Monday, February 16, 2009

The paparazzo who couldn't get past his F-stop

There was a time when I couldn't even spell paparazzo, till I became one.
Latin was a bitch until I learned enough to descipher some ancient graffiti on a Pompeii washroom and found things to be the same as in the Fifties washrooms of my Hamilton Ontario town. I swear that in my National Geographic examination of Pompeii, someone had scrawled, in a graffito, "Tibulsus eats it." Had things changed in 1900 years? And graffiti to honour gladiators much the same way we would tout the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Yeah," the Montreal Alouettes eat it!"
But I digress.
It was fun being a paparazzo, though I was a real klutz when it came to operating a camera.
Chased Sylvia Tyson of Ian and Sylvia fame, ran her down, was struck by her personal beauty and somehow couldn't get past my F-stop.
I finally had to get to her publicist to get a photo of her that night in the club....And in any event, she was friendly and was glad of the publicity.
So many stars actually welcomed paparazzi in the Seventies.
I had one of the cast of Gidget almost bedded down until I realized that I was then a married man.
O baby, it you'd only come around now.
But I am no longer an entertainment editor, not even a working writer... From Ivan the Great (at least, in my own head) to just plain Ivan. Blogger. Flogger. Holding my own.

I suppose one could still seduce a woman with his writing. But of late, all I've picked up is a corpulent Ukrainian dude dressed in black tights
who said I had seduced him with my book. Jeez, not only do I get dick for my writing these days, I almost got dick!
Oh old Odysseus with his paper army.
Oh how I'd like to outfit that old boat again and go off hunting
Lorelis under sparkling glass.... And in the Seventies, there were the lotus eaters, or, say it on--stoners-- who'd stick a chellum in my mouth and fire it up for me with a Bic butane that was more like a blowtorch.

In Xanadu
Did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree.

Ah, Xanadu.
O Canada.

My editor warned me not to try LSD, since I was a crazy bastard already. "You'll never come back."
Ah, back in the Sixties on Yorkville, Canada's Haight-Ahbury, people stumbling up and down the streets, yelling "I'm all fucked up, I'm all fucked up."
I tried snorting what he had been snorting, and for a long time, I too was "all fucked up."
Being married provided some stablility, or I'd have gone the way of itinerant hippies. I'd seen some of those in Mexico, "all f*cked up". The Mexicans called them Verduras, or vegetables. Some sought sorcerers to apptentice themselves to, looking for some Yaqui dude name Don Juan. I think I saw Carlos Castaneda.
How did people ever survived the Sixties and early Seventies? Stoned out on heroin on a Sunday morning with the kids underfoot. Well Jesus, I for one had to get a life.
So I got a wife. Stabilizing influence during that crazy time.
And getting a straight job, even though it was paparazzo.
Ah, the excesses of those days, the incredible energy, the shoe leather it took.

Flock! Give me back my craziness. Give me back my youth, even though misspent.
And gimme back my groupies.



Charles Gramlich said...

I can't imagine stalking folks for their photographs. I guess it's a hunter thing.

As for seduction, that's how Charles Bukowski got laid.

ivan@c said...

Caught an Indian chief near a Casino. For some reason, he ran like hell.

that is how Bukowski got laid?
I must become a wino at once. (Not far to go):)

Midnight said...

Re : Party Animaling

Wee slices, Ivan. Wee, slices.

Wee t*kes, nips of whiskey, just a few beers.

Works for me. For the first half hour. Sometimes for the first five.

I'm perfecting my discipline, you know.


the walking man said...

When I was out and about, more public than a web writer, I was amazed at all the young chicks who wanted a piece of me. Not well read or literary types who wanted to stimulate a dialog but the young and willing. Me? They wanted me? Ha!

Never got sucked into that fantasy of un-scarred fleshly delight. Call it the wisdom left over from years of tripping down Route LSD 465 and low opinion of self.

While I am sure, certain beyond sure, that I could drink Buk under the table on his best day, I doubt I'd survive a night with one of his "fans." said...

You had wisdom, Mark.

I was more like Iam Tyson of Ian and Sylvia. Action in the parking lot after the CBC country performance.
Made Sylvia mad.
Four Strong Winds began to blow lonely.

Khlmelnitskiy said...

Never underestimate the 'Çrazy Kozak' factor, you juvenile "puke-menen" posers.

Dipshits. said...

Well, I was doing all this in Toronto, where All Quiet Flows the Don. Not a Zaporozhian Cossack.

Midnight Fire said...

You'd be surprised, at the emnity, an enmity, might make (I think). Oh, fuck it ALL! Skin the freaks, sideways, if not centrally!

Goddam Punkrockers!

Make Bikers look like, um, breakfastchampions.

