Ira Progoff

Between Two Ages

                                                               -for Kate

This series, from 1981, began my long career with Ideas.  I had done a few things for the programme in the early 70’s when I began freelancing for CBC, but it was only after a chance meeting with Ideas producer Bernie Lucht in the entrance hall of the old radio building at 354 Jarvis St. in 1980 that I began to work for the show in earnest.  At that meeting I told Bernie a little of what was on my mind and he suggested that what I was thinking might become an Ideas series.  Why didn’t I submit a proposal? he said.  Up to that point most of the work I had done for the CBC was concerned with public affairs.  In the mid-70’s I had worked on the CBC’s morning show out of Vancouver – first as a story editor, then as executive producer, and finally as co-host – and then had taken some time away from the CBC for reading, writing and reflection.  At the time I met Bernie, I was ready for a new adventure, and his suggestion to root my work in my own concerns fell on fertile ground.


I came of age in the 1960’s and identified myself, more or less, with the New Left.  I probably had some intuition from the start that this identification was an attempt to pour new wine into old skins, that something larger than conventionally defined politics was afoot, but it was not until the later 70’s that I really began to try to think the whole matter through and to face up to the fact that my “political” views didn’t really fit on the inherited left-right spectrum at all.   Perhaps an age was ending, and a new one, for which political classifiers barely existed, was trying to be born.    Between Two Ages was my first attempt to reflect on this idea, and to bring together a constellation of thinkers in support of it.  I approached it nervously and was astonished at the cooperation I received from the people I wanted to interview.  I was equally  surprised by changes in my own voice which I noted when I was recording it, by a new resonance which voice teachers would say comes from opening up the diaphragm but in this case seemed to result from an opening in the heart.  Today, thirty five years later, I am embarrassed as well as touched by my naiveté, but it was the first step on a long road, and it was well taken, both in the sense that it was well-received by colleagues and listeners, and in the sense that it led me on to greater understanding.