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Letters to the editor, November 24, 2016 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition


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Regarding the "Who's afraid of social justice?" Voice of the City by Alex Khasnabish in the November 3 issue: What is a "trigger warning?" —Colin Stuttard, Halifax

Indie rock

I have great admiration for anyone who can serve as an independent representative for their constituency, but I must correct one statement in your article on Andrew Younger ("Going it alone," cover story by Michael Lightstone, November 10). Other members of the NS House of Assembly have sat as independents, and perhaps many had to do so because they brought bad publicity to their caucuses. 

My husband Russell MacKinnon, however, chose to sit as an independent in 2005 because of irreconcilable differences with certain members of the Liberal caucus who were dominant at the time, and not because of any difficulties with his expenses as a representative. He was in fact the only MLA to be investigated in the so-called "MLA expense scandal" of 2010 after leaving the Legislature (2006), and without being notified of any complaint against him. —Michele Raymond, Halifax

Live music lives

I've been involved in the local music scene longer than anyone you've mentioned in your article about the demise of live music ("Live's not dead," cover story by Tara Thorne, November 17). Longer than anyone still in it. And I still am. Everything is cyclical. It's low now. But it will be back. Gottingen is rocking, with daily shows at the Local, Seahorse and Marquee. Perhaps you don't get around much anymore. —Victor Syperek, Halifax

In addition to the increasing struggles for venues to stay afloat in Halifax (and the Atlantic Canadian music scene), the price of admission has turned many away from going out to music shows as evenings out begin to skyrocket. If you pair that $9 beer Thorne talks about with an admission of $12-plus to see three bands perform, you're already looking at a $25-plus evening with just a single drink.

Many of my friends who work part-time or minimum-wage jobs just can't afford to go to shows as often as they would like, unless they are guest-listed and then take away money from the artists' pockets just so they can go out to support them. I don't think that artists should be paid any less—they are undervalued for their work already—but the current landscape in place at the moment doesn't seem to be doing any favours for the attendee, artist or venue. —posted by WreckedCoast at

I'm in a Halifax band, and for almost all the shows we play in the city, we're playing for cover/"the door." If you have three bands of four people (on the average bill, 12 players total), a $12 cover charge means just $1 going to each band member for every person who pays. I have friends who still regularly ask for guest-list when cover is $5. And it's like alright bud, if you don't want to pay each of the 12 musicians who entertained you tonight their 42 cents—$5 divided by 12—that's your prerogative. Never mind that plenty of times some of those people go on to buy two or three or more expensive drinks. I hope this doesn't feel like an attack. This is just something I think about often, and sometimes I wonder if framing the idea of cover in a different way could be productive. —posted by guyinaband

Great article, Tara Thorne. As both a venue owner and as a musician, it is truly a corundum. Our wee house concert space (the only legal one I know of in Halifax) has $2,200 in insurance plus heat, water (on a well) and other expenses. Doing a few concerts each season means it will be a money-losing proposition for a while. Once people get here, they love it, but it is a tough one.

Halifax is not far off from other places I've lived. People do need to get their heads out of their butts and work together. Talk to each other. Create opportunities within the local area. And know that if more people come to our space and hear live music, see a play or whatever, then maybe they will be inspired to go to YOUR show and get something live. —posted by Campbell + Green

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