Blast From The Past: My Evening with The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow

BLAST FROM THE PAST

The Sickest Thing: My Evening with The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow

Jim Rose Circus Sideshow Poster

by Christine Bode
March 24, 1992

For the past month I’ve been re-reading the journals I wrote from 1992-1998 and while I’m definitely not the wild, party animal and social butterfly that I once was in my 20’s and early 30’s, I have still retained my interests in live music, the paranormal or unexplained, and the wondrous freaks of nature that once were the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow.

In March of 1992, I went to visit my best friend Jen in Vancouver as she was living there at the time. One night, Jen and my friend Vicki and I went to The Town Pump in Gastown to see the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow. We had no real idea as to what we were in for! And no, I haven’t seen American Horror Story: Freak Show yet as I’m not sure I’m up to it. The infamous Jim Rose Circus troupe was founded in Seattle by Jim Rose in the early 1990s and I’m telling you, I have never seen anything so absolutely, completely bizarre, repulsive and yet amazing in my entire life!

The Town Pump was totally packed at $10 a head which back then was a substantial cover charge, but the show was well worth it. The first thing, or should I say person, we saw was a guy named The Amazing Mr. Lifto who had 11 parts of his body pierced, including his ears, nose, tongue, nipples and penis. He lifted various heavy, heavier and heaviest objects with different parts of his anatomy. His finale was to spray shaving cream on his genitals and lift a large weight that looked somewhat like a boat anchor with his dick! He had a hole in his penis through which he’d strung some kind of wire with a hook which was then attached to the weight. When he lifted that damn thing, his poor penis stretched so far that I thought it was going to rip apart! OUCH!! We were stunned and couldn’t believe it, but that was only the beginning and the show just got more and more bizarre after that.

This is a very tame video to show you just a little of what this man can do. There are other more disturbing videos available on the Internet for those who are not faint of heart.

Following Mr. Lifto was a dwarf lady named Dolly the Doll who sounded as if she was drunk, and she basically just told the audience about her days in the Circus and about the guy she married who used to carry her around on his back. This was boring in comparison to the rest of the show.

Jim Rose was the headmaster/host (his sideshow has toured with Nine Jim Rose Circus DVDInch Nails, Marilyn Manson, KoRn and Godsmack) and the first thing we saw him do was to swallow four razor blades, one at a time, and then he swallowed a string and said he was going to do some “internal juggling.” He was a great showman and drew the whole thing out quite dramatically. He pulled the string out of his mouth, very slowly, and one by one the razor blades were retracted, hanging neatly in a row on the string. Unbelievable! Jim performed little stunts throughout the show in between the other troupe members’ performances. He got out of a straightjacket, put his hand in a leg-hold trap (for raccoons) and let it snap shut on him, and laid down on a the stage floor, putting his face in a pile of broken glass. Then he had a woman step on his head while his face was embedded in the glass! YIKES!

In 1993 there was a documentary produced about The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow that you can get through Amazon. Not long after that, Jim Rose appeared on The Jon Stewart Show.

There was another guy called The Torture King/The Human Pincushion and his gig was to pierce his skin with a various assortment of pins and skewers. He had about 50 pins stuck through his torso and arms and he demonstrated how he did that (EEWWW!). Just in case some of the audience couldn’t see the stage very well there was a large video screen mounted on the wall so we wouldn’t miss anything. God, it was gross to watch! This guy stuck a pin through his voice box, one through the orbit of his eye and then he stuck a skewer from one side of his cheek, into his mouth, and out the other side of his face! GOD!! I almost lost it then! After that, he made a big show out of taking many of the pins out and he actually bled a bit. Some of the pins that were on his chest had little lights in them and for his piece de resistance, he put a fluorescent tube into his mouth, and touched an electrical generator that electrically shocked him into lighting up the tube. He was electrocuted three times! The second time, he had a neon tube in this mouth, which apparently takes more electricity to illuminate, and the third time, he wore a fluorescent “halo” on his head and held a sword and when they shocked him again, he did his “Electric Christ” impersonation!

