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SubscriptionsGo to the Subscriptions Centre to manage your:My ProfileAs Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke readies to embark on a new chapter of his political life, he’s also speaking out about his personal life.Clarke, 49, announced publicly Thursday he is gay.Clarke said someone “wanting to possibly shame” him threatened to expose his personal life, so he made the decision to share the information himself.”If that’s homophobia and the fact that I’m gay in political life, then shame on people that do that,” he told CBC’s Mainstreet Cape Breton.Clarke is expected to announce on Saturday that he will seek the leadership of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party. He said he wanted to come out before then.”I hope on Saturday anyone that’s coming to hear me is there to support me as Cecil the politician and the fact that I am gay, if they have a problem with that as a Progressive Conservative, then they’re not my Progressive Conservative of today.”Clarke said he is in a committed relationship with a man he loves, which he credits, along with the support of his family,
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with helping him reach his decision to come out publicly.”I owe it to myself to be true going forward, because I’m not going to have people trying to shame me or somehow get out there and malign me,” he said.Childhood sexual abuseHe also revealed that he had been sexually abused as a child.”When I was four and then seven, I was sexually assaulted as a child. I thought I’d recovered very well from that and that I had the love of a family that was there for me and a community that supported me. This week, all of that hurt and pain came barrelling back.”He did not provide details of the abuse, which he said was “swept under the rug.””The RCMP of the day were at the door; I remember the images. It was like, ‘OK, how do we make this go away?’ And that was it.”He said his sisters, brothers and parents rallied to his side this week. He said they all had a tough time growing up, living on welfare and dealing with the separation of his parents. “But I had love around me. That loving family built me up,
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” he said. “My church has been fundamental to me in my life in giving me a great foundation.”

adidas polo shirts for men Edmonton Oilers covet Subban but Habs GM says he

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Subban, who would form an incredible tag team on the power play with Connor McDavid.

But there a difference between wanting and getting.

Habs GM Marc Bergevin said Thursday night that he has no interest in trading the former Norris trophy winner. People are bending his ear on Subban, though. but I not shopping him, I can tell you that, said Bergevin.

How long do the conversations last when Bergevin gets these calls?

pretty short. it realistic it could happen? I would say no. isn surprised Chiarelli has called, or any other GMs. part of their due diligence. Same thing when I hear a name out there. I called teams on players in the past where I was 99.9 percent certain I wasn getting that guy, but I still call, said Bergevin.

is an all star defenceman. He extremely good. If I was another team I call, too. would it take to get Subban out of Montreal?

never say never I mean if somebody offered half their team I might be able to make it work, but it not my intention to do so, said Bergevin, who really can understand why Subban name keeps coming up. a different person, off the ice he busy. He performs, he works, he on time. He great in the community. shot down the idea that there was a disconnect in the organization because of Subban flashy demeanour. He casts a big aura in Montreal. doesn do anything bad off the ice he wears clothes close to mine, maybe a little more colour, joked Bergevin. nothing wrong with having personality. We want players to be themselves. They are not robots. there you have it.

The Oilers aren getting Subban, who has a cap hit of $9 million for six more seasons. His no move clause kicks in July 1 which has kick started the trade rumours, but Bergevin knows Subban and goalie Carey Price are 1 and 1a in terms of importance.

The Oilers badly need a defenceman but Subban seems off limits.

They would have the No. 4 draft pick and presumably either winger Taylor Hall or centre Ryan Nugent Hopkins to dangle Montreal likes French Canadian forward Pierre Luc Dubois who will not be there at the Habs No. 9 but Bergevin seems adamant Subban will be a Canadien.

He needs a big centre and the Oilers also have Leon Draisaitl who would interest them, but no dice. He won be going anywhere. Chiarelli would likely be leery of moving young Oscar Klefbom as well.

no secret we in the market for a defenceman and we fully engaged in that and we have a pretty high (draft) pick, said Chiarelli. had offers for it and I listening. I wouldn rule it out. said it better than 50 per cent he still keeps the No. 4 (they like winger Matthew Tkachuk unless they were to gamble and take Russian D man Mikhail Sergachev), but it would have been in play for Subban.

While Chiarelli has some very good, young forwards such Hall, Nugent Hopkins and winger Jordan Eberle to use as pieces to fetch a defenceman and he did say a shakeup was likely coming after last season but the GM acknowledged that other teams don view his young guns the same as he does.

don know if it was a shot over the bow, but it was a strong message to our group (that changes could be coming). We have a lot of talented players and there been lots of calls, but they undervalue if you ask any GM,
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they say the deal not good enough (for your high end players). They don appreciate your players as much as you do, said Chiarelli.

