Thursday, 27 February 2014

The more I think about Separation Two, which is a lot, the more convinced I become that the new bits are from an aborted novel. Rohmer had the beginning and a dynamite ending and caught a James Bond film one Saturday before sitting down to fill in the middle.

Too lazy to finish the thing, but also too lazy to put much effort into marrying it with Separation. I think PaperJacks' editor was either dead or Jock Carroll.

In the Canada of Separation, Alberta and BC want those Brits so badly that they threaten to separate; in the Canada of Separation Two, they don’t care much either way. Sure, we’re told that they’re “prepared to take the British immigrants” (p. 22), but that’s it. Now, let us never mention them again, because what really irks is "the budget that asshole in Ottawa threw at us".

But wait, out of nowhere, that asshole later tells a crowd amassed on Parliament Hill that “British Columbia and Alberta have notified the federal government that if we do not take the British immigrants those provinces will succeed.”



Oh, I see, in the original novel - which is why it’s never mentioned by Alberta Premier Blank.

Yep, lazy and sloppy. Like Sugar-Puss, “the Place Ville Marie” is still on “Dorchester Street”. He’s gone through Separation looking for things that might need tweaking, but missing a whole lot.

The 1980 Quebec referendum is mentioned, as is “Levesque [sic]”. Good to know that, as in Separation, “the English in Quebec” will be granted a vote in this new referendum. Sure, they did in 1980, but that was two years ago and so much has changed.

How do we know it’s 1982? The calendar tells us so… Friday, July 2… Wednesday, July 7… Thursday August 12. (The next year these align is 1993 - and we're told 1986 is in the future.)

So, 1982, which means that the James Bond movie Kenny Carr saw was likely For Your Eyes Only… which means that one of the voluptuous girls he mentally undresses is transexual beauty Caroline Cossey. Quelle surprise!

That observation you made, Chris, about the difference between what would happen in our system and what Rohmer needs to have happen applies. In Rohmer’s Canada there’s nothing at all odd in a federal government presenting a budget on the evening of Canada Day (sometime after Bob Schneider, our own Jonathan Richman, takes the stage).

Parliament then breaks immediately for summer recess - was Burton Cummings performing? - and won't be recalled despite threats of succession made hours later.

In Rohmer’s Canada, a prime minister has the power to unilaterally repatriate the constitution. In fact, he’s done just that… though we’re later told that he hasn’t. These inconsistencies make others, like Quebec/Québec, Roussel/Rousell and Federal/federal seem trivial. I barely noticed when Rohmer forgot the Michael Lucas/Michael Scott name change.

Q: That dynamite ending – an assassin accidentally putting a bullet through the skull of the man who hired him - has been used before, right?


  1. For Your Eyes Only came out in the summer of 1981, so it would have been playing for a year. Calgary sounds like a hot town.

    The Manchurian Candidate, of course, ends with the assassin shooting his handler instead of the target. But not because he's had too many gin and tonics, and he's late for a hot date.

    I like your theory that Rohmer had the idea for a whole new novel -- Alberta decides to separate and/or knock of the prime minister -- and then decided to do this quickie instead. You could imagine it happening after Separation.

  2. I agree about For Your Eyes Only - it was only the most recent Bond film. Just as likely that he caught Thunderball at a rep house, or some place selling "popcorn" and "coffee". Still, I do like the idea of our assassin undressing Caroline Cossey, if only with his eyes.

    I had thought of The Manchurian Candidate, but there must be something closer, if not identical. Not to suggest that Rohmer didn't come up with that ending on his own. It's dynamite!

    All these decades I was under the impression that Separation Two was about Alberta. Why bother with another Quebec-focussed separation novel? I mean, how often can one province hold a referendum on independence? Oh, wait…