Richard Burton

I hung out with Richard Burton for a while and he told me dozens of stories and "confessions" that have not been published anywhere elseWhile shooting 'Circle of Two' in Toronto, I met him him at the 22 he invited me to lunch with him and  I was his drinking buddy for the rest of movie we got to gether 3 or 4 times a week over 3 months and again when he came back to do Camalot and he told me dozens of jokes and stories and a few confessions all of which I wrote down at the time and have shaped into stories   called 'Lunch with Richard". 
I am now living in Louisbourg Cape Breton island. Being out of the loop I am having difficulty selling my story. I wonder if I could interest cbc in my endevours.

 he recounts a couple of young actor stories one about Ralph Richardson and one about himself.

here is that example

I was on that same sort of circuit myself early in my career, I was playing one of the summer theaters and the Lord and Lady invited me out to the local Manor for the weekend. I meet the Butler at the door and he sniffs down his nose at me and shows me to my room.
I didn't pay too much attention at the time but I knew vaguely that it was in the old part of the manor, it was a long narrow room, painted white with a four poster at the far end with a night table and a lamp. I was to find out later that there was no electricity in this part of the manor.There was also a fireplace and near the door an ornate antique writing desk with a fresh bouquet of flowers in a vase.So the Butler starts to open my bag and offers to help me dress for dinner but I don't want him to see my poor belongings so I got him out of there and put on my old threadbare theater tux and went down for cocktails before dinner.
We had dinner, it was pleasant enough. I of course already had a taste for fine liquor in those days and not a lot of money to buy it so I was delighted to find the Manor had a well stocked bar and a fine collection of single malt whiskies and I got right in to it.
I must have drank A TOTAL OF three bottles by the time I tottered off to bed about twelve and fell into deep sleep.
Well, after all that Scotch I wake up in the middle of the night totally dehydrated and absolutely parched.
I must have a drink of water, and it's then that I realize there is no electricity in this old part of the mansion, that I don't have a match for the lamp and I don't know where the loo is, and its pitch black as well.
I am absolutely dying of thirst after drinking all that scotch and I must have a drink, of anything.
I am lying there feeling very miserable When I remember the vase of flowers. Ah water!
So I get out of bed and feel my way from the night table to the window and pat my way down the wall, past the fireplace down the wall I feel around blindly for the desk and the flowers.
Only in the dark I tip it all over and I can feel the water dripping everywhere, so I push and pat the water on to the floor and since I can't see anything I must give up and head back to bed.
I feel my way along the wall and past the fireplace, then I pat my way along the wall until I feel for the night table and crawl back into bed. I pull the sheets over me and lay there very miserable until first light and then to my horror I see it wasn't the flowers I knocked over.
I had knocked over a huge writing horn full of ink and the ink was everywhere, over the desk and the floor then there were my hand prints all over the wall across the mantelpiece, then all along the wall again across to the night table and all over the bed clothes. The mess was everywhere, it was hopeless.What could I do? I was thoroughly embarrassed. How can you possibly explain it?
I packed my things hitchhiked back to town and then caught the next bus to London.
We all wait for it.
You can see the Lord telling his guests the next weekend. "We had this actor chap over last weekend, you know he dipped his hands in ink and printed his hand prints all up and down the walls of his bedroom wiped them off on the bed sheets and then disappeared into the night"
"Strange people these actor chaps."
Long pause. twittish
"Strange people these actor chaps."
Again Richard tipped his glass and drained it in his unusual manner while we cheered his tale.
It is hard to describe how well he told them.
The stories were completely new to me and the perfection of the voice and timing were awesomeI believe The Voice could read his laundry list to thunderous applause.

Patrons keep sending bottles of wine to the table and the more he drinks the more he reveals
There are stories about broadway and Hume Cronyn. Stories of friends in wales, Stories of Elizabeth etc. there are confessions and predictions and even his finances. I guarantee dozens of tales that have never been heard before.

We are left with a more complete understanding of Richard Burton as a master entertainer a very ordinary man at heart who thorelly enjoyed his life

Peter Czowski

Wilde said people shouldn't be judged on whether they are bad or good but whether they are charming or tedious. The CBC nickname for peter was Saint peter and peter was no saint.

I met Peter when he was doing his TV Show. I guess it put him under a lot of pressure. He would come to my bar a couple of times a week to unwind. We spent many a night just the 2 of us in my backroom playing pinball for 20 bucks a game. We talked about a lot of things. One morning for some reason we were both chasing the same lady and neither one of us would give in. We ended up back at his place, with the lady making breakfast or  At eight o clock in the morning we were sitting at his kitchen table on Yorkville Ave. with a bottle of wine on the go. We were very very drunk.
Out of the blue he stops and says. "Want to know what is the most important thing I ever did in my life?" Of course I said "Sure." he proceeded to tell me about a hockey game he had played. Something about beating a really tough team from another town. I don't remember how old he was when he played this game or anything. I just thought of all the things he had accomplished and that is what he thought of. It was not long after this that Peter wrote "The Game Of Our Lives."

Peter sometimes brought some of guests to my place. through his show I met Jack Webster, Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Waites to name a few.
a lot of Peter's staff were regulars at the bar. And many the day I had to send a taxi to CBC with the master script of the next nights show that somebody left behind. I did many favours for Peter like lend him a room for card games with Michael MacClear, Bobby Miller etc.
Both Peter and I liked to play the horses and I met him at the track more than a few times. Once I met him after the first race and was surprised that he left. He left his pile of tickets behind and he had lost over 500 dollars on the first race.
Gary Maclean introduced me to Burton. He brought him to my Bar.So I buy him a drink and then I had to kick him out because he attacked Peter Czowski. So he comes back apologizes , I buy him a drink and he goes back and attacks Peter again (more verbal then physical but never the less threating and Peter is like my best customer.(not just drinking but i took hundreds off of him playing pinball)
Burton did this twice more until I wouldn't let him back in. Over the course of the next couple of years he apologized     and we became friends.

After The TV show I didn't see him for some years.
Then I ran into him on the Esplanade one day.
"Peter " I said where the hell have you been."
"sorry, man he said but you just remind me of a very bad time in my life."

Jack Bush

Jack Bush
I met Jack Bush a couple of times a week over about 6 weeks before i knew who he was.
In 1965 I was rejected by the OCA, I knew I was an Artist so I read that Artists hung out at the Pilot so I went there and sat at the bar. (mostly too early in the day because of my shift.)So there is a dapper little man in a quiet suit with steel gray hair and neatly trimmed moustache sitting beside me drinking Martinis. We struck up a conversation which rose to a level I wasn't used to. this guy had amazing insights into art etc and I really enjoyed talking to him. I ran into him several times and always had an enjoyable conversation.
It took me a couple of weeks to find out that the artists hung out in the big dark back room and rareley came in before 5pm.
It took me a while to break into the Artist clique in the back. I became friends with Jerry Santbergen who was a bit of an outsider himself at that time.
Jerry and I went into  the Pilot for lunch one day and I passed my friend on the barstool. I said Hi and he said" I see you found some artists." We went up to the back and Jerry said"Wow you know Jack Bush" He is a pretty good artist.
I didn't even know. Anyway I became a good friend of Jacks and we always talked at parties and openings besides the Pilot. He always invited me to his openings and he always had a lot of time for me and was a joy to talk to.