How challenging is it to get a true No. 1 defenceman?

hard. Over the years, we had discussions on how many true No. 1 D there are. Maybe there 12. There are 30 teams and only 12 true No. 1s. To think you get one, it is tough, said Chiarelli.

Chiarelli acknowledged he could a temporary fix without sacrificing Hall, Nugent Hopkins or Eberle, who also makes $6 million per, in a deal.

would bridge the gap a bit, but I don know if that the route I want to go, he said. looking for a versatile defender who can play a solid game. I leaning to a right shot defenceman. I really feel we need more of a rightie lefty situation in our group. Oilers have Klefbom, Nurse, Andrej Sekera and Brandon Davidson as left shooters but only Mark Fayne, the injured Andrew Ference and UFA Eric Gryba as right handers.

discussions (as a whole, with lots of teams) have been plentiful and productive about defencemen, and I feel we get one, whether that tomorrow or before July 1. If it tomorrow, (Friday), it involve the pick, said Chiarelli.

Would there be a No. 1 defenceman down the road in this draft? Sergachev or, say, Finn Olli Juolevi, who plays in London with the Memorial Cup champion Knights?

think there are some No. 2s. wouldn say there a clear cut No. 1 (defenceman in waiting) in this draft. No, he said.

ICE CHIPS: Chiarelli wouldn discuss a report that the Oilers are trading for Chicago Blackhawks farmhand forward Mark McNeill, who once attended Edmonton Vimy Hockey Academy and was a former Hawks first round pick who been spinning his wheels in that organization. comment, he said. The Oilers head of amateur scouting Bob Green coached McNeill in youth hockey in Edmonton Chiarelli said he hadn made a decision on whether he qualify restricted free agent forward Luke Gazdic. If not, he be UFA July 1 Chiarelli said the team would probably be looking for a veteran backup to goalie starter Cam Talbot,
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although he said young Laurent Brossoit would get another shot at the job.

embroidered logo polo ‘Little Black Dress Initiative’ raises awareness about poverty

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Women in the Junior League of High Point wore their black dresses not to make a fashion statement, but to make a statement about poverty in the Piedmont through “A Little Black Dress Initiative.”

By wearing the same dress several days in a row, members help bring awareness to the women in poverty who lack the professional attire necessary to pursue and/or retain a job.

“Last year was the first year that the Junior League of High Point did it. I wore the same dress every day for five days, did not wash it because not everyone has the luxury of having a washer machine and dryer, so it was very humbling,” Junior League of High Point President Emily Thiel said.

The Junior League of High Point agreed that the initiative would make a good project for the provisional group this year.

The provisional group not only wore the same dress for a week, along with buttons that read “Ask Me About My Dress,” participants wanted to take the cause a step further.

“We want to make sure that we highlight the stories of real people here in our community,
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” provisional member Taylor Travers said.

The provisional group has added a fundraising event that will take place on March 8 that will help support The Career Closet at the YWCA High Point.

Women can go to the center to get professional clothes for work or job interviews.

“They may not have owned a dress or a suit since they were a child, and so to see individuals come in, be able to put on clothing, it lifts their spirits, it lifts their confidence,” YWCA High Point Executive Director Heidi Majors said.

“Some of the proceeds will go back directly to the career closet with the YWCA, so we can help fund maybe certain items that they’re missing, if it’s more petite sizes or for the curvy women,
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” provisional member Grace Lackey said.

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Bill Harris’ TV must sees for the week of June 14:

1. Game of Thrones (Fifth season finale)

Things had been kind of dull before all hell broke loose over the past two episodes. As the season ends, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) finds herself surrounded by strangers. That’s what you get when you hop on the back of a dragon bound for God knows where.

When: Sunday, June 14 on HBO Canada

Mobile users, please view here.

2. Veep (Fourth season finale)

There was a cool format change in last weekend’s episode, with President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis Dreyfus) and her staff nervously giving depositions about the Families First fiasco. In the finale, it’s election night, and Selina sweats it out, state by agonizing state.

When: Sunday, June 14 on HBO Canada

3. Killjoys (Debut)

Some call them interplanetary bounty hunters. They prefer the term reclamation agents. Either way, they have some pretty fancy clothes and gear. Hannah John Kamen, Aaron Ashmore and Luke Macfarlane chase deadly warrants in this science fiction series.

When: Friday, June 19 on Space

4. Still, a ballet eventually happened, and this artsy doc shows us both how it did,
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and the result.

When: Thursday, June 18 on CBC

5. The Astronaut Wives Club (Debut)

A period drama about the seven women who were transformed from anonymous military spouses to a form of American royalty when NASA chose their husbands to be the first Americans in outer space. With JoAnna Garcia Swisher and Yvonne Strahovski.

