Normal History Vol. 737: The Art Of David Lester

Every week, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 40-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

I used footage David shot in Cuba to make a video for this song, which never really gets out from under the weight of its title. The person in the video is David’s partner Wendy, seen mostly from behind in very long shots walking through a decidedly non-touristy part of Havana.

If I was to say that the song is about speaking out against social injustices as an individual with only a name to give credence, then likely both the song and the video fall short of imparting this intention, unless the names in the wet cement are regarded as important enough. Loly, Lori, Yohance Zamaray. What became of them? Although, now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t so smart of Yohance to provide their full name. Loly and Lori probably went on to enjoy normal Cuban lives, whereas Yohance’s life may have been negatively impacted by this offence. Cuba doesn’t strike me as a country that goes lightly on defacing state-provided infrastructure.

What I was going to say, before getting derailed by the trip through Havana, is that there are names with universally accepted clout, and orchestra conductor is one of them. Publisher is another, and it is with great regret that I have left the purpose of this missive to the very end, knowing that few will have made it this far. The star of the video, Wendy Atkinson, has recently bought a long-standing  publishing house in Vancouver.

“What’s its name?” you may ask.

“It’s likely to change, so I’ll leave this here for now.”

“Whats Your Name?” from Empathy For The Evil (Mladys, 2014) (download):