David Saxe, photographed at his home somewhere in a southern U.S. state, via the Internet on December 22, 2007. [See note below.]

Saxe, whom I’ve known longer than just about anyone still living on this planet, has hardly been mentioned in these pages. That’s partly due to the fact that I know he’s a regular reader here and so I hesitate to embarrass the fellow.

We were in the same eighth grade class at West Hill but I barely knew him then. Marvin Minkoff whispered to me once that David’s brother was a “beatnik” and that was good enough for me. Henry’s an artist and that alone made him a beatnik in Minkoff’s view. Minkoff once spotted me walking home home with a jazz record in hand (Jazz in Transition, a rare item these days) and that made me a beatnik, too, so there ya go.

I’m not sure what happened between eighth grade (I quit school the following year so that I could get on with my real life) and the Guilbault Street days by which time we were hanging out on a regular basis, listening to and exchanging jazz records, drinking beer nightly at the Swiss Hut, smoking weed, playing snooker at the Montreal Pool Room, and the like. Saxe was a student at the École des Beaux-Arts and was never without his Rapidograph, drawing endlessly on everything and his talent was impressive, to say the least. Eventually he was also carrying a camera around and was already a better photographer than I would ever be, so it’s not surprising he’s now one of the best and most interesting photographers on the planet.

Speaking of the Internet, I have to say that amongst its many miracles it is wholly responsible for David and I continuing our friendship after all these years. Without it we’d see each other once a decade and perhaps exchange a letter or two in alternate centuries. But in 1992 he was the only person aside from myself with an email address and so we began a correspondence that continues to this day and now comprises over 20,000 pages of text which elucidates the entire history of the second half of the twentieth century. At least as it applied to us.

David is a little older than me and thus I regard him as a mentor and role model. He’s not only a better photographer and visual artist in general, he’s the world’s foremost crank. Next to him I’m a veritable Pollyanna.


This is a repost of a previous item. At that time I had not yet taken the photo of Saxe seen above.

I haven’t seen him since about 2001, give or take. Thanks to advances in human ingenuity I was able to take that stunning portrait over the Internet using my Olympus digital and David’s web cam. What will we think of next, I wonder?

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