When: Thursday, June 18 on ABC

6. Silicon Valley (Second season finale)

Richard (Thomas Middleditch) just couldn’t do it in last weekend’s episode. He couldn’t lie on the stand during a binding arbitration hearing. He did use a Hooli computer, but only once. So now he and the rest of the gang await a verdict on the fate of Pied Piper.

When: Sunday, June 14 on HBO Canada

7. Tyrant (Second season debut)

This is a political drama about an American family drawn into the dangerous workings of the turbulent Middle East. As the new season begins, Barry (Adam Rayner) awaits punishment for the failed coup as Molly (Jennifer Finnigan) fights for his freedom.

When: Tuesday, June 16 on FX

8. The Making of the Mob: New York (Debut)

Narrated by Ray Liotta, this eight part series uses re enactments, documentary footage and interviews to trace the rise of Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel and other notorious gangsters. If you liked Boardwalk Empire, you’ll be interested in this.

When: Monday, June 15 on AMC

9. Defiance (Third season debut)

Nolan (Grant Bowler) and Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas) are rescued from the underground prison just in time to discover that enemy forces are marching on an utterly defenceless Defiance. You know, maybe things would have been safer in that underground prison.
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Armed with sleeping bags, warm clothes and hot drinks, staff, supporters and friends of YMCA Norfolk slept out at St Peter Mancroft Church, opposite The Forum in Norwich’s city centre,
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overnight on Saturday.

Susie Knights, communications and fundraising manager for YMCA Norfolk, said: “We had a great night, with 41 participants in Norwich at St Peter Mancroft Church.

“It gave a glimpse into the challenges of homelessness and I find myself counting my many blessings as I know I could not easily face another night sleeping rough.”

Rev Janet Wyer, associate priest at St Peter Mancroft Church,
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held a short candle lit service at 10pm and prayers for a peaceful night were answered with most people settling down by midnight and managing to stay warm in their sleeping bags until breakfast was served at 6.40am.

More than 2000 has already been raised with many more sponsor monies to come. All proceeds will go to the development of 40 self contained units in Bethel Street that are being built to support young people and help them achieve independence.

dallas water polo ‘I’m slowly getting back into a glamorous life’

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“When I was filling out forms at the cancer clinic desk, a woman she was obviously quite sick went off on me because ‘this place is for sick people, what are you doing in here?’ and a bunch of hostile stuff, so I told her that I didn’t look ill but I had a brain tumor and needed surgery,” Shaw said. “I’ve never looked drib drab in my entire life and I’m not going to start just because of this. I wore diamonds and chains and nice clothes all along. Even right now I can’t do a lot but I’m slowly getting back into a glamorous life. My goal is to get back on the stage because a doctor in Vancouver told me I couldn’t do shows ever again. I told him I was going to do even bigger shows, now, I don’t listen to that ‘no’ word. If I did I wouldn’t have amounted to anything.”

While most cancer recovery patients are insulated from stress and negative influences, in order to boost the spirit through the critical healing period, that was not the case for Shaw.

“I receive hate mail,” he said. “I get messages saying ‘why do you parade around?’ and ‘why are you so out there?’ and why do you dress like a girl’ and I’m just giving you the nice version. But hate messages come with the territory.”

Shaw also received plenty of positive support even supermodel/actor Naomi Campbell sent a personal message.

“My family was fiercely protective of me. They all stepped up and took charge so all I had to do was recover,” Shaw said. “And I was surprised by all the support that came flooding in from friends, fans, people I didn’t expect. I didn’t hide my illness from the people close to me but I also didn’t advertise it. It basically made me cry, the outpouring of love and caring the things people said and sincerely meant. When you are so public, you have a blurred view of reality, and 90 per cent of what you’re told is negative. This was the opposite and it was insane. To suddenly have that rush of support is amazing.”

Nothing else about this medical situation has been a rush, though. It has been a marathon of tests, a delicate surgery, and a long and exhausting recovery.

The issue first came up after unrelated ear surgery. After that relatively minor procedure in 2012 he experienced blurred vision, headaches, and localized pain that puzzled the doctors. Eventually it reached alarming levels and brain scans were ordered.

What they found was a mysterious mass directly behind his right ear. It extended about halfway up the interior of his skull and down into his neck. It was intertwined with the complex of nerves that cluster in that region before branching off all over the face and head. It was also impeding the blood flow through his carotid artery.

The good news was it was a neurofibromas brain tumor not aggressive. Doctors were confident that trimming away the pressure points (this required the dislocation of his jaw and the removal of a small piece of facial bone in addition to the crescent incision behind his ear) would take care of the main problems.

