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Wednesday, 19 September 2018

books, music and poetry influences in 1969

Hi Sam and Tom,

Glad you enjoyed listening to the Humble Pie Song "30 days in the hole"  :  )-  The CD is still sitting in my old boom box in the laundry room, ready for whenever I need a little inspiratioon or a trip down memory lane.

I'm basically always available for a chat - one of the benefits of retirement. Pick your time next week and it should be fine for me.

Like I said on the back cover of EPID, I'd definitely read my Kerouac. I'd read his classic "On The Road" in high school, but reading "Dharma Bums" a few years later was probably far more important to my developing belief system.

As I also said on the back cover blurb, I was shy bookworm until I fell into the Eel Pie hippie lifestyle. My Brit dad was a big fan of George Orwell (altho Orwell's progressive politics and inquisitive mindset didn't seem to rub off on him). Orwell's adventures in "Road to Wigan Pier" and esp. in "Down and Out in Paris and London" were almost guidebooks for me for surviving the somewhat outrageous lifestyle I was thrust into after I resisted the Vietnam War.

Of course I'd read Basho's "Narrow Road to the Deep North", and styled myself a 'pschedelic Basho' in one of the early chapter headings of EPID.

A quirky book from my dad's bookshelf which resonated during my UK years was "Lavengro: The Romany Rye".

In the youth hostel visits of early days in the UK I carried around a copy of Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver's bio, "Soul on Ice".

Even tho reading was generally frowned upon as a waste of time in the commune, I remained a regular reader, and for some ungodly reason the first Christmas, while down with a horrible bout of flu, I read Norman Mailer's egocentric "Advertisements for Myself".

Another Eel Pier, Jumbo, exposed me to some of the 60s crop of Brit poets like Adrian Henri - I remember a horrible pun, his?,  about 'Liverpool's horny handed tons of soil' or somesuch.

While staying at Debbie Squires's (Little Debbie) house for short periods I listened to her eclectic, and in retrospective very tasteful, collection of late 60s music albums. I remember listening to the killer new Stones' album, "Let It Bleed" there. She was also a fan of fellow Canuck  poet turned musician Leonard Cohen. Also Moody Blues, Incredible String Band, Tea for the Tillerman, etc..

Of course THE BEATLES remained godlike figures for me and many other hippies. Surprisingly, tho, some Brit hippies didn't seem as taken with The Beatles as hippie avatars as we had been in North America. Those with avant-garde  pretensions preferred Pink Floyd's albums (oh, and I did attend a Floyd concert in Hyde Park - I remember the big buzz was having huge speakers placed around the site).  

Of course I'd pretty well memorized the lyrics to every Bob Dylan album up to my exile. Some of the lyrics were so pertinent to my situation - think "Like a Rolling Stone" - 'how does it feel, to be out on your own, with no direction home, a complete unknown, just like a rolling stone'.    

There are a lot of events I didn't cram into EPID. I wanted the book to be a scan, a concise overview of my adventures representing a kind of everyman hippie. Events I believe omitted from EPID include attending the Doors Concert at Dinner Key Auditorium in Coconut Grove, Miami, the night he was busted for obscenity. Then I flew to England a few weeks later in time to attend The Stones memorial concert for Brian Jones in Hyde Park. I really felt I was on some sort of dharmic hippie wavelength for a year or two in 1969. Also a bit earlier I'd  heard Hendrix in a high school gym on Miami Beach, The Velvet Underground on Miami Beach, and The Grateful Dead at one of the first Miami love-ins, The Jefferson Airplane in a Fort Lauderdale amusement park, etc. etc. .

memories, memories!

The tail end of the 60 was a time of wild experimentation and creativity for the human race. Evolution even ("Hair" - we're evolving thru the drugs  ;  )-

peace and best wishes!

Canadian Chris  ;  )-

On 2018-09-19, at 7:28 PM, Sam Gillett wrote:

Love it. Funny - Read so much about Newcastle Brown, nearly every piece on Eel Pie pays it it respects. Tried one the other day - not good. But apparently Heineken brews it now, which might explain things.

As Tom said finished 1st draft now. Lots more work to do, as I'm sure is the case with any 1st draft.

Would really love to get the chance to speak to you about the kind of books, poetry, and music you were into at the time. Are you free anytime next week to chat?