Michael Ironside

Yes I used to be in the movie business but when I met Michael I was
Toronto's leading  'bootlegger' I owned an after hours club that was
basically for musicians but I expanded it to the famous. I was notorious
in the 60's for my lavish  parties and I slowly built up an illegal
business it was a lot of fun and very profitable and I met everybody and
their dog. Mike was teaching at the Art College of Ontario and had made
this acclaimed 8mm film thought he was somebody. I was the King of
Toronto and we clashed it took a couple of years for us to become
friends but when we did we were good friends. Mike got his scar before I
met him. He was sitting in his girlfriend's house having a beer and
waiting while she changed as they were going out, suddenly there was a
hammering at the door and when he open it up this  drunk guy attacked
him screaming that he was stealing his girlfriend.  in the course of the
brawl the guy broke the bottle and gashed Mike face Mike thought he had
lost his eye and he freaked out  he actually tore one of the  guy's eye
out. After the police and the ambulance and everything was sorted out
the guy had the wrong house his girlfriend lived next door.
Uxbridge is just north of Toronto. Where about in Florida do you live?
I love Florida I sailed out of Miami back in the very early 70's (before
I had the after hours club and the movie business I spent 15 months
sailing the Caribbean  I used to be in the Canadian Navy) I have a half
brother that lives in Clearwater and an old friend that lives in
Melbourne I visited both of them 3 years ago
I got in the movie business after the after hours business. I got into
the movie business by phoning a producer twice a week for 2 and half
years. I wrote 5 screenplays (none were produced) and made movies with
Richard Burton, Tony Perkins, Susan Clark, Howard Duff,  on and on.20
Anyway this blends into another letter if you mail me again I will be
glad to tell more It is kind of fun to remember it all. I actually wrote
a great true story about Lunch with Richard if you are interested I will
send it you. These stories about Michael seem rather wild and there is
lots to tell but there are even some I can't tell. Mike's ex-wife is a
police woman named 'Ironside' 20
Yes he has a daughter but I haven't seen her for years. I have a
daughter a few years older than Mike's. Nice kid many many years since I
have seen her.
 I went to Peterborough with Mike just after the release of 'Visiting
Hours". His father had a had heart attack and I went with Mike to visit
him. It was quite an experience a lot of people in that hospital had
seen visiting hours and you should have seen the looks on their faces
when Mike walked by.
I really don't think about 'spilling the beans' I find it amusing that
Mike has such a big fan club. For me it just fun to remember what a
wildman he used to be and write some of these things down. Anyway I hope
you enjoy these tales they are written just as I remember them.
This letter was in part to some else from your fan club so I added a few
things and sent it to you as well. It's not that I mean to be impersonal
it's just modern times mon!

I talked on the phone to Mike last year and he sort of brushed me off.
Which was a little disappointing as we were such close friends and our
list of adventures together read some like sort of weird underground
action adventure. I understand why. I was a part of his past that he
doesn't particularly want remember. He is has been clean and sober for about
12 years and this is probably good as he would most likely be dead or in
jail if he had kept on. I wouldn't say that I liked him better as a
drunk but he certainly was interesting and we had a lot more in common
than we do now. A mike story: We used to drink at the Club 22 at the
Windsor Arms in Toronto. One night my friends Johnny Hart and Jack
Caprio who draw the cartoon BC were in town and I joined them for a few
drinks with Mike in tow. Michael got fairly hammered. I got up to meet
another old friend Catherine O'Hara from SCTV she had her parents with
and introduced  them to me as I shook hands with her mother, I gave a
bit of a bow, as I did Michael came up behind me and bit me on the ass
and wouldn't let go. It was unbelievable I jumped and hollered and leapt
around the room but he wouldn't let go. It took Jack and Johnny and a
couple of waiters to get him off of me and I don't know why, he just
thought it was funny, and when it stopped hurting I laughed too. Mike
was barred for that but I managed to get him reinstated and the next
afternoon we drank $400 of margaritas between us.20
 I remember the next morning after that we went for brunch at Joe Allens
with lady friends Mike ordered a triple Bloody Caesar  with a shot of
Vodka on the side. This is Mike's favorite story at AA
Back in the mid seventies I used to own an after hours club and Mike
spent a couple of bad years drinking himself into the ground. As often
as not he would pass out in the club and I would just put a blanket over
him and leave him there. I lived over the bar and one night I wake up
with this horrible thumping through the floor. I go downstairs to find
Mike with his face stuck to the bar. He had managed to get a hold of a
pool cue and thumped it on the ceiling. I had just put in a new bar and
got this guy to put a plastic top on it. He made a mistake and the bar
top didn't set properly. Michael in his stupor crawled up on the bar and
fell asleep on it. It was quite a job to pry him loose without anymore
Mike and I had several pretty good fights. Like one night Michael and
Winston Rekert  (Neon rider) went to see Willie Dixon at the El Macombo.
This is after both of them had made a couple of good movies and things
were beginning to happen for them. We had met some interesting young
ladies and wanted to party later. Well I have this very fussy friend who
had gone to Poland for a month or two and had left me the key to his
apartment. So I invited everyone back to his place which was just down

Winston had just finished a movie  and was flush.. So Winston and Michel Ironside and Alberta Watson and Winston's account Jerry and I are sitting around at Jerry's drinking beer smoking dope and snorting coke. We were getting pretty crazy and we thought we should order some food. the subject of ribs came up and jerry said the best ribs in the world were from  Fat Willy’s Rib Shack in Chicago. So Winston  say can we get some?. Jerry got on the phone with plane tickets and taxis etc we had ribs from Fat willy's in 4 hours for about a thousand dollars or so.

Kid Bastien's Camellia Band

I was manager of Kid Bastien's Camellia Band for about a year. I thought my job was to promote the band , get them gigs make them successful etc.I couldn't have been more wrong. I made a deal with owner of Yonge Station for his second floor bar., I made a dream contract with big money for everybody and Artistic control and design control everything you could think of. Everybody in the band was ecstatic, it was they all wanted. Cliff turned it down, he had his life sorted out the way he wanted. He like making signs and gold leaf etc and playing a few times a week and wasn't going to change.  This brought an end to the Camellia  band and the start of Happy Pals. I sold my motorcycle and went down south sailing for a year or so.

Fats Domino was playing the El Macambo. I was sitting in Grossman's when out of the blue Cliff Bastien asked I I wanted to go up the street and see Fats so I agreed we went up and caught the first set. Fats did his shtick lots of hits to playwith and had the place jumping. For the last number of the set he thumps really hard and pushes the piano across the stage with his stomach as he plays. When the set was over Cliff led me up to the dressing room and rapped on the door. Fats opened the door with a big smile and a hug for Cliff and invited us in. After the introduction we sat down and cliff gave Fats the lowdown on a bunch of people in New Orleans. Fats smiled at me and said 'Damn he knows more about my family than I do." I learned that Cliff had lived in New Orleans for a while and Fats'uncle had t                                                    aught Cliff how to play the banjo and Cliff was friends with quite a few of Fats relatives. Fats dedicated a song to his friend'Kid Bastien' in the second set. It was a night to remember.

Elizabeth Ashley

I used to hang out with Elizabeth, We were great friends. Eating at the underground railroad and drinking at the 22. She usually stayed at the Windsor Arms. We would ride around in her limousine supplied by the movie company smoking weed and snorting you know what. She was married to a buddy of mine so we were mainly friends came close a couple of times. She got in trouble over a couple of late nights with me that night I ended up when everybody left lying on her belly while she shoved cocaine up my nose. I have trouble telling that one.
. I wasn't exactly heartbroken when she broke up with my buddy but I was when she got busted at the border and could't come to Canada anymore. Anyway this is a good article she is a brainy broad and a lot of good lines . we laughed a lot. Elizabeth and I hung out quite a bit.

A great Canadian Railway HotelStory

Paperback Hero (1973)was a Canadian Movie shot in  Delisle, Saskatchewan,
It was about A hockey player in a small town begins to lose his grip on reality, and starts to believe that he is a gunslinger in the Old West.
3 of my really great friends worked on the movie -Franz Russel, and Elizabeth Ashley and Jim McCarthy (Who later married)
Franz and Jim shared a room at the CN hotel.After an evening of drinking at the bar Jim and Franz returned to the room and Franz felt like a nosh and called room service.
"Do you have Eggs Benidict"he asked"?. No sir we dont was the reply. So  Franz hung up and called the CP Hotel across the street. "Do you make Eggs Benidict? he asked again. Yes Sir was the reply. The CP Hotel was glad to oblige and soon a waiter carried a silver service across the streetm through the lobby and up the elevator to their room.