That surgery was done on July 4. No more surgeries are anticipated, but regular scans will go on for years to monitor the mass.

Shaw had to deal with a cluster of side effects. His forearms feel like playdough from all the intravenous medications. At worst,
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he had 11 pills per day to ingest. His weight swelled from about 135 pounds to 220 pounds on his 6 foot 1 frame. He was so sapped of energy he spent most of every day laying down.

Now his weight is back to about 150, he is working again at a Prince George coffee shop, and he is socializing again.

“I had a bunch of friends fag nap me, just to make me get outside,” he said. “They would make sure I got to sit in a park or go for a drive. They were fighting harder for me than I was, but it turned things around for me.”

His greatest fear, while waking up from the surgery sedatives, was “that something happened in there that would change who I was, but no, the effects I have just made my new routine, my new normal, and I am still the same person. And I was given an amazing gift. How many people get to know the world is standing beside you, praying for you, taking time out of their lives to offer you support? I haven’t been dressed up [in drag] for over a year, but I will do shows again, I know that now. I have had a learning experience I am finding out how strong I am.”

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club room polo Edmonton Oilers look disinterested against Golden Knights

free polo shirt Edmonton Oilers look disinterested against Golden Knights

LAS VEGAS When everyone looked at the schedule in October they knew Edmonton vs Las Vegas in February was going to be a blowout.

And it was.

What they didn expect is that an Oilers team picked by almost everyone to advance to the Western Conference final was the team being hopelessly outclassed.

But they were.

The Las Vegas Knights didn just win Thursday night at T Mobile Arena, they exposed just how far far back the hapless Oilers really are. The first place team in the West used its speed, discipline hunger and hustle to whip a 13th place team that lacked all of the above in a humbling 4 1 lesson on how to play hockey.

The Oilers snuck out a couple of upsets over Vegas earlier in the year, one in overtime and one against a fourth string goalie, but there was no way the Knights were going to let them make it three in a row.

It went exactly how you would expect it to go when overachievers face off against underachievers. One team had jump and energy,
club room polo Edmonton Oilers look disinterested against Golden Knights
the other kind of hung around waiting for something to go their way.

It didn difficult as it is to comprehend, the Oilers have now been reduced to playing catch up to an expansion team. The loss extended Edmonton slump to five games and further reinforced just how much work they have ahead of them this summer.

It was the typical first period for Edmonton. They came out reasonably well but missed on their chances and could not convert a power play, then gave up the first goal for the eighth time in nine games to trail 1 0 after 20.

In 56 games this season they led at the first intermission just 12 times.

They didn stray from the script in the second period, either. Just 4:18 into the middle period Brad Marchessault put Edmonton down 2 0 for the seventh time in the last nine games.

William Karlsson sifted a power play goal through Cam Talbot to make it 3 0 after 40.

One another one that Talbot should have had, Erik Haula at 4:15 of the third,
club room polo Edmonton Oilers look disinterested against Golden Knights
added to the embarrassment.

It was the fifth time in eight games the Oilers allowed four or more goals as the goaltending continues to be a soft spot.

Edmonton avoided it seventh shutout loss of the season on Leon Draisaitl 17th goal of the year. Draisaitl has goals in three straight games and five of the last six.

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The women, gathered at the Vance Township Library in Fairmount, are part of the latest trend coloring time for adults. The activity engages the entire brain, using both the creative and tactical sides.

With the brain focused completely on one task, day to day worries take a backseat for a while. Some say it’s meditative, and they get into the zone of creativity.

Others say it’s addicting, and they’ll sit at the table until their artwork is finished.

Recognizing that coloring has become the new fad for adults, some libraries in the area are offering special adults only coloring times. No special skills are needed; the libraries provide pictures to color, as well as the tools, such as colored pencils, crayons and markers. People also may bring their own tools and pictures.

Adult coloring books can be found in stores and online, featuring a variety of subjects. While children’s coloring books have simple shapes, the adult books usually offer intricate, sometimes psychedelic designs giving adults a challenge and a chance to express their creativity.

“It can be addicting if you get the right picture and it almost talks to you,” said Annie Winans, assistant librarian at the Fairmount library.

Librarian Bonnie Gilbert and a patron came up with the idea to invite adults to a coloring time, she said.

It’s been popular with people, including Brett McMahon of Fairmount, who is blind. Gilbert punches tiny holes along the lines of the drawings,
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so McMahon can follow the outline just by touch.

Sometimes Winans will join the residents when they color, or she’ll color at home if it’s been a stressful day. “It’s very cathartic,” she said.

Artwork for fridge

The adults may stay at the library and color as long as they want, she said.

