14 March: Goodbye Arlene

In the early hours, while waiting to leave Chicago for Milwaukee, we heard about the passing of Arlene Dick; blogger, music fan, and all-round decent human being.

Borrowed from Arlene's website.

Photo borrowed from Arlene’s website.

When I first started writing my blog, Arlene, disguised anonymously through the ether of Tumblr, took an interest in it and let snippets of information of her life be known. Indeed she had great enthusiasm for all things related to the tour, the musicians, the crew and of course Leonard himself. She took great strides in attending as many shows as she could and after I met her for the first time I was glad I did.

Having worked in the music business for an arguably unhealthy number of years, I’ve learnt to avoid certain pitfalls, and occasionally, some of those traps are meeting with fans of the artist. It’s the dirty little secret of musicdom, that some fans are seen as simply crazy. Indeed, you can’t have fanatic without fan; there are the wide-eyed starlets who will threaten to kill themselves if they can’t meet with the artist, there are some who will do anything they can to simply sit in the same room and gush over their favourite star, some who need to be physically restrained from getting on the bus, and the list could go on — but Arlene was by no means any of those people. To be sure, when we met in the catering area of a venue for the first time (I can’t remember which) I felt as I normally do when speaking with a big fan of the artist — some trepidation: what are they going to ask me about the artist, what method of bargaining and tactics are they going to employ in order to gain favour and some sort of ‘in’…

But Arlene wasn’t like that. We talked about writing, about Toronto, about life in general. She was a massive Leonard fan, but I think she was also genuinely interested in ordinary people, and not in an intrusive way; I think she was curious, in curiosity’s most innocent form — she just seemed to like life. She certainly didn’t judge, at least not in my experience; she praised me for my honesty in writing and I took it as a great compliment. She seemed to enjoy the character Dupuis from the summer blogs and I became of the mind: this is one tough lady — she can handle unpleasant thoughts. In true keeping with honesty, after we met, and when I saw her backstage at various venues, walking from A to B, knowing she was intelligent, strong, charismatic and honest, she reminded me, with her walking stick and not-always-nimble gait, of a certain character from Star Wars — the wise Jedi, knowing something we didn’t know. Yes, I’m talking about Yoda. And I hope Arlene would find that amusing, because to me, she praised honesty and accepted humour, I hope, for something to balance the dark side of things, sickness and death.

I barely knew Arlene, but the Arlene I knew, I liked alot.

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I hate blogs and bloggers.
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8 Responses to 14 March: Goodbye Arlene

  1. Thank you Leif. RIP Arlene.

  2. Annie says:

    Leif, this is lovely … I love Arlene as Yoda …
    I’m sure she’d have loved your writing here ..

  3. Oh Leif, you knew Arlene so well. Thank you so much for sharing these memories of her. I am sure she is smiling broadly.

  4. ucblue says:

    i always wondered who she was. seems as if her picture was everywhere. I hope she enjoyed her life.

  5. Her loss shows me the depths of this LC community, LB. All of us so closely connected by virtue of the One.

  6. Jon says:

    Damn… When I saw the headline I just knew what it was going to be.

    We’ve dined with Arlene, laughed with her too. I’ve helped her across more than a few streets as well. The moments my wife and I shared with her were relatively few but always cherished. She was a very special person and I’ll miss her. She was a rightous person in the very best sense of the word.

    Leif thanks for the words about Arlene- she would have been absolutely over the moon to know that she was featured here.

    I’ll lift a glass in her memory tonight.

  7. Les says:

    Leif I wanted to thank you for your words and thoughts on Arlene. I was so touched. I believe Arlene would have loved it and the reference to Yoda. I agree she was a woman who loved honesty and had a great sense of humour. I learned so much about living life to its fullest from her. I enjoy reading your blog and met you briefly with Arlene in Austin. Thanks again Leslie

  8. Leif says:

    Thanks to everyone for your own kind words and praise. Death sucks for the living, doesn’t it? We wait until someone’s gone before we sing them a song and we wish we could have written it while they were alive. Meanwhile the sleeping lie, aware or unaware — who are we to know; we won’t until we join them and they will sing a song for us, the unprepared.

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