Gilliandr's Blog

Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments

Star Trek Discovery – my two cents worth, 2017


I am a Star Trek fan from way back, and I was excited to hear about the production of a new series, and I waited patiently for its premiere.  That was Sunday night. I thought I would share my observations and opinions – my two cents worth here.

As I said I like Star Trek a lot.  I think one of the key reasons is the way in which the different series are able to make you a part of the crew.  The series creates a brilliant feeling with an ensemble cast, with a group of individuals who are interesting, and developed.  I think that this is missing in the new series.  Granted I have only seen the first two episodes, but so far I know a lot about Michael Burnham, but nothing about anyone else.  There were a few hints with her captain, Phillipa Georgiou, played brilliantly by Michelle Yeoh, but [spoiler alert]  they killed her off.  I am uncomfortable with the fact that the series seems to be concentrated on one person.  She is interesting, make no mistake, but it is not enough.  I was also not really happy about the number of flashbacks used in the series.  I found that they depended on that to explain the character’s actions too often.

Where is this wonderful cast they are promising?  Not in the first two episodes.  I always thought a premiere was supposed to lure you in, introduce you to the cast of characters, and make you want to watch more…..

All in all, I was disappointed.  The show had a number of niggly issues for me.  I found the re-jigging of the Klingons problematic.  I thought the makeup a bit much, especially the noses. I was happy to hear the Klingon being spoken; with the translations as subtitles below, but to be honest sometimes I couldn’t read the white writing, as it blended into the background. I don’t understand why they had to change their appearance from that of the Star Trek Next Generation look.

Discovery is supposed to happen about the same time as Star Trek Enterprise and ten years before the original series.  But somehow they are using wildly more advanced communications.  All the other series have the crews of the ships communicating using a view screen, but this series uses holograms.  The long distance talking takes place like they are in the room.  In one scene hologram Sarek even leans on a desk.  It is discordant with the technology shown in the other series.

So now I have to make a decision.  The first two episodes were broadcast on Space, so I was able to watch them.  To see the rest I will have to start subscribing to a pay per view service – Crave.  I don’t know that I want to do that.  And that I think is perhaps the best way to evaluate the series.  Do I really want to make a financial commitment to see the rest of the episodes?  Is it worth the effort?  I am not sure.  For a Star Trek fan to be on the fence about watching more, that is the true test.


St Andrew’s Concert, Ottawa, 1867

Ottawa Citizen, 29 January 1867, page 2.


The St Andrew’s Concert – As we predicted, the concert in aid of the charitable fund of the St Andrew’s Society of Ottawa, held at Her Majesty’s Theatre, on Thursday night last, was financially a great success. Great credit is due, for the satisfactory state of matters, to the perseverance and energy of the managing committee, who did their work properly and well.  Mr HH Fripp who kindly undertook the musical directorship of the entertainment, also contributed greatly to the good result.  The simple announcement that he was to attend to the music was tantamount to asserting that a treat was in store for those who intended being present. We have not yet heard the exact amount realized, but believe it was something handsome.

Children’s faults, Montreal, 1911

Montreal Standard, 1 July 1911, page 14


Children’s Faults


Don’t keep on harping about a child’s faults; don’t keep on telling him how naughty  and stupid he is; it doesn’t do any real good for it will awaken resentment in his heart.  Use love and patience and never lose your belief in a child.

Call For proposals – Sydney Newman Book

The deadline is fast approaching – I am looking for people interested in Sydney Newman – people with expertise on the CBC (1950s), National Film Board of Canada (1940s and 1970s), the BBC and British television in the 1960s.  Please forward to anyone you think might be interested in contributing.

Thank you!


Call for Proposals

Sydney Newman – Producing Television and Film Across Borders

Sydney Newman - Image from
Sydney Newman – Image from

Probably best known as the creator of the long-running science fiction television series Doctor Who, Sydney Newman played a significant role in the production of television and film both in his native Canada and in the United Kingdom.  The Museum of Broadcast Communications describes Newman as “the most significant agent in the development of British television drama.”[1]  But this is only one aspect of Sydney Newman’s (1917-1997) professional experience.  Newman enjoyed a long and interesting career in broadcasting and films.  While his ‘claim to fame’ might very well be as creator of Doctor Who and Avengers, he also worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as Supervising director of features, documentaries and outside broadcasts (1952-1958), the Associated British Corporation as head of Drama (1958-1962), the British Broadcasting Corporation as head of Drama (1962-1967), and the National Film Board of Canada as a film editor (1941-1949) and as Commissioner (1970-1975).  He then became a special advisor on film to the Canadian Secretary of State, and was Chief Creative Consultant for the Canadian Film Development Corporation (1978-1984).


His work at these institutions was critical in the development of Canadian and British broadcasting, and popular culture.  His influence was far-reaching.  But thus far, while there have been some studies which have taken into account the particular roles which he has played during his career, no study has taken his roles together, to provide a more complete picture.


This peer-reviewed collection seeks to understand Sydney Newman’s career in both Canada and in Britain by curating a number of studies on his various professional roles and works. This includes providing an understanding of the world of broadcast television and film, in both countries during the 50s-70s, and the visions of culture he articulated in his work.   Articles can deal with specific aspects of his career, specific institutions, specific programs he developed, his influence as a producer/filmmaker, or administrator.  Biographical articles are also welcome.  The aim is that the collection taken as a whole will provide a balanced look at his varied career in two countries during periods of significant development and change in the entertainment industry of both.


