The strengths of Bidini's two best-loved books, On a Cold Road and Tropic of Hockey, music and travel to unlikely places, come together in this account of his search for rock 'n' roll.When it looks as if the Rheostatics are breaking up after more than twenty years together, Dave Bidini is left feeling adrift from his moorings and decides to go on a very long road trip, playing solo and finding out about the state of rock 'n' roll around the world. Accompanied much of the way by his friend Al, who also has a solo act, Bidini sets out for London, England, his springboard for travel to Finland, Russia, China, Sierra Leone, and Ghana, punctuated by trips to Newfoundland and Gananoque in Canada, and to New York City.What Bidini finds is that the rock 'n' roll machine has not yet flattened the globe, as each place has taken what suits it from the West's dominant music and ignored the rest. Metal may have had its heyday in North America, but it still suits the quiet Finns just fine as a soundtrack for suicidal thoughts. In China, where Bidini plays with the Rheos-Not-Rheos as part of the Maple Rhythm Festival, he has to coach the crowd sitting quietly in plastic chairs how to clap rhythmically. In Russia, where live rock still lurks in hard-to-find places, the British band Smokie is far more popular than even the Rolling Stones, and the first Western band Mongolian audiences wanted to hear live was Boney M. In Africa, Bidini finds out just how far rock has wandered from its roots, and in Newfoundland, just how true it has stayed.Peopled with hosers, the über-hip, and the profoundly baffled, and brimming with tales of playing in strange venues to bemused locals and the odd drunk, Around the World takes readers on an unforgettable, ear-opening swing through the world of rock 'n' roll.From the Hardcover edition.
In the spring of 2002, Dave Bidini set off for Nettuno, Italy, with his wife, Janet, and their two small children, in search of his favourite summer game, baseball. Nettuno was his destination because this town, south of Rome, has been the baseball capital of Italy since 1944, when the game was introduced by the American GIs who liberated the region. Bidini wanted to spend time in a town where everyone is as nuts about the game as he is, and in Nettuno, they love the game so much that they hand out baseball gloves and bats to children taking their first communion. For six months Bidini followed the fortunes of the Serie B Peones, Nettunese to the core. At the same time he was also learning about his own heritage, having spent his youth vigorously ignoring his Italianness. The result of his summer in Italy is vintage Bidini: a funny, perceptive, and engrossing book that takes readers far beyond the professional sport to the game that people around the world love to play.
Bidini returns to the game he loves bestIn 2004, Dave Bidini laced on his skates and slid onto the ice of Toronto's McCormick Arena to play defence with the Morningstars in the E! Cup tourney. While thrashing around the ice, swiping at the puck and his opponents, Bidini got to thinking about how others see the game. Afterward, he set off to talk to former professional players about their experiences of hockey. The result is vintage Bidini -- an exuberant, evocative, highly personal, and vividly coloured account of his and his team's exploits, interwoven with the voices of such hockey heroes as Frank Mahovlich, Yvan Cournoyer, John Brophy, Steve Larmer, and Ryan Walter.All aspects of the game are up for grabs in The Best Game You Can Name -- the sweetest goals, the worst fights, the trades, the off-ice perks and the on-ice rivalries, not to mention the rotten pranks. Bidini and the former players offer sometimes startling observations about the fans, coaches, owners, other players, and the huge rush of being on the ice, stick in hand, giving everything you have to the best game you can name.From the Hardcover edition.
In 2008, Dave Bidini accompanies Homeless Team Canada to the Homeless World Cup-an annual street soccer tournament with goals unlike any other: the most important of which is to create life-changing opportunities for the millions of homeless people worldwide. In Melbourne, Australia, Bidini watches team members play and shares the disappointments, frustrations, joys, and triumphs of forty-five-year-old Billy, who is a former addict; the quick-footed twenty-four-year-old Moroccan immigrant Juventus, who refuses to talk about his past; and most of all, the endearing teenaged Krystal, who carries a photograph of her long-dead mother and dreams of a better life. Bidini begins to understand what this tournament means to all those involved. He sees firsthand the power of sport to transform the lives of those on the edge-how the decision to play this game can mean the difference between survival and heading down a road of addiction, poverty, or crime. Home and Away offers a powerful look at the poor and dispossessed, from the barrios of Mexico City and the shanties of West Africa to the streets of North America and Europe, illuminating the renewed meaning that these players find in such an inspiring game.
In 2008 Dave Bidini accompanies Homeless Team Canada to the Homeless World Cup in Melbourne, Australia. As he watches team members play and shares their disappointments, frustrations, joys, and triumphs, he comes to care deeply about the players-45-year-old Billy, who is a former addict; the quick-footed 24-year-old Moroccan immigrant Juventus, who refuses to talk about his past; and most of all, the endearing teenaged Krystal, who carries a photograph of her long-dead mother and dreams of a better life.Bidini gets to know the other teams at the World Cup and describes the games themselves, culminating in the final between Canada and Malawi and a chance for the talented Krystal to join a soccer team in Holland. Bidini also begins to understand what this tournament means to people. He sees firsthand the power of sport to transform the lives of those on the edge-how the decision to play this game can mean the difference between survival or heading down a road of addiction, poverty, or crime. Home and Away offers a powerful look at the poor and dispossessed, and illuminates the renewed meaning that these homeless players find in the beautiful game.
David Bidini, rhythm guitarist with the Rheostatics, knows all too well what the life of a rock band in Canada involves: storied arenas one tour and bars wallpapered with photos of forgotten bands the next. Zit-speckled fans begging for a guitar pick and angry drunks chucking twenty-sixers and pint glasses. Opulent tour buses riding through apocalyptic snowstorms and cramped vans that reek of dope and beer. Brilliant performances and heart-sinking break-ups.Bidini has played all across the country many times, in venues as far flung and unalike as Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto and the Royal Albert Hotel in Winnipeg. In 1996, when the Rheostatics opened for the Tragically Hip on their Trouble at the Henhouse tour, Bidini kept a diary. In On a Cold Road he weaves his colourful tales about that tour with revealing and hilarious anecdotes from the pioneers of Canadian rock - including BTO, Goddo, the Stampeders, Max Webster, Crowbar, the Guess Who, Triumph, Trooper, Bruce Cockburn, Gale Garnett, and Tommy Chong - whom Bidini later interviewed in an effort to compare their experiences with his. The result is an original, vivid, and unforgettable picture of what it has meant, for the last forty years, to be a rock musician in Canada.From the Trade Paperback edition.
From Toronto to China, Dubai to Transylvania and back, a hilarious, moving account of one man's quest for "pure hockey."
From acclaimed musician and author Dave Bidini comes a brilliantly original look at a folk-rock legend and the momentous week in 1972 that culminated in the Mariposa Folk Festival.July, 1972. As musicians across Canada prepare for the nation's biggest folk festival, held on Toronto Island, a series of events unfold that will transform the country politically, psychologically--and musically. As Bidini explores the remarkable week leading up to Mariposa, he also explores the life and times of one of the most enigmatic figures in Canadian music: Gordon Lightfoot, the reigning king of folk at the height of his career. Through a series of letters, Bidini addresses Lightfoot directly, questioning him, imagining his life, and weaving together a fascinating, highly original look at a musician at the top of his game. By the end of the week, the country is on the verge of massive change and the '72 Mariposa folk fest--complete with surprise appearances by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and yes, Lightfoot--is on its way to becoming legendary.From the Hardcover edition.
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