Director: Peter Pearson
Writers: Barry Pearson, Les Rose
Stars: Keir Dullea, Elizabeth Ashley,

Fight with Mingus

It was back in the seventies he was playing at Sherbourne and Charles and doug bush took me to meet him, Now I had a lot of black friends in those days and hung out with them and Doug and I had a run in over a girl at one time.anyway Doug led me down a path that charlie took offense to, and became an argument and I had to leave. Too bad. It was very much Black Power days and I was just a whitey to Charlie anyhow.

Harold Town (not Harry, it's Harold)

Harold Town (not Harry, it's Harold)

I met Harold at the Pilot Tavern he was not a regular there.
we got into some long discussion and he invited me back to his place.
We go to the den and he takes 2 quarts of Scotch out of the cupboard and
he hands me one and a glass. We tour around the house looking at works of Art.

Mostly his, really impressive. We end up in the basement sitting on carasol horses which he collects.
He also shows me a old xray machine he was experimenting with. (I think it might of killed him)
And so we shot the shit til the scotch was gone. he got me some blankets and a couch to crash on.
Not much to talk about next morning heavy hangovers coffee and gone.

"Toronto is a one Town town".

I dropped in on Harold several times after midnight always welcomed with a bottle of Scotch.
I remember some people being there the next morning like wife kids ? I was never introduced.

One night after the Pilot had closed I dropped in with Duke Rebird. he went ballistic. He told be not bring any friends . Then he took a look at Duke. Hey aren't you Redbird that guy trying to smarten up ACTRA.
I'd like to talk to you.
So I was forgiven. he gives Duke and I each a bottle of Scotch and we take the tour.
Only after most of the Scotch. Harold is somhow become a native and is Duke's ally against the whiteman Me?

Harold described one of favorite moments paddling a canoe on a very foggy night in a friend's swimming pool in Claremont.

I liked Harold a lot he was creative and quite brilliant. he was difficult to be friends with. he was slighted easily and always critical. One night he did a sketch of me (I wish I had it) So I grabbed his drawing stuff and did one of him. "Hey that isn't bad." he said which is about as close to a compliment as you got.

I went his studio a few times it had been owned by AY Jackson at one time. it was full paintings everywhere he had bought an adjacent studio just for storage and that was full.

One night I was going to a party and I stopped by his place and asked if wanted to go. It was basically an Artist's party and they were usually pretty good back then. It took some prodding but he finally agreed. He was concerned that all Artists seemed to be taking verbal shots at him. He grabbed a bottle of Scotch and a bottle of Vodka and away we went. it was at a studio on Spadina. We got there about 11 and lasted an hour everybody was taking verbal shots at him and he wanted to go. I was driving so we grabbed the bottle of Vodka and took off up Spadina.

He swore he would never go to another "artist" party. Then he said Doesn't Iskowitz live around here?
I pulled over sure right here. I pointed up to a window. It was a hot summer night and Gershon's studio window was open and the light was on. So there is Town and screaming at the 3rd story window, GERSHON! ISKOWITZ! over and over. Gershon comes to the window and looks down at us and closes the window. We leave laughing.

I started doing a lot of sailing around then.

One night Harold said I could have his sailboat. He says it had been sitting at boatyard in Kingston for a couple of years, He couldn'r sail it himself and he was afraid it would rot away. He owned it with his dentist and Jack McLellland. He got their permission to give it to me. I was excited

It was a beauty from the photos a 40 ft yawl of some famous design. I gather some sailing buddies and went down to Kingston to see it. It was beyond repair. it had sat outside uncovered for 3 years with the hatches open. It was a real shame.

I went sailing for 15 months in the Caribbean and sort of lost touch with Harold and he really never forgave me.

I ran into him at the 22 once a few months before he died of cancer. He kind a gave me a hard time. Like some friend you are. he was as contempuous of cancer as he was of anything but he wasn't the same it was wearing him down. I think of Harold often especially when I am being too critical.

Deputy returning Officer July 8, 1974

 Deputy returning Officer July 8, 1974
I had just returned to Toronto and I was hanging around Grossmans. Al got jobs for Gord Jones, Krash and I as Deputy Returning Officers for the Tory party. I ended up at an Italian house someplace south of Christie and Bloor.
I was on my own only the old grandmother was left home and she spoke very ltttle English. I managed to borrow a bible and set up the voting box and layout the voter list. It was slow going most of the day and the grandmother brought me a beer every couple of hours. It picked up about 4 oclock and I had to turn away a couple of new citizens which was upsetting but tose were the rules. When the polls closed a couple of scrutineers from the liberals and NDP showed up. The NDP guy really gave me a hard time which was funny. I assure you it was the fairest count possible. once it was sealed I waited to be picked up by then the rest of the extendended Italian family was home. The grandfather asked if i wanted a drink. Sure I said he brought out some homemade liqueur and poured us both glasses.  After a couple drinks he asked "Hey who you vote for? I told him I voted NDP. "I vote for Trudeau he said but who give a fuck eh!"

How I almost managed the colonial

The Colonial
I had a friend Beau Chorney who I met through Ratch Wallace. We were social friends for a few years and he came to my club a few times. Hehad 3 gold seats at Maple leaf Gardens which he let me have 4 or 5 times a year. So after I closed my first club. I had a couple of meetings with him and his lawyer for lunch. One meeting was at a greek restaurant on Market St. that had a belly dancer. Beau had a special table almost in the middle of the dance floor. he was insisting that I try his octopus. What he didn't see was that the sweating belly dancer had swung her arm across our table and a ball of sweat had dropped onto the octopus. I of course refused and so thought I was afraid to eat octopus which is not true. Any how the meeting was about that he had just bought the Colonial and wanted me to manage it.He also bought the four seasons hotel and part of the deal was a small suite there as well. I also went to dinner one night with his lawyer at Fridays. The dinner was with his some of his clients. Yvan Cournoyer, Henri Richard and Frank and Peter Mahovlich. Peter was late he had just bought a rolls royce and he pulled up and we all went out to the street to see it. When he got out he dropped a Heineken bottle.
Anyway shortly after Beau called said the deal was through and I was to go down to the Colonial and meet a man and tell him I was the new manager and he would be down later. so I go down and go in the office where there is a group of very serious looking men are going through the files. I asked for my contact and told them I was the new manager per mr Chorney. I was told briskly Well that didn't happen. I never saw Beau again. His phone was disconnected. His lawyer promised to get back to me didn't happen. I have no idea what happened if it was a hoax I don't know why. I asked Ratch and he never saw him agin either.

Going Down the Road.

 Going Down the Road.
When I was living at Hazelton Ave. in Toronto (we had a commune)  there was a premier or preview of 'Going Down the Road' at the New Yorker.
I went with Melinda, Carla ad Helen and Pauline. Pauline and i were going together at the time.
We were knocked out by the movie and afterwards we went to the Pilot and we all raved about it. we felt it was a big step for Canadian Movies. Pauline really liked it. anyway they wanted to go back to Hazelton and i stayed on for a few more drinks.
so I am sitting there and who walks in but Paul Bradley. We hit it off we were friends from almost the first moment we met. We had a couple of hours of drinking and story telling and somewhere in
this haze i got a great idea. it was Pauline's birthday on Friday and we were having a party. So I talked Paul into coming and to play his character of Joey from the movie (this was not difficult). This was my idea of a crazy birthday present for Pauline.

Friday night Paul showed up with a friend (who kinda looked like McGrath) Introduced as Joey and just blew Pauline and the girls away. Paul is a traveling roadshow by himself and after a couple of hours went into entertainment mode. we had lots of drugs and booze and food and he ended up staying for a couple of days and we were good friends for ever more. Over the years we would get to gether every once in a while and have a  good get together.

