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On Tour Blog

April 26, 2013

Dogs of Cow Bay
Posted by Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

April 26, 2013

This is one of my favourite photos from the whole tour.

They look like readers.


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April 26, 2013

Page 183
Posted by Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

I’m coming to the end of Bruno and the Beach. I’m on page 183, reading about the episode when Umberto Menghi guest-starred as a used-Ferrari salesman. I only have a few pages to go, and I’m trying to make it last.

We really enjoyed this interview and meeting Zameer of Prince George’s CKPG. He had done his homework and had great questions for both of us!

TV interview with CKPG

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April 26, 2013

One More Day Up North
Posted by Bryan Pike

Bryan Pike

I’ve been having a blast with Jackson Davies and Victoria Miles on the Northern BC tour! Today we’re visiting Burns Lake and Smithers, and tomorrow we wrap up this tour leg at our public event at Misty River Books in Terrace. Here are some photos from the Northern tour:

Victoria Miles with a budding writer at Kildala Elementary in Kitimat

Victoria with a budding writer at Kildala Elementary in Kitimat

Jackson with students at Charles Hays Secondary in Prince Rupert

Jackson with students at Charles Hays Secondary in Prince Rupert

Victoria Miles and Jackson Davies at the Museum of Northern BC in Prince Rupert

Victoria and Jackson at the Museum of Northern BC in Prince Rupert

Victoria, Jackson & Sarah at Books & Company in Prince George

Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize finalist and Prince George resident Sarah de Leeuw joined Jackson and Victoria at Books & Company for the public reading

TV interview with CKPG

CKPG interviewing Victoria and Jackson

The Interior BC tour leg with Stefan Czernecki and Evelyn Lau kicks off on Monday with school visits in Trail and Nelson, and a public event in Cranbrook. Stay tuned for blog posts and photos from this and our Vancouver Island tour!

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April 25, 2013

Sarah Leeuw at Books and Company
Posted by Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

Sarah de Leeuw at Books & Company in Prince George

April 25, 2013

Poet Sarah Leeuw, a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and an assistant professor at the University of Northern BC, joined us last night to read at the very cozy Books and Company in Prince George. She added a new element to the road show; between the three of us we offered something for all ages!

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April 25, 2013

Son of Jack
Posted by Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

April 25, 2013

I failed to negotiate that hefty advance for blogging (it helps if you actually bring it up). But that’s okay, when you sit in a car with Jackson and Bryan, there’s no shortage of material to work with. Really, I should be paying them.
A friend texted me with a couple of questions for Jackson.

Q: What does he miss most about Bruno?

Jackson: He was one of the few people I’ve ever known who had an unbridled passion. We would to a place called the Omega, a restaurant in Gibson’s and he’d get all fired up about something. I called it his “Italian aerobics.”

Q: Jackson Davies’ name is unique. What’s the story? Did he have a unique upbringing?

Jackson: I come from a small town in Alberta and my parents were very supportive when I wanted to become an actor. I didn’t have a theatrical upbringing, the first play I ever saw I was in. My dad worked for Northern Alberta Gas; Mum was a singer. She still sings. She’s part of a group. She told me over the phone not long ago: “We’re going to entertain the seniors at the home today.” She’s 86.

My real name is John Davies. My Dad’s name was John, and people sometimes called him Jack. So I was Jack’s son.

When I go home, I answer to both.

But my mum calls me Johnny.

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April 25, 2013

Tea with a twist
Posted by Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

Tea is very important to me. Without tea I couldn’t write. Jackson and Bryan have discovered that I am also a much nicer person after I’ve had my tea. So after they dropped me off to read at Silverthorne Elementary in Houston, they went on a scouting mission.

“Good news!” says Bryan when they pick me up. “We found a place for tea!”

“We’re taking you to McDonald’s,” says Jackson.

They think they are very funny. Methinks not so much.

“You can get a McTea!” says Bryan.

Now they are really cracking up.

“Maybe there’ll even be a little McChicken floating on the top!” says Bryan, but instead of pulling in to the Golden Arches, he veers left to his newest roadside find. Like a mirage out of the desert, except it’s real and the proprietress is a charming woman from Sweden who stocks teas like Chocolate Iguana Chai and Blackforest cheesecake tea. For the less adventurous (me!) also has a fine variety of peach and apricot. So this explains Jackson’s twist and my well, we are not quite sure what I am doing. But its a kind of happy dance. 

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April 24, 2013

Not waiting for the phone
Posted by Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

Jackson Davies at Caledonia Secondary in Terrace
In the car after this talk, I asked Jackson what question stood out for him from his