- RIP, Roger Wood, genius assemblage sculptor: Sorely missed already.
- Hey look at this: Delights to delectate.
- This day in history: 2002, 2007, 2012, 2017, 2021
- Colophon: Recent publications, upcoming/recent appearances, current writing projects, current reading
RIP, Roger Wood, genius assemblage sculptor (permalink)
Last week, my dear old friend Roger Wood died, very suddenly, of cancer. He was 80. Roger was a brilliant sculptor, a Canadian veteran navy gunner, and gay. He was my neighbour for a decade. I miss him already.
Roger and I both lived in an old WWI munitions factory in Toronto, which had been turned into 15 illegal live-work studios with 20-foot ceilings which leaked, massive south-facing windows (which leaked), and a warm and collegial vibe of weirdos and artists.
Roger was a self-taught sculptor, a mad collector of all sorts of junk: scrap metal, old toys, discarded electronics, decorative items. He tore these apart, painted and mutated them, and turned them into whimsical assemblages.
Many of these were built around clocks; often with a small feather attached to the second-hand that quivered as it revolved around and around the clockface. Roger was making things that could be called "steampunk" before the term existed – and once he learned it, he embraced it.
In those years, I was working very long hours on the early web, but I was often and easily sidetracked at Roger's studio, where I'd sit and smoke cigarettes with him and hear navy stories (his time with the big guns had left him somewhat deaf) or just tour his beautiful new pieces.
Roger, too, had an incredible work ethic. He told the Toronto Star's Barbara Turnbull, "Even on Sunday mornings, when good citizens are off to church, I'm off to the local flea market, always scrounging different bits and pieces."
And he was content: "But I survive, so why complain? I think mere survival as an artist in Canada propels me into the top 10 per cent of the ranks in this country."
Turnbull really captured Roger's studio when she wrote: "But it's the overwhelming number of storage containers, loosely labelled and filled with the items he uses for his fanciful designs that makes the jaw drop: picture lamp bulbs, lamp parts, wooden balls, drawer pulls, buttons, clock springs, gears and faces, dials, jewellery, candlesticks, shoemaker moulds, picture frames, musical instrument parts, vacuum tubes from old radios, gas lamp parts, typewriter keys, bottle caps, old gauges, camera lenses and nameplates."
Roger loaned me dozens of his largest, most impressive pieces for my wedding, where he was resplendent in a hall that was filled with his sculptures. I was living in the UK at the time, and shortly after, high Toronto rents pushed Roger out of the city and to Hamilton. I saw him again a few years later when he came to an event of mine in Hamilton and we had dinner.
alt="Two views of a brass-accented Roger Wood assemblage raygun">
alt="Two views of a black and chrome Roger Wood assemblage raygun">
alt="Two views of a wood and brass geared Roger Wood assemblage raygun">
But then he moved back east, to Nova Scotia, where, he emailed me, he built the studio he'd always dreamt of. I didn't see him after that, though we corresponded some. Mostly, I felt in touch with Roger because I've got so many of his sculptures in my home, including the diptych he gave us as a wedding gift.
Knowing Roger is gone has left an ache in my heart. He deserved to be so much better known, and better treated by the cities he graced with his art and his presence. He was a sweet, kind, talented, funny man and it showed in his art.
In Roger's obituary in the Globe and Mail, his family says, "Donations to the Charity of Your Choice or support an artist, buy an original piece of art." Support the artists in your life, folks, and cherish them. Goodbye, Roger. I was very lucky to count you a friend.
