Over a decade ago I began a hobby that I’ve still not given up, though I get to play at it seldom. I write short stories based on Tragically Hip songs. Not the songs that tell a story – because they already tell a story. But the songs that don’t quite, on their own. I’ve always found the Hip’s music expressionistic and evocative. Their music put stories in my mind, even when the lyrics don’t tell one directly. They tell story snippets. The listener can piece together a multiplicity of possible stories from them.
I remember when I was a kid at Hebrew school, I had one teacher, a young rabbi, who had worked for a few years rescuing kids who had been brainwashed by cults. Kids who would disappear, leaving their family to join some religious sect, these rabbis would answer the call of their parents like the A-Team but with beards and black overcoats. They would track the kids down and kidnap them if they had too, then spend days, or even months if necessary (although I doubt that was really necessary too often) trying to “re-program” the kids to come back to regular society. Often I’d sit at our morning meetings while the sales manager harangued away in his daily pep talk and wish that a squad of highly-trained rabbis would swing down on ropes from the next rooftop, break through the plate glass windows, and take me away. [Read more…]
The thing about Billy Fitzimmons is that he loves music and he loves women. And when I say he loves them, I don’t mean like you love your favourite old shoes, or maybe you love the first cigarette in the morning. I mean he’s crazy about both. I know what you’re thinking; a lot of guys love women in a different way from shoes- but Billy, well he’s already crazy, and then he adds a layer of crazy for women. And for music too. [Read more…]
[This is one of my first short stories. In the first paragraph I describe the Chateau Lafayette tavern, and how it had never changed. Well, since then it’s changed. But I don’t think any Ottawans would say it’s sold out.]
On an autumn night I walked into the Chateau Lafayette tavern to meet The Greatest Storyteller of All Time. [Read more…]