BARRY MANILOW is a singer, songwriter, actor and producer. I’m not any of those things, but we do have self-quarantine in common. Says Barry – “In the first couple of months I was OK with it. I’m in that 70-year-old world, so I won’t want to tempt fate. But as time has gone on, it’s been rattling all of us. Restaurants are closed, theatres are closed, movies are closed. There’s nowhere to go.”Barry continues – “I’m lucky that I don’t live in a one-room apartment. I used to when I was younger (Barry was in a Brooklyn slum; and your’s truly in a studio on Eglinton Avenue East in Toronto). I know that plenty of people are living in one room. After all these months it must be very difficult to play by the rules.” – Barry Manilow’s Bubble, NYT, October 18/2020.As for me, during this ongoing lockdown: both the city and the house have never looked so clean; ‘torontosavvy’ needs everyday attention; I’ve written two personal books; we spent 14 summer afternoons doing driveway talks with friends and neighbours. They supplied their own wine and we set out the tables and chairs; I made good use of Kanopy and its huge collection of free movies; got my haircut twice; exercised and walked often; had one of the best gardens ever; broke in my new camera; looked forward to reading ‘Toronto Life’, the Globe and Mail, and the Sunday NY Times; became a regular e-mail correspondent; and I kept up-to-date on what’s happening south of the border. (That would be enough for two quarantines). Indeed, there’s misery all around us, but look on the brightest side possible. As Barry Manilow puts it – “I suffered for all of you. None of you need to suffer anymore.” <PHOTO – Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto – Mirvish Productions>

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