October 10, 2023

Fall shows, Flying Vees, full moon floats, and goodbye Big Buck$

Hello world of friends!

Happy fall and Happy Thanksgiving! Hope this finds you well as we transition into the autumnal stage of the year, my wife’s favourite… low sun illuminating wine-coloured leaves, pulling on our favourite Pollen sweaters as storms kicking up with more and more frequency. This weekend, Lawrence and Barber family members are gathering to celebrate family and the season in places as far flung as Lac Echo, Quebec, Wellington, Ontario, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Desolation Sound, BC. 

I invite you to snuggle in for all the latest happening from my world and beyond.

Back in the spring and summer, we completed another fun run of my touring show, “Grant Lawrence and Friends: an evening of stories and songs.” Thanks to ALL the friendly folks who came to the BC shows in Port Moody, Gibsons, West Vancouver, Penticton, Salmon Arm, and Savary Island, and on the rather fascinating Texada Island.

At each show I always meet amazing audience members, and two particular highlights from the spring shows were these:

  • At the Port Moody show, Misty Cherry, daughter of Bernard “The German” Krieger, (the latter who I have written and broadcasted about extensively) was at the show with a group of friends. At one point, I invited her to join me on stage where she presented me with a small cloth bag filled with Bernard’s ashes. She asked that her father’s remains be spread in the waters of Desolation Sound, near the cabin he built that still stands. It was a very moving moment, and I am rarely at a loss for words, but I was for certain then and there. Thank you, Misty.
  • At the Salmon Arm show, we were honoured with the presence of Audrey Stremick, formally Syms, the girlfriend of Russell “The Hermit” Letawsky, who accompanied Russell on his infamous trek across the Coast Mountains in Sept. 1977 that led him to Desolation Sound. Audrey also came up on stage, delighting the audience with her version of the events. Then she proceeded to bring the house down when she pulled out her ukulele to perform “House Of The Rising Sun” to the tune of “Amazing Grace.” Thank you, Audrey!

And a big cheers of appreciation to the incredibly talented musicians who compliment my stories with their songs at the shows: Jay Malinowski, Ashleigh Ball, Said the Whale, Suzie Ungerleider, Hayden Roth, Dustin Bentall, Danny Michel, Luke Wallace, Evan Symons, Docs ‘n Socs, and Jill Barber.

I’m working on another run of fall shows, the dates for which you can check out below – you never know who might show up! 

If you live in East Van, who know someone who does, please let them know about my first-ever show in my adopted urban hometown… a holiday show at the Historic Theatre at the East Van Cultural Centre

And if you have a cool theatre or venue in your town that you think would be suitable for this show, please get in touch.

Cabin Life

After the spring tour, we lived at the cabin in Desolation Sound for a good stretch of the summer, hosting the annual Okeover Open Crokinole Tournament, the Full Moon Float, and Ladies Whiskey Night (I’m not invited to that one), and collecting many more stories and wonderful memories. 

What is most astounding these days is that large cetaceans that continue to arrive in Desolation Sound in record numbers on an almost daily basis – orcas, dolphins, porpoises, and humpback whales seem to be everywhere, even right up close to our dock on several occasions, and it’s an incredible thing.

On a somewhat sad note, it looks like Big Buck$, our trusty oceanic chariot of many decades, that has driven over three generations of our family up and down the inlets, has taken her last charge across the Sound. We loved this made-in-North-Vancouver Hourston speedboat, but it dates back to 1985, pre-Expo, and had an entire life as a Horseshoe Bay pleasure rental boat before her many faithful years with our family in Desolation Sound. A huge thanks to our Hernando Island friend Gaye Leggat, who was the first person to refer to Big Buck$ as “vintage” instead of the more common description “what a piece of crap.” 

Now we’re trying to figure out what to do with Big Buck$. She’s currently for sale… any ideas?

Dirty Windshields Audiobook returns!

After about a year-and-a-half break to get some other things done, I have finally resumed the weekly audiobook chapters of “Dirty Windshields: the best and the worst of the Smugglers tour diaries.” 

Big thanks to Smugglers fan Sacramento Sandra, who I met up with this summer at the Punk Rock Museum in Las Vegas (where there is a Smugglers boot on display), for urging me to pick it back up again.

I’m into Part 3 now, during which I read aloud all the international touring stories, chronicling my band’s misadventures in Japan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. The podcast is free, and you can listen to the weekly chapters here.

Wha…?! Twenty years of the Flying Vees!

When I was growing up, I was never a sporty kid, never signed up for teams, didn’t like gym, but I did enjoy playing street hockey and pick-up baseball games – but wouldn’t dare play organized sports. I was too intimidated. As an adult, I wanted to overcome that feeling. I have always loved hockey, so twenty years ago my friends and I formed a hockey team called the Flying Vees (I write about all of this stuff in my second book “The Lonely End of the Rink”). 

The Vees’ roster was filled mostly with musicians and artists who could skate (luckily my parents forced me to learn how to skate as a kid). Somehow, someway, this September, we skated onto the ice for our twentieth season as a team. 

Along the way, we’ve won our fair share of championships, something I never thought possible as a scrawny kid. I tried to retire my goalie skates at the end of last season, but my teammates convinced me to keep playing… because, as my pal and teammate Pat “This is That” Kelly reasoned, “why quit something when you’re having fun? That’s like announcing, ‘I’m going to read ONE more book and then… that’s it! No more books!”

I guess he has a point… in the body works, and you can still get out there and have fun, it’s a gift.

Fall Tour:

Sun Oct 15, Whistler Writers Festival, Lost Lake Walk, with authors Yvonne Blomer, Justene Dion-Glowa, Rabbi Paul Plotkin. 9am start from the Chateau Fairmont. SOLD OUT!

Fri Oct 20, Community Hall, Fanny Bay, with musicians Jay Malinowski, Stephanie Cadman, Sarah Jane Scouten. SOLD OUT!

Sat Oct 21, Community Hall, Denman Island, with musicians Jay Malinowski, Stephanie Cadman, Sarah Jane Scouten. 

Thu Dec 7, The Cultch Historic Theatre, East Vancouver, with musicians Jill Barber, Dawn Pemberton, Luke Wallace, and comedian Charlie Demers. SOLD OUT!

Tickets to all shows here.

Jill Barber

As usual, my lovely wife has her own busy fall schedule, including shows in Alberta and, after living in BC for 15 years and counting, her first-ever shows in Washington and Oregon! Please help spread the word to our Cascadian neighbours.

Jill’s Fall Tour

Thu Nov 2, Festival Place, Sherwood Park, AB 

Fri Nov 3, Communitea Cafe, Canmore, AB  

Sat Nov 4, The Grand Theatre, Calgary, AB 

Fri Nov 17, Silver Moon, Bend, OR 

Sun Nov 19, Jack London Revue, Portland, OR 

Tue Nov 21, The Triple Door, Seattle, WA 

Wed Nov 22, Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop, WA

Tickets for all shows here.


Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Life, and hope to see you soon.

All the best from the West,

Grant Lawrence
Desolation Sound, BC


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