Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A few days in Toronto

I can’t help wondering how many Americans have visited Toronto.  For those in Northeast Ohio, it’s a mere five hours drive – give or take traffic. But it’s like a different world.

Toronto is a lovely city, well planned and executed, with a nice, balanced energy.  In a way, it’s a larger version of the city that Cleveland could be - if city, county, and state leaders would work together and execute long term plans to properly develop the lakefront, downtown, and revive the neighborhoods.  Wouldn’t it be great if Cleveland had a lakeside landmark like Toronto’s CN Tower?  To do that, Cleveland would have to close Burke Lakefront Airport– Hopkins could easily accommodate Burke’s traffic.  Closing Burke would free up a massive slice of lakefront property that could be developed into Condos/Apartments, Retail, and other beachfront amenities.  But, enough about Cleveland for now.  



Toronto skyline, with the CN Tower

Toronto is very clean, well maintained, and boasts excellent public transport.  We did not avail ourselves of any of the public transport options, but used the PATH – an ingenious network of underground and elevated walkways – for getting around during hotter periods.  But we did get outside enough to see the variety of architecture – from preserved old homes and other buildings, to new skyscrapers – a good many still under construction.

A Toronto Streetcar - built in Cleveland

The Royal Ontario Museum is sort of a mix of the Cleveland Art Museum and Natural History Museum.  The collection of dinosaur skeletons there is the most impressive I’ve ever seen.  There’s also an excellent section on the First People of Canada.  The only issue I had with the ROM is that there wasn’t a clear flow from room to room.  Further, the ROM consists of two interconnecting buildings which makes navigation confusing – even with a map.  We also visited the Bata Shoe Museum – a specialist place that appealed to Daniel more than I.

Outside of London, Toronto is the most ethnically diverse city I’ve ever seen, with particularly large numbers of Asians.  The diversity extends to religions, and we in the United States could learn a few things from our northern neighbors.  In a previous post I pointed out that Muslims can be found in every corner of the world.  Toronto is a case in point.  I saw Muslim men and women in every area of the city I visited, from Eaton Centre mall to Church & Wellesley.  Muslims are an integral part of the social fabric of Toronto, yet I saw no sign of social tension as one would see in the United States.

Despite the effects both the mainstreaming of LGBT people and the Internet/App culture have had on gay neighborhoods, Toronto has a vibrant LGBT scene, with the Church-Wellesley area being the most notable gayborhood.  There is a generous selection of gay clubs and bars there, catering to every taste.  We were particularly fond of Woody’s (famous from Queer as Folk), and the Statler.  Daniel & I were moved to see a memorial to those slain in Orlando earlier this month, as well as the names and ages of every victim stenciled on the ground.   We have never felt safer as a gay couple than our days in Toronto, not even in Provincetown or in the Soho neighborhood of London.  We were able to walk through most of the city holding hands, with no one batting an eye – and we were far from the only same sex couple doing so.  Even at Eaton Centre, Toronto’s largest mall, there were teenaged same sex couples, holding hands, embracing, and looking at each other the way only people in love do – what a difference from when I was their age!  Canada is therefore far ahead of the United States in social tolerance and public safety.  Of course, when you’re in a country where guns are sensibly regulated, safety is a reality, not just a feeling. 

Church & Wellesley

As we were only there for a few days, Daniel & I did not have time to take a “deep dive” into the culinary scene.  Highlights were the ChurchMouse, and Smiths (both on Church street), and Elephant & Castle, on Yonge Street.  Smiths had the most perfectly balanced salads imaginable.  While ChurchMouse and Elephant & Castle were traditional British pubs - with the latter also being sports oriented.  We were there enjoying a late dinner during game 7 of the NBA Finals – and happy to learn most of the crowd was pro-Cleveland, judging by the reactions.

On the flip side, there were a large number of homeless people, on practically every block we walked on - more than I’ve seen in any American city or in London.  This was a surprise, given Canada’s strong reputation for social welfare.

