The next book I am going to read is this one by a guy from Truro, Leo McKay Jr. Well, he works in Truro, gets paid to walk the halls of CEC and - unlike every other person I know who walked the halls of CEC and thought about getting a book published - he actually gets books published. Truro probably calls him theirs now. His short stories from 1995's Like This were so good that (aside from being nominated for the Giller) Mark, when he got his copy mailed to him in the UK, said "I could have written this". Mark was right and he was wrong. Only someone who knew ordinary life growing up in Colchester and Pictou counties in the 1980's could have written the stories. But more than we who were taught in CEC or Trenton High or Pictou Academy, who may also make our livings with words in law or news but could not trick out a story off a page if our lives depended on it, McKay in Like This drew out of the ordinary and left it ordinary but true...like Callaghan and Munro did before him...and like Atwood only dreams of if she had the sense. Alistair MacLeod with out all that Caper bigness.
I have developed a bad habit of emailing Brent Bambury over the last few weeks. I can't help it. Those of you out of the Eastern Ontario range of CBC radio will only know him as the former host of CBC TV's Midday and the current host of Radio 1's Groove Shinney. Luckily for we in Kingston and East, Pembroke and south he is the 4 to 6 guy on All in a Day as well. While he is a solid interviewer and can hide a double entendre in a chit chat with the news guy, his music choices are frankly amazing for the time slot, the station and the city. Badlands by Springsteen was the one that blew me away the other day. He also played Daytime Nighttime by Keith Hampshire for Ross after a week's worth of pestering. While Halifax's Don Connelly still reigns as the greatest local presence on CBC, Brent is a close #2.
Gen X. Should have been copyrighted by somebody. Coupland for his book? Billy Idol for his band? Common elements I see:
- Expo 67 as a kid
- punk rock began just around puberty
- recessions hit just around started looking for work
All the emotional drag of the Cold War without the economic upside of the boomers - remember how Gwynne Dyer's War made everything around you look like a target?
But has all that left a mark? I have read two novels recently, How to Be Good by Nick Hornby and Acting the Giddy Goat by...somebody else which appear to say there is, that the pointlessness of the slacker life is wearing. I found them both a bit off.
I mean, if you cannot celebrate the sofa over the SUV or the TV over the theatre, sure you may find your life lacking. But if you've lived through grim Gwynne teling you Ronnie and Leo are going to smoke you before you hit 21 for being you and lived...well, that sofa and an ale is looking mighty worthwhile, thank you very much.
I just turned 40. I am not obsessed with either being 40 or being someone born between 1960 and 1966, but I am wondering where the hoopla is. I lived through every anniversary of Baby Boomers hitting 30, 40 and 50 as worth of TV news and Time covers but for the slacker gen - zip.
So, for now, I will think out loud about it all here...