Overcoming Deafness to Cry His Way to Pop Stardom: Johnnie Ray

BRIAN BRENNAN: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS   September, 2015 By the time he was 49, Johnnie Ray had dried the tears that carried him to stardom with such hits as “Cry” and “The Little White Cloud That Cried.” He had replaced the weepy histrionics of his

Physician Heal Thyself: Sharon Pollock

BRIAN BRENNAN: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS  September, 2015  I had seen and reviewed several of Sharon Pollock’s plays before I interviewed her in 1984 about Doc, the most autobiographical of her works. It deals with a respected physician in Fredericton, New Brunswick whose mentally unstable

Europe faces a 1945 moment

JONATHAN MANTHORPE: International Affairs  August 28, 2015 Europe’s dysfunctional and divisive refugee policies have now collapsed entirely in the face of the onslaught of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa. The latest visible expression of that

Bucking Pop Music Labels: Colleen Peterson

BRIAN BRENNAN: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS  August 2015  The newspapers couldn’t figure out how to classify Colleen Peterson’s singing when she was first making her way in the music business in the late 1960s. Neither could the record industry. Sometimes she was listed under folk,

Hail to the Chieftains: Paddy Moloney

BRIAN BRENNAN: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS  August 2015 Nobody had ever made a living playing Irish traditional instrumental music so Paddy Moloney followed his mother’s advice and got himself a day job. He worked from nine to five as a clerk at a Dublin building

Refugees are now the biggest crisis facing the European Union

JONATHAN MANTHORPE: International Affairs  August 20, 2015 Among the many compelling pictures in recent weeks of would-be refugees swarming across the Mediterranean one from the Greek island of Lesbos caught my attention in particular. It was a short video of an infuriated

From the West End to The Well-Manicured Man: John Neville

BRIAN BRENNAN: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS   August 2015  John Neville was a star of the London stage during the 1950s, excelling both in Shakespearean roles and in productions of contemporary plays. Though known primarily as a classical actor with impeccable diction, Neville surprised critics and

Japanese Remorse: Once More With Feeling

JONATHAN MANTHORPE: International Affairs  August 14, 2015  Saturday, August 15, is the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in the Pacific, and that anniversary pulls my memory back 50 years to 1965. I was an apprentice journalist on a

Finding Her Roots in Country Music: Anne Murray

BRIAN BRENNAN: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS   July 2015 Today they call them media opportunities. Back in the day, they were known as press conferences. Reporters didn’t like them because the stories that came out of them were inconsequential. This was particularly true in the case

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