Cayle Cherin was Salina. She went off to Hollywood and Dennis Hopper etc. Anyway just after i opened my after hours club about 5 years later. Cayle showed up on the scene I didn't recognize her to me she was this mysterious beautiful girl who started hanging around the 22 and Grossmans etc.
Then one night she shows up at my bar with some guy. Didn't like him much but ended up playing poker dice with him. I won about $300 off him. it was late and we all had a bunch of drink into us. When he said he didn't have any money left. I said half joking I will play you one more game. you win you get your $300 dollars back I win I get your girlfriend. He said ok and we rolledthe dice as  Cayle looked askance. When I won Cayle went into a bit of a tirade and told guy to get lost who did he think he was etc.I guess she though i was a better deal because she paid off and we dated for a while but even better became really good close friends. for the rest of her life we were really good buddies and enjoyed our friendship. I skyped her just a few days before she die. I really miss her. She was an extremely brilliant writer, actor and producer.

Bonaventure V sailing

Bonaventure, Buffalo, and Beer
In the summer of 1975 I worked with Paul Dzuban For Bernie Herman on his C&C 53 racing yacht.
One of the more memorial stories was delivering Bonaventure from Toronto to Detroit. They were going to get the boat ready to race in the Macinaw Bernie gave me a 1000 dollars for food and a 1000 dollars for booze and we had a bunch of our friends for crew. Gord and katie, Krash and Wendy and Matt for a few. We had a geat time endless beer and I bought a bunch of really good wine. I cooked Sunday dinner in Lake Erie  of Roast leg of lamb and lobster for starters. That night we hit one of Erie's famous storms and we were flying my watch was around midnight and I loved it on the wheel when we were flying over 15 knots and I was was just as happy to take Matts watch as he was a bit apprehensive about his turn. So the storm blew out and before noon we were sailing up Lake St. clair approaching Detroit when we thought it best to throw our drugs over the side. As we started this Paul came up with a bright idea and told everybody to give him their drugs and we did. His idea was that when we tied up nobody was allowed to leave the boat except him.  He had to go to phonebooth and call customs and immigration. So he thought he would stash the drugs in the phonebooth and come back afterwards. So we tie up Paul makes sure he has a dime and heads for phonebooth. Suddenly over the otherside come a raid by customs and immigration with guns drawn. Who what where etc. Who is the Captain. Paul goes to phone loses dime comes back forgetting to stash drugs to get another dime. Paul sees all these armed policemen types and all of us pointing at him. That he didn't shit his pants at that moment is much to his credit. They searched the boat from stem to stern but did no body searches. They were pissed off because we still had so much booze on board. I explained to the man in charge that Canadians no longer smuggled booze into United States that we intended to smuggle booze out of the United States. I promised we would not touch the booze until we got back to Canada and flashing $500.00 I promised to go buy American booze immediatley. So they let us go booze and dope intact.
We had a day at the Detroit Yacht Club to get some work done and everybody went shopping. We went to some dance at a private club being careful to arrange cabs back to the Yacht Club as were i downtown Detroit. so we sail to Sarnia were the racing crew was to pick up the boat and most of us get off. After a long night of partying Paul and I tie up at the custom dock about 9 am on Sunday morning everybody else is sleeping.  Nobody about just a phone with sign call officer. We call a half hour later officer shows up in bathrobe and slippers. Got anything to declare Deckshoes a few beer we mumble- he reads long spiel about regulations He then asks if there is anybody else on board.We say yes. "Did they buy anything?" Deckshoes booze. He shrugs well tell them and reads spiel again. We laugh and tie up.

So Somebody came to Sarnia to pick us up to drive back to Toronto. I had to detour to Buffalo to pick up some part or something. There was Gord Jones And krash and Wendy for sure and a couple of others. When we got to Buffalo we picked up the part and it was like 1 oclock pm and everybody was hungry. We stopped at a restaurantand I saw a bar across the street. I told them to come over when they were done and headed for the bar. I was the only one there it was dark and weird and decorated with paintings of Vampires and Gansters. I sat at the end of the bar by a small stage with a big old Wurlitzer jukebox. The bartender got my beer and went back to what he was doing. So I look around had a couple of sips and walked over to the jukebox and put in a quarter and got 3 songs. I sit down to drink and listen when from out of the back comes out a totally naked, nude except for her shoes , gogo dancer gets on the stage and starts dancing besdide me. I say hey you dont have to do that for me," just as the gang comes throught the door. What is going on they ask"? I have no idea I say and we head out.
 I used to deliver Bonaventure V a 53 ft SORC raceboat for Bernie Herman but I refused to race it because he wouldn't allow beer aboard.until one time his crew could make a race and Bernie asked me to get my wedensday night race gang together. I refused until he allowed beer. We raced across Lake Ontario and it was the only race he won that year. (Oh did I mention we did it on one tack. We never had to do a thing except drink beer and watch John North sail to victory) We celebrated anyway

Art Stories

Typical me
A few years and many Art Shows later I was dating an Artist (I tried but can't remember her name) who was showing at the Roberts Gallery. She was part of the Christmas group show and had two paintings in the show so she invited me to go to the opening with her. The show was at 8pm and at 7:30 we are in a large line waiting for the doors to open. It was cold and I had never seen anything like it. At 8 the doors open and everybody runs. So I run too  ?? to the bar. Nobody there. Everybody ran to the walls and had their hand on a painting. They sold every painting in minutes. Girl was a bit pissed at me.  But in all my years of going to Art Openings I never saw another one like this.They had a great bar.

I went with Nancy Hazelgrove.
She was a really good artist and a very nice person. I was living at the commune at 127 Hazelton. Nancy kind of fell for me and kind of moved in with me. she gave me a great painting that hung at the foot of my bed. I really liked her we got along well lots of the same intersts and great sex too. But she sort of took over my life and scared the shit out of me and with great difficulty I broke it off. So one morning I wake up kinda stoned as usual and my eyes wont focus on the painting. Then I realize that Nancy had replaced the painting with a collage of pigs. I laughed and laughed I got the point. I sure wish I had that painting. Hell I wish I had the collage. I really liked her she was just too much for me at the time. I am really sorry she died so young. 
Nancy Hazelgrove remembered
On Thurday, September 7th at 3 pm, UTM’s Blackwood gallery held a memorial service and solo exhibition to honour artist and former curator Nancy Hazelgrove, who passed away on June 7th at the age of 54.

Nancy Hazelgrove was a professional artist, and served as curator of the Blackwood Gallery between 1979 and 1984, and from 1988 to 1998.
As curator of the Blackwood, Nancy Hazelgrove was responsible for the formation of the art gallery advisory board, enhancing the Blackwood gallery’s permanent collection, and organizing traveling exhibitions across Canada as a part of the Grassroots programme.

In 1970 AGO put on Group of Seven show to celebrate their 50th anniversry. of the Group Of Seven. A bunch of us got together David Bolduc Greg Curnoe, Robert Markle , Mike Snow etc to help pay for T-shirts which I made. I got paid with artwork sometimes still got a few and owed a few.
Anyway we all wore our T-Shirts to the opening in homage to the Group A.Y Jackson was there and i think Arthur Lismer. I presented A.Y. with a Tshirt and I heard he wore it proudly at McMichaels on Sundays. I felt really good about it.

I was at a Michael Snow retrospective at the AGO and went back to a party at a huge house in Rosedale. I was wandering around upstairs looking for a washroom to smoke a joint in, when this guy grabbed me and pulled me into a room where we talked and smoked a couple of joints. I soon realized the guy was George Eaton. We were soon joined by his brother Thor with his wife and we smoked a bunch and went downstairs real giggly. We got drinks but I found out they didn't like to smooze. We sort of hid out in this big alcove under the stairway. Soon we were joined by their mother who basically went and got us drinks and sandwiches. So I am smoking dope and drinking with the Eaton boys and getting served by Lady Eaton. Waved at Michael  once in awhile. Good one Mike.

odds and ends

At Wise Guy's Computers Abe was our Stock reciever. His Sister called from Israel his father was dying come immediately. He made arrangements and flew over for a week. His father rallied and extended his leave another week but finally came back to work. For the next month his sister phoned every single day. Abe could not afford fly back until the funeral so We would hear Abe shouting on the phone Don't Tell me he's dying I cant go back tell be when he's dead.

