considerable time listening to and analyzing the Neil Peart lyrics of Rush. To this day I recall sitting in my residence room with the tunes turned to loud (volume 11)…rocking away…reading the liner notes and album covers…time seemed endless and meditative.

At that time Mr. Lee, Mr. Lifeson and Mr. Peart were my band (our band)…the ones I had to hear…the first Rush concert I managed to get to…A Farewell To Kings (1977)…more concerts followed. But from that one concert a twirling drumstick thrown towards the audience…towards me…and with a gracious hand the stick was caught…my hand grip wrapped solid…I was thrilled.

The drumstick remains with me…so too the Rush albums…I even managed to get my father to one of the trio’s concerts in Vancouver. Dad wanted to see them…the seats were grand…not close…not near…not far…we were together…the only major rock concert Dad ever attended. It was an experience for him to be sure…through the haze, the ever-changing backdrops, the lights, the music. How can three guys make so much noise? he asked afterwards. Dad loved it.

But now today is sadder as our first snowfall covers our way…perhaps the snow dog will appear? And in this new day white covering of this land a bit of old youth has slipped away…but not nearly so much sadness as for the Peart and Rush families. Neil Peart has left our world to drink the milk of paradise. I for one see my friends (again) those who spent hours amongst the black and red vinyl to play, replay, to chord at air guitars and lift searing solos above the frozen mountaintops…to read and re-read lyrics closer to the heart.

Thank you Rush for all the music and the words. To Mr. Lee, Mr. Lifeson and the Peart family I am so sorry for your loss. To Mr. Peart…thank you for the fine drumstick…long may you drive like the wind and always begin the day with a friendly voice…the road is very much open now.

Neil Peart O.C.
12 September 1952 – 7 January 2020


About The Author

pferguson
Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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