Namedropping

One afternoon I sold Robert Fripp a pack of American cigarettes when I was working at the Club in University Centre. He was on his way to CJUM FM for an interview.

Michael Ondaatje slept in our spare room in the basement of our suburban bungalow in Regina. He had come to read from “There a Trick with a Knife I’m Learning to do” and meet David Thauberger and Joe Fafard at the after party at our house. Groggy and hung over after 4 hours of sleep he asked me when I would wear a pair of gloves outside if I didn’t in January at 40 below.  I understand this was a once in a lifetime experience for Michael.  bp nichol wore a navy velvet pantsuit when he read at the University of Manitoba. Pat Lane talked about an experience in a Mexican whorehouse, which I won’t repeat. He just watched. He and Lorna were no longer two people. Lorna Crozier has agreed to judge Rhubarb’s Taboo poetry contest. She told me to read more slowly, when she heard me read from Lucky Man at the Current at the late reading at  the Thin Air  festival in 2005 or 6. I was too embarrassed to tell her I had filled the toilet with blood before I went on and I thought I was dying. Turned out to be a bad case of internal hemorrhoids. Ted Dyck met me at the bus and helped me break into the Wallace Stegner House when I arrived a day early.

 

Sean Virgo brought his friends to my reading about drinking (in downtown Winnipeg) and fighting (in Afghanistan) in the Cypress Hotel bar. Sold a copy of Lucky Man to one of the men at the bar who had to get up early to  collect hay bales in the morning.  Al Purdy didn’t trust anyone who didn’t drink beer when he was in the UMZOO pub. I gave him a bag of crabapples from my father’s tree, the picking of which is documented in Lucky Man. My dad died, I don’t think the crabapples killed him though, or Al. It was the last time he read in Winnipeg, and he left with a bag of crabapples.  Peter Gzowski announced my name from the Main Stage at the Folk Festival one night. He said “Gerhard, your friend Victor is in the first aid tent, could you pick him up on your way home.” I didn’t like Gzowski when I met him years later at an after party at Bonnie Burnard’s house. She was kind to me and encouraged smart people to have kids. He was in for a Writer’s Celebrity Trust Dinner. Clearly, I didn’t matter, or I was depressed and not feeling worthy. He was great on the radio. I did feel worthy standing toe to toe with Premier Grant Devine at a urinal in the basement of Government House in Regina at fabulous lunch, the bison steak was marvelous, and without looking over to him thanked him for the extra $1 million dollars he had just announced was going to the Saskatchewan Arts Board while his Finance Minister announced the largest provincial deficit in the provinces history.  It took more than that though to completely ruin the Conservative brand so they had to throw it out and start over. I’ve heard the new Premier Brad Wall is a Mennonite, or was; Mennonites are never quite sure which they are, though often tense. Sandra Birdsell  had a decent conversation with him,  and apparently he seems to be a decent man despite being the leader of the Saskatchewan Party which used to be the Conservative party. I lived in Sandra Birdsell’s house and worked on the Afghanistan Confessions in  her writing studio. Byrna Barclay came over for lunch one day and I had to much wine. She and Sandra both like to have breakfast at the Smitty’s on south Alberta where I met Byrna the second time. I  read DFW’s Infinite Jest from cover to cover that October, the year I didn’t get accepted to the Wallace Stegner House, looking after Sandra’s lovely dog while she was with her partner settling his mother’s affairs in Poland. My dead mother’s name is Susann (with two ns) My name is Victor Enns (also with two ns) and I’m stopping now because I’ve come to the end of the page and I’m a poet and don’t like to have my words go to a second page even though I have more names. Enough is enough. Talking about mothers, maybe I should start the piece on Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater I want to write. I am up late either because I mismanaged my meds or I got out of the house and spent time with my wife (who would rather be left out of this),  or saw a good movie with her on our fabulous new tv or had an epiphany. I’m betting on the meds though because I only had one glass of Riesling with my 6 ounces of grilled chicken and a salad with avocado and red pepper.

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