Jian Ghomeshi – Being David Bowie

The host of CBC Radio's Q discusses and reads from his memoir 1982 at Showplace Peterborough on March 9

Jian Ghomeshi (publicity photo)
Jian Ghomeshi (publicity photo)

“In 1982 the Commodore 64 computer was introduced, Ronald Reagan survived being shot, the Falkland War started and ended, Michael Jackson released Thriller, Canada repatriated its Constitution, and the first compact disc was sold in Germany. And that’s not all. Over the course of 1982, I blossomed from a naïve 14 year-old trying to fit in with the cool kids to something much more: A naïve, eyeliner-wearing 15 year-old trying to fit in with the cool kids.”

So writes Jian Ghomeshi in his debut book 1982. Released in September 2012, 1982 is a literary memoir told across ten intertwined stories of the songs and musical moments that changed Ghomeshi’s life.

In the book, the adolescent Ghomeshi embarks on a Nick Hornby-esque journey to make music the centre of his life. Acceptance meant being cool, and being cool meant being David Bowie. Ghomeshi was obsessed with him.

“I wanted to be Bowie,” Ghomeshi recalls.

Being David Bowie meant pointy black boots, eyeliner, and hair gel. Add to that the essential all-black wardrobe, and you end up with two very confused Iranian parents, busy themselves with gaining acceptance in Canada against the backdrop of the revolution in Iran.

Ghomehi’s 1982 is a bittersweet and heartfelt book that recalls awkward moments such as his performance as the “Ivory” in a school production of Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s “Ebony and Ivory”, a stakeout where Rush was rehearsing for its world tour, and a memorable day at the Police picnic of 1982.

Music is the jumping-off place for Ghomeshi to discuss young love, young heartache, conformity, and the nature of cool. At the same time, 1982 is an entertaining cultural history of a crazy era of glam, glitter, and gender-bending fads and fashions. And it’s definitely the first rock memoir by a Persian-Canadian new waver.

Ghomeshi is perhaps best known as the host and co-creator of the national daily talk program Q on CBC Radio One and CBC TV. Since its inception in 2007, Q has garnered the largest audience of any cultural affairs program in Canada and has become the highest-rated show in its morning time slot in CBC history. It is also now broadcast across the United States on PRI.

Mixing insight and opinion with unscripted wit, Ghomeshi shifts seamlessly from editorial essays to moderating debates on the air. He has interviewed an array of prominent international figures from prime ministers to sports stars and cultural icons. His feature interview subjects on Q have included Woody Allen, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Barbara Walters, Tom Waits, William Shatner, Jay-Z, Al Gore, Margaret Atwood and — in a television world-exclusive — Leonard Cohen.

Make sure you don’t miss this opportunity to see this award-winning broadcaster, best-selling author, musician, and producer at Showplace on March 8. Ghomeshi will be available after the reading and discussion to sign copies of his book.

You can read the first chapter of 1982 for free: Chapter 1 – “Our House” – Madness. Also check out the series of YouTube videos that Ghomeshi posted leading up to the launch of 1982, in which friends of his recall various aspects of that year.

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