From The Toronto Star:
You might think that Jian Ghomeshi is the quintessence of cool, but he’ll tell you he’s not.
The popular host of CBC Radio’s Q wears hip the way most people wear running shoes. With his tousled dark hair and perpetually chic stubble, the 45-year-old Iranian-Canadian radiates a with-it charm that endears him to his audiences.
Underneath it all, he’s still the insecure Persian boy who thought his world had ended when a random bully threw his beloved Adidas bag at Joan Jett during the 1982 Police Picnic concert, humiliating him in front of the icy blond beauty, Wendy, whom he’d waited a year to date.
Ghomeshi recounts his life at 14 in his first book, 1982, which hits the streets next week from Penguin Canada.
It’s a truly great read, a mashup of what it was like to be brown and adolescent in the largely white Thornhill of the early 1980s, along with the perceptive analysis of the period’s music you’d expect from the man who first tasted fame as a member of Moxy Früvous, that satirical ’90s band best described as The Barenaked Ladies with edge.
Ghomeshi has been riding high these days. In June, he won the Gold Award for Best Talk Show Host at the New York Festivals International Radio Awards and he learned this week that Q has survived a trial run to be offered a permanent prime-time slot on Manhattan’s prestigious WNYC.
But it was his adolescence that Ghomeshi spoke of in a booth at The Rivoli, the once and future home of Queen St. W. hipsterdom.
“It was a very particular time and life has changed so profoundly in the past 30 years,” he smiled.
Born in London, England, to Iranian parents, he arrived in Toronto in the late ’70s to a world where he might have been from another planet. “Are you an Arab? What kind of food do you eat?” are the kind of bewildered questions that his lily-white friends asked him.
“And we now live in a city where 50 per cent of the people here weren’t born here. It’s crazy, man,” he said.
But it isn’t just the ethnic differences that Ghomeshi highlights for readers. He wants to bring back a time where the only phones in a home allowed for no private conversations of any kind and it could take you months to find out your crush’s number.
“I also chronicle what it was like buying a record album in a hunter-gatherer society when it was a 3-1/2-hour trip to get to Sam the Record Man, score the album and get back home again.
“If a 14-year-old invests that much time into getting a record album, you have to ask if his relationship to that music is different than a 14-year-old’s today because all he has to do now is press a button.”
Music is at the heart of 1982, just like it’s at the heart of Ghomeshi’s life.
You learn about his passion for David Bowie, which led to his becoming smitten with a girl who looked just like Bowie and trying to emulate his idol’s look with a purple eyeliner someone abandoned after a theatre class.
“I tried to write this as honestly as I could. I thought, if I’m going to do this, I want it to be creative and entertaining and fun and a bit self-deprecating. But I wanted it to be real. Most of all. I couldn’t do this exercise and not explore my real feelings and that brought my parents to it.”
Continue reading the rest of the story on The Toronto Star