The piano player was a young guy, about 25, who was called Slug/The Human Terrarium. First, he chewed a mouthful of broken glass and swallowed it. Then a tray full of jars and bowls was brought onto the stage and passed around the front of the audience to help verify their contents. Slug proceeded to eat four worms, (he chewed them up and stuck out his tongue so that everyone could see the mess! YUCKKKKK!!!!) two crickets, and four maggots! Jen and I thought we were going to puke at that point. I was really feeling nauseous. Apparently, that guy had complete control of his gag reflex which is more than I can say for myself. After that, he swallowed a dagger, a large screwdriver and a very large sword, in succession.

The last guy to perform was called The Tube. He could control his sneeze reflex, which he proved by sticking a string through his nose and drawing it out through his mouth. Then he took a very long piece of hollow, plastic tubing and fed it through his nasal cavity into his stomach. It was attached to a 40 oz. plastic container which he filled with beer, ketchup, chocolate syrup and Malox. He proceeded to inhale the entire concoction through his nose into his stomach. A couple of minutes later, he regurgitated the whole mess (which was now a different colour, due to the bile in his stomach) back into the container and invited a member of the audience to join him and the other troupe members on stage for a glass of “bile beer”!! One guy (I don’t know whether he was a plant or not) got up on stage and drank it! I couldn’t believe it!! GROSS!!!!!!

After seeing this freak show, nothing else we did in Vancouver could have lived up to it in comparison. I don’t have any pictures from that night but there are photos of the troupe members to be found in Google Images and I’ll leave the search to you if you care to look. Attending The Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, is by far, the sickest – and I don’t mean cool but I do mean crazy – thing I’ve ever done.

Blast From The Past: My Afternoon With Ray Manzarek

Welcome to the first edition of BLAST FROM THE PAST or otherwise known on Twitter as #ThrowbackThursday. On March 27, 1999, I got to meet one of my all-time favourite band’s founder, keyboard player and songwriter, the legendary Ray Manzarek of The Doors. Sadly, we lost Ray on May 20, 2013 when he finally broke on through to the Other Side. He joined a legion of music heroes in Rock’n’Roll Heaven but his legacy will never die. (*Note: The following post is Rated R as it contains drug use, explicit sexuality and harsh language.)

BLAST FROM THE PAST

The Coolest Thing: My Afternoon with Ray Manzarek

Ray Manzarek of The Doors

by Christine Bode
April 5, 1999

I have been a big fan of Jim Morrison and The Doors since my early twenties. I’m 35 now. I work as a legal secretary, and lead a pretty straight life. However, if I were to be true to my authentic self, I’d have to say that I am also a poet and a stoner at heart. When Oliver Stone released his film “The Doors” starring Val Kilmer as Jim in 1991 (a controversial fan that many Doors fans didn’t like), it reaffirmed my initial interest and set me on a path to ingesting everything I could get my hands on about Jim Morrison and The Doors. I’ve read “No One Here Gets Out Alive” by Jerry Hopkins and Danny Sugerman, “Wonderland Avenue: Tales of Glamour and Excess” by Danny Sugerman, “Riders On The Storm” by John Densmore, “Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison” by Patricia Kenneally-Morrison, and two books of Jim’s poetry, “Wilderness” and “American Night, Volume 1”. I was completely mesmerized by Morrison’s myth and his creative, poetic soul. I still am!

On Saturday, March 27th, 1999, I did the coolest thing! I attended a four hour seminar (minus a one hour lunch break) hosted by Ray Manzarek, founder and former keyboard player for The Doors. My friend Donna had pointed the event out to me in the free magazine from The Learning Annex and I will likely attend many more interesting and exciting seminars, lectures and workshops that are offered by The Learning Annex (as I bought a membership). Right now however, I want to recount the highlights from “Light My Fire: My Life With Jim Morrison and The Doors”.

