A disc jockey on
public radio station last week introduced a live track by ’s Co-Dependents as a cover of “an old
Rolling Stones song.” Granted, the CKUA morning host wasn’t the usual grizzled
old veteran who I suspect sprinkles Purple Windowpane on his
granola sometimes, but still, the description tripped my expectation to a Jagger-Richards
composition from the mid-sixties. The golden oldie given a reverent run-through
spun out as ‘Faraway Eyes,’ released in 1978. Because every notion in my head
has been dumbed down to social media shorthand I thought, “WTF!?” Calgary
Gee, I guess four decades gone, baby, gone qualifies a tune as “old” even though I consider ‘Faraway Eyes’ a relatively recent addition to the Stones catalogue as their studio output has since dipped, dived. I was 18 then, so much wiser than I am now because I knew everything and if I didn’t know what I was talking about, I at least formulated a passionate, uninformed opinion.
Honest to God, it was just last week in
Montreal, though I haven’t even lived there for 28 years,
that I bought the Some Girls album at
Deux Mille Plus on
the day it came out. A day or two later a dream came true, I scooped the
extended, eight-minute version of ‘Miss You’ backed with ‘Faraway Eyes’ on pink
vinyl, an expensive French import with a spectacular sleeve featuring a
rose-hued duotone portrait of the Stones, at Rock en Stock on Crescent. Mansfield
This recent CKUA collision of the passage of time and the elasticity of memory prompted me to buy a new telephone address book. Other people freeze in a crisis. My old book was indispensable. It has travelled the continent and across oceans. It began life with block printing done with a soft lead pencil, complete with left-handed smudges. Various colours of updating ink were added; bits of sticky correction tape. Antiquated business cards crammed inside gummy plastic slots. Directional detour arrows drawn, the alphabetic sequence gently nudged out of order at the M tab due to space limitations.
I spent Monday flipping through the back pages of my life in
and my career in advertising. Why did I have dealings with the general manager
of the Medicine Hat Blue Jays? Must’ve been program ads and outfield wall
signage; regrettably I never did get down that way to watch a baseball game
under the prairie sun. Does Palmer-Jarvis even exist anymore? How did I ever
cross paths with Steve from McCann Erickson’s Alberta office? Numbers too for pre-press
film houses and a photography developing lab; how quaint. Seattle
My friend Tim has been a bit of a gypsy. My contact information for him stretches from
to Calgary, to Toronto
and back to .
I even have his mother’s phone number because she was so kind to me when I was
growing up and much later on when I would visit Calgary in the guise of an adult I would
always make an effort to say hello to Tim’s mom. My friend Marty has been a
stalwart in Montreal
for years although I don’t believe I need Marty’s home fax number any longer.
Kevin, Rene, Jim, Paul and Dean could be master criminals, changing area codes
and ditching burner phones in dumpsters behind 7-11 stores. North Vancouver
My old address book is a melancholy treasure chest. X marks the spot: ex-bosses, ex-colleagues, ex-friends, ex-wives and ex-girlfriends. Exit. The truly painful part is the roll of the dead within its pages: disease, natural causes, suicide. They comprise the letters I can no longer write, the e-mails I can no longer send and the long distance calls I can no longer place. My little black book of the blues.
My new address book is like a resolution made on a cold, late night in December: slim, fit! I’ve culled my dead contacts, written the survivors down in harder graphite. Tim’s been pared from a full page to a name, a city and a cell phone. If he moves again I won’t have much erasing to do. If I ever require his street and house number, I can just call him or send an e-mail request.