Me - circa 1982

Me - circa 1982

I recently finished reading Jian Gomeshi's memoir 1982. For my non-Canadian readers, Jian is the radio host of a national daily cultural affairs program Q on CBC Radio One. He is well known for his well researched interviews and he has won international awards for his skill as an interviewer and talk show host. He is also a former member of the multi-platinum Canadian folk-rock group Moxy Fruvous.I saw Jian speak at Blissdom Canada last fall, and immediately fell in love with his voice story. First he LOVES David Bowie, and a big part of this book is how he wanted to be David Bowie and how that played out for an Iranian boy in suburban Toronto. Second, he has a lovely sense of humour, and uses it to laugh at the music culture of the early 1980s, his family and himself. Third, his story is about 1982, which was a pretty instrumental year in my life as well.

The book mostly covers the events in the last half of his grade 9 year and first half of grade 10. He also provides a some background from younger years and specifically his transition to high school in the year before 1982 and to becoming a New Waver.

 

The story is a rather small one. Not a lot happens, but you enjoy the journey. It is essentially about his obsession with a girl named Wendy, who in his mind was the female David Bowie, and the music that was the soundtrack to his life at that time.  His descriptions of the music of the early 1980s in Canada brought back a lot of memories for me. He also does a great job of describing the culture in the days before the internet. In the days when you had one phone, connected by a cord to the wall in the center of your house. So making a phone call to a girl took on a much higher risk of being found out than in today's mobile phone world. For someone who frequently got tied up in those damn phone cords I laughed out loud at his description. I also enjoyed how he use his loves of lists to further illustrate his points and entertain the reader.

 

1982 was a monumental year for me as the start of high school.  I remember my first day of school when I wore a turquoise and white striped dolman sleeve Cotton Ginny top with matching turquoise mini skirt and a pair of black patent mary janes to school.  I also remember my first dance and discovering all sorts of new music like David Bowie, Toni Basil and Adam Ant. I still love to listen to Goodie two shoes if I want to bring my energy level up. But admittedly I was still rather preppy in 1982 (see photo above).

 

Me and my friend Jessie in mile high hair and wearing vintage men's coats all ready for the Cyndi Lauper concert. I had my braces off by this time. Jessie had not!

Me and my friend Jessie in mile high hair and wearing vintage men's coats all ready for the Cyndi Lauper concert. I had my braces off by this time. Jessie had not!

As I moved into Grade 10 I too became New Wave. Well a wannabe New Waver really, because for me it was about the fashion first and music second. I was less discerning about music than Jian, and many other true New Wave fans. I am sure Jian would not have considered me cool. Even though I did hang out with the drama kids and wore vintage clothes.

1982 is available at Indigo Books (not an affiliate link).  You can watch Jian in action interviewing Mandy Patinkin about Princess Bride (another book I just finished reading).  Or for my Canadian readers his last interview with Stompin' Tom is here.

You can follow Jian on twitter at @jianghomeshi.