Home Is Where You Live Long Enough To See the Trees Grow: An Evening With Jian Ghomeshi

CBC Radio host captivates crowds at the Alix Goolden Hall with a reading from his new book, 1982.

CBC's Jian Ghomeshi captivated crowds at the Alix Goolden Hall, Tues., Nov. 20.

CBC's Jian Ghomeshi captivated crowds at the Alix Goolden Hall, Tues., Nov. 20.

“Well, hi there… happy Tuesday.” For those of you to whom these first five words sound familiar, the words following will come as no surprise. For the past five and a half years, Jian Ghomeshi has been gaining momentum. His CBC Radio One show, The Q, has garnered him national and international acclaim: it is a praise, well deserved.

Ghomeshi’s interviews are consistently compelling, a perfect balance of informed questions and a sympathetic personality that puts every guest at ease (with the exception of Billy Bob, of course). Ghomeshi’s star has risen on both sides of the 49th. Every morning, starting at 10:00 PST, he introduces Canada’s blossoming, unique culture to our American neighbors… and ourselves. Timing is everything. Jian is the man of our time— he is Canada’s beardless prophet.

With all this momentum, it comes as no surprise that Ghomeshi was offered a book deal. His personality, which is somewhat understated in the oral context of his talk show as he routinely steps aside and allows his guests to shine, has become a subject of great interest in Canada and abroad. We want to know more about this Iranian/Brit./Canadian who rose to fame in the early nineties as the drummer of Moxy Fruvous. We want to know what happened before his fame (Bowie reference intended). With 1982, Ghomeshi finally delivers his big reveal.

As the title of the book suggests, 1982 stops short of providing us with a detailed account of Ghomeshi’s youth and young manhood, much less the past five and a half years of his life. With this book, Ghomeshi chooses to document a single teenage year of his life in all its endearingly awkward detail. He chooses to forgo a ‘womb to tomb’ style biography: the book is more microcosm, less macrocosm. Some of the characters who inhabit this book will be familiar to avid Q listeners, especially Jian’s father who continually asks leading questions after making enthusiastic proclamations such as: “That’s great!”

Such are the characters who took center stage on Tuesday evening in Victoria. Yes, Ghomeshi read from his book, but throughout the two hour long reading it became resoundingly clear that the stories within Ghomeshi’s first published book were stories initially rehearsed and edited around a dinner table with friends and family: these are tales best spoken, and that’s exactly what Ghomeshi did on Tuesday night. Ghomeshi played to his strengths, and held the sold out Victorian venue captive for over two hours. He told stories in elaborate accents, he charmed his way into hearts which were already completely charmed as he seamlessly wove parts of his written narrative into a captivatingly conversational manner of speech.

But the highlight of the evening came near the end. During the question and answer period, an older gentleman ran down the old hall’s center aisle not to ask Ghomeshi a question but to share with him and the rest of us, a truth much more profound than anything you’ll find in Ghomeshi’s first book. The man, a Persian immigrant Victoria via Winnipeg, clearly identified with Ghomeshi’s father: he said as much, prompting Ghomeshi to literally bow at his feet. The unidentified man’s truth is a truth to which we, as Canadians, a fundamentally Métis nation, can surely relate: “Home is where you live long enough to see the trees grow”.

And perhaps this is why so many of us relate to Jian Ghomeshi. While 1982 testifies to Ghomeshi’s initial reluctance to embrace his own convoluted heritage, while he sometimes finds his parents embarrassing and strives to be David Bowie rather than Jian Ghomeshi, 1982 is ultimately an testament to the power of genuine self discovery. Ghomeshi discovers that he ain’t no Bowie; instead, he’s something much more valuable and truly real than the inconsistent branding of his favourite rock star. Indeed, Ghomeshi, like the rest of us, contains a complex amalgam of identities and cultures which populate and continually define and redefine our country. If Ghomeshi can be proud of it, so can we… in fact, we must.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo author Haley Healey recently launched her second book, ‘Flourishing and Free: More Stories of Trailblazing Women of Vancouver Island.’ (Photo courtesy Kristin Wenberg)
Nanaimo author pens second book on ‘trailblazing’ Vancouver Island women

Haley Healey’s ‘Flourishing and Free’ follows her 2020 debut ‘On Their Own Terms’

Saanich author Hannalora Leavitt hopes her new book, This Disability Experience, helps to dispel the ‘otherness’ that often surrounds people with disabilities. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Vancouver Island author demystifying disability and dismantling otherness

Hannalora Leavitt, who lives with a visual impairment, wants to change how people look at disability

Michael Demers, performing here as a member of The Lonely, died May 1 after a year-long battle with leukemia. (Photo by Benji Duke)
Victoria music community mourning Michael Demers

Veteran singer-songwriter, co-founder of The Lonely dies at 63 due to leukemia

The Royal B.C. Museum has added a tamba dining set, used by a Punjabi man on his voyage to Canada in 1927, to its ‘100 Objects of Interest’ online collection. (Courtesy of Royal B.C. Museum)
Punjabi dining set added to Royal B.C. Museum’s ‘100 Objects of Interest’ collection

Set used by Indar Singh Gill on his voyage from Punjab to Canada in 1927

Victoria-born musician Bryce Dane Soderberg took to Instagram Monday to call out the Greater Victoria School District on its proposed cuts to elementary and middle school music programs. (Bryce Dane Soderberg/Instagram)
Victoria-born Lifehouse vocalist calls out SD61 on proposed music cuts

‘It will be a big loss to future generations’ Bryce Dane Soderberg posted to his Instagram

Musqueam and Qualicum First Nations artist, Mathew Andreatta, next to several of his ongoing projects, including carvings and illustrations. (Submitted photo)
Island artist considers art a means to reconnect with his Indigenous identity

Andreatta thought of TOSH as a space of learning and creation

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong are presenting an online reading on May 9. (Photos courtesy Joni Marcolin/Heather Armstrong)
Nanaimo playwrights present online Mother’s Day script readings

Nicolle Nattrass and Michael Armstrong to read from in-progress plays

Marianne Turley is one of this year’s City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award winners for Honour in Culture. (Bulletin file photo)
Longtime Vancouver Island Symphony board member gets posthumous culture award

Marianne Turley receives City of Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture

The CVAC Fine Arts Show is always something to see and 2021 promises to be no different, as they adopt a fully multimedia approach. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley Fine Arts Show goes multimedia for 2021

The show, which runs from May 1-22 will be available both in person and online.

Dinner After a Death, a painting by Sooke artist Bryan Cathcart is part of a collection featuring his work at the Outsiders and Others Gallery in Vancouver. (Contributed - Bryan Cathcart)
Sooke artist finds creativity by expanding artistic horizons

Bryan Cathcart, 26, featured at Vancouver gallery

Viking-inspired fantasy writer Joshua Gillingham of Nanaimo and Seattle-based Islamic science fiction editor Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad are co-editing ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star.’ (Photos submitted, illustration by Lada Shustova/Figue)
Nanaimo author co-editing historical anthology connecting Vikings and Muslims

Joshua Gilligham presents ‘Althingi – The Crescent and the Northern Star’

Saltair-based writer, Krista May. (Janet Kelly photo)
Island writers make long-list for 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

Krista May and Angie Ellis among 33 finalists selected out of over 3,000 entrants

Most Read