Humble start about to evaporate for The Ghost is Dancing lads

While their kindergarten classmates were hooked on “Sesame Street”, Niagara Falls tykes, now York alumni, Jamie Matechuk (BA ‘05) and Jim Deluca (BA ‘05) had a different kind of addiction: John, Paul, Ringo and George, wrote the Niagara Falls Review Sept. 22. “We were obsessed with The Beatles,” recalled Matechuk, one of the founding funnymen of The Ghost Is Dancing. “We’d spend all our recesses singing Beatles songs a capella out on the grass.”

Along with pals Kevin Corlis and York student ‘Odie’ Ouderkirk, the childhood chums let their love of music simmer through grade school and high school without getting past the “air guitar” stage. Finally, Deluca made the crazy suggestion to form an actual band. “Jim was the only one who actually ended up taking music lessons,” said Matechuk. “As we grew older, none of us played instruments except for Jim. He kept saying, ‘Guys, come on, why aren’t you learning music?'” It wasn’t until [three of] the gang attended York University in Toronto five years ago that things got serious. Living in a rented home on French Avenue – rumoured to be inhabited by the Barenaked Ladies at one point – they started accumulating their friends’ instruments.

“We knew we had good taste when it comes to music,” Matechuk said. “We knew we had no skill at all, but we thought, ‘Maybe if we throw a bunch of members in and they play a different note at the same time, it might sound like something more complicated.'” From such humble beginnings came The Ghost is Dancing, a Niagara/Toronto hybrid building plenty of indie cred. Signed to Hamilton-based label Sonic Unyon Records over the summer, the band’s self-titled debut was released Tuesday.

Milevski likes sound of MP’s income-splitting idea

Maverick Conservative MP Garth Turner is lobbying the government to introduce income splitting for pensioners, reported the National Post Sept. 22. York University finance Professor Moshe Milevsky, of the Schulich School of Business, says the proposal “appeals to my sense of fairness…I can split CPP, so why not everything else?” He, too, wonders why this might not be extended to those still working and saving for retirement. “Similar arithmetic applies to this group as well.” Two people earning $50,000 each receive better tax treatment than one person making $100,000.

Milevsky predicts baby boomers who have not saved enough for retirement may vote as a block for elected officials who increase their retirement income. Indeed, Turner says pension splitting is only the “low-hanging fruit.” He says 80 per cent of nine million Canadian boomers (those aged 60 or less) have no corporate pension.

Author urges government to do more

If governments were serious about improving health, they’d do more than tell us to quit smoking and eat our fruits and vegetables, says a noted poverty researcher. “For the most part, when governments spend money, it mostly benefits us,” said Dennis Raphael, a professor at the School of Health Policy & Management at York University, in a story in Sault Star (Sault Ste. Marie) Sept. 22. Raphael, author of the book Social Determinants of Health, was the keynote speaker Thursday at a forum sponsored by the community’s Continuous Quality Improvement initiative.

He contrasted Canada, where public expenditure is 18 per cent of gross domestic product, with European countries such as Denmark, whose total public expenditure is 29 per cent of its GDP. “If you’ve never been to Scandinavia, go. They’ve basically eliminated poverty. And they’ve got great city streetcars, great museums, and the people just look healthier.” Here, “800,000 people go to the food bank every month. We’ve got a real issue.”

A long and wonderful first year

Sometimes I wonder how I could ever measure up, wrote York student Erin Hawkins, in the last of a series of columns called Diaper Daze in the Toronto Star Sept. 22. I’ve had more mommy missteps than Britney Spears, and there were times during the past school year, while I was studying part-time at York University, when I had to shut myself away from Duncan just to get work done. But as Duncan sat in the highchair watching me ice his dinosaur birthday cake, I realized that I ‘done good’. What I really should say is that Ken and I have done well. A year ago I was a hapless new mom struggling to breastfeed and here we were, a year later, watching our son demolish his first birthday cake and play with his new pirate ship.

Parole board suggests inmate call York’s Innocence Project

Parole board members hearing an application by convicted triple murderer Jon Rallo suggested he contact the Innocence Project at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, reported the Hamilton Spectator Sept. 22, which described the project as “a group of law professors and students at York University who work to exonerate violent offenders.” Nearly 30 years after the former Hamilton city hall manager was convicted of killing his wife and two small children, Rallo is corresponding with the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. Rallo has always proclaimed his innocence.

On air

  • Graham Huber (BDes ‘04), one of the designers of astronaut Steve MacLean’s mission arm patch, and David Mott, professor in York’s Department of Music, Faculty of Fine Arts, who composed music for the York alumnus’s flight into space, commented on the landing of the space shuttle Atlantis for CITY-TV, Sept. 21.

  • Barrie’s A-Channel TV reported Sept. 21 that Toronto and York Region councils had reached an agreement on cost-sharing for the extension of the Spadina subway line.