Event Recap: Jian Ghomeshi’s Memoir Launch

We were transported back to a time of teenage angst and rock-and-roll on Tuesday night as Jian Ghomeshi celebrated the launch of his first book, a memoir called 1982, at Queen East’s Opera House. The celebration, hosted by Penguin Canada, was a music and live band karaoke-filled, good old-fashioned dance party, with a diverse group of guests including colleagues, family and friends of Ghomeshi’s – some from high school and university. The evening also drew an assortment of notable guests from the entertainment, public relations and political worlds, including Olivia Chow, Justin Trudeau, Tanya Kim, Melissa Grelo, Lights, Atom Egoyan and Kelly Cutrone, among others. 


In addressing the packed house, Ghomeshi said that the last thing he wanted to write was a sob story with the memoir, which describes life as an outsider – an Iranian in Toronto’s Thornhill suburb – navigating the already daunting world of high school. The rock-and-roll-infused coming-of-age-story takes place in a pivotal year in Ghomeshi’s life, 1982, when he was a David Bowie-obsessed teen questioning himself and the world around him. Heavily influenced by era-specific music, the book is rich with reflections on popular culture, including references that those on the lower end of the young professional age spectrum may not understand, as Ghomeshi describes a world before the Internet, iPods or cell phones. It speaks of things like mixtapes and is filled with music-related references and lists, with its chapters named after popular songs of the time that influenced his life and the novel.


Tanya Kim, eTalk anchor (left), Melissa Grelo, CP24 morning show host/news anchor (middle)

In writing the comical and highly revealing memoir, which he did without the aid of a ghostwriter, Ghomeshi said that if a certain story, reference or anecdote made him laugh out loud, he was hopeful the readers would as well. In attendance were Ghomeshi’s parents, to whom he said the book was dedicated because he didn’t’ have a wife, which in response to laughter he joked was “more sad than funny.” We’re willing to bet there were a few takers in the audience. He is a man of many talents, after all, as a broadcaster, writer and, in case you forgot, singer. Ghomeshi, a former member of the folk-rock band Moxy Früvous, performed a few times throughout the evening, kicking off the live band portion of the party singing “Psycho Killer” with The Arkells.


MP Justin Trudeau

Beloved favourites from times past were played throughout the night as Ghomeshi retreated to the back to sign freshly purchased books and guests took the stage and mic themselves in a memorable Tuesday night like no other. 

1982 by Jian Ghomeshi, 304 pages, $30, published by Penguin Canada, is on sale now.

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