Daniel and I stayed at the Chelsea Eaton, which proved to be both convenient and well appointed.  We can recommend it for anyone looking for a comfortable place to set their heads down at night – with the added bonus of an excellent fitness centre, several restaurants, and central location.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orlando


During the early hours of Sunday morning, when most are either sleeping, partying, or recovering, I was at work.  In the I. T. world, changes and elevates most often occur during the wee hours, in order to minimize disruption.  At around 3:00am, my phone started beeping with alerts, as the news began to trickle, then flood with reports of a shooting at an Orlando nightclub.  At first there were reports of injuries, then deaths, then more deaths.  Then the perpetrator was identified as Omar Mateen – a New York native (born in Queens, as was my mother) – the child of Afghan immigrants.

 

Like most Americans, like most right-thinking people across the world, I felt a sense of horror and outrage at the news of the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 

I cannot truthfully say, however, that I was shocked.  Over the last 20 years, with events like Columbine, Newtown, and San Bernardino, I have lost my capacity for shock.  It has been replaced with weariness, disgust, a simmering despair.

 

In the aftermath of the attack, the talking heads were quick to offer their own two cents.  And Donald Trump was quick to offer self-congratulations and even imply that President Obama was somehow responsible for the carnage in Orlando.  What a loathsome creature Donald Trump is.  He is a reflection of the worst of America, a walking mass of rage, stupidity, and insatiable Id.

 

I’ve seen three explanations for this attack.  Some are calling the attack Islamic terrorism.  Some are claiming it was the work of a lone wolf with easy access to an automatic weapon.  Some are claiming the killer was a self-loathing homosexual.

 

It’s likely that all three claims are correct, to an extent.  By any measure, Omar Mateen was a seriously warped individual.  Mateen’s first wife described him as someone who beat her regularly.  People who knew Mateen as a teenager remembered that he cheered when the towers fell on 9/11.  Co-workers knew him to express both Islamic extremist and virulently homophobic viewpoints – at one point causing him to be reported to the FBI.  Doubtless he learned some of these viewpoints from his father, who posted videos in which he voiced his support of the Taliban and hatred of LGBT people.  The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  When Omar Mateen remarried, it was to a woman who was so submissive she wouldn’t even report his activities to the authorities - even as she was trying to dissuade him from the atrocity.  Obviously, Noor Mateen has blood on her hands and should be charged as an accessory.

 

Omar Mateen apparently carried a deep hatred of homosexuals.  As is common for those who are referred to as “homophobic”, his hatred was rooted in religion – in this case, a fundamentalist brand of Islam he learned from his father.  It is also becoming increasingly apparent that Mateen’s homophobia was not merely on religious grounds, but was internalized – again, this is all too common.  He was a semi-regular at Pulse, according to patrons and staff.  Indeed, on at least one occasion, he was tossed out of the nightclub after he became belligerently drunk – alcohol is strictly forbidden in Islam.  He was also using gay dating apps.  

 

It’s easy for reactionaries to shout “Islamo-fascism.”  Contrary to claims by some, including Trump, it appears that Mateen was not in direct contact with ISIL or with other Islamic terror organizations.  He could best be described as a fellow traveler.  But let us not forget that religious extremism comes in all stripes and colors, as evidenced here and here.

 

Religious extremists can be found in every nation of the world.  Homophobia, both internalized and non, can be found in every nation of the world.  But why is the United States unique, among the first world nations, in terms of the scale of the carnage from these kinds of events?  Contrast the United States with the United Kingdom, for example.  The worst terror attack in recent British memory was the 7/7 attack, which required the coordinated efforts of no less than four suicide bombers.  52 people were killed – so this event had about the same fatalities as Orlando.  But while mass shootings are nearly a weekly occurrence in the United States, they are exceedingly rare in the UK.  The most recent attack in London was not a shooting but the December 2015 knife attack, in which there were no fatalities. 

 

The difference between London and Orlando, or course, lies in the easy access to firearms in the United States.  Not merely handguns, which are deadly enough, but automatic weapons such as the AR-15, which caused the bulk of deaths in Orlando – and which can be tied to numerous other incidents.  Imagine what would have happened at the Leytonstone tube station if Muhaydin Mire had had a gun.  It’s also worth mentioning that London has a far greater percentage of Muslims than any city in the United States, except possibly for Dearborn, Michigan.  So, to explain away Orlando as Islamic terrorism and nothing else seems glib, at best.