One Bitch Rules.

But the other Bitches (both male and female), were born to cut them down.

I wanna fuck you, takes on a whole new meaning. SLUT. said...

Show me a man who rides sidesaddle and I'll show you a gay caballero.

Midnight said...

It takes two, to ride ... one on each side. Stack a Rack, at your peril. Or piss off a girl, named Sheryl.

Midnight said...

Anyway, Ivan ; sorry if I hammer-head stalled this thread....

Back on topic :

Her frenzied screams, become my dreams.

And be wary, of ever accepting a ride, from a boy/girl named, Lola. said...

The thing about Ray Davies and the Kinks is that he's got that seven- and- a- half inch smile, but he tries to disguise it.

Midnight said...

Lucy in disguise ... oh nevermind....

I just used that line recently, at Chucker's site.

Aim high . Break low .

Donnetta Lee said...

Well, any comment I leave at that point would sound tame beyond belief. Ah, well...D said...


Thanks for coming in. It's getting kind of feaky around here.

Jo said...

My cousin Sherry was married to Ian Tyson's brother.

Ya shoulda called me... :-) said...


Mr. Tyson is extremely talented. Even to this day, at an advanced age, to this day he remains a top singer and writer.
Just wondering if his brother too has a wicked, wandering eye. said...


Nice to have the Quarks writing in.
This was turning into a site for male chauvinist piggies.

Just thought of the Frankie and Johnny song by Johnny Cash.

"And the redhead jumped up and slapped him
Slapped him a time or two
She said I'm frankie's sister
And I'm checking out on you
He was Frankie's man
But he was doin' her wrong.

Lilly's Life said...

Memories....sometimes thats all we've got. A paparazzi? Oh I bet its a different business now then it was once, do you think? Gidget, my favourite show, once upon a time.... said...

Lily's Life,

It was different in those days.
I worked with Boris Spremo, award-winning photographer at the Star. He was a genius.
Love your blog. Another Aussie! Good writing!...But when I went in to comment, a virus seemed to come my way and I chickened out...Must be the distance.

Monique said...

I haven't forgotten you. I come over occasionally just to check out if you are still with us. LOL I survived the sixties and seventies and have still a brain. said...

Hi Monique,

Seems the gods don't want us to connect. I have lost my sound again and can't hear your excelleng MIDDLE DITCH radio play.

Monique said...

That's okay Ivan. I do miss you though.

benjibopper said...

there's gotta be a book in there somewhere. consider jon stewart, who quoted shakespeare in online chatrooms, where nobody seemed to notice. he published the results to great comedic effect. just write it, print it out, send to hollywood baby! said...

A lot of people have done that Benji.

I'm thinking of two generations back, when Evelyn Waugh was hired as a war correstpondent, went to Aghanistan, wrote up a whole series of reports without leaving his hotel room...And all made up.
Stories all made the Sunday Telegraph (I think that was the paper).
I have included some anecdotes of my own careet as war correspondent and paparazzo in my novel, The Hat People, but it didn't go very far. said...

Benji, I should really send you a link, but here is own account of my journalist's career in a "fictional" account in my novel, The Hat People.

Seven Canadian journalists, John Lazarowych among them, arrived at the Hotel Haslev in a town in Denmark of the same name. They came in two olive green European Fords rented by the Canadian Forces for the purpose of transporting the newsmen to the various mock battle sites around south Zealand and Lolland Falster, where 11,000 NATO troops were to take part in an exercise. Canada, England and Italy had sent upwards of 1,000 troops each to Denmark, there to meet Danish soldiers in an exercise called RED ARROW, designed to test the rapid development of NATO troops in the event of attack against one of the member NATO countries by "an unnamed hostile power." Public relations officers from the three branches of the Canadian forces had been on hand to meet the Canadian newsmen as they arrived at the military airport. As for the freeloading journalists, there was CBC newsman Sean McKnight and his cameraman Fritz Van de Geer, Jacques Outremont, a young UPI photographer and Olaf Hansen a CBC Winnipeg newsman on vacation in his native Denmark and taking advantage of the companionship and freelance possibilities on Service junkets such as this one.

In the second car were a PR major, a naval petty officer, and the remaining three journalists, Mac Brown of CTV in Ottawa, John Smith of the Hamilton Spectator and John Lazarowych.

Lt. Kevin Robertson, dreamy, tall lanky, sensitive, had driven the lead car and had succeeded in getting the party lost no fewer than three times enroute to Haslev. He kept talking of yoga and peace.

