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Monday, January 17, 2005

Douglas Coupland in Ottawa

Douglas Coupland reads from Eleanor Rigby at the Library and Archives of Canada Auditorium - 8 p.m.

UPDATE: [11:10pm]

It was near 30 below tonight. Despite the weather and Monday night schedule, Mr. Coupland drew a decent sized crowd of mainly 20 somethings. Scruffy lot I must say. The spirit (and clothing) of Che Guevera is alive and well in Ottawa it seems. My impression of Douglas Coupland? He looked, well, haggard. And talked similarly. What's all the fuss about him I wonder? In any event, I believe it's sheer marketing genius to use the 'Dorian Gray' mid-90s photo of him on the dust jacket.

After waiting over an hour in line for him to sign, rather, 'stamp' my book I did the readerly thing and asked him an impropmtu question when my turn came to meet him. I asked of him his favourite Canadian author (20th century). He cautiously replied that he didn't much like Canadian literature at all. What was I expecting? It was a dumbish question. He went on lamenting, in a whiny way, the typical Canadian (immigrant) stories or growing up in a small town and so on. He did admit to liking Gord Downie's Coke Machine Glow and that he thinks Alice Munro is the best writer Canada has. However, in mid-response, I gather he liked my Kanuk winter coat, as he fondled the distinctive owl patch on my lapel. I felt uneasy. He then signed my book, gave it the obligatory stamp 'with warmest personal regards douglas coupland' (the irony benumbs me), and shook my hand. I was off. Julie was graciously warming up the car in the lot. I promptly asked her for the Purell.

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