The seminar was held in the Grande Ballroom East of the Colony Toronto Hotel. I arrived at 10:30 a.m. and had a croissant and an orange juice in the hotel lobby before taking my seat in the auditorium. It was a fairly large room with two crystal chandeliers and an old, faded floral carpet. There were seven rows of chairs and I would guess that at least 50 people attended the seminar. The room housed a large stage and on it sat a long table covered in a white cloth. It was positioned against the wall and held a pitcher of water and a glass. One single, green, upholstered high chair with a brown wood frame sat stage front and centre. There was a stereo off to stage left that played Doors music while everyone was waiting for Manzarek to arrive. There was also a long table positioned at the left hand side of the entrance and on it were copies of Ray’s book “Light My Fire: My Life With The Doors” for sale, as well as many different books on such New Age themes as Shamanism, The Tao of Music, and Zen Enlightenment, among other topics and of course, Doors CDs. I immediately purchased a copy of Ray’s book for $40 and asked the salesperson if he thought Ray would sign it. He said he would if I asked him to! All right! I was SO excited!

Ray Manzarek arrived on time at 11:00 a.m. and I was struck by the fact that he looked much younger than his 60 years and was more handsome that I had expected! He had spiky grey hair and piercing blue eyes, covered by wireless, clear eyeglasses. He stood about 6’ tall and was still quite lanky. He wore baggy black pants with a pale turquoise T-shirt under a dark blue and green plaid shirt that hung loose over his pants. He was very casual, comfortable and pleasant. He spoke in a deep, clear, emphatic voice and I liked him immediately.

He welcomed everyone for coming and started out by talking about what a great city Toronto is and how it is a lot like his hometown, Chicago. He noted that cultural diversity is one of the best things about Toronto and that in particular, it’s great to be able to try all the different kinds of local foods. He said that Toronto has just about everything except for authentic Mexican food. There’s no place like California for that!

Ray referred to himself as “Manzarek” and to Jim Morrison as simply, “Morrison”. He still sounds like a man of the Sixties as he constantly said “Man!” after everything! I couldn’t stop smiling! He told us that The Doors played in Toronto in May or June of 1967. They also appeared on a CBC production of Noel Harrison’s show and played “The End”, but the producers cut out the lyrics “Father, I want to kill you….Mother, I want to fuck you!” Ray said that most obscene words such as fuck and cunt are probably of Celtic origin! I laughed out loud at that one!

Manzarek covered many topics during the first hour and 45 minutes of the seminar and the following are some of the things he told us about as well as some direct quotes:

“Only meth (e.g. methane) heads and speed freaks from the desert of California love Oliver Stone’s movie!” Ray made it clear in no uncertain terms that he absolutely abhors Oliver Stone and his completely inaccurate 1991 movie, “The Doors”.

Ray and Doors producer, Bruce Botnick are going to release a Doors documentary within the next 6 to 8 months with Toronto footage from the show he mentioned earlier. On April 13th, there will be a DVD release of The Doors laser disc that will include Ray, his wife Dorothy and Jim as college students as well as Ray’s student film from UCLA that Jim is in. He exclaimed, “Get yourself a DVD player!” He’s really excited about it!

Ray loves Latin music and congas.

He reminisced about growing up in Chicago in the 1950s and told us that cool guys wore powder blue and rust coloured clothes because they were the hippest colours. “But you still couldn’t get laid because it was the 50’s!” He recalled memories of being at the drive-in with his date and actually touching pubic hair. Everyone in the room was laughing. “Everyone in the 50’s had amazing breasts! Maybe it was the bras!” I sat there thinking, “Oh yeah, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll! I’m with ya, man!” They’d listen to songs like “Rock Around The Clock” and “Rumble On The Dock” and watch five Sal Mineo pictures at the drive-in and just neck and neck and neck. “The 50’s were very HORNY! As soon as it became 1960, it was okay to fuck!” (And now it’s the end of the 90’s and it’s NOT, again!)

