Born in Montreal, July 1, 1944. I graduated from nowhere and though I’ve had more jobs than the guy on the back of the bookcover I’ve managed to stay mainly unemployed throughout and am really (I swear) a poet, artist, raconteur, bon vivant and one of the 20th century’s leading cranks.
I’ve been writing since the day I was born but, though my works were celebrated by my mother and a friend whose name escapes me, (I think it was Malvin St Claire) nobody had the foresight to save anything. I published a few poems over the years in various mimeo mags and gave my one public reading at the Detroit Artist’s Workshop around 1964. If I have influences I guess it’s the so-called Beats who were kind enough to show up at the right time for their lives and works to liberate me from the cultural bleakness of my er, … milieu. Basically, I just moved downtown. I hung out in Montréal, New York, Detroit, San Francisco, Havana, and now live in Vancouver’s West End where things are pretty bleak again, culturally speaking (although the view is fantastic).
Music’s my main passion, mostly jazz, and for a while in the seventies I ran a club in Vancouver that presented geniuses like Lee Konitz, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, Mary Lou Williams, Betty Carter, Abdullah Ibrahim, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, etc. I’d love to do it again but the world’s gotten just too damn goofy. Capitalism hates art more than ever.
“I renounce fiction and fear. There is nothing to do but write the truth. There is no other reason to write. I have to write because of the compulsion in me. No more can I say. I kneel before you in spirit and pray for honesty.”
– Jack Kerouac (letter to Neal Cassady)
“I like your thinking, Brian.”
– Lawrence Block
“you swing, baby!”
– Kate Hammett-Vaughan
“You write like a mother*%#!~!”
– Melody Diachun
“I love how loose and free and
honest his writing is.”
– Sarah Silverman
“Brian, you ARE a parade!”
– George Bowering