 

I’ll never forget the time my father told me, in all earnest, “You know who’s gonna save this country when the Russians invade?  20 million NRA members.”  Nor will I ever fathom how a man whose own brother died in a gun accident could become so obsessed with guns in later life.  Gun nuts are fixated with a twisted interpretation of the Second Amendment – which they claim grants them unfettered access to any weapon, any time.  But I doubt that America’s Founding Fathers, when they drafted the Amendment, intended it as a gateway for psychopaths to gain access to automatic weapons  - provided they could have even conceived of such weapons.

 

It’s time for common sense regulations on the purchase of these kinds of weapons.  True, gun restrictions won’t eliminate violence, enabled by guns or other weapons, in our society.  But they will increase the likelihood that someone seeking such weapons will be caught before an attack such as that in Orlando could take place.

Friday, June 3, 2016

André Watts - "Complete" Columbia Recordings

Sony Classical has reissued their "complete" recordings of pianist André Watts.  Well, almost.  Click here to read my review.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Confessions of a Frustrated Republican

My father was a lifelong Republican.  Unlike some who are born into rich Republican families and vote to preserve their inheritance and privilege, and unlike those who are born in limited circumstances, raised as Democrats, but switch to Republican once they’ve attained wealth, my father held to his conservative beliefs and suspicion toward government from a childhood spent in poverty, through an adulthood where he rose through the middle class, and into the relative wealth of his last years.  As with his parents, his Republicanism was rooted in a hatred of Franklin Roosevelt’s policies and the man personally that bordered on the pathological.  Given my admiration for FDR, you can imagine some of the “discussions” we had around that subject.  (My dad had a grudging respect for Harry Truman, and it annoyed him when I pointed out that on many domestic issues Truman was a good deal more liberal than FDR.)

There were times, however, when my father veered from Republican orthodoxy.  He derided the religious right as “Jesus freaks” who had gained too much prominence in the Republican Party, just as Barry Goldwater had complained.  Nor did he care for the party’s recent penchant for immigrant bashing.  As far back as the 1960s, he had great respect for Cesar Chavez, sympathy for migrant farm laborers, and felt if Americans had become unwilling to pick fruit and perform other “menial” tasks for low wages, we should welcome people into the country who would.  As someone who grew up on a farm, my father knew what it was like to have to rise before dawn, pitch hay, pick eggs, and milk cows - only to be kicked by a cow that wasn’t in the mood.  He saw U.S. born Depression-era farm hands treated like dirt and knew it was worse for migrants, even in the best of times.  Between the migrant farm issue and the Vietnam War – which my father came to regard as a mistake – my father decided to support Robert Kennedy in 1968.  He had been very impressed with how RFK’s reaction to Martin Luther King’s assassination helped prevent violence in Indianapolis.  Then RFK was assassinated.  My father told me he decided to sit out the 1968 election because he didn’t like Humphrey and he thought Nixon was “sick” mentally.

The above paragraph, however, should not detract from the fact that the bulk of my father’s political beliefs were conservative.  During the 90s he railed against Bill Clinton’s sexual peccadilloes and delighted in reading the Ken Starr report aloud.  My father was an NRA member and favored their view of the 2nd Amendment, despite the fact that his own brother accidentally shot himself.  He hated Welfare. 

Two weeks before he died, my father called me to wish me a happy birthday.  During our conversation (which tended to ramble in later years as my father’s hearing deteriorated), he told me he was favoring Kasich in the primaries and that under no circumstances would he vote for Donald Trump if “that asshole with his whore wife” is nominated.  “I’ll just stay at home like I did in ’68.”  I listened to his statement and said little – knowing his decision would hardly make a difference as he lived in California which is certain to vote Democratic.