Very best


On Wed, 15 Aug 2018 at 04:16, Chris Faiers <> wrote:

The lyrics include a description that sounds an awful lot like the Eel Pie Hotel ballroom:

'you take a greasy whore
and a rolling dance floor'

also 'Newcastle Brown
it'll sure smack you you down'

(first time I visited the dance hall I bought a booze can bottle of Newcastle Brown from a rusty fridge)

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Garth Turner is a financial god

Hi Garth,

In the early 1980s I was living in a housing co-op in Toronto, living out the tail-end of the 1960s hippie lifestyle. Before the co-op I'd rented a house in TO's east end, splitting the rent with buddies. And before that, I'd actually lived in a hippie commune - more accurately a squat in an abandoned hotel on the outskirts of London, England, after opposing the Vietnam War and skipping countries. Shoulda come straight back to Canada, where I was born, but then I wouldn't have written my book, Eel Pie Island Dharma - Amazon available - about the experiences. (and amazingly a movie script has just been written based on the book, yet another story)

The hippies stole from each other, my east end room mates kept moving out to go back to school, get married, and get away from living with a bunch of aging dudes in a pseudo fraternity. The co-op was OK for a few years, but some of the board members were bossy, and then I dated a woman who had bought her own little house. That she could afford to do so on a meagre income similar to mine sparked my curiosity, while the neo-socialism of the co-op began wearing thin.

I desperately looked around for advice, and lo and beholden, there was your financial column in The Toronto Sun. Of course I had to hide my interest in your column from my leftie friends, and even hid your book under a pile of Marxist-Lenist dogma to keep some shreds of my progressive reputation.

In the mid-1980s TO real estate took a major set back, and I was able to buy a rundown semi in a termite zone just west of The Beaches. Hard to believe now - I scooped it for $45,500 in 1985 when my salary was well under $20K a year as a desk clerk for Toronto Public Library.

Three years later the TO real estate market was booming again, and I sold my ratty little semi for $150K - triple what I'd paid for it. I'd also paid off the second mortgage through thriftiness and a few nice triactor wins at Greenwood Racetrack, and followed my poetic dream of retreating to rural Ontario. After that big score (for a Canadian poet) I haven't had a mortgage since. The neat little bungalow I bought for $60K north of Belleville has allowed me the freedom to write bad poetry (and hippie memoir), knowing I'd always have a place to live without fending off thieving hippies, shiftless room mates or bossy co-op board members.

The spin-offs from my minor real estate success have been quite the ongoing stories. Because I was the lowest paid staffer at the library, all the other staffers decided they had to buy houses if a lowly clerical could. At least two of those co-workers now own mansions in The Beaches worth millions (wish they'd kick a few bucks back to the hippie/poet clerical who'd pushed them so many years ago). Et tu my leftie friends, all of whom had scolded me for being a capitalist for buying - horrors - a house. My rebuttal to their socialist silliness was the rhetorical reply, "what's progressive about making some landlord rich?" After all, the basis of Marxism is owning the means of production. So why not ditto owning your own residence. Eventually the old comrades moved out of the co-ops and bought houses, and a few have actually thanked me in recent years for the wisdom I gleaned from your columns and books.

The success stories of real estate financial independence have continued in my rural existence. I helped convince a blue collar buddy to buy a bank power of sale, which he did over two decades ago for $30K. He's had an ongoing run of bad luck with factory jobs - getting laid off time after time as Ontario deindustrializes. But as I'd advised him, buying the small village house at such a low cost and then paying it off in a decade has assured him that he'll always have a roof over his head, even when he's unemployed. As a bonus, the bungalows in our village are on the outer rim of affordable housing for TO and Oshawa retirees, and our houses are now worth almost $200K.

My blue collar friend's bro is far more materialistic, and when he finished university he couldn't get a decent paying job in Canada. He moved to Japan to teach English, where he made a good salary. His initial investments with a distant relative were a disaster, so he desperately wanted financial advice. I told him to buy rental real estate, which he did. He invested in several multi-unit buildings in the closest small city, letting his tenants pay off the mortgage. I told him how to leverage his net worth from the first building to buy more buildings, and being a natural entrepreneur, he followed this advice. He also married a wealthy Japanese woman, and eventually inherited the family estate and business. With his Canadian real estate investments, he could have retired in his early forties. But he's the kind of person who could fall into a swimming pool of dog poop and find a way to prosper. He's now enjoying life and a new career promoting Japanese tourism and getting featured in TV ads in Japan.

So belated thanks, Garth! The advice I gleaned and then shared  from your columns and books has literally enriched the lives of many  of my friends and acquaintances over the decades.

peace, prosperity and poetry power!

Chris (Faiers)