After two hours of enroute boozing by the newsmen (booze supplied free by the army) the party finally arrived tired from the flight and a little drunk at the Hotel Haslev. At the inn, a low chateau-style building, white, impeccable and scrupulously neat, the journalists were shown their rooms, where they stayed just long enough to dump their suitcases before joining Major O'Hare and the two other PR men for a drink. After an hour of war stories offered by the major, increasingly incoherent talk, and frequent trips to the washroom, fatigue and alcohol began affecting everyone. Sean McKnight, CBC Toronto began tales of the Congo where one year he and a camera crew were stranded during the 1964 Katanga uprising. "We started to starve. Ever eat dog?"
McKnight was handsome like an afternoon is long. Gone through five wives and was about to divorce the sixth, he demanded a got homage from the group. Major O'Hare suggested they go downstairs for a few more drinks before a late supper and to a man they left, all except John. He knew if he had one more glass of akvavit or two more of the potent Danish beers he would pass out where he sat. He made for his room, tried to sleep there but couldn't. Strange country, strange place, strange people. One ego trying to outdo another in a joke or in topping a story of a previous trip. A young media type, he was a child along children.

When he came downstairs, the six were seated in a dining room, spotless with white tablecloths and oak panelling. The food hadn't come yet and the group was still drinking. Sean McKnight noisiest and most affected by the booze, was carrying on a discussion of Portnoy's Complaint with Lt. Kevin Robertson, who was trying to impress McKnight with the fact that he hated the army, had a university degree in sociology and English Literature, and that he wished like hell he'd never heard of a plan called the Regular Officers Training Programme. McKnight and Olaf Hanson, the vacationing CBC newsman embarked on an akvavit drinking competition, belting down the pleasant tasting overproof stuff as if it were orange juice. It was a hard scene to take in without one's self being really bombed. McKnight and Hansen may well have been two drunks emptying the radiator of a bulldozer. McKnight was beginning to lose the competition, slowing down, holding back a retch. Hansen laughed at him. McKnight poured off before McKnight smashed a jigger against the glass Hansen's held. Then he threw it at his head. The laughter stopped. Both men were stone drunk. McKnight, feeling that he had won, but hardly able to stand up, moved towards the stairs and somehow made it to his room there to pass out immediately. Hansen, dazed, too drunk to really feel affronted, stood up and also made for his own room. He was seen two hours later passed out in a bathtub, a trail of vomit behind him.

After the last newsman went to bed. John Smith of the Hamilton Spectator woke up screaming at 5:30 in the morning and had to be sedated with a swig of rum by young Outremont, who never did get his proper sleep because McKnight had got up from bed, called him in a sleep state a "stupid fucking Frog" and gone back to sleep. At 5:45 a.m. Hansen opened his eyes to see whom he had just punched to find Sean McKnight trying to fondle him.

At six a.m. the First Battallion of the Canadian Guards landed two miles south of their intended target...

Mona said...

Ok , so you want to be a pre-wife, Carlos Castaneda cum, Don Juan, cum Coleridge's Kubla Khan , Lorelis hunting , Sylvia chasing, Gidget fucking paparazzo !

Ginie, Grant him his wish! :D said...

Wonderful, Mona.

I am rubbing the lamp furiously.

But I fear I am more like a mainland Italian: No future,but what a past!

benjibopper said...

Ivan: great stuff. journalists crack me up; possibly the most insecure group of people on the planet. ok, i'll have to read the hat people. hopefully by year's end. said...


Yeah. They were from the old CBC Fifth Estate.
Boss of them all was Adrianne Clarkson, the one who wasn't insecure.
Went on to be queen bee at McClelland and Stewart and on to Governor General.

Midnight said...

Great story Ivan, of the drunken journalists stumbling around.
Now I don't feel so bad. There was a comment or two I wrote above, that I *still* have no idea of what I was trying to say (A first, for me). Sorry.

No lame excuses ; just poor judgement on my part.

Anonymous said...

large,with extra cheese,anchovies,and paparazzi...hold the mold...Ivanski,you were the god of totally unpredictable response,"sans substance"...I know there is a fiddle player somewhere in the ottawa/madawaska valley who is still trying to come to grips with "scotch and soda",and by now is probably highly medicated...if you find the groupies, lemme know...for the rest,there's always mastercard...cheers,amigo... said...

Ah, Tony and Eric,fellow entertainers.

Somebody asked for a waltz from us at the Eganville Inn or somewhere. We played Scotch and Soda accompanied, (I think) by a violinist. But Scotch and Soda is in four-four time.
So we switched to Hank Williams.
"Waltz of the Wind."
"What a depressing song to play, said one waltzer."
Ah well. We made money...At least the eqivalent in free beer for the band. said...

Hey Tony,

Remember Ginger?

She just sent me a a video. It's about a dog. Darn cookies gone again. Will have to crank up. said...


Can you pick this up?

Bill Plimpton is an Academhy Award winning crazy cartoonist.

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