I met Alex the Candle maker (Willie Nelson) at Grossmans and at some point rented him and his cult of candlemakers the basement at the big house we had on Jarvis st. They mostly were into Tiki candles then. But I remember being stoned on acid one night while Alex explained his plans for a waxogen bomb. Alex's conversations were mostly about wax.He could get rather heated about it and we mostly tried to avoid him.

There used to be this very stoned black dude that hung around the Pilot. He was apparently a gigalo to some rich white women who lived nearby.He was usually very stoned and rarley spoke and was sort of a daytime fixture.

So this one day the pilot was mostly full with all of the usual gang that showed up at fiveish. We saw Alex come in and we all sort of moved so the only space open was across from Leroy. We all sort of glanced at the meeting of these minds. They talked for a minuter or so when alex jumped up and hammered his fist on the table." I've been making candles for 12 years!." And Leroy says"Light up the world man, Light up the world!"

My bandanna story:
When I did my sailing trip down south 1974 -75 I used a bandanna as my main protection for my bald head. So I am walking down the street in Miami and my bandanna slips. So I go to a nearby store window for the reflection and flip it into a triangle and tie it behind my head with the triangle hanging down over my face. As I flip it up to tie it behind. . . . I realize it is a bank and the guard is drawing his gun. I run fast and hard.


Back in the sixties Bill Bessie was a CBC announcer. He was a general joe job announcer except he had a tv show Saturday mornings. It was called the Cousin Bill Show and it played Country music and showed ccompletelyunrelated movies of cows. Somehow it became a favorite of a bunch of us hippie artist types. A little later I was managing Duke Redbird and He had an appearance reciting poetry on the Tommy Hunter Show. It happened to be the first TV show Anne Murray was on in Toronto. So Duke and Tommy and his producer(whats his name the guy that married Anne and shaped her career?) Anyway we are walking down the hallway to the main studio When Bill Bessie came skulking along.
I couldn't resist. I shouted like a crazed fan." Wow! Cousin Bill! Hey look everybody It's cousin Bill. I don't Believe It. He's my favorite TV Star". I ran over and got him to autograph something while the others waited for me in complete amazement. I loved it and I sure hope Bill did.

Small world
In 2003 I went to the CART races in St. Petersburg Florida, I sprung for the VIP package which included 2 viewing locations , pit passes and free food and booze. On practice day I was lining up for lunch and started chatting to the guy beside me. He owned the company that had put down all the new tarmac. he mention my accent and I told him I was Canadian.
Oh he says do you know a fella named Bob Campbell? Hmm the guy with the catamaran in Lauderdale. I say hesitatingly. "Ya that 's him! Stunned I said I met him once or twice. 

I used to love to go to the trots at Greenwood. You could just grab a Queen Streetcar and it took you right to the door.So I often went about the same time all week long and one week I get this same guy all week. he yaps out loud all the way out there. "I dont know why we go they fix the races. You see that fucking wire they just move it to where they want to."
all the non stop he blabber s loudly. So after a few days of this I cant take it anymore. I turn to him and say"Will you shut up! I am trying to read the form. Do you have to keep talking to yourself? He looks right at me. "I'm not talking to my self!" I'm talking to everybody." i shut up.



For awhile I boarded with Jack Mackie and his wife on a farm just west of Uxbridge for awhile in 65
One problem was Ming.
Ming was a huge Chinese gander, he had a flock of a dozen geese and he ruled the farm. He was big and  mean and if you came anyway near his flock he would attack with beak and wings.  Every movement depended if you were a safe distance from Ming. It was almost always a quick run from the car. A further problem was the nests nobody go near them and more geese were coming at a great rate.

So one night I was sitting around drinking beer waiting for Jack to get home from his shift and have a few beers with him.  It was a nice night with a full moon I wandered outside and stood looking at the moon and sipping my beer when I felt something touch my leg.  I looked down and to my horror it was Ming he just stood there. I stood there afraid to move.I dont know what got into me but I tapped his beak with my bottle and he opened his beak and I poured in a bit of beer. We drank the bottle more or less one for him two for me and parted as friends. I went inside and a bit later Jack came came running in. Jesus he said "that old gander is mean tonight he seemed to stagger like he was drunk or something". I laughed and told him about feeding him some beer.
Well the aftermath was Ming and I were best friends forever. I never had to run again I could walk through his flock. I could go in the nests and cull the eggs i could pick him up. And Every now again we would share a beer.

Ironside - Scanners

Went to the premiere of Scanners with Michael Ironside and Alberta Watson, I brownbagged a bottle of Mum's champagne to celebrate Mike's first big movie. We drank it in the men's washroom and it was hilarious how many guys couldn't pee with Alberta in the room.

Keenan Wynn

This is me with Keenan Wynn during the shooting of 'The Balloonist' a "Littlest Hobo" episode shot in my parents home in Uxbridge Ontario in the Summer of 1980
Keenan and I spent the breaks talking about movies like 'Dr. Strangelove' etc. it was a fun afternoon
Allan Eastman was directing., One time Keenan and I were talking and Allan came "We are ready Mr.Wynn" Keenan says 'fuck Off cant you see i'm busy" Eastman glared at me but keenan laughed just kidding.

Dorthy Cameron, Me and the Art Scene.

In 1965 I was trying to be an Artist. I tried to get into OCA and was rejected. I was still living in Uxbridge working with my buddy Gary Hodgkins in his sign business. We had a 'pad' and a lot of parties and a lot of unhappy fathers.
Anyway we were in Toronto on some sign biz and stopped into the Morrissey Tavern for a few beers. I had read the paper and mentioned that 'Eros 65' the erotic art show everybody was talking about was just across the street and we should have a looksee. So with few beers in us   we wander  over to the Cameron Gallery to find chaos. Dorthy was cowering in a corner as this idiot was grabbing pictures off the wall and throwing them on the floor screaming religious stuff. So Hodge and I are big strong guys we grab the guy and throw him out the door. We tried to help with the mess but she just thanked us profusely and closed the gallery so we went back to the Morrissey. So next year I moved to Toronto and soon was a hanger onner on the Art Scene and Dorthy remembered me and we became friends and met up at many shows and quaffed a few wines. Dorthy was a beautiful person knew more about the art scene then anybody around. She was a big supporter of Art and Toronto Artists.
Eros '65
May 21, 1965 - June 7, 1965
Dorothy Cameron Gallery
Dorothy Cameron Gallery, Toronto
Eros '65 featured the drawings and sculptures by: Martin Berkovitz, Claude Breeze, Dennis Burton, Graham Coughtry, Greg Curnoe, John Fillion, Gould, Harman, Peter Harris, Tom Hodgson, Gerald Humen, Robert Markle, Louis de Niverville, Willis Perron, Colette Romanow, Fred Ross, Ivor Smith, Harold Town, Joyce Wieland, Walter Yarwood and Paul Young

Incredible interview with Robert Markle (this was like the pilot in those days)
(There is more philosophy in a bottle of wine than all the books ever written)…/…/cops-ban-artist-for-lewd-drawings.html

The Elephant Walk Club

The Elephant Walk was the top floor(photo by Patrick Cummins)
The Elephant Walk was an infamous Black After Hours bar at Queen and Spadina. it was a den of thieves, pimps and dealers and you pretty well had to be black to get in and known about. it was the entire Top floor of a building and the only way up was a very narrow stairway with a clear view to the landing. they had a monstrous steel door and extreme security.