Biggerstaff, former librarian at Fairmount, has been known to get so involved in her art that she won’t leave until it’s done. Recently, she was painstakingly choosing colors for a picture of women in 1920 30s clothing.

“I don’t feel like I’m a kid doing this,” she said.

Next to her, Cook was comparing her picture of peacocks with a nearby artist who was coloring the same design. “Look what she did! She did better,” Cook said, peering across the table.

“No, it’s just different,” Biggerstaff said calmly.

“None of us are perfect and our artwork shouldn’t be either,” said Sharon Johnson of Fairmount, who was coloring an intricate design which she planned to post on the refrigerator.

She said her husband was going to throw away one of her pictures, but she saved it, saying, “I wanted to be able to show my kids.”

Crume’ said she would hang her pumpkin picture on the door on Halloween night. She might even make one for her husband’s “man cave.”

“I was stunned at the number of people who were already doing it,” she said. “It’s great therapy for people.”
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marco polo biography for kids ‘Hidden homeless’ can be difficult to detect

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It was overcast with flurries and 16 C, but in spite of the weather, a small crowd gathered at the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue to promote better housing in the Yukon.

Members of the group wrung their hands and danced from side to side to stave off the cold. It was a visceral reminder that warmth, protection from the elements, and a sense of safety are essential to surviving in the North.

The crowd was called to that spot by the Yukon Anti Poverty Coalition (YAPC). It was there that in October, the organization, which advocates for the reduction of poverty and homelessness, installed a “Kindness Meter” a colourful parking meter that collects coins for donation to local charities.

On Tuesday, in recognition of National Housing Day in Canada, the coalition set up a camera and was asking passersby to record their thoughts on housing, for a short video that will go up on the YAPC’s website.

The stunt’s purpose, said YAPC co ordinator Kristina Craig, was to give people who live here an opportunity to have their voices heard.

The group also intends to send the video to Ottawa for consideration as the federal government prepares its national housing strategy, which is slated for release in 2017.

“There is a recognition (by the government of Canada) that we need a better housing system,” Craig said to the camera.

“Housing is such a fundamental piece of being healthy . My hope is that we can take that momentum and just bring it right home.”

In a 24 hour period spanning April 13 14 of this year, the Council of Yukon First Nations and the Yukon Planning Group on Homelessness conducted the first point in time count of precariously housed people in Whitehorse.

It was revealed that 256 people in the city were “homeless or at risk of homelessness” in those 24 hours.

But Esther Armstrong, a housing navigator at the Victoria Faulkner Women’s Centre, noted that attaching a number to the precariously housed can be problematic.

For example, the “hidden homeless” people who crash with friends, or who live in unstable, unsustainable situations are difficult to count.

“Hidden homeless is hidden, so how do you ever really know how many people?” she asked, after recording her clip for the YAPC video Tuesday morning.

“And when you look at (people in) precarious housing,” she added, “one thing has to go wrong and they’ve lost their home as well.”

She described the hidden homeless in Whitehorse as “people staying wherever they can, doing whatever they need to do, to get a roof over their head for the night.”

Women especially, said Armstrong, will avoid shelters out of concerns for their safety.

They’ll turn to “couch surfing, trading sex for shelter anything,” she said.

While Kaushee’s Place and Betty’s Haven offer safe spaces to women in abusive situations, Armstrong said options are lacking for women who are not fleeing violence.

To coincide with National Housing Day, Jean Yves Duclos, the federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, released a compilation and analysis of opinions from more than 7,000 Canadians who identified areas of need, and made proposals for how to eliminate homelessness, and make housing in general more affordable.

The report, titled What We Heard, will inform the federal government’s national housing strategy.

According to the report, on any given night in Canada, nearly 35,000 people don’t have a bed of their own own to sleep in, and every year, more than 150,000 people use emergency shelters.

Indigenous people living off reserve are disproportionately affected by inadequate housing. One in five live in overcrowded or unsafe accommodations, according to What We Heard.

House prices overall in Canada are rising at a concerning rate. In the last 15 years, “house prices in most of Canada grew almost three times faster than incomes,” said the report. In Toronto and Vancouver, these prices grew four times faster.

The anti poverty coalition supports a “housing first” approach to addressing homelessness, and the social problems exacerbated by poverty.

The idea is that when people have permanent, independent housing first, they are better equipped to improve their lives.

Once people are adequately housed, they can take full advantage of other supports and services, like education, mental health and addictions counseling and job training.

Charlotte Hrenchuk, co ordinator at the Yukon Status of Women Council and YAPC co chair, explained it this way: “It comes from a rights based standpoint, that housing is a human right, that everyone has the right to safe, decent shelter.