Ray left Chicago behind to go to UCLA in California. He met Jim in film school at UCLA and they were both stoners. “Induction”, his student film was about signing up for the army. Ray enlisted to get away and heal his broken heart. He went to New York City and then to Thailand with the army and said “I got stoned for the first time courtesy of the US Army!” He recounted the first time he smoked Thai stick in Thailand. He said that he couldn’t have sex over there because there was a 90% chance of getting VD, so everyone got stoned instead. He got the dope for free from a Thai kid in exchange for cigarettes. The kid gave him a pail full of this wicked weed and he said that was the first time he realized what being stoned really meant! He smoked some Thai stick under the hot sun and got completely body stoned. He couldn’t even move or talk for a whole afternoon! He said his tongue would fall out of his mouth without him even knowing it. I was laughing so hard because I know what he was talking about! He said that “was one of the best experiences I EVER had!” He also said that, “Jim, Ray and Dorothy were stoners.”

He shipped his footlocker, full of pot, home from the Army to his parents’ house in Redondo Beach. He said that when he got home from the Army, Dorothy met him at the airport and they went straight to a hotel and fucked their brains out for three days! All they did was eat and fuck – they didn’t even leave the hotel.” Soon after, they got a place in Venice and he got Dorothy stoned for the first time on the beach.

Ray told us about Josef “Kinky” von Sternberg who taught him directing at UCLA. Josef von Sternberg also made five films with Marlene Dietrich. He was German. He had a dark German soul and did deep, dark, psychological films noir. His films, such as “The Blue Angel” and “Shanghai Express” reflected German romantic decadence. Jim loved Marlene Dietrich! Ray and Jim were also into Kurt Weill and Bertoldt Brecht. Manzarek believes: “The Communists and Fascists first crack down on the artists, musicians and poets!”

Manzarek met John Densmore and Robby Krieger when they got out of the Maharishi’s meditation camp. They were into Transcendental Meditation and so was Ray. He said that Robby Krieger is a great guitar player/songwriter that could pick up chords like nothing. He also wrote the song “Light My Fire”. Ray conspicuously left out any real mention of John Densmore, so I’ll have to read his book to find out why.

Ray said that Jim was a funny guy and good to be with (a fact that Oliver Stone neglected to emphasize). They’d discuss the merits of John Coltrane vs. Sonny Rawlins and things like that. Dorothy had a great job and she supported them. Ray wanted to ask Dorothy to marry him but he didn’t have a nickel.

He talked about his first band, “Rick and The Ravens” and his moniker then was “Screaming Ray Daniels”. Ray was totally into the blues. (I could have married this man, but I was only 3 years old in 1967!) When he and his brother played in that band, they made $15 a night. They played in a wine bar. “Jim loved “Louie Louie”! He could have sworn the word “fuck” was in the song. All the southern guys loved that song. Jim sang that song the first time he got on stage at the wine cooler bar.” “Rick and The Ravens” played at a prom where Sonny and Cher were also on the bill. Jim played “fake guitar” at the gig and got paid $20. That experience got him hooked on performing.

Jim could roll a joint perfectly but he couldn’t splice his 16mm film properly, so his student film at UCLA couldn’t make it through the projector. He had to re-splice it before it could be shown to his class. Jim smoked a big bomber in his student film and then it cuts to an atomic bomb explosion. There was also a part in it with his friend’s girlfriend, a big German girl named Elke who wore a bra, panties and fishnet stockings and stood on top of a TV in a Marlene Dietrich outfit. Ray said that “Oliver Stone turned Jim’s film into some sick anti-Semitic diatribe…into some sort of Nazi diatribe/Aryan supremacy propaganda film!” But, “Morrison was a Native American Shaman – a cross between a cowboy and an Indian.” Jim’s film was “pure poetry”. In Stone’s movie, Jim supposedly quit when his student film was harshly criticized but that wasn’t true at all. Jim graduated in 1965 from film school. Ray has a Masters Degree in film.

Jim planned to go to New York after graduating to make poetic cinema and Ray thought he’d never see him again. However, “40 days and 40 nights later Jim shows up on the beach” when Ray was there smoking a joint and pondering his future. When he saw Jim, he’d gone from 165 lbs. (“soft and doughy”) to 135 lbs. and had long hair. Jim had been dropping acid and writing poetry that summer. That was when Jim recited the words to “Moonlight Drive” to Ray for the first time. Jim didn’t think he could sing, but Ray said “Bob Dylan can’t sing, man! YOU can sing!” That’s when they decided to put a band together as a showcase for Jim’s poetry. The rest as they say, is history.

“We’re all infinite; cosmically one. We’re all the Buddha, all God, all one!” (Reflection on Ray’s LSD trips.) Ray told this great story of his view of the story of Adam & Eve. “Adam blames his old lady for eating the apple! Fucking GUY ate the apple! We’re not Teletubbies, we’re human beings – we are God! Our job is to conquer the fear and greed and to become conscious of the difference between good and evil. We shouldn’t fear death – it’s divine light (i.e. the feeling of being warm and baking in the sun and our soul leaving our body, just heading to the light).” They learned this by taking LSD. Ray doesn’t recommend taking LSD, but thinks that pot and mushrooms – all things organic – are just fine!

One of my favourite quotes from that day was “You’ll never move beyond the message of love.” I really related to Ray because he thinks religion is seriously weird shit and we have to start a new religion. He said that’s what The Doors were about. Jim said their music was primeval. It’s about: “Let’s save Mother Earth!” “YOU ARE THAT!”

Just before we broke for an hour long lunch break, Ray started to talk about how Jim’s alcoholism made him metamorphose into a character he called “Jimbo”. That was the person Oliver Stone chose to present to the world in his movie.

I was just peaking when we broke for lunch. I had brought a joint with me that Stacey had given me the night before and I just had to go and find a discreet place to smoke some of it. I knew I wouldn’t smoke it all because it was killer shit! I was all dressed up in a skirt and jacket with heels and was wearing my glasses and I’m sure that I looked like the last person who would have been sneaking out of that room to go smoke a joint. I walked around the side of the hotel and found a bench under a tree along the walkway that led away from the hotel. I smoked half of the joint and then went to the bar in the hotel lobby and drank two tequila and 7-Ups for my lunch. There was a girl sitting alone at the bar who asked me if she’d seen me upstairs and I said, “Where?” She said “with Ray…” I admitted that I’d been there and she commented on how excellent he was. I agreed but I found it so difficult to carry on a conversation with her because I was very stoned at that point and completely paranoid that I’d say something stupid. So unfortunately, we didn’t say anything else to each other.

I bought a Snickers bar and started eating it on my way back into the auditorium. When I sat down in the chair I’d been sitting in previously, I wrote the following:

I’m so stoned now that I don’t know how I’m going to be able to take more notes when Ray comes back on. We’ve been on a lunch break from 12:50 -1:30 p.m. I bought a large Snickers bar for lunch and just finished eating it. I’m still feeling the peanuts in my teeth as I sit here waiting for Ray to return. This is so fucking cool! I wish Jen were here SO BAD! Oh shit, now I have dry mouth, but I don’t want to get up and walk across the room to get a glass of ice water ‘cause I’m too high.

“Love Her Madly” is playing and I can’t remember when “LA Woman” ended.

Oh no, the yawns are starting and he hasn’t come back yet. God I wish I had a glass of water. Jim Morrison would have approved of my condition at this moment. How bizarre is this? “Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?!”

Wow, this guy is such a performer and storyteller! Ray’s telling us about the highs and lows of LSD trips. Gurus, mantras, meditation, etc…Maharishi’s meditation. He highly recommends it!