Mariposa 63

In 1963 I was working in Toronto and spent a great deal of time at the village Corner and the Yorkville folk scene. I was hanging out with ken Danby at the new Gate of Cleve when he did the Mariposa Folk Festival Poster. In this milieu I met Ed Cowan and Jack Wall and ended up as Assistant Food Manager at the 63 Mariposa Festival in Orillia.
I worked with Wally cowan Ed's brother and we put together and suppled the several food booths that served the festival. I was staying at the crew motel as we set up the week before, and in the next room was the coolest guy I had ever met. he was from New York and did the lighting. We had a few beers together everyday. Chip had little round blue sunglasses and a young hippie wife with a baby and he knew everybody and was just cool. So the day befor the show he is looking real sad and I ask why. he says he is leaving. he broke his most important light and it cost $150.00 and he didn't have enough to pay for it. I asked if he could get it in Orillia he said yes. So we went and bought it and I charged it to the Festival. So the show went on and saved his business. That cool guy was Chip Monck one of the principle founders of the Woodstock Festival.

How I Ended up With The American Coast Guard

My time in the American coast Guard
In 1974 I was Bosun on the Tall ship "The Pilgrim" in the Miami Dockyard. She lost the foremast in a storm coming from Portugal and we were replacing it. It was a crazy job got hired off the dock and we were owned by some California Company that didn't have any money and we were struggling to keep going often we lived on barracuda which I caught and potatoes. we had a crew of ten and an engineer who was in charge and me second in command and working on the rigging and cooking as I was the only one who could cook. We were only there a few weeks when the Cape Fox a 95ft Coast Guard Ship came in for refit. We soon became friends and it was wonderful.

Arlo Guthrie Playing in Sebastian florida

Arlo Guthrie/Coming into Los Angles Pt 2 - YouTube: ""

Love and Arlo
this my story about attending the concert

Tokyo Matsu the Singing Japanese cowgirl

She was a big star for a while in the 70's nashville and all a big record and she's gone she dont google or anything. I saw her at the Horseshoe
So Tony Vice had the house band at the old Horseshoe in the country days. They were backing up Tokyo Matsu the Singing Japanese cowgirl. No rehersal but she played her fiddle and sang the country standards and it went well until she left the the orange blossum special solo and took off into some weird Jappanese tune with completley alien chord strucure. She bowed and scraped some shades of the Sukiyaki Song and many unknown regions of the music scale. The band looked on stunned, the audience politely clapped, sort of. She hoed down and up, danced around the stage hit her high note stamped her little foot and and shouted TAKE IT? Tony looked at her shaking his head "Take it the f**k Where? and all came crashing to a halt.

David Milne & Duncan McPherson

David Milne lived in Uxbridge then and I occasionally played with his son David. David's mother tried to repay some kindness showed by another schoolmate's mother by offering her one of David's oil paintings. The mother handed it back sniffing "I wouldn't hang that in the house.'

Dr. Carl and Sheila Puterbough were dear friends of our family too. Carl made the mistake of turning down an offer of a painting for some dental work from David Milne too.

Later Duncan Macpherson moved to town. My dad told me a story about sitting with Duncan and David Milne on the train to Toronto. Somewhere near Stouffville David pointed out the window and remarked what a beautiful green this haystack was.   
Duncan said he was crazy that haystack was red. 
Dad said he didn't say anything but that haystack sure looked yellow to him

Duncan was a wild man. He was banned for life from the Uxbridge Legion at least 3 times.
One time he took my mother to the Stouffville Sales Barn auction to buy some garden tools. Duncan bid and got a huge box of garden tools for a dollar. There was  an axe, a shovel, a rake, and a hoe even.  but that came with a dozen or so old cellar window screens. As they carried them to the car Mother asked Duncan what she was going to do with all the screens. Don't you know anything? says Duncan as opened the nearest car door and threw them in the back seat and walked away.

Jail on St Patrick's Day

In 1962 St Patricks day came on Saturday. I was 20 and just got out of the navy and four of us decided to go to Buffalo for the weekend. We had lots of beer and I taught them a couple of songs I learned in the Navy.(SONGS BELOW)

So Mike, Hans Orville and I get Buffalo and get a couple of hotel rooms and head for Santisaro's for a famous pizza and a bottle of chianti in a basket bottle. Pizza was a rare commodity in those days.

Goodbye Mr. Grossman Hello Mr. Fong.

I can tell you about a lot of years
That I watched going down At good old Grossmans Tavern
The best Honky Tonk in town
So we better have another beer, it might not be for long
Goodbye Mr. Grossman Hello Mr. Fong.

There were many friends and many girls 
We made along the way.
We drank our beers and whiskies 
And passed the time of day
And we listened to the Downchilds or Kid Bastien
Sing a song
Goodbye Mr. Grossman Hello Mr. Fong.

We we may have a few years yet
Before they tear it down
And new feet tramp away the memories
Of our old stomping ground.
As Chinatown keeps growin' on dollars from Hong Kong.
Goodbye Mr. Grossman Hello Mr. Fong.

Well cities grow and change their ways
And we feel the growing pains
but we'll always find a place to meet
Tho it might not be the same.
We better have another beer before we move along
Goodbye Mr. Grossman Goodbye Mr. Fong.

Thanks to Gynts Skudra for keeping a copy.
I wrote this when Grossman's was sold
It was performed by Boxcar Bruce

Billy Joel

Billy Joel Cost me my Job!
I loved doing the Lobsterman with Maclean & Maclean.
My last performance was at the El Macombo. We were doing the last set and as I was getting ready to go up to the stage I saw the manager whisk Billy Joel and his band to a reserved table.

So when I sang the Lobster song I stuck Billy Joel's name into it.

Murray McLauchlan New York

My Birthday with Murray McLauchlan in New York 1976
In 1976 I invited Murray to come to New York with me for the July 4th weekend and the tall ships. I had to fly down to pick up the van for the SORC sailboat Bonaventure V. The boat was racing in the Onion Patch in Bermuda and coming in to New York to go up the Hudson river and Erie Canal etc. back to Toronto and they wanted me to drive the van back. Besides July the 4th is my birthday and where else to celebrate but new York for America's 200th birthday.? An added goody was an invitation from the Canadian Norwegian ambassador to have a sail on the Christian Radich.I
(This was compliments of my sister who worked at Harbourfront in Toronto) we were using Murray's agent to book tickets. The trip got complicated, my bartender Laura wanted to go home to New York so I got a ticket for her and then Krash's girlfriend Wendy wanted to go to meet Krash who was sailing to New York, (so I got a ticket for her. We no sooner were in the air than somebody phoned Murray's wife and told her Murray and Gary were going to New York with 2 women. (this caused serious problems)
After much ado we got a hotel room and I went to pick up the  boat's van for transportation. As it happened I got a free parking spot around the corner from the Hotel. In New York on July 4th weekend etc etc. so we never moved the van until we left and took cabs. Laura took us to her old studio and the bar she used to work at. It was right at the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge which is a great a place to hang out.
This was beside the Fulton fish Market which was having a fair so we ended up spending the evening at the fair that was run by the mafia. Spending was the operative word for Murray he went a little crazy. One of the Hanky Panks had a life sized stuffed bear as a grand prize. Murray decided he had to have it. After about 5 hours and 3 hundred dollars he finally won it. So there we were 2 o clock in the morning going back to the Hotel trying to stuff this giant bear toy into the cab. It wouldn't fit so after 15 minutes of trying Murray took a long look at the bear and said What the hell do I want with this for and threw it on the street. As we drove off the streets were empty.
The fireworks at the Statue of Liberty were beyond belief. it was an adventure getting there. We hailed a cab to the end of the The Battery' but when we got a couple of blocks away all the cars just parked in the middle of the street. The cabbie stopped and got out and said Cant go anywhere no charge and walked away. We followed towards the shore of the Hudson. Entrepreneurs had cleaned out some garbage bins and filled them full of beer so we got a dozen. finally we got to the shore where there was a gate and grandstand seats for $10.00. Some guy said that's a rip follow me. We followed him through a hole in the fence. It was crazy it was marshland with grasses and rushes up to 7 feet tall. So here we are New York City following a complete stranger n a winding footpath through unknown jungle. 5 minutes later we are at the shore in the best possible spot to see the fireworks. We give our friend a beer and wait. With out a doubt the longest most spectacular show I have ever seen The finale was a giant helicopter dragging the biggest Stars and Stripe flag i have ever seen Spontaneously 6 million begin sing "Oh say can you see ... " Shit I never got such shivers up my spine, they wouldn't stop I reached down to get a beer hoping a big gulp would stop them. i clunked heads with Murray who had felt the same thing and the same idea.
New York was crazy. We could not get to the Christian Radich for our sail. it was across the harbour and we couldn't get there. Idiots would throw shopping bags of lighted fireworks off the tops of buildings and everybody would have to run for cover. Boots and Spurs was not a country and western bar. Murray took me to the Bitter End where he used to play. he wore a white leisure suit. Krash and Wendy came with us. Krash split an entire jug of Sangria over Murray.The night before we left about two in the morning Murray climbed up a fence for one last look at some of the ships docked under the Brooklyn Bridge and a cop stopped us. Canadians I caught
a Canadian with some pot the other night. he told me it was legal in Canada so I let him go.
The ride Home is another story.
Made up for the Ship ride when the Christian Radich got to Toronto 

