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.

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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.