Now he’s saying that Oliver Stone is a fascist and a killer! (I felt bad to hear that because I actually really enjoyed his movie, because I thought Val Kilmer gave such an awesome performance as Jim! It was a lot of fun to watch!)

I’m having a hard time getting all this down. It’s a really weird thing that a 60-year-old man can make a living talking about his life…what a character! He’s now talking about how “Light My Fire” came to be. My butt is getting numb and the left side of my neck is pinched. He’s blathering about how the song “Light My Fire” was created and how they knew it was a good, fucking song and it was going to be a hit.

“Jim was living his life like a reprobate until he began to dissipate…” (Ray actually said that!) into an alcoholic when “Jimbo” took over Jim’s body.

At this point, I couldn’t write any more. I just wanted to listen. Ray only talked for about 45 minutes after we came back fromRay Manzarek lunch and then he held a Q & A session, which was great! I asked him, “What do you think of Patricia Kenneally’s book and how much of it is accurate?” He said that he hadn’t read the book but asked me if I had and if so, what did I think of it. I told him that I thought it offered a different perspective on Jim’s character from anything else that I’d read. Ray said that Patricia was in fact in love with Jim and that they’d had an affair, and then went on to mention how the scene that depicted the Wiccan marriage ceremony in Oliver Stone’s movie had made Jim out to be some sort of Satanist. Another guy in the audience piped up that Patricia had a web site that is just bizarre and that she says that Pam was responsible for Jim’s death and that she murdered him with a heroin overdose! Ray seemed genuinely shocked and said, “Man, you know, I just don’t want to know!” He is really only familiar with The Official Doors Web Site at www.thedoors.com and hasn’t seen any of the other ones.

A Greek girl in the audience went on to say that there was an inscription in Greek on Jim’s original headstone in Pere Lachaise cemetery that when translated basically read “Go down to your demons!” She thought it was horrible that someone close to Jim would put such a thing on his headstone, effectively damning him to hell for all eternity. Ray revealed that he believed that it was Jim’s father who did that. Jim hated his father and in fact always said that he had no family and that his parents were dead. Jim’s father was in the Navy and never forgave Jim for what he had become. That was very sad to hear.

There were several more questions answered before Ray told us he was going to sign copies of his book for us. So everyone lined up and waited for their turn to meet Ray. I was trying to think of something really intelligent to ask him, but I was too overwhelmed. I had brought my camera and took a few shots of Ray on stage, but I really wanted to get someone to take a picture of us together, because the guy in front of me did, but he had an idiot-proof, auto focus, auto flash unit and mine was just too damn complicated to explain to anyone in my stoned state. So I didn’t ask. I regret that.

When I got to Ray, he asked to whom should he sign the book. I spelled out my name for him and said, “You are a great speaker and I really enjoyed that. Thank you!” He replied, “Why thank YOU darlin’!” And that was it. We smiled at each other and I walked away…completely lost on Cloud Nine. And what a darlin’ he is! Now I can’t wait to run right out and watch every Marlene Dietrich film I can find and read all the beat poets including Kerouac, Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti. I am currently reading Ray’s book and man, I am SO inspired!

That my friends, was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done!

***************************************************************

Over the years I’ve written about much of my life because I always thought that some day I would write a book. I have kept journals, written poetry, short stories, reviews and more. I thought it’s about time I start to share some of that with you, not only so that you can get to know me better, but also to understand why music and pop culture has always been such a huge part of my life and, because I may never write that book. My best friend Jen and I are always talking about how much we wish there really was a Hot Tub Time Machine we could use to go back to so many of the memorable moments we’ve had in our lives. In lieu of the lack of such an invention to date, we can always choose to revisit a choice Blast From The Past.

