Jian Ghomeshi didn’t just want to write a book about himself. Instead, he wrote a book about himself wanting to be David Bowie. He wrote about himself wanting to be David Bowie and having a crush on a girl who reminded him of David Bowie. And, he wrote himself wanting to be David Bowie while having a crush on a girl who reminds him of David Bowie in 1982. Yes, that year, when Ghomeshi was 14-15, is the title of the CBC host’s first book, the only one, he claims, to be written by a “Persian-Canadian New-waver”.
The book (Jian refuses to call it a memoir), is very witty and shows a musical knowledge very few other possess. From Bowie to Rush to Talking Heads and the Police, Ghomeshi serves up a smorgasbord of intellectual musicality to act as a backdrop for a skinny, confused immigrant teenager with gelled hair and a crush on an older schoolmate. Sounds like a great Canadian love story. Besides Bowie and Wendy (the name of Jian’s semi-unrequited older love), one thing 1982 tells us is Ghomeshi’s pension for making lists. Particularly short lists (or shortlists).
In addition to being rather witty, the host of Q on CBC also writes quite frankly and matter-of-factly. Whether it is about his sexual exploits (or lack of them), his parents move to the suburb and his worries about looking different, his musical aspirations (including being the youngest member of the Thornhill Community Band), or overall life in the 1980s; Ghomeshi doesn’t hide anything, while at the same time, does not release any shocking or untoward information designed to illicit a specific reaction from the reader.
1982 is a hilarious exploration into teen angst. And yet, it is so much more than that. It is unabashedly political, whimsical, reminiscent, and downright fun. Like many coming out of the CBC, Ghomeshi has a unique perspective, insight and personal style. A highly recommended read.