[Please note that Sydney Newman’s Memoirs Head of Drama: The Memoir of Sydney Newman will be released by ECW Press on 5th September 2017.]


Proposals should be approximately two hundred words, and sent to by the 30th of September 2017.  A decision will be communicated by the 30th of November, and final articles should be submitted by the 15 July 2018.


Gillian I Leitch, PhD

Independent Scholar

Co-Chair, Science Fiction Fantasy Area, PCA/ACA





Key Words: Canada, United Kingdom, National Film Board of Canada, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, British Broadcasting Corporation, Associated British Corporation, television, film, policy, public broadcasting

[1] [Accessed 2 April 2017]


Halloween, Montreal, 1880

Montreal Gazette 27 October 1880 page 3

New Queen’s Hall


Grand Annual Concert of the Montreal Caledonian Society

On Friday Evening Oct. 29

The Committee have much pleasure in announcing that

Louis Honore Frechette Esq

Poet-Laureat de l’Academie Francaise

And the

Rev JF Stevenson, LLB DD

Have kindly consented to deliver addresses suitable for the occasion.

The following distinguished Artists have been engaged:-

Miss Laura Schirmer, Soprano, Strakosch Operatic Company; Miss Maggie Barr (Second appearance) Sweetest of Scottish Ballad Singers; Mrs T Charles Watson, Dramatic reader; Mr HK Maitland, the famous Scottish vocalist; Mr W Mather Porteous, Baritone from Boston; Mr Wm Stuart, Violinist.  Mr E Hilton will preside at the Piano.

General admission, 50c; Reserved 75c and $1 according to location.  Tickets to be had at DeZouche’s, St James Street, who have the plans of the hall and will locate the seats.

Doors open at 7 pm.  Chair taken at 8.


Hebrew Graduates of McGill, 1880

Montreal Daily Star, 8 July 1880, page 2

The Hebrew Graduates of McGill

In the appointment of Mr Lewis A Hart as lecturer in McGill University upon the theory and practice of Notarial Deeds and Proceedings, the public will recognize another instance of the wisdom and liberality which has long distinguished the University in the choice of its servants.  The appointment is [illegible] pledge to the friends of civil and religious liberty that no prejudices of class or creed find place in our chief seat of learning. Mr Hart is of the Hebrew faith, and his name is but one of a  list which has already done honour to McGill.  Between thirty-five and forty years ago and at a time when the leading schools of the mother country had their doors closed to all but the faithful, in other words to all who could not or would not subscribe to the thirty-nine articles, McGill took the initiative in the enlightened and liberal course which she has since held, by appointing to a professorial chair the Rev De Sola, then as now esteemed generally as a semitic scholar and writer.  The step, as such steps must, proved to the advantage of the University. The graduates of Hebrew faith have since been neither few nor far between, and have in many different fields reflected honour upon their Alma Mater.  Only a few sessions back a graduate in the medical school, Dr Vineberg, went out from the University leaving behind him a reputation even deeper than was explicable by his having carried off the Holmes gold medal, and already he has made his mark in a distant land. A recent number of the Waimate Times, Canterbury, New Zealand, refers to him in the most honourable terms in connection with his work in hospital there, and with the details of a remarkable surgical operation there performed. Scarcely less favourably known in our midst is Dr Levi.  In England, Mr I Ascher, a graduate in law, has obtained a favourable reputation for his literary work, some of his writings having called forth the unqualified commendation of Longfellow. Both here and in Quebec, also, several graduates in arts are showing that a liberal culture may go hand in hand, and is well nigh essential to an elevated position in the commercial world.


Queen’s Plate, Montreal, 1843

Times and Daily Colonial Advertiser, Montreal 10 April 1843, page 2


The Queen’s Plate

We have authority for stating that the President of the “Montreal Turf Club” has received from the Governor General, His Excellency’s compliance with the request of the Club, that the Queen’s Plate would be run for, this year, over the Saint Pierre Course, near this city.

Cure for Corns, 1825

Cure found in Library and Archives Canada- and please, please don’t try this at home!!!!



Infallible Cure for Corns

Take two ounces of gum ammonium, two ounces of yellow wax, six drachims of verigris melt them together, and spread the composition on a soft piece of cotton or linen; cut away as much of the corn as you can with a knife, before you apply the plaster, which must be received in a fortnight if the corn is not by that time gone.

Taken from the Western Almanack of 1825, this 25th day of March Ad 1825.

College Fashion, 1922 – Etiquette

Etiquette: The Blue Book of Social Usage by Emily Post, New York and London, Funk & Wagnalls Co, 1922/37.


If the college should happen to be in a warm climate, naturally foulard dresses or cotton prints would take the place of the warm woolens. But a college that is, let’s say, snowbound for many months, it is important that the clothes be warm and that warm gloves, low-heeled shoes and galoshes be included. Nothing could be more unappealing to a boy than a girl in such unsuitable clothes that she can take no part in any outdoor sports.  High-heeled evening slippers in which to walk on frozen snow, and think fluffy clothes when the thermometer is zero, will not impress any boy as alluring, but will make him wish he hadn’t handicapped himself with such a nuisance.

[Hmmm – so clearly the education was not the important part of college – fashion people – fashion and getting a husband]

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