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-- 15 July 2016 --

2016 Index

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15 July 2016


Denman Island Readers & Writers Festival


Denman Island, BC. Canada

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In Conversation with Des Kennedy about Rumours Of Glory - a memoir

Bruce Cockburn - Des Kennedy 2016 Denman Island Writers Festival

Comments/further information

Show report by Audrey Pearson - The Main Event reading was mostly an older crowd. I was sitting beside an older woman who had never heard of him before. I was wondering if someone was going to say "So he's a musician as well as an author??" Still, the audience started coming early and they were still adding chairs when Bruce made his way through the crowd to the stage entrance. No one seemed to notice.

Bruce was interviewed by Des Kennedy, who was a former CBC host. There was a bottle of red wine and two glasses on stage. They both came out, Bruce poured the wine and we started. Des said first "Turn your cell phones off." Bruce took his phone out of his pocket and turned it off. The audience burst out laughing. He already had us in the palm of his hand. I don't think people appreciate how much that "that Rocket Launcher" guy has a wicked sense of humour.

Des explained that having Bruce at Denman was like having a visit from Pope Francis. This miracle visit was achieved through Heather MacAndrew, (The Man They Call Juan Carlos) who is a mutual friend of both Bruce and Des. She contacted Bruce a year ago about appearing and he said "Why not?"

The interview was one of the best I've heard - Bruce being interviewed by an extremely knowledge, professional journalist with a hometown crowd who grew up with his music. Unfortunately, it wasn't recorded.

Bruce talked about the book being a "spiritual memoir" and there was lots not in the book.

Bruce talked about his growing up, of learning to devalue his feeling, and being a chameleon (becoming who the other person wanted him to be). Anger was the emotion his family was most comfortable expressing.

High school was like "prison" but he did discover poetry.

They played a live performance video of "Child of the Wind" and Des asked Bruce what he was thinking about when he saw the video. Bruce responded "My hair."

The sister of Sue (his girlfriend at the time) was high up in the Toronto fashion scene and Sue insisted Bruce get his hair cut by the "best" person in Toronto - which cost a fortune according to Bruce and always made him look like Kenny Rogers.

Bruce talked about his time at Berklee and his parents sent him money every month. He spent it on "chemical entertainments" and often didn't have enough money left for food. He lived on a bag of potatoes for a month.

He said he needed to work because he didn't want to be lousy. "I'm getting away with it so far."

Next, Des talked about Bruce's witnessing songs and played videos of "If A Tree Falls".

Finally, they got on to the topic of relationships. Bruce said he asked the publishers how Henry Miller he could be. And the publishers basically said to go for it.

Then they played the video for "Last Night of the World".

The final video was a fan video of "Santiago Dawn".

At some point, Bruce talked about his co-author, Greg King. Greg's emphasis was political and intellectual. He's not at all spiritual. He's an activist first.

Bruce has talked about writing a sequel.

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