05 September 2006

Bland on the run

Hoofed it to Ottawa this past weekend to celebrate my buddy Michael Dennis's 50th birthday. I met him about 25 years ago, when I was selling my books on the streets of Toronto. He's a poet too. With a million books. At his best, he writes some pretty amazing stuff. I often use poems of his in my workshops to show what direct language what can accomplish. I also like his second-person, present-tense approach. McFadden does that really well, too. Anyway, nice party, but I got way too fucked-up. I forgot that when you drink, you get drunk. And then it's really hard to drive back to Toronto the next day.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Saturday afternoon I visited Sean and Kira, who drive the Ottawa International Writers' Festival. They now have a beautiful son, named Aidan. It was a great visit. And as a bonus, Sean passed me a copy of Gunnar Kopperud's newest novel to appear in English, The Backpacker's Father. Gorgeous design. Can't wait to dig in, but I have to, because I'm drowning in freelance editing work.

The drive back to Toronto was pretty shakey (after I got kicked out of my hotel room, I went back to Sean and Kira's to crash for a while, nurse my hangover, drink V8), and I swung into town just before 8, with a reading to do at 9 p.m. in Dundas Square, part of the World Jam poetry marathon that Denis De Klerck of Mansfield Press set up. Four readers an hour from noon to midnight. I got there pretty much in time for my reading, which I wasn't entirely pleased with, though lots of people said they thought it was great. And then I had to leave pretty quickly, because I was still in pain. I really wanted to stay for Goran Simic and Evalyn Parry. But it was not to be.

On the drive to Ottawa, in the privacy of my car, I was croaking out some improvised sound poetry in between (and sometimes during) Talking Heads, Shelby Lynne, Mary Lou Lord, Graham Parker, and Stump ("Charlton Heston put his vest on..."). The ride back I didn't want much noise, but I found this cassette in my car: Band on the Run. Oddly, I had never heard that record. I do remember, though, once mentioning Paul McCartney to my neighbour Karen Nefsky back on Pannahill Road. "Oh, he's the guy from Wings, isn't he?" (Karen was a few years younger than me.) Anyway, gosh, it's not a bad album, though the two songs I'd heard before -- the title tune and "Jet" or whatever it's called -- where awful. Otherwise, yeah, pure pop for then people.

I will never drink again. Unless Ringo Starr comes back to Casino Rama.

Over and out.


At September 08, 2006 2:05 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Defending Sir Paul,

Uh ... explain yourself, dude.


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