Here are some of my photos of Roger, his studio and his work:
And here is one of my favorite photos of Roger with his creations, by
Hey look at this (permalink)
- Unearthed File Reveals Huge Cold War-Era U.S. Bugging Operation Against Soviets https://thebrushpass.projectbrazen.com/coldwarbuggingsovietunion/ (h/t Schneier)
This day in history (permalink)
#20yrsago DMCA forces Red Hat to limit patch documentation to non-Americans https://web.archive.org/web/20030401225621/http://www.theregus.com/content/4/26656.html
#20yrsago Greeks get exclusive right to say “feta” https://web.archive.org/web/20021204175742/http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/134555891_feta16.html
#20yrsago Making trusted computing safe for Democracy https://web.archive.org/web/20021112051341/http://vitanuova.loyalty.org/2002-10-16.html
#15yrsago Amazon one-click patent struck down https://igdmlgd.blogspot.com/2007/10/amazon-one-click-patent-rejected-by-us.html
#10yrsago Kids’ librarian literary sleeve tattoo https://secure.flickr.com/photos/doctorow/tags/blackvulturegallery/
#10yrsago Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to the US for hacking the Pentagon https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19962844
#10yrsago What Canada stands to lose in the war on science https://www.thestar.com/opinion/2012/10/10/governing_in_the_dark_ottawas_dangerous_unscientific_revolution.html
#5yrsago Someone cosplayed the Javits Center at this year’s New York Comic-Con (which is held at the Javits Center) https://twitter.com/Ssnyder1835/status/916791806154723333
#5yrsago Canadian Parliament cancels plan to legalize drunk canoeing https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/mps-backtrack-drunk-canoeing-will-continue-to-be-treated-as-impaired-driving
#5yrsago Defect in Subaru keyless entry system makes it trivial to sniff and clone your car-keys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewMZCxi8l8A
#5yrsgo Why Adafruit thinks it’s legal to stamp Harriet Tubman over Andrew Jackson on the US $20 https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/10/15/hey-steven-mnuchin-making-harriet-tubman-20s-seems-totally-ok-ustreasury-stevenmnuchin1/
#1yrago The Chicago Tribune is being murdered before our eyes: And it's a serial killing https://pluralistic.net/2021/10/16/sociopathic-monsters/#all-the-news-thats-fit-to-print
Today's top sources:
- The Bezzle, a Martin Hench noir thriller novel about the prison-tech industry. Friday's progress: 508 words (50249 words total)
The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation, a nonfiction book about interoperability for Verso. Friday's progress: 521 words (46644 words total)
Picks and Shovels, a Martin Hench noir thriller about the heroic era of the PC. (92849 words total) – ON PAUSE
A Little Brother short story about DIY insulin PLANNING
Vigilant, Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, WAITING FOR EXPERT REVIEW
Moral Hazard, a short story for MIT Tech Review's 12 Tomorrows. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION
Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. FINAL DRAFT COMPLETE
A post-GND utopian novel, "The Lost Cause." FINISHED
A cyberpunk noir thriller novel, "Red Team Blues." FINISHED
Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.
Latest podcast: Sound Money https://craphound.com/news/2022/09/11/sound-money/
- Copyright Evidence: Synthesis and Futures – CREATe (Glasgow), Oct 17
The Global Governance of Online Harms – McGill (Montreal), Oct 20
Library Journal Day of Dialog (Zoom), Oct 20
Chokepoint Capitalism Event, Argo Bookshop (Montreal), Oct 23
Surviving Apocalyptic Economics, with Douglas Rushkoff and Rebecca Giblin, Ottawa Writers Festival, Oct 24
World Ethical Data Forum, Oct 26-28
Radical Book Fair/Lighthouse Bookshop (Edinburgh), Nov 10
Arthur C Clarke Award (DC), Nov 16
- The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan (Lithub)
Sex and Politics with Dan Savage (use coupon code "Doctorow" for a free month):
Regulating the Online Public Sphere (Columbia Global Freedom of Expression)
- "Chokepoint Capitalism: How to Beat Big Tech, Tame Big Content, and Get Artists Paid, with Rebecca Giblin", on how to unrig the markets for creative labor, Beacon Press/Scribe 2022 https://chokepointcapitalism.com
"Attack Surface": The third Little Brother novel, a standalone technothriller for adults. The Washington Post called it "a political cyberthriller, vigorous, bold and savvy about the limits of revolution and resistance." Order signed, personalized copies from Dark Delicacies https://www.darkdel.com/store/p1840/Available_Now%3A_Attack_Surface.html
"How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism": an anti-monopoly pamphlet analyzing the true harms of surveillance capitalism and proposing a solution. https://onezero.medium.com/how-to-destroy-surveillance-capitalism-8135e6744d59 (print edition: https://bookshop.org/books/how-to-destroy-surveillance-capitalism/9781736205907) (signed copies: https://www.darkdel.com/store/p2024/Available_Now%3A__How_to_Destroy_Surveillance_Capitalism.html)
"Little Brother/Homeland": A reissue omnibus edition with a new introduction by Edward Snowden: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250774583; personalized/signed copies here: https://www.darkdel.com/store/p1750/July%3A__Little_Brother_%26_Homeland.html
"Poesy the Monster Slayer" a picture book about monsters, bedtime, gender, and kicking ass. Order here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781626723627. Get a personalized, signed copy here: https://www.darkdel.com/store/p2682/Corey_Doctorow%3A_Poesy_the_Monster_Slayer_HB.html#/.
- Red Team Blues: "A grabby, compulsive thriller that will leave you knowing more about how the world works than you did before." Tor Books, April 2023
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"When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla" -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla