Hearts still on fire (no, really)
Launching a book in the weirdest of years
It’s been a weird year.
On the one hand, the book got a lot of wonderful press — a lot more media attention than most books get these days (i.e. none). I’m incredibly grateful to all that wrote about it, or had me on their podcast.
Old friends and new strangers have reached out to tell me how much they enjoyed it. One of the book’s subjects told me it was one of the best books he’s ever read about music, ever — and he apparently “reads them all” (and knowing him, I don’t doubt it). I’m sure some others are not as enthusiastic, but I haven’t heard from them — not even on the cesspool that is Twitter. And I have yet to hear anyone factually challenge something in the book, which I guess means I got it mostly right (or that the primary witnesses haven’t read it). So that’s all a big plus.
On the other hand, Covid prevented me from having the kind of large-scale book launch I’d been dreaming of for two years. My previous two books were launched with unforgettable, star-studded nights; I had hoped to top those. Massey Hall or bust, baby! After all, this book is about busting the bullshit of Canadian modesty.
But between not wanting to host a superspreader event in April 2022, and expecting any musical act I’d book to cancel last minute — and then getting Covid myself by the end of that month — it was all way too risky.
Instead, I held a small, completely masked event at Massey College (not Hall) for very close friends and people who helped with the book. Held in March 2022, shortly after I got my first physical copies, that was wonderful — and at least it was something. There was also a small event organized by the Bookshelf Cinema in Guelph where I got to see many old friends. That, too, was lovely.
For The Never-Ending Present, I toured the country. I never planned to do that this time: it’s not really economically feasible unless your book is already a bestseller. I did have a nice, small event in Montreal, at a new bookstore that only sells music books, Librairie Resonance — be sure to check it out when you’re in that town. The day after, I witnessed Arcade Fire cover the book’s title song (by Wolf Parade) in front of tens of thousands of people at Osheaga. That was thrilling.
Then things got weird.
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