“If you’re homeless and you’re constantly wondering where you’re going to sleep at night, especially in weather like this, then you don’t have time or the luxury, really, to think about other issues in your life,” she said.

During the recent election campaign, the Yukon Liberal Party promised to take a housing first approach to improving the lives and outcomes for Yukoners affected by poverty, addictions and mental health issues.
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Vivienne Westwood looks nothing short of magnificent striding across the rooftop of her south London studio in sheer point d’esprit tights, laddered to the point of barely being there, worn over striped, cotton boxer shorts. Her T shirt is printed with the slogan ‘CLIMATE REVOLUTION’ and a vintage silk taffeta cape of her own design is also embroidered with these words. Each letter is almost the size of the woman wearing it. “I know it’s all a bit young,” she says. “But that’s not the point.”

It certainly doesn’t appear to be. On her feet are the signature elevated platforms, a variation of which Naomi Campbell famously fell from back in 1993. On her head is an oversized helmet complete with a veil of bronze sequins, Westwood’s fiercely glamorous alternative to military netting. The designer is recreating a style that she dreamt up for the Paralympics closing ceremony this is the morning after the night before where she was asked to appear as Queen Boudica riding a chariot conceived by stage designer Joe Rush and the Mutoid Waste Company. Joe Corre, her son by Malcolm McLaren, and Andreas Kronthaler, her husband and partner in design, went along for the ride.

“Joe [Rush] is a friend of mine and he’d done all these brilliant things,” she says. “When he asked me to be Boudica, I said: ‘No, get a model, you don’t need me, anybody can do that’. And then afterwards I thought: if I can use it, then I’ll do it.”

And use it she did. Vivienne Westwood, Queen of Punk, grande dame of British fashion, media manipulator par excellence, one time agent provocateur and now, more passionately evangelical still, full blown activist, went so far as to avoid the dress rehearsal, knowing that should her intentions become clear, they might be quashed, whether they were to save the planet or not.

“I had to deceive everyone because I had this thing printed inside my dress and I knew they’d have checked,” she says, her sense of mischief clearly as acute as ever. “They’d have asked: ‘Have you got any branding?’, ‘Is there any nudity?’.” Given that Westwood famously picked up her 1992 OBE from the Queen wearing no knickers, they might hardly have been blamed for that. These days, though (and now a Dame), she has serious issues, over and above mere indecent exposure, in mind. “I didn’t feel that guilty because, you know, if I’d told them what I was up to they’d be duty bound to stay on the safe side and not allow me to do it and people always end up liking that sort of thing I think.”

She hasn’t seen the televised version of the stunt in question as yet. Westwood doesn’t approve of watching TV, although she did cast an eye over at least part of July’s Olympics opening ceremony. “I thought the beginning, with this green, pleasant land, the towers coming up, the hospital beds and the Queen was really wonderful. After the punks though Whatever I’d had enough.” And the closing ceremony, where she was one of only five fashion designers represented (the others were Burberry, Victoria Beckham, Christopher Kane and Alexander McQueen), also failed to capture her attention more than briefly. “I did see the bit with my dress but, honestly, that’s not so important to me. Fashion is my job and I just get on with it.”

Vivienne Westwood, now as ever, uses fashion as a platform to express her views and, at the very least, tell a story that extends beyond the realm of clothes. Her interest in the bigger picture belies the fact that she is among the most influential designers in history. This season alone, London based designers including Louise Gray, Meadham Kirchhoff, Sibling, Kinder and more have referenced the anarchic spirit with which she made her name. In America, meanwhile, it was announced last week that the subject of next year’s most important fashion exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute will be Punk: Chaos to Couture, a show that will, doubtless, follow Westwood’s trajectory more closely than any other’s. And that’s a smart move: the parallels between the world then (the late Seventies) and now are impossible to ignore for even the most polite fashion commentator. In the past, Westwood has reluctantly spoken about the impact of the movement she dressed so impressively. Now, though, she says: “Johnny Rotten’s songs really were very clever weren’t they? ‘No future. Your future dream is a shopping machine’. Yeah. That’s what he was on about and that is what we are, we’re a consumer society.”f

Not only did Westwood give the world the uniform of punk, but there followed 1981’s Pirates, her first collection shown in Paris, that ushered in the New Romantic movement. “The punk always used to take things around himself out of the gutter, if you like, any old rubbish,” she once told me. “There were these Irish punks who used kettles as handbags and do you remember getting crisp packets and baking them in the oven so they shrank? They were wearing those like brooches. Then there was Sid [Vicious] with his toilet paper tie Malcolm and I always said that we wanted to get off this island and plunder history too, and the world, like pirates. We didn’t want to be seen as token rebels.”

