of The Corvette
I was surprised to find, investigating angels, that some drove God around. I hadn't imagined he'd need transportation. But the Ophanim (also called Thrones, an order just under the Cherubim) served, I've learned, as his charioteers.
And, "having the most bizarre physical appearance of the celestial host," they were also called wheels, "covered with a great many eyes and glowing with light." How could I resist? As you'll see I did not. (Now -- or then.)
Again, this is an episode I didn't record at the time; I'm not sure exactly when it happened. (I've based that "circa" on evidence I'll give later.) So all this is from memory, much of it vague -- but key moments vivid, still.
And again, it's a Kevin. They abound in my life (with a variation to come; Michaels, too). I had met this Kevin in the early '70s, a friend of Paul Macdonald's (among the founders of The Body Politic), both in audio tech. The three of us once had dinner together, I recall -- and recall from that a tall thatch-head blond; a bit geeky I thought but not unappealing.
He went away to California for quite a time. This night at Buddy's may have been the first time he appeared in my life again -- rather transformed.
I may have been with Kevin at his house again, but can't say for sure. I think he moved back to California not long afterwards. We didn't do it again in the Corvette: that I expect I'd recall.
In fact, I date this piece by memory of another car and another man. Ross Irwin once gave me a ride to The Body Politic's printer in Scarborough, page flats for an issue going off to press. Ross was with the paper in 1979 and 1980. I had rather a thing for him early on, and recall being quite tempted on that trip by his neat hips in the driver's seat beside me.
But I didn't.
I did some years later, on a visit to Boston in 1987, finding at Sporters a sweet guy who'd been a U.S. Army buck private -- hence "Bucky," he said, so that's what I called him. We spent a lovely evening at his place in Arlington; rather romantic the boy: he wanted to pretend we were lovers. I didn't mind: I was due to fly away soon enough.
But what's most vivid in my mind about Bucky is his Jeep, sailing along Boston streets I didn't know well -- and didn't get to see. My attention (so to speak) was fixed deep on the charioteer. Bucky liked it.
That episode, though, seemed the usual holiday trick (if a nice one). Kevin, landing serendipitously in my life once again, bestowing himself with such brazen radiance, so sure I'd want him, a gift of grace. And then gone.
That's more like an angel.
64-66 Gerrard Street East:
At Church; from 1978 to 1987 home to Crispin's restaurant
(entered from Gerrard) and Buddy's, down the lane
-- and down the stairs -- at the back. Its laneway,
if in a later incarnation, is shown below.
Buddy's was one of Toronto's earliest gay-owned gay bars, its publican George Hislop, his lover Ron Shearer with Crispin's. It was also just the second gay bar on Church Street (since the '60s, anyway), The Barn all alone there since the mid-1970s.
George had a long gay activist career (he's all over Promiscuous Affections), and would open a series of other bars (you find those there, too). But Buddy's was unique, a veritable community institution. You can find out more about it in 1978.
Of the other key Kevins in my life -- Orr, Hunt, and Bryson -- you'll find all of them there too. The first quite often, from 1982 onwards: a comrade at The Body Politic, later the AIDS Committee of Toronto, and a dear friend still. For Kevins Hunt and Bryson, see Other Angels.
Angel image: "Visioni di Ezzechielio," by Raphael.
Next episode: VII: Visitation