March 26, 2021
Hello World of Friends!
As always in these times, while we emerge cautiously from the anxious fog of the past year, I hope this missive finds you healthy and happy. It’s been heartwarming to see and hear from so many American friends who have already been fully vaccinated!!
Like our maple syrup, things roll out a little slower here in Canada. Put it this way: the only shot I can line up for in Vancouver is espresso. But things are starting to prick up. At this point, if you are a British Columbian and saw Rebecca in the theatre (the version starring Joan Fontaine in 1940, not Lily James in 2020)… you’re up! That means that my 80-year-old Dad finally gets his jab this week. My 77-year-old Mom is up next week.
My wife Jill and I can expect ours hopefully sometime in June. You? While many of us wait it out, dreaming of hugs and crowds, here’s hoping that I can provide you with a bit more distraction with this spring update.
BAILEY THE BAT
I’m thrilled to announce that I am now officially taking pre-orders for signed copies of my first children’s picture book entitled Bailey the Bat from Orca Books! It is wonderfully illustrated by Acadian artist Noemie Gionet Landry and tells the fast-paced and suspenseful story of a little brown bat named Bailey who can’t sleep during the day like the rest of the bat colony, so Bailey sneaks out of the roost for all sorts of daytime adventures, this one involving a young moose and a wolf pack. The book evolved from bedtime stories I tell my kids, so it’s aimed for children ages 4 to 8 roughly (inspired by Casey from Mr. Dressup, Bailey is gender-neutral). The book will also be published in French, and the official release date for both versions is September 14, 2021. Pre-order your personally signed copies here.
ADVENTURES IN SOLITUDE 2 (working title)
I’m relieved to have finally handed over the manuscript to Adventures in Solitude 2, the follow up to my first book of the same name that was released a decade ago on Harbour Publishing. “Adventures in Solitude 2” is very likely not the title… but I don’t have an actual title yet so if you’d like to suggest one, please do by replying to this letter! The book follows the continuing Desolation Sound-and-beyond adventures of many of the colourful scallywags you met in the first book, such as the Cougar Lady of Okeover Inlet and the Hermit of Desolation Sound, as well as some new ne’er do wells, like the Spaghetti Bandit, and… my kids! The publication date is slated for spring 2022. Check out my first three nonfiction books here.
LOOKOUT ZOOMOUT SHOWS
As I am sure you are well aware, one of the major casualties of the pandemic has been the live entertainment industry. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we are social animals who need to gather for collective experiences. That’s why we decided to hatch a monthly series in early 2021 called the Lookout Zoomout, a virtual reunion of some of the best and most beloved musicians from Lookout Records, the American record label my band the Smugglers called home for ten years in the 1990s and 2000s. Lookout was most famous for launching the career of Green Day (now in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame) but also fostered the careers of many others. Most especially, it was a family of pop-punk bands, and that’s what the Lookout Zoomout shows have managed to recapture in fun and emotional ways through live performance and audience interaction from around the world. The final installment of the series is this Sunday March 28, and features a stacked line up of great musicians. It would be awesome to see you there. Tickets are available now through Side Door Access, the concert platform co-founded by my brilliant singer-songwriter pal Dan Mangan.
March 13th 2021 marked exactly one year that I’ve been working mostly from home. Though unlike most of my CBC co-workers, I’m allowed to hop on my bike and pedal down to CBC Vancouver once a week to tape my CBC Television music segment. I also continue to have the honour of hosting the CBC Music Top 20, the weekly round up of the best songs on CBC Music. It’s Canada’s only national countdown show, it’s a lot of fun, and I get to work with producer Mary-Anne Korosi, who is another old punk like me, and someone who I have worked with at the CBC for over twenty years. And I tape the show from home! The CBC Music Top 20 can be heard three times weekly across the country: Thursdays at 6pm and Sundays at 5pm on CBC Music (the former Radio 2) and Wednesdays at 3pm on CBC Radio 1.
My wife just released a tres chaud remix of her joyeux song “Le monde est beau”, the video for which features a lot of our home movies and sweet memories from the early years of our kids (minus the firehose torrent of bodily fluids). And Jill starts recording her new album in April!
That’s all for now. Let’s hope the jabs keep coming and we all get to hug each other at folk festivals and beer gardens and sweaty clubs and sun soaked wharfs very soon. I miss you!
In the words of B.C.’s Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry, “be kind, be calm, be safe.” Once vaccinated, the first nine beers are on me, eh?
Wishing you good health,
Desolation Sound, BC