The Buffalo Girls collection (1982) inspired by Latin American Indians and featuring asymmetrically layered skirts and petticoats came next and, not insignificantly, bras worn over blouses a good 10 years before Madonna’s Jean Paul Gaultier designed conical bra. Later, Westwood gleefully reclaimed (and reinvented) the uniform of the British aristocracy and of royalty with mini crinis, Harris Tweed and crowns; she turned to French Old Master painting for inspiration for, by now, signature corsetry and overblown ballgown skirts. The list goes on, and on, and on. More recently, and in line with a move towards more ethical values, she has reintroduced the virtues of DIY designs that were once an integral part of punk’s spirit, advocating the joys of, say, cutting up a tablecloth to make a skirt or wearing your (male) partner’s underwear as shorts just as she herself does. Suffice it to say, though, that her skills as a pattern cutter are rather more deft than most.

For more than 30 years, Westwood has designed clothes for heroes. Outrageously flamboyant if not plain outrageous, they are beautiful, brave and often swim against the tide. Of today’s so called icons, she says: “Thatf Victoria Beckham, she always looks neat and sort of minimal and tidy”. “That’s not bad and her designs are good designs if you happen to like that sort of thing.” She pauses for a moment before adding, with patrician hauteur: “But I don’t”. It would be “really great”, she adds, if also neat and “posh which is good” Kate Middleton and Samantha Cameron “formed the habit of not always changing their outfits, and wore the same things over and over again”. As a woman in control of one of very few independently owned and globally recognised brands,
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she is also a force to be reckoned with. And people love Westwood for that, from fledgling designers for whom she is a source of inspiration, to the obsessive truly obsessive Westwood devotees who save up to buy her clothes. For Westwood, the thinking behind her brand is straightforward: “You have a more interesting life,” she argues, “if you wear impressive clothes.”

So what is more important to the designer than fashion and the company she has presided over for so long now? She is a patron of Reprieve and Liberty. She supports Amnesty International, Environmental Justice Foundation and Friends of the Earth. She is a long time advocate to free Native American Leonard Peltier. She backs the Greenpeace Arctic Campaign and this year donated 1 million to rainforest charity Cool Earth. Her interest in human rights stretches right back to childhood. “I’ve said this before and I was embarrassed to tell people at first, but I think I was about four when I came across this picture of the Crucifixion. It was in my cousin’s calendar. I’d never seen it before being a Protestant. Anyway, I just couldn’t believe it. And ever since then I’ve thought people have to stop doing these terrible things.”

Five years ago, meanwhile, she read environmentalist James Lovelock’s Gaa hypothesis and surmised that humanity was “an endangered species Our economic system, run for profit and waste and based primarily on the extractive industries, is the cause of climate change,” is how she explains it. “We have wasted the earth’s treasure and we can no longer exploit it cheaply Economists treat economics as if it is a pure science divorced from the facts of life. The result of this false accountancy is a wilful confusion under cover of which industry wreaks its havoc scot free and ignores the environmental cost.” At around the same time Westwood wrote her manifesto, ‘Active Resistance to Propaganda’, a text peopled by everyone from Ancient Greek philosophers to Disney cartoon characters Westwood is interested in appealing to the young especially to inspire an interest in learning and culture, in place of indiscriminate consumption.

Westwood is not unaware that all of the above begs the question: how can a designer at the forefront of a globally recognised and, yes, ever expanding fashion business possibly point the finger at anyone without also incriminating herself? “Guilty,” she says, literally holding her hands up. “My main point, though, is quality rather than quantity. It’s a question of trying to have less product but for it to be great. I am definitely very worried about the extent of shipping and travelling. We’re a worldwide operation and we’re sending clothes all over the world, all of the time, and we have to find ways of dealing with that, of running down our carbon footprint. I want to see what we can do with the company that will be usefully good. What I’m always trying to say to the consumer is: buy less, choose well, make it last.”

Putting her money where her mouth is, she has now changed into somewhat more modest attire a draped white organza “summertime” dress which hails from her spring 2000 Gold Label collection: it is 13 years old. “Andreas moans at me sometimes and says myf clothes are beginning to look a bit threadbare or something,” she says, “but I don’t care. I like these things. I’m kind of insisting that however lovely a dress in a more recent collection may be, I actually like this one just as much so I don’t need it.”

