July 29th, 2010


Flashback to 1981: Young Geoffrey remembers it for you - wrongly

'Everything you know is wrong'

My Own Private (game of) Telephone'

A (very) young Young Geoffrey, fall 1980.
Vern, almost as young (winter or spring 1982).

Well, we might have known, but we also forgot.

The story as I've been telling it to others for years — for decades! — now, and as (I think) we have been telling to each other when nostalgia has struck over drinks, went roughly as follows.

Vern and I had been practicing for maybe two weeks — he on guitar, with me as lead vocalist and (piss-poor) tambourine man — when we decided we were ready to take "Dow and Pineau" out to the streets and start our climb to stardom.

We were 16 years old and determined to begin our careers as buskers at the very top: right in front of the main entrance to the Eaton Centre at Yonge and Dundas.

And so, laughing with adolescent faith in our inevitable stardom, we set out in search of fame and fortune.

Only, Vern started to get cold feet and, even as we approached our destination, he stopped and said he wasn't going to do it, he wasn't going to play.

I tried cajoling, then yelling, but only when I kicked a rock (and hurt my foot), did I get through to him the importance of finishing what we had set out to do.

And so it was we boldly set up facing the Eaton Centre.

Vern laid his guitar case upon the sidewalk and took out his Norman, wrapped the strap across his chest and began to tune up. I nervously banged the tambourine against my thigh, hoping against hope I would not forget the words to "Helpless", or "Run for Your Life" or, especially, to our cover-tune par excellence, "Eleanor Rigby".

At length, Vern began to play and I to sing. And before long a couple of funky chicks (who later told us they were from New York City) stopped to watch us and then began to dance. Between the glorious music and the dancers' enthusiasm, we gathered a crowd that might have approached 50 people and the money poured into the open case.

Read the rest at Edifice Rex Online.

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Baby and me

30 days on writing: Entry #8: The comfort of the strangely familiar

More memeage: In this edition, Young Geoffrey ponders genre and the comforts of the familiar.

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8. What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

As I've re-discovered through the process of working through this meme, I started off writing SF as often as I did so-called mainstream stories. That shouldn't have been any surprise.

The first "grown up" fiction I read was Stanley G. Weinbaum's "A Martian Odyssey" in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame and I've been reading science fiction (and some fantasy) ever since. Not exclusively, far from it, but a plurality of my reading has been of those genres.

I suppose what should be surprising then, is that I pretty much stopped dabbling in genre.

Until I began working on my latest unfinished novel, The Valley of Shabathawan, which was very consciously a juvenile SF story in the spirit of Doctor Who, I've mostly written character-based fiction. Slice-of-life short stories and sociological/psychological coming-of-age novels.

More recently, I've dabbled in smut or, if you will, "literary erotica". Stories that are intended to engage the libido but that are also still, y'know, stories.

As for reading, well, I still read a lot of F and SF and much of that is, frankly, comfort-reading, the familiar in the strange, as it were. I haven't sunk to Star Trek or Doctor Who novels, but I rip through Analog every month and generally enjoy the comfort that comes from genre, even a genre as varied as science fiction.

I tell myself it is better than vegging out to sit-comes every afternoon, but Infinite Jest has been waiting for me to crack it open for a while now and it's about damned time I challenge myself again.

Which is not to say that all SF is pabulum. It isn't. There's genre and there's genre, as it were, just as there are romance novels or soap operas and there is Pride and Prejudice or War and Peace.

But just as I have done too little hard writing in recent years, so too have I done too little hard reading.

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