Made up for the Ship ride
I spent a couple of weeks visiting The Christian Radich almost daily with Murray Mclauchlan. First my sister arranged a trip on CR in New York which fell through. To make up for it The Norwegian Ambassador arranged a trip through the Welland Canal. I took Murray with me and we got through canal alright but couldn't sail to Toronto because of the weather. To make up for this We were invited aboard for a sail with the Lieutenant Governor Pauline McGibbon's party aboard a few days later. With all this time we became good friends with the Captain and crew. We had carte blanche aboard for the next week or so. Murray gave them a copy of all his records hen he found out hey only had Gordon Lightfoot records aboard. I invited them to my 'after hours club' Where some came every night. When they left the Captain gave me a bottle of Aquavit and I cant remember what I gave them. It was a great time from sail to Party.(1976 My sister Gaille was a principle secretary at Harbour Front at the time.)

After Hours & The Police

After Hours Bar Questions.
You must of went to a lot of different Liquor Stores?
No I went prettymuch to the same store all the time, I was treated as a
valued customer and at xmas i was usually given a few bottles of wine as
a present. I remember picking up order near Xmas one year. A wino watched
in amazement as they filled case after case of liquor. After a couple of
minutes he gasped. Well if you got the money I got the time.
It should be noted that I was often offered stolen booze and I never ever
bought any. I was a bootlegger not a fence. I also only bought priemium
booze and charged priemium prices.

MacLean and MacLean

MacLean and MacLean
The MacLean’s came to my club one night and we immediately became fast friends. I joined them in performing sing the second oldest recorded song in the English language. It is an old Scottish Ballad called the ‘Lobster’ and I was known as the Lobsterman. I couldn’t sing that well but mostly got through it. To begin with I took it very much in stride. But eventually I begin to care about how I did. That is when I ran into trouble and got stage fright and I actually used to sweat before I did my bit. Then one night I did it, I forgot the words. They waited through a chorus and then Gary Looked at me. “Did you forget the words?” I nodded my mind racing trying to find the words. “You Arsehole!” says the ever-helpful Gary. Somehow I found the words and finished the song and never really had much trouble again.

Howard Duff

I met Howard Duff making Double Negative. I was the assitant to the producer and it was my job to look after Howard. I met him at the airport. "Hi I'm Howard Duff and if you don't think I'm tough, Remember I was married to Ida Lupino for twenty years". Howard and I became great friends and his girlfriend Judy. We spent many pleasant hours together over about 6 weeks. I showed them around Toronto and we had many lunches and dinners together. And far too many drinks.I took them to some clubs.

How I Saved Woodstock

chip today

I got out of the Navy in 1962 and found myself hanging out in the Folk Scene In Toronto.
I was friends with Ken Danby who owned the New Gate of Cleve coffee house. and I then ended up in charge of the Food Concessions at the second Mariposa folk Festival in Orillia. I was staying at a motel as we set up the week before, and in the next room was the coolest guy I had ever met. he was from New York and did the lighting. We had a few beers together everyday. Chip had little round blue sunglasses and a young hippie wife with a baby and he knew everybody and was just cool. So the day befor the show he is looking real sad and I ask why. he says he is leaving. he broke his most important light and it cost $150.00 and he didn't have enough to pay for it. I asked if he could get it in Orillia he said yes. So we went and bought it and I charged to the Festival. So the show went on and saved his business. That cool guy was Chip Monck one of the principle founders of the Woodstock Festival. So that is how I saved Woodstock (lol)

OLD UXBRIDGE (40’s and 50s)

I came to Uxbridge in  the spring of 1948. It was kind of strange My sister Gaille and I had stayed  in Montreal for over a year until our parents had found a place to live in Ontario. Gaille stayed with my mother's sister Carrie and me with my father's sister Stella. I lived in a totally French part of McMasterville and so when I came here I kind of spoke half French and half English. My Aunt Stella brought us down on the train. It was such a wonderful feeling to see my parents again. The station was amazing it was like out of a storybook painted a bright red with a pointed cone roof and a permanent smell of creosote. We walked from the station to Toronto Street. Wow we lived in a mansion, 'River Valley Court' We lived with my mother's step-sister Bessie who was married to 'Mac' Anderson. I later learned Mac won River Valley Court in lieu of 800 dollars in a poker game. My first view of River Valley Court is burned into my 5 year old memory. There was a formal steel fence around the property and inside the fence was a large trench almost like a moat in front of it. An old 1 ton Garbage truck was dumping garbage into that moat.
            The moat was actually a slue running under the main street from the central Pond, it than just ran along the east side of Toronto Street in a board slue in front of River Valley Court to the Tannery where it ran a water wheel. I later learned that people who lived on the other side of the street just ran their raw sewage pipes under the street into the slue. Mother had complained about this to the Board of Health who consisted of Doc McClintock and he did nothing. Then her friend Elsie Wood's daughter Marion fell in the slue and became very ill. Mother complained again and with no remedy she cut appropriate size branches and with an axe she drove plugs into all the offending pipes. With backed up toilets the offenders quickly acquired septic tanks.
            We lived in 2 small dingy rooms on the second floor. Life with Mac and Bessie was a little crazy. I remember a hockey stick that was used to reach around the corner of the porch to turn on the hydro after Max had turned off to save money. Max also had a mint Maxwell yellow roadster with a rumble seat that he occasionally took us on picnics. I learned later that he had bought this from John Grieg $25.00 down and I will see you later. Some how the "moat" was quickly filled in and as I explored the grounds it is hard to imagine as it stands today. There was a huge lawn that went well beyond Jim Campbell's Offices. A huge oak tree stood in the middle of the lawn and a row of great Maples along the street. There was a wooden garage on the south end it was full of records and papers and old furniture. I still have a beautiful old table that mother salvaged from there. It has piece sliced out of it that was supposed to have been done my American Officer during the war of 1812. ?? There was a large brick driving shed and stable at the north end this too was filled with all sorts of neat stuff that was also just abandoned.
 I remember my sixth birthday so well. It was the first real one of my life. I had a real cake with candles and lots of new friends, mostly the wonderful Woods Family from across the street. They where my first friends in Uxbridge. Gwen was a bit older but Joyce, Tish, Cookie, Bev and Jimmy still in diapers were always a major part of our lives and almost family in those days also around the corner up Albert Street was the McFarland’s Penny and Peter and down the street was Woods cousin Donny.  Donny's father was Gord Woods, Bill Woods Partner in the Lumber Company Donny had the most amazing trick, he would wrap himself around the hub of the lumber one ton truck and when his father drove off he would cartwheel around off the wheel on to the street.  It is hard to describe that summer at River Valley Court. It was an incredible place, the garage had some sort of vehicle in it and was full of old books and files and loads of interesting stuff. It was the same with the driving shed and the basement and the attic. We had full access to everything nobody was interested in all the junk and we could play with anything we liked.
There was no tarmac then it was a deep ravine with a boardwalk on the East side of Toronto Street to River Valley Court. Where Centennial Park is now was then a huge millpond. One spring the Dam broke and it was no more. Shortly after that the Quonset building by the library went up and became the fabulous RIO theatre. 25 cents got popcorn and a movie every Saturday afternoon.
My Father Harold LeDrew and my uncle Bert LeDrew (his twin brother) worked for Mac as painters Mac was rather shady and soon my father and uncle worked for the lawyer
Greig painting his new houses. There was some kind of court case with Mac and I remember that my parents won and we left River Valley Court to move to Vesey’s house  on main Street by the railway tracks. where the rental place is now across form the old veterinary building. I remember well as we moved out of River Valley court the Ballinger family moving in. Fred, Betty Fred jr. and Jack with Billy still in diapers. Fred Ballinger was a butcher and opened a Butcher shop on the north east side of the creek on Brock Street. I can never forget the sign a huge painting of a shorthorn bull with equally huge proportional parts.
How Willard Grieg got to Uxbridge
 Willard Grieg  was a determined young man with ambition to become a lawyer.
He lived in Nestorville (now a ghost town near Thessalon)
as a teenager he was an accomplished trapper and woodsman.
In the spring of 1909(circa) he told his sister Florrie to pack her bags they were going to Toronto. He had a dogsled heaped high with the furs he had trapped all winter pulled by his 2 huskies 'Grit and Tory' He said after he sold the furs he would have enough money to go to law school and also to pay for Florrie's tuition at the Royal Conservatory of Music. So they got on the train with the sled, dogs and all and headed for Toronto.
From Union Station they headed up Bay Street sled and again dogs and all and as they approached Gold's Furriers the dogs who had not eaten for a couple of days broke lose and chased down the furriers cat and killed it and ate it. When the Furrier saw the furs he forgot about the cat. He bought the sled full of furs. He also noticed Florrie and a few years later after she graduated from The Royal Conservatory of Music He (Bert Gold to become Gould) married her.
And they were to become Glenn Gould's parents.