Vivienne Westwood was born Vivienne Isabel Swire in Glossop, Derbyshire, on April 8, 1941. Her father came from a long line of cobblers; her mother worked in the local cotton mills when she wasn’t at home looking after her children. When she was 17, her parents bought a post office and moved to South Harrow in Middlesex. After working in a factory for a short while, Westwood went to teacher training college and then married Derek Westwood and had her first child, Ben, by him. The marriage lasted three years, during which time she taught and made jewellery which she sold on a stall on Portobello Road. She soon met McLaren (then Malcolm Edwards) and became pregnant with her second son, Joseph. In 1971 she gave up her day job. McLaren had opened a shop called Let It Rock at 430 King’s Road, London, and Westwood filled it.

It is the stuff of fashion history that in 1972, and in line with the fashion that was developing its own distinct character, the name changed to Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die and then, in 1974, to SEX. When, in 1976, the Sex Pistols, managed by McLaren, released “God Save the Queen”, it became known as Seditionaries until, in 1980, and with Westwood disillusioned with the mainstream’s adoption of punk and its main protagonists, she renamed it World’s End. “I realised that they weren’t real anarchists like we were,” she remembers of punk’s later, less radical protagonists, “they just wanted to be in a gang and smash anything to do with the older generation like kids do.” That name and indeed the clock that hangs on its faade telling the time backwards remains.

In 1976, Westwood, punk legend Jordan and then shop girl, Chrissie Hynde were photographed at the store wearing the type of rubber clothing inspired by fetish and pornography that SEX, in the period immediately prior to Seditionaries, was known for. Westwood herself, however, though in stockings, suspenders and suitably intimidating platform soled footwear, is wearing a man’s white shirt. On to that apparently unassuming garment she has scrawled the French Situationist slogan: ‘BE REASONABLE: DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE’. It would be reasonable, neatly enough, to argue that this marvellously audacious sentiment still drives her.

“You can save the rainforest for 100 million,” she says, for example. “It’s not that much money. It’s the advertising budget of Samsung. They could protect the rainforest for that budget and would get so much publicity out of it if they chose to do that.” Westwood was invited to 10 Downing Street by former advisor to David Cameron, Steve Hilton, specifically to discuss this subject. “I couldn’t believe it. A Conservative government that was interested in saving the rainforest. I thought that was brilliant. He was brilliant. Then he left. I don’t hate David Cameron but all politicians are just so delayed.”

She is nothing if not outspoken. Westwood speaks disparagingly about Barack Obama (she’s vehemently opposed to the use of drones) and Tony Blair is “a war criminal he should be in The Hague”. Neither are her views on feminism quite what one might expect them to be. “I’ve got people here in this company who pay as much to the baby minder as they earn at work,” she says. “Because they’d rather work than look after their child. But I think they have to really think about what they’re doing.”

It seems only fair to point out that Westwood herself works and always has done. “I know and I was a terrible mother,” she shoots back. “I didn’t put my children first. You have to work today to make money but my mother didn’t have to and we managed. I’m really glad to have been born during the war and afterwards during rationing time. We weren’t rich but we were probably happier which I know is a clich but it was before we had all this” she searches for the word “this stuff.”

At 72, Westwood says that her greatest indulgence is reading (she’s currently immersed in a biography of Aldous Huxley) and visiting art galleries. With the showing of both her spring 2013 Red Label collection at London Fashion Week and her Gold Label collection staged in Paris only days away, how, I wonder, does Vivienne Westwood find time for her day job?

“Yeah, well, Andreas would like to know that as well,” she laughs. “I just keep saying it’s not my priority. Andreas is the most brilliant designer I have ever met. He’s a genius. I’ve finally persuaded him to come out on to the catwalk with me now. He does at least half of the work. He’s about the lining and the stitching and all of the fabric and everything. I’m the geometry of the thing. I usually work out the cutting principles, and the tearing of cloth, that comes from me too. I don’t want to retire because my job gives me the opportunity to open my mouth and say something and that’s wonderful. If I stopped, I wouldn’t have my voice any more and I need it. What I wouldn’t think is good is for a new person to become a fashion designer. I’d think, well, why on earth would you want to do that? There are enough of us now. A girl said to me recently: ‘I really want to be a fashion designer but I also like biology’. I said: ‘Do biology’.”

In the end, there is as much warmth, wit, intelligence and imagination to Vivienne Westwood herself as there is to her clothes which, for all her outside interests, remain a powerfully potent force.

She knows that, but: “If I’m going to talk to someone for two hours then it can’t just be about fashion. You know, I never really wanted to be a designer in the first place but about 15 to 20 years ago I decided that if I was going to continue I’d be better off starting to like it. I do think looking your best is really, really good for the spirit and my clothes allow people to project their personalities and express themselves. I offer choice in an age of conformity.” A perfect Vivienne Westwood pronouncement. Vivienne Westwood Gold Label and made to measure couture is available from 6 Davies Street, London W1,
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