As it turns out, my father will not vote in the upcoming election – but not for the reasons he outlined.  But I suspect my father’s not the only Republican to view the ascendancy of Donald Trump with disdain and alarm.  And I suspect there are many Republicans who will sit home on November 8th. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Pianos of Vladimir Horowitz

It’s interesting how, in this information age, so much misinformation can proliferate unchecked and uncorrected.  This is as true in Classical Music as it is in politics, and nowhere more than at Google’s Classical Music Recordings Group.  This is, for example, the group with several members who unwittingly perpetuated the Joyce Hatto fraud.  Most of the group’s members are dilettantes who fancy themselves as experts in music, and several of them are unschooled in the basics of social conduct.  A few are actual musicians - some of whom remain as professional musicians and others who've gone on to other professions.  I made a few posts to the group about a decade back, realized what the group was dominated by trolls, and quickly disassociated myself with them.  But I occasionally view posts (“lurking is the Internet term) as there are a few members who occasionally post about upcoming recordings.  A recent post concerned the piano used by Vladimir Horowitz as his 1986 Moscow recital, the recording of which was recently reissued.  One poster complained about the piano’s “tinny” sound, and speculation arose as to whether Horowitz was using a piano supplied by the Moscow Conservatory, as pianos were notoriously poorly maintained in the USSR. 

There is no equivalent to Politifact in Classical Music.  So, in this instance, I will provide the facts - just the facts, and not my own personal opinion on the quality of Horowitz's pianos.  Accurate information about Horowitz’s pianos has been publicly available for decades now.  The pianist's tuner, Franz Mohr, gave a rundown about the pianos used by Horowitz in his book, My Life with the Great Pianists, which was published in the early 1990s.  I expanded on Mohr’s information when I put together the Horowitz FAQ section of the pianist’s informational website, from which the information below is adapted.

The Pianos Used by Vladimir Horowitz

Early in 1934, as a wedding present, Steinway presented Vladimir and Wanda Horowitz with a Steinway Model D, Serial #CD279503 (the "C" denotes for pianos deemed worthy by Steinway for Concert use. The "D" indicates the size of piano, in this case, nine feet long).  This piano was kept in Horowitz’s homes (he moved several times before purchasing a townhouse on Manhattan’s East 94th Street in 1939) and not used for concerts or recordings.

In the early 1940s, this piano was replaced with CD314503. This is the piano Horowitz kept in his New York townhouse, and used in recitals and recordings from 1974-1981 and 1985-1987.  This is also the piano which has “toured” Steinway dealerships in North America and been used in a few recordings over he past 25 years – although it has been reworked so extensively it bears little resemblance to the piano that Horowitz knew. 

CD186 (Steinway often dropped the first three digits with "CD" pianos) was selected by Horowitz for his return recital in 1965. (He described the tone as "more mellow [than CD314503], more like the human voice.") CD186 was used for subsequent concerts and recording sessions until it suffered catastrophic failure in late 1972 and was retired from professional use.

CD223 was kept at Horowitz’s summer home in New Milford, Connecticut. It replaced CD186 for Horowitz's last Columbia sessions in late 1972/early 1973.

CD75, built in 1911, was found by Franz Mohr, Horowitz's tuner, in Steinway's basement and restored by him. Horowitz used the piano from 1981-1983.

CD443, Horowitz's last piano, was selected by the pianist for home use, to avoid the inconvenience of hauling CD314503 from Horowitz's second floor living room when he went on tour. At first Horowitz had reservations about the piano's action (which was rather heavy) but came to love the instrument so much that, when he briefly considered concertizing in 1989, he planned to take CD443 with him. This piano was used for recording sessions made at Horowitz's home in 1988 and 1989.

Incidentally, for his first four Columbia Masterworks recordings, made between 1962-1964, Horowitz used a piano supplied by Columbia’s 30th Street Studio. However, when he returned to studio recording in 1969 (all of his 1965-1968 recordings were compiled from live appearances), he found that the piano he’d used for the earlier sessions had been tampered with by Glenn Gould, and was no longer palatable. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Lisiecki and Wit at Severance Hall

This weekend’s Cleveland Orchestra concerts at Severance featured guest conductor Antoni Wit and pianist Jan Lisiecki.

The concert began with Wagner’s Polonia Overture, one of the composer’s earliest works.  This was the first time the work was being played by the orchestra, which is saying something for a work by a major composer and an orchestra that’s been performing masterworks for 98 years.  Indeed, I’d never heard the piece.  After the initial bars, it was easy to understand why the overture is rarely performed.  It trades in bombast what it lacks in thematic material or development.  After a good night’s sleep, I was unable to recall one “tune”, which has never been the case with any other Wagner work I’ve heard over the last 35 years.  The performance was mainly characterized by loudness.  More on that later.

