Friday, April 10, 2009

Hard To Train

Dear Canadian National Railway

I am putting on the Thirteenth Annual Praxton Valley Film Festival this January. As usual we are asking for your participation, even though it's just a formality given your prior cooperation. Unfortunately, this year the arts council has mandated us to show the work of several film makers whom we despise. We are being forced into it with the threat of losing our government funding. (I suspect it has something to do with Agnes Littledwarf's divorce as her ex works for the government.) Anyway, this year we have to feature the art films of the Backyard Arts Revival Fellowship. This untalented group of Neanderthals have created a mish-mash of crappy images that are best suited for lining the floors of incontinent monkey cages. However, since we have to show the films in a public space at an appointed time and no self respecting theatre owner wants to be associated with these filmmakers, we are availing ourselves of a loophole in the contract which allows the film to be shown on a train as it passes through our area. While we would rather leave the film on the track for your train to demolish, I am sympathetic to your probable concern that one of your crew is likely to have to clean the film-crap off the wheels. Regardless, would it be possible to obtain a schedule for the train as it passes through our fine valley on January 15th to 21st so that we may schedule the projection for the appropriate time? We will set up a projector about 25 feet from the track at the level crossing on Prince St. and run the film to project on the side of the train as it passes by. We will inform you of the projection night once we are able to see the schedule. We don?t want to startle any of your crew.

Thanks, Albert Swinehinderson
Albert Swinehinderson:

Can you please supply the location for this request. Where is the crossing, street, closest cross street, city/province.

Thank You
Have A Safe Day
CN Public Inquiries

Sent: Thursday, December 4, 2008 11:23:04 AM
Subject: Re: Schedule

Dear Larry

Thanks for your quick response. There has been another twist in the ongoing dispute about the Backyard Arts Revival Fellowship’s films. Apparently, after a private screening by Mayor Wallace and council, it was determined the film (Hose-Monster Fed-ex) violates several local bylaws and has actually been banned from our town.(Vehemently) While this initially seemed like the death knell of our little festival, once again, innovative thinking by Pearl Anderson saved the day. We are still eligible for the funding if our films are shown at any venue which would be considered an upgrade from the original location. When queried, the film makers agreed that a Vancouver screening would be acceptable and so we have chosen the level crossing at East Kent Ave N and Crompton St in Vancouver. We can show it on the side of the train facing the river so drivers along East Kent are not insulted and with the salmon runs over there should be little or no environmental impact. Hopefully, the noise from the train will drown out any soundtrack and the flickering of the train cars as they pass should obliterate most of the plot. Our staff will pass out special no-d glasses (similar to 3-d glasses but much darker) to those people who insist upon looking. Your organization will of course be shielded from liability and we will repair any paint that peels as a result of the film. Unfortunately we have to show the film after 8 pm and before midnight so if you have any trains passing that way then, please let me know. We will have a defibrillator onsite.

Thanks, Albert Swinehinderson

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Schedule
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2008 11:31:22 -0600

Good morning,

The rail line going through this area belongs to Canadian Pacific Railways. I have forwarded your email to them at for their handling. You can also reach them at 800 555 7912.

Thank you
Have a safe day!
Public Inquiries- Canadian National Railways

She has passed me on to the other railway company which owns the crossing we have picked and she thinks she is done with me, but not quite.

Dear Susan

Thanks for getting back to me. You guys are right on top of this and I appreciate it. Anyway, I know you are not aware of this, but CP will probably not cooperate with us as we had a bit of a run in with them a few years ago when we allowed performance art as well as films. Understandably, no one expected “The Artist Formerly Known as Pootface Puddin’ Pop” to install a 40 ft balloon dog as though it were peeing on their trains as they passed by. It would have been a fine example of children’s party art had he not included a few inappropriate twists and embellished it with a fire hose. And despite having a cleaning effect on the train, it was overshadowed by the events which followed as the dog became snagged on the caboose and dragged by it’s "fire hose" for several miles through the city.

Anyway, as we have now cleared the possibility of an offsite location for the screening, could you please let me know where you might have some level crossings that we may be able to access for our festival?

If you could give me three locations I’m sure I could get approval for one of them if I bring case of beer to the negotiating table.

Thanks Albert Swinehinderson

Now comes an email from Canadian Pacific Railways Just to Clarify their position on the matter...

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 1:43 PM
Subject: Re: Schedule re:film showing Vancouver, BC

Hello Mr. Swinehinderson

Your email was forwarded to me at Canadian Pacific by the Canadian National Railway, as the location at Crompton and Kent Ave SE is adjacent to Canadian Pacific tracks.

Canadian Pacific takes the safety of our employees and the public very seriously, and will not permit the showing of a movie on the side of our freight trains at any location. The land adjacent to the tracks is CP private property, and any use by non railway personnel is trespassing, and subject to stiff penalties. We do not permit access by the public to our property, and have serious concerns regarding your request. Additionally, for reasons of safety and security, we do not provide information regarding train times to the public. We ask that you find an alternate location for the showing of the movie.

Kind regards,

Cindy Black

Community Connect Advisor
Canadian Pacific Railway

The CP Holiday Train is celebrating its 10th year of raising food, money and awareness for Food Banks across North America. Visit

To: Canadian National Railway

Dear Susan

As suspected CP won’t have anything to do with us. They are probably still upset about The Artist Formerly Known as Pootface Puddin’ Pop’s insulting gestures during the trial. Even though he billed it as a performance art piece and entitled it “Good Posture for All”, nobody was buying that. Have you had a chance to identify any crossings that might suit our needs?

We’d be happy with anything in the suburbs of any major city except Edmonton. Near a dump would be fine.

Thanks Albert

Mr. Swinehinderson,

For safety and security reasons, CN does not permit individuals or organizations access to railway property, nor does CN release train schedules. The scenario you are proposing - to show films off the side of moving trains - presents a potentially dangerous situation that would risk having individuals close to rail lines. This is not something CN will allow.

Alice Lindsay
CN Public Affairs

Dear Alice,

Oh, I give up. Maybe we’ll go try the airport.



Post a Comment

<< Home