Saturday, November 15, 2008

Return To The Gillers; or Kevin O'Leary's Looking Thin

Literary gossip's a big thing. Who knew? This 'site, which I started after watching Daphne Marlatt surreptitiously eat a bunch of muscat grapes in the Yonge/York Mills Loblaws, is starting to draw significant traffic.

A lot of it's coming for New Orleans. That's the cradle of Boyden territory. He teaches down there; he's got friends and family down there. They were cruising Google, looking for news of Boyden's Giller win, and they landed in the loveseat beside Adler.


If Joseph's literary debt to A.R.M. Lower is a surprise...well, I'm sorry you had to read about it here. But I will go on record and say that he did not write Through Black Spruce at Marian Engel's grave. That was Hugh MacLennan. (And it wasn't a novel; it was a letter to Rosie DiManno.)

I'm just cleaning up some reminiscences of Giller night, and I thought I'd share them here. Hundreds of people--most of them brothers and sisters of Marie-Claire Blais--seem interested in knowing what happened behind the classy velvet curtains of The Four Seasons. And I can't resist telling all that I know.

Neil Smith was there. I don't know if I mentioned that in an earlier post, but the author of Bang Crunch was sitting at my table. He didn't want to talk about books. I said, "So what do you think about Lam?"

He said, "Fucking wool..."

A strange answer, but Neil's a strange man. I once saw him return a set of house keys to a homeless man at Christie and Bloor.

I kicked Bob Rae's shin. "Nexen's in play," I said. "You know that."

"What?" Bob asked.

But Neil jumped in. "You follow stocks?"


"Do you watch BNN?"

"All the time."

"I love Kevin O'Leary."

Kevin O'Leary's a fund manager/banker who co-hosts BNN's Squeeze Play--their prime-time show. He's rich, he's candid, and he's a lot less vapid than most people on TV. I guess his only fault--if he has one--is that he believes greed should replace breast milk for nursing infants.

"He's entertaining." I said. "Although I'd like him a lot more if he'd admit that he's lost money."

"Oh, he's lost money."

"I know, but he won't admit it."

"Have you noticed how thin he is?"

"Yeah. He does look different."

"Different? It's night and day. I was telling my friend, he either had a facelift, or he's lost thirty pounds. His face is like an axe. It's like he's sucking in his cheeks. But they never show him standing up, so you can't tell."

"That's true. But he's on all the time. You think he had a facelift? When? He hasn't missed a full week in a couple of months. David Fleck's spun his goddamn pen for two--maybe three--days in a row. That's not enough time. Maybe a chemical peel..."

"Well, something's different."

"He's lost some money. And he's lost some weight. Do you ever watch CNBC? Karen Finerman looks like she has her makeup done at Benjamin's. Guy Adami lent her his tanning bed. She's wearing closed-toed shoes just to hide the tag."

"What's Benjamin's?"

"That's a Jewish funeral chapel. Very famous in Toronto."

"Oh. But he's got no wrinkles. His face is smooth. Gaunt. If you lost weight, wouldn't there be hanging skin, or creases?"

"Neil," I said, "it's a mystery."

"I notice it every night."

"Who'd miss it?"

"But Amanda looks good." He started to whisper. "I love it when she needles him about the shippers. Robert Peel." I nodded, and Neil looked toward the podium. "Oh, Seamus is starting. We'll talk about this later."

At that point O'Regan ascended the stage, taking his place behind the microphone. "Ladies and gentlemen, it's a pleasure to be here tonight. I just flew in from Moncton, and are my arms tired..."

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All Posts On This Site Are Intended As Juvenalian Satire. If They Veer Into Horatian Satire, That's OK Too. Just, Please, Don't Take Them Too Seriously. PhD Students Can't Afford Libel Suits. CUPE Doesn't Cover Court Costs.
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