This story was told to me by John Grieg of Uxbridge Ontario
who is Glenn Gould’s first cousin

No sooner then Willard Grieg became a lawyer WWI started up. He joined The Ontario Regiment's Uxbridge Battalion under Major Sharpe. Willard had flat feet and was being discharged. Major Sharpe took him aside and told him he needed somebody to run his law practise in Uxbridge and offered him a partnership for $2.00.
Major Sharpe had promised the people of Uxbridge he would bring his soldiers home safe and sound. That was not to be. Uxbridge had a tragic number of casualties and the despondent major Sharpe committed suicide by jumping out a window in Ottawa rather than face the town. This left Willard with a Law practice for $2.00

Across the street from Vesey’s House lived Tom and Eva Banks. Tom ran a farm right in the town he owned the fields across the track and kept a couple of jersey cows and a Holstein too. I remember Tom chopping heads off chickens and when our Hound dog 'Mike; impregnated Tom's Bulldog and especially Tom swearing as he drowned the pups.
Next door lived Elwood Wagg. He was a gentle man and loved kids. He was burdened with most grotesque rupture. He always wore extra large overalls and it looked like a basketball between his legs. Some times he even carried it in a wheelbarrow. I guess he was more terrified of Doctors than living with this terrible deformity. It is amazing that he lived so long with it and still managed to do odd jobs and hunt and fish.
Down Main Street towards Brock Street just above the bridge over the creek lived a midget. He had a strange little half sized house that he had built to suit himself.

Mrs. Percy King was a mysterious recluse. I guess she had Alzheimer’s one day she walked down the railway tracks and threw herself off the trestle (The BB Bridge) Of course we kids had to look at the poor old dear lying in the creek  shocked that she wore a wig.
Oscar Welsh was another tragic case he disappeared in the spring floods and they found his body behind our place in the creek some weeks later.

David Milne lived in Uxbridge then and I occasionally played with his son David. David’s mother tried to repay some kindness showed by another schoolmate’s mother by offering her on of David’s oil paintings. The mother handed it back sniffing “I wouldn’t hang that in the house.’

Dr. Carl and Sheila Puterbough were dear friends of our family too. Carl made the mistake of turning down an offer of a painting for some dental work from David Milne too.

Later Duncan Macpherson moved to town. My dad told me a story about sitting with Duncan and David Milne on the train to Toronto. Somewhere near Stouffville David pointed out the window and remarked what a beautiful green this haystack was.   Duncan said he was crazy that haystack was red. Dad said he didn’t say anything but that haystack sure looked yellow to him

Duncan was a wild man. He was banned for life from the Uxbridge Legion at least 3 times.
One time he took my mother to the Stouffville Sales Barn auction to buy some garden tools. Duncan bid and got a huge box of garden tools for a dollar but that came with a dozen or so window screens. As they carried them to the car Mother asked Duncan what she was going to do with all the screens. Don’t you know anything says Duncan as opened the nearest car door and threw them in the back seat.

Hi I am Gary LeDrew
And I am writing a book
I was lucky enough to be in the middle of most things in sixties and seventies and got to hang out with some of the greats and near greats and characters of that time.

I was involved in the Art scene and was friends and hung out with Jack Bush, Harold Town, Gord Rayner Robert markle, Mickey Handy, Gerry Gladstone, Gershon Iskowitz etc. etc. and I have stories about all of them.
I was in the music biz and managed a few bands like Kid Bastien and hung out with most of them. I was a close friend of Murray McLachlan for years, and hung out with Mike McDonald, Danny Marks, Praire Oyster, Irish Rebels, Downchilds, Ian Tyson, Tom Cochrane, Burton Cummins etc. etc. of course I was the Lobsterman and sang with McLean and Mclean. I hung out with Cannonball and Nat Adderly whenever they came to town.
I was Toronto's leading bootlegger for 5 years everybody came to my afterhours club from the Rolling Stones to the premier of New Brunswick. And Joanie Mitchell sang there.
I won an Actress in a poker game, Helen shaver cooked me supper and I went out with a bunch of models and actresses.
Lesley McDonnell introduced me to Leonard Cohen , Rod Steward and Paul Shaffer for a few. I hung out with Leonard for a while. I survived a night hanging out with Hunter S. Thompson (sitting with tom Waites)I basically had backstage passes to Maple Leaf Gardens and Massey hall whenever i wanted and Bonnie Rait kicked me out of her dressing room.
In the Movie biz I was friends with Mike Ironside for years and Winston Reckert, Catherine O'Hara, Michael Sarrazin,I have lain on Elizabeth Ashely's belly while she shoved coke up my nose. I showed Johnny Hart and Jack Caprio a good time. I took Howard Duff to Lunch everyday for a six weeks and was on his xmas card list until he died. I drank with Richard Burton at least a couple of times a week for 3 months and he told me everything.
I lived on a lighthouse as a kid and took off sailing in the caribbean for 15 months. I took and sold all manners of drugs and in the seventies I was The guy to know in Toronto.
I was one of the few white guys go to the Elephant walk club. If there is one thing I hope to dispel is Toronto as a dull place.
To business I am getting old and not in great health, I am living on a basic pension and I have to Hustle with my art and web sites most of the month to get by. I am afraid I might die before I get all these stories down
My friend Richard Flohil is also raising money to write his book so far over ten thousand and well deserved Richard was instrumental to the folk and blues and jazz scenes in Toronto and tells a good story too. In my own way I was too, I helped a lot of people along the way and I never really cared about money , you wouldn't believe the people that never paid their bar tabs for starters. i just might be a little more fearless in my admissions. For I am not ashamed of anything I did there is lots I wish I had never done.