Roxanne Tellier – Books, Music and Stuff!

roxanne-dbawis11

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

Since I’m effectively agoraphobic during winter, it seems like a good time to turn my attention to this mess around me that I’ve accumulated, and scan through the wee bits of paper on which I’ve written a germ of an idea, usually accompanied by an *asterisk* and several exclamation points!!! I just have to haul them out from under the weight of the newspaper clippings, flyers, magazines, library books and paper backs they’ve landed under, over and in between.

george_carlin_house stuff1I’m an idea junkie, a bibliomaniac and a collector of all things relevant to my incessant research on anything that tickles my imagination’s fancy. Don’t tell me to go digital – my computer’s ‘bookmarks’ are too numerous to be manageable. I type this while living in fear that a shelf will collapse under its own weight and crush all in its path.   

It has been ever so. Even as a kid, I would escape into a world of books. My temple was the local library, where I could devour books of all kinds … for free! … And float home on a cloud of new fantasies. When I left Montreal for Toronto in my twenties, I had to have several car loads of boxed books and files moved to my new city. It’s madness, a mania, and despite my current need to downsize my possessions, an almost possible task and a literary Sophie’s Choice.

It’s hard to get rid of “stuff.” George Carlin nailed it when he said, “Have you noticed that their stuff is shit, and your shit is stuff? And you say, ‘get that shit off of there and let me put my stuff down!’”

Carlin accumulating possessionsWe love our stuff; we’re often even emotionally attached to our stuff, especially if the stuff has the sentimentality supplement of coming from a loved one. Having our stuff around us makes us feel secure. We’ve got our house stuff, our office stuff, our gym stuff and our car stuff. I have a purse so prepared for any eventuality that it could double as an overnight bag. Except – no, I’ll need that too, cuz for overnight I’ll need even more stuff. 

Some people like stuff more than others. We call those people ‘pack rats,’ or in extreme cases, ‘hoarders,’ the distinction being that the pack rat is more untidy than you, and the hoarder is in imminent danger of being crushed under a  shelf that might collapse under its own weight and … oh my god I’m a hoarder!

BOOK-HOARDER

Hoarders Delight (Rappers Delight spoof) by Worst Party on Earth

Fact is, it’s easier to be a hoarder than an organized person. You just never sort the stuff, or throw anything away. You find great deals on your chosen item, or you sell off less significant items to finance your obsession, and you scour Craigslist or freecycle, where those without your particular kink actually give away what you’re jonesing over… and the collection grows …

ant-and-grasshopper

I am the Ant, with a need to amass that trumps the flightiness of the Grasshopper. I shore up my perceived needs, present or future, with a stockpile that will protect me from a cold winter.

treasured-booksBut even within my collection, there are divisions. Books about music and the entertainment world live happily side by side with dictionaries and reference books. Those are the ‘honourable,’ the undisputed lords of the shelves. Books written by or about friends come next, with first, special and signed editions following.

Lowliest of the low are the mass market paperbacks and hardcovers, although I have a few authors whom I adore, and will never unfriend. And then there are the hundreds of books that piqued my interest, but have yet to see their spines cracked … fiction or non-fiction, they taunt me with their promise and possibility.

book monsterI’m working on dismantling my book monster. Every day I sort through another category, refining my choices down to what I MIGHT write about, as opposed to subjects I’ll never really pursue. I’m streamlining what remains, in the hopes of becoming a more selective reader, and of being better able to actually locate that particular reference that I need while writing a column or proving a debate point.   

Although I can see a day when I’ll rely more on electronic media, the internet and e-books than I currently do, I still crave the physical sensation -it-was-a-dark-and-stormy-nightof holding a book in my hands, opening the cover, and reading the first sentence of a new tale, one which the writer laboured over incessantly until he or she thought they’d found the exact right words to capture a reader’s imagination.

But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to walk indifferently past a bookstore, especially one with shelves that groan under titles I’ve never read. Books – displayed, sold, and treasured – they are the gold I seek. A man who can write, and who can passionately discuss a favourite book, attains a special status in my heart and mind.

I suppose by those criteria, the ever delightful poet and musician Leonard Cohen would be my ideal mate.

And a man who can slip a literary reference into a song … that’s a delight beyond words. I quivered when Sting mentioned Nabokov’s Lolita in “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” I grinned when Smoky Robinson referenced opera’s Pagliacci in “Tears of A Clown.”

The Strokes, The Smashing Pumpkins and deadmau5 have all written about soma, the drug in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs album had three songs that mused upon George Orwell’s1984.” Bowie actually planned to do an entire rock musical based on the novel, but Orwell’s widow objected to the idea, so the project was shelved.

The Ramones wrote “Pet Sematary” for the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. It was later covered by Rammstein. And of course, Elton John’sRocket Man” is Bernie Taupin’s condensation of Ray Bradbury’s short story.

Books and music are my hoarded gold. Toss in a beer and a sandwich and we’re golden.

=RT=

Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. She has also been a vocalist with many acts, including Tangents, Lady, Performer, Mambo Jimi, and Delta Tango. In 2013 she co-hosted Bob Segarini’s podcast, The Bobcast, and, along with Bobert, will continue to seek out and destroy the people who cancelled ‘Bunheads’.

The Bobcast

2 Responses to “Roxanne Tellier – Books, Music and Stuff!”

  1. Peter Montreuil Says:

    Well done, Roxanne. I’m a fellow (?) bibliophile.

  2. You’ve just described my life…. and my house….. and my truck….. and my office. Good article! I need to purge!

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