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“I am a friend of Reg Hartt. So is anyone who can appreciate a man who teaches the way Neal Cassady drove a bus. I mean that, where you have style wrapped around content and tied with a ribbon of beat improvisation, there you have angels. Harvey Pekar was an angel. And I’ve never met anyone with wings who did not have an ego. Nor is this an easy town for a man who is larger than life, and does not suffer fools. You might like to know that the friends of Reg Hartt included the non-fool-suffering Jane Jacobs, who knew a thing or two about what, and who, makes life worth living in the city; that’s good enough for me.”

This Be The Verse

By Philip Larkin
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.
Philip Larkin, “This Be the Verse” from Collected Poems. Copyright © Estate of Philip Larkin.  Reprinted by permission of Faber and Faber, Ltd.
Source: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)
My wonderful friend Martin Winters from Glasgow turned me on to this poem.
I can hear some saying, “Yeah, blame it on the parents.”
When plants in a garden grow up crooked is it the fault of the plants or that of the gardener?
Martin came to The Cineforum a few years back to see my Salvador Dali program. Like many he liked what he saw and became a much valued member of The Cineforum family.
The poet Ranier Maria Rilke’s mother wanted not a son but a daughter. She grew her son’s hair in long golden curls, had him wear dresses and, when he knocked on her door she said, “Is that my naughty Ranier or my lovely Charlotte?”
Like all children eager to please their family he answered, “It is your lovely Charlotte. mother.”
Some time ago I discovered a man who was raised on an army base to be a prostitute.
At ten he was given to police officers, bureaucrats, business people, members of the clergy.
This struck a particular nerve because the man who helped me get my feet on the ground when I arrived in Toronto in the mid 1960s had been similarly raised. His mother was a prostitute. She put him to work at ten fellating her johns to bring in extra money.
He never knew his father except for a photograph.
One night in a park he recognized  the man he was fellating for money from the photograph. It was his dad. Of course, the father did not know that.
When the police came here in May last year I showed them the file of the boy raised on the army base. “Why do you have that,” they asked.
I replied, “Research.”
The officer in charge said, “We don’t accept that.”


Nonetheless the law does:No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section if the act that is alleged to constitute an offence

  1. has a legitimate purpose related to the administration of justice or to science, medicine, education or art; and
  2. does not pose an undue risk of harm to persons under the age of eighteen years.



Robert Bly gives that information about Ranier Maria Rilke. Bly states, “With a mother like that we either become a mass murderer or a great poet.”
I grew up in a garden of hate.
One night a few years back when my father was alive and we were both drunk beyond drunk my Dad said, “I have hated you from the moment you were born as in that instant I realized I had to die.”
The next day I was interviewed by one of Canada’s premiere journalists, Michael Valpy.
I told Michael what my Dad had said.
He replied, “First born sons.”
Yes, they fuck us up our parents do.
I grew up in the fires.
So did my brothers and sisters.
So did many of the people who have come into my life.


Michael Valpy wrote in his piece om for THE GLOBE AND MAIL, “Reg Hart  is what living in a metropolis is all about. He personifies the city as a meeting place of ideas, as a feast of experience and discussion and debate, as a triumph of the original and provoking over the banal and soporific .”


That’s something we all have to rise over.

Join me 2pm Thursday.


Moses Znaimer never listened to what I have to say nor did he ever say, “Hey, Reg Hartt, you belong on my stage.”


Over a few beers in her home Jane Jacobs suddenly said to me, “The best part of what you have to offer is what you have to say.”


But that was Jane. She was not Moses Znaimer and thank God for that.

–Reg Hartt 2019-08-11 ,

Coming during TIFF a talk on Jerry Mander’s book FOUR ARGUMENTS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF TELEVISION.

You can read it here:



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