Wednesday, October 6, 2010


It's always a fine time in Calgary.  I find people tend to take their entertainment seriously.  They have favourite restaurants and bars, and pay attention to who has good food and atmosphere.  They seem to go out more, for dinner and drinks.  Anyway, I mention this since my sister lives in Calgary, and when I mentioned book store Pages Kensington was looking for a good place for the launch party for the Top 100 Canadian Singles, she had a club ready.
It was held in Melrose Bar and Grill on Tuesday night, in a good separate party room in the lower section of the restaurant.  It was a good thing the place was big; as it turns out my sister Dorothy is also a good party-planner.  Along with some of my friends, and some people who were part of the Top 100 Canadian Singles project, several DOZEN of her friends showed up. We were getting close to a hundred in there.  Pages sold all but two of the books they brought.  I got hand cramp from signing.
In the house were several of the people who contributed votes as part of the jury, including my long-time friend, author and historian James Duplacey, currently a Calgarian, working for the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.  I should mention J.J. has written almost as many books on sports, travel and special interest as there were people in the club.  No exaggeration there, it was up to sixty awhile ago.  Hockey fans especially have been reading his work for a couple of decades now, as co-author of Total Hockey, and his previous yearly work on the NHL Guide and Record Book.
There was also a special guest, one of the great Canadian musicians, featured in the Top 100 Canadian Singles.  Kelly Jay was the leader and sprakplug for Hamilton's Crowbar.  Their hit Oh What A Feeling made the list at #25.  Always larger than life, Kelly moved to Calgary a few years back, and still enjoys a weekend jam session in town.  He's been working on a memoir for a few years, and I for one would love to hear all of the stories, because every time I see him, he tells me something else amazing. He can namedrop his friends John and Yoko, tell you about the meetings with Pierre Juneau for the birth of CanCon, or about the time he drove a Harley onstage to open the show at Maple Leaf Gardens.  Kelly graciously answered some questions from the crowd, told some jokes, signed books, and repeated his famous line, perhaps my favourite quote in the Top 100 Canadian Singles book:  "I've been playing music in Canada for decades, and I've made hundreds and hundreds of dollars."
On to Winnipeg.

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