Blast From The Past: A Walk Down Memory Lane With Shaun Cassidy

Dear Beliebers,

Once upon a time, way way back in 1978, your moms or maybe even your grandmas used to have crushes on teen idols too.  For this 48 year old woman, the sun rose and set on The Hardy Boys’ star: bubblegum pop singing sensation, Shaun Cassidy, who today is 53, a successful television producer and the father of seven children from three different marriages!  Yes, my bedroom walls were covered in posters of him and I collected at least a dozen binders full of teen magazine articles and posters on The Hardy Boys that I kept until I was in my late 30s when I finally threw them all in a dumpster.

The other day, one of my longtime close friends, Vicki, sent me the most delightful package in the mail.  It was a pristine copy of the May 15, 1978 issue of People magazine (back when it used to be good!) featuring Shaun Cassidy on its cover.  Ever since I took it out of the package and flipped through the magazine, I’ve been taking a walk down memory lane with a big, silly grin on my face.

You see, Shaun Cassidy was a really big deal for me – and millions of other teens of the 70s – when I was 14 years old, just like Justin Bieber is to tweens today.  Although he wasn’t my first celebrity crush (that honour went to Jack Lord of Hawaii Five-0), he was my biggest and he was also the reason that my BFF of 36 years, Jennifer Amy, and I bonded in the school yard at recess.  Once we discovered that we were both huge fans of The Hardy Boys television series on ABC, we became inseparable. Jen preferred older, preppy Parker Stevenson while I couldn’t stop gushing over the younger, baby-faced, feather-haired Shaun.  Lifelong friendships have probably been based on less, but we have lots in common that keeps us interested in regular two hour telephone conversations to this day.

The first concert I ever attended was Shaun Cassidy at CNE Stadium in the summer of 1978.  My mother let me go with Jen on the Great Canadian Rock Tours bus to Toronto to see my beloved teen idol and to this day, Jen and I still remember how it felt to sit in the stadium and listen to tens of thousands of teenage girls scream their hearts out when he sang “Da Doo Ron Ron”, “Hey Deanie”, and “That’s Rock & Roll”.

I went to see Shaun a second time in August of 1979 with another good friend, my next door neighbour, Janice Rowe, who is also still a close friend to this day.  She was a huge Bay City Rollers fan and a little older than me, but she humoured me and came along because I wasn’t allowed to go to Toronto by myself.  We hung around by the gates to the entrance of the stadium hoping to spot Shaun but the most I ever succeeded in was meeting his best friends, Room 222 star David Jolliffe and Cloris Leachman’s son, George Englund Jr. (who I just discovered in my research dated Sharon Stone!). They were kind to Shaun’s fans and even gave me their autograph.

I used to write to pen pals who I discovered through the teen magazines and one of them was fortunate enough to get some decent snapshots of Shaun in concert at the Ohio State Fair in August 1979 so I bought some from her with my babysitting money.  I never got close enough to the stage in Toronto to take any kind of clear shots, although I do have some of those old Kodak 110 camera blurry snaps of the stage with a centimeter-high band in them.

I was so inspired by young Cassidy that I wrote my very first poem about him when I was 14, simply entitled “Shaun”.  To my great surprise it was published in 16 Magazine and Scholastic Book Services’ Rock’s Biggest Ten (if anyone out there has a copy of this book published in 1979 by David Dachs, I’d love to buy it!).  Years later, after I’d been writing way better poetry for quite some time, I was approached by Young Poets of Canada about writing an article called “What It’s Like To Be A Young Poet.”  I also wrote a mystery novella called The End of Our Rainbow, about Jen’s and my adventures with Shaun & Parker.  My high school pals read and reviewed it for me and I still have the original typed copy of it with pictures cut out of Tiger Beat magazine and handwritten comments by my friends.  It’s ultra melodramatic and totally HILARIOUS!!  So you see, my teen idol crush inspired me to write and I still write today.  I’m also still a huge music fan who gets regular crushes on different singing sensations, only now they’re considerably older than 19!