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August 08, 2008

The Film Club

I have this friend. He’s a good guy. Sometimes he organizes a book club with the stipulation that they must meet in a pub. He loves beer and he can tell you which beers to drink guiding your own choice based on his knowledge. Sometimes when I am around him I feel that he is the father I wish I’d had. He’ll freak when he reads that because he's only three years older than me. I’m smiling as I write that. There's just something fatherly about him.

I saw him today and he’d gone to the library to get me a book that I’d wanted but couldn’t get in Vancouver because there were 25 holds on it. It’s called The Film Club. I like that he did that for me. I didn’t ask him. He offered. Just a small effort that means a lot; someone doing something for me that they know will make me happy; to show me that they want to please me, that they care. How great is that?

The Film Club is written by David Gilmour. He’s a Canadian author and former television personality. The book was sitting at the table in the restaurant when I showed up and my friend was nowhere to be seen. So, I sat down and waited for him to return.

And, now, after our lunch and after some other chores, I have spent all afternoon inhaling the story.

Gilmour describes himself, at the time of writing the book, as unemployed and not even able to get a job as a “fucking bike courier”. And, his son Jesse is not able to tolerate high school so Gilmour (after a lot of inner torture) gives him the option of dropping out because, afterall, he was 6'4" and how do you make a 6'4" person do anything they don't really want to?

A Governor General Award Winner for another book A Perfect Night to Go To China , Gilmour is confused about what to make of his future and his 15 year old son is pretty much in the same headspace albeit a few less decades into his life.

He puts only one caveat on the agreement. His son must watch three films a week with him and the older gets to choose the films. Gilmour chooses films that will somehow provide insights into situations the younger Gilmour finds himself in - with girls, with drugs, growing up. He was a film critic so it's not exactly like the average suburban dad choosing films.

So, I was lying on my couch on this very hot August afternoon, dozing in and out of consciousness, being reminded of what it was like as a teen-ager to read away the afternoon, not wanting to have anything interrupt my relocation to a fictional world and the delicious luxury of escape.

Well, I thought to myself, just be where you are - with a book and a delightful narrator - the kind you wish you were having a beer with even though when I watched him on TV in the past I always thought he was too affected.

His writing however is another story. I could spend hours in the company of his writing and today I did. I loved the book. And when you're done, you're left with a long list of movies that show you where you need to fill in the gaps of your own movie watching with Gilmour's descriptions as the literate movie trailers.

PS: His son did get his Grade 12 and is in University now but he never did go back to a regular classroom in high school to complete it.

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