6.1.08

Cowboyside

Journal Entry. Toronto.
July 20th, 1980


A hot and humid Toronto Sunday night.

The rain's been falling heavily all evening making that frying bacon kind of sound.

Here in the Annex under the canopy of Confederation era maples the little apartment feels like a brick-and-ivy nest for my entourage of mice, moles, spiders, sparrows, raccoons and the occasional midnight cockroach. Although we're safe from the deluge I try to keep in mind what Mark Twain had to say about 'water'...it's Ok to drink it, but only in moderation.

Just got back from doing another road show - this one went great. We did a Stampede week edition of Morningside ... Cowboyside. Yee-haw.

Four producers. Three hours. Two days. One language. No hassles. Thank God.

Finally got Lougheed on the show. His media guy, Ron Leippart is a real rat-faced weasel ( ? ). Before agreeing to the interview he demanded I send him the questions Don would ask.

I said "sure" ... sent him the list ... then changed it !! The old 'Toronto shuffle' eh? Leippart never liked me. Now he hates me. There goes my post CBC flack job.

We followed the Premier with a guy from High River who's the World Whistling Champion. Despite his busy schedule Lougheed stuck around the hear him whistle (you gotta love this province). Mum was in the control room and met them both but only wanted the Whistler's autograph.

Atta girl.

Just for fun (and because I could) I decided to open Hour One with a Tom Waits song. Ian Tyson was doing a live concert in Hour Two and we had so many shit-kicking, red meat items I could feel my arteries clogging...so, I figured I'd fuck everyone up by getting Cowboyside off to a big city start.

I played a couple of tunes from the new cassette "Heart Attack and Vine".

Boney's high on china white, Shorty found a punk
Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk
Well this stuff will probably kill you, let's do another line
What you say you meet me down on heart attack and vine


As they say ... the switchboard lit-up. Folks complained NOT about the lyrics (probably didn't get them) but about the AESTHETICS. One guy said Tom sounded like an elk that had been "gut shot". Another guy said the singing reminded him of the sound a wino makes as he pukes in a dumpster. And some nice lady described the music as a "terrible growling".

Growling Music. I think TW would like that.

However, I've a bigger decision to make than which discs to spin. The Morning Show producer jobs in both Edmonton AND Calgary are up for grabs. And it's been "suggested" I apply for one of them. In fact the plant manager in Calgary asked me three times if I was interested. I said "yes" but the truth is ... I'm not sure.

I love Toronto and this is the place to build my career. If I go back west I'll make more money ... have my own show - but maybe I'll vanish from the Jarvis Street radar and never get to kick the shit out of Stuart McLean at racquet ball again.

There's another complicating factor - and at 26 its a recurring theme of mine. I've met a woman. Susan Swan. She's a pretty blonde who's part of the CBC Edmonton gang. Hangs at the Strathcona with Spandier and Tom Crighton and our buddy Bob "built-to-scale" Spence.

Sue's a keeper. Especially for a Tom Waits-alone-and-lonely-at-midnight kind of guy like me.

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