After a brief break while the Hamburg Steinway was rolled onto the platform, Jan Lisiecki took to the stage for a performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto in F minor.  Lisiecki is a Canadian pianist of Polish parentage.  Just 21, he has already secured a recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon and is a veteran performer.  One takes for granted that the pianist’s technique was more than up to the task of this finger twisting concerto.  But this performance has a special quality that went beyond that.  Lisiecki brought to the Concerto a metric freedom, sense of rubato, and coloristic sense that reminded me of the pianists of the Golden Age – particularly Benno Moiseiwitsch.  Each episode of the concerto was beautifully characterized, while the work’s overall structure cohered. 


Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony occupied the second half of the concert.  The Eroica is one of the most often performed works in the repertoire.  The orchestra could no doubt play it in its sleep.  But the opening was rough: the orchestra was not together in the first of two E-flat major chords that start the work.  In short order, the orchestra was together again, and the movement proceeded at a quick pace.  Zachary Lewis, in his Plain Dealer review of Thursday evening’s concert, complained about the “ponderous” tempo Wit chose for the Funeral March.  Either Lewis is wed to the HiPster school of interpretation, or Wit chose a brisker pace between Thursday’s concert and Saturday’s – as the tempo I heard was dead center normal for Beethoven interpretation – similar to Szell’s tempo in his famous Cleveland recording.  But the performance was problematic nevertheless.  Wit didn’t seem to be interested in such matters as balance, dynamics (aside from the Chopin Concerto, there was little sense of pianissimo and often the music was just plain loud) or tonal beauty.  This was the first, and I hope only, time I’ve heard the Cleveland Orchestra making anything less than a beautiful sound.   It has been a truism over the last dozen years that the Cleveland Orchestra often plays at its best with a guest conductor.  Not this time.         

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Eulogy for my Father

Titus Henry Drake, Jr

August 2, 1929 - April 6, 2016

My father’s father, Titus Henry Drake (from whom my dad & I got our formal names) was part of an established American family that traced their lineage on this continent to 1640 – when Francis Drake moved from the family seat in Colchester, England to New England – when this land was still a British possession.  My father’s mother’s name was Helen Harvey.  Until recently, I didn’t know much about her family except that her father was a state senator in the Michigan legislature. 

Titus Senior married Helen Harvey and my dad was born on August 2, 1929, in Three Rivers, Michigan.  From an early age, my father was referred to as “Junior” by my dad, and “Ty” by everyone else.  Ten weeks after his birth, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.  In early 1932, my father’s brother, Jim, was born.



This is the earliest photo I have of my father - he’s standing in the middle in the light colored suit.  Note how skinny he was.  There’s a story behind that.  When my father and uncle were very young, their parents bitterly divorced.  In those days, the mother was automatically granted custody, so they went to live with my grandmother - where my father was forced to answer to the name "David".  I will confess to you, I never knew my grandmother very well - because after spending time with her during my youth, I decided to keep my distance.  She was a troubled woman who married five times.  I learned decades later that her mother died when giving birth to my grandmother and her father blamed her for her mother’s death – and she never grew up experiencing parental love.  She was unable to take adequate care of my father and uncle, and the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression.  The kids lived on onion sandwiches and were malnourished to the extent that they had sores on their skin.  And my grandmother and her new husband would beat them with an electric cord for the slightest infraction.  Eventually, their situation became so dire that my father secretly wrote and mailed a letter to my grandfather, begging for help.  My grandfather showed the letter to the judge, the court intervened, and my dad and uncle were sent to live with my grandfather and his second wife, Florence Cylka.  Flo was of Polish heritage, loved to cook and really knew how to do it.  My dad & Jim filled out from good nutrition and from working on my grandfather’s farm.  My dad applied himself in school - especially in mathematics and sports.  He graduated from Constantine High School, President of the class of 1947.

After graduating from high school, Dad entered Michigan State University and centered his studies on Civil Engineering and Architecture.  While there, he met Joanne Dewey and they married, resulting in a son, Robert.  Around that time, my father enlisted in the Navy and became a draftsman 2nd class.  He was stationed at the San Diego Naval Base.  The United States was involved in the Korean War at the time, but the Navy was impressed with my dad’s organizational skills and he remained in San Diego.  My dad, who loved ships all his life, was disappointed but applied himself to his duties.  By the time he was discharged he had been awarded the National Defense Service Medal.  It’s a testament to my father’s modesty that he never told me any of this.  Instead, he was fond of regaling me with stories going to the beach and bar hopping with his buddies.  One time, he and his best buddy got quite drunk.  On the way back to base, as my dad was dozing in the passenger seat, his buddy passed out behind the wheel.  The subsequent crash awakened my father from his slumber, and when he pulled himself out of the car, he thought he stepped into a puddle - his shoes were soaked through with his own blood and his knees bore the scars from that incident from the rest of his life.  It was during this period that my Uncle Jim snapped pictures at the beach where my father was a volunteer lifeguard.



By the time my dad had been discharged from the Navy and returned to Michigan, things were not working out between he and Joanne, and they divorced.  On November 22, 1956, Dad - now living in Cleveland - married my mother, Verna Pritchard Stevens, resulting in my sisters Verna (“Pixie”), Sarah, and me.  By that time, his brother Jim had moved out to Los Angeles and was working as a Hollywood extra

My father was badly shaken up when his brother died in 1976.  My Uncle Jim shot himself – an accidental death brought about by cleaning his gun while inebriated.  When my parents came home from Uncle Jim’s funeral, my father was a changed man. 

Whatever the merits of my father and my mother as individuals, the truth is that they were not well suited for each other – and at the deepest level, whatever their love for each other, they never truly understood each other.  When my father was in my parents’ basement, building ship models, playing trumpet, or lifting weights,he was giving expression to his creative and physical energies - rather than venting his frustration as my mother often said.  And there were times my father, a stoic, was relatively uncommunicative.  But the sounds of my parents’ arguments still ring in my ears, and their marriage formally ended in 1980.

I’m not going to belabor the particulars of my parents’ divorce.  Those of us in the family have discussed it in private and have our various opinions, although we all agree my mother’s situation was tragic almost from birth.  But let me make it plain that my father’s marriage to Hiede has proven itself through time - it has been a happy, enduring, and productive partnership.  Truly, the third time is the charm.  Hiede took excellent care of my father, in health and sickness.  She knew when to give him focus, and when to give him his own space.  What I think most people don’t grasp about my father is that he was a tremendously creative person (as are all the Drake men I’ve known), and creative people sometimes need their own space.  That creativity lives on in their son, Sean - born in 1982.  

One thing I will always admire about my father is his adaptability.  When he was laid off from his job in 1983 - after working with that company for many years - he didn’t pout, he didn’t sulk.  He got involved in a new industry called cellular communications and traveled the country putting up cell towers.  Twenty years later, at an age when most of us would be long retired, he designed an ecologically sensitive, carbon neutral house in Hawaii.  From the time he graduated college, my father’s work emphasized the principles of structural integrity, clean lines, and holistic layout – whether he was designing a corporate headquarters, a home, or a highway exit.  His standards were very high, he refused to compromise on safety, and he once told me how an argument between he and a bean-counter nearly descended into fisticuffs.  Dad was working on his final masterpiece, the renovation of his own home in Half Moon Bay, when his health began to decline in 2010 – first due to a heart attack, then from an aortic valve replacement from which he never fully recovered.  The project remained unfinished when he died.  

Dad was a conservative and a traditionalist.  But he was flexible enough to accept his gay son’s partner with open arms.  In fact, he was nicer in his first meeting with Daniel than he was with his two future sons-in-law when he met them!  He also had a temper in his younger years which we learned not to cross.  But age mellowed him.  My father, like his brother, enjoyed the occasional tipple.  But there were two differences: my father knew his limits, Jim did not; and when Jim drank, he could become bitter and nasty, my father simply became more convivial.  One of my fondest memories of my dad was when I surprised him for his 80th birthday in 2009.  While Hiede was out of town working, we grilled hamburgers, mixed some very potent drinks, and swapped stories which, frankly, are not repeatable here.  There was a lot of laughter that night.

Dad believed in productivity, in doing something with your talents.  I hope all who knew and loved him will remember and take heed from that.  So while we mourn his passing, we should also celebrate all he was, and live life to the fullest.  Ty Drake lives on in the work he did, and the memories and love he leaves.