The Spur Questionnaire: Michael Booth

Michael Booth
Michael Booth

Here’s your chance to get to know the people behind the scenes of the Spur Festival!

Tell us about your role with the Spur Festival.
I am the Director of Production overseeing all aspects of ‘putting on the show’. I have been with Spur since its beginning in Toronto in 2013.

In the last year, what is the longest you have gone ‘unplugged’? No internet, no cell phone, etc.
I wish I could say there was a significant chunk of time when this occurred. Probably the longest in the last year was driving from Charlottetown to Annapolis Royal on the East Coast last September. Though I did look when we stopped in Truro for some amazing Fish and Chips. Not more than about six hours sadly!

Which book is currently on your nightstand?
It was Exceptional Circumstances  the latest novel by the remarkable James Bartleman former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, diplomat and advisor to several Prime Ministers. I read it in preparation for ‘Book Bag’ at Spur Toronto. Otherwise the nightstand is full of Economists and Foreign Policy magazines.

What is the one item you never leave home without?
My phone. Sigh.

Do you have any friends you have never met in person?
No actually. Though I work and communicate with people in depth with whom we have business relationships for Spur in other cities. Sometimes a Spur will go by and I will not have met them—or I meet them finally—one Spur hence.

Do you have a favourite podcast?
I love radio, so I often listen to CBC shows that I have missed the live broadcast of such as The Age of Persuasion and Ideas. I stream BBC World Service when I walk to work and also enjoy Jazz at the Lincoln Centre and Riverwalk Jazz, shows carried by the local Toronto Jazz Station JAZZ.FM91 where I used to work—but often miss on their broadcast.

Who was the last person you texted?
Ever? That day is unlikely to come! Just now my colleague Hema, our Marketing Director.

The animated show The Jetsons was set in 2062. Is there anything from their futuristic world that you wish were a current reality?
Obviously a flying car that becomes a briefcase would be very helpful. Until you left it in a pub . . .

How do you prefer to communicate with colleagues: by phone, email, text or in person? How do you prefer to communicate with friends?
Email when something requires one of my patented long-winded (is there ‘wind’ in the cyberspace?) explanations or by text when simple and urgent. With friends it is texts.

What do you love about the city in which you live?
That Toronto has gathered by virtue of its history and geography all the people’s of the world in one amazing urban conflagration and that for all its frustrating impediments to the desires of its residents, still works—for the most part. I can hear any language in the world and eat any food. I love trying to figure out what languages people are speaking on the subway or street when I overhear their conversation; reading Cyrillic signs out loud or seeing which Chinese characters I can identify. I could walk for days in this city and just enjoy the world’s tumult on its street—without the unjustifiable hatreds and petty violence and jealousies that artificial borders create in the world. We have our troubles here, domestic and imported, and a serious issue of poverty and isolation—often unseen—but by and large we rub along pretty well.

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