1982 – Jian Ghomeshi – a book response

Something about music has a way of transporting you back in time. Jian Ghomeshi uses music, and his teen obsession with it, as an illustration of what life was like for his 14-year-old self. Jian’s descriptions of the music and his experiences of 1982 are impeccable. He has a real knack for making you feel like you are right there, inside of his 14-year-old self’s head < kind of a scary thought, sometimes, no? 😉 >


Jian Ghomeshi & me

I had the pleasure of attending Blissdom Canada, where Jian spoke and read from his book, so I had that voice to replay in my head as if he were reading the entire book. This would make for a fantastic listen as an audiobook read by the author! <wink, wink, nudge, nudge @Jian>


Whether you are a product of the 80’s from childhood or teen years you’ll likely relate to Jian’s telling of 1982. After all we are the last generation that will remember the world before the internet. We are a generation of many firsts. And they are pivotal, tell all, firsts that just aren’t easily forgotten.


Do you remember rotary phones attached to a wall with a long twirly “phone cord”? Dixie cups? How about “taping stuff” off of the radio?…


[You didn’t really need the internet for illegal downloading back in the day. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was just called “taping stuff”. ] Ghomeshi, 2012


Jian took me back to days of my youth that I remember fondly, but not without painful memories. His youth is full of struggling to fit in as an immigrant Persion boy in the suburbs of Toronto. While I was the cute skinny white girl who likely had few challenges compared to anyone of non-Caucasian descent I know how it feels not to fit in. I think everyone felt a little out of place as a teen and pre-teen, but a victim of bullying < both as a tween living in an 80% non-white community, and as the new girl moving from said community to a small town that lacked diversity almost entirely > knows what it feels like to try to find herself and fit in.

Music was my saving grace. Initially taken in by the chart hits, I eventually was drawn to the oldies of my parents’ teens and later years. The Beatles, The Who, Elvis “the King of Rock” Presley, 1960s and 1970s classics… In my teen years I worked for A & A Records and Tapes (then to become A & A Music and Entertainment) and filled my collection with a very diverse mix. I allowed myself to become absorbed by my music collection, created my own mixed tapes for myself and friends, and used the songs to speak what I felt when I couldn’t express myself.


Jian’s 1982 is a glimpse into a teenage immigrant boy’s life in Canadian suburbia. It makes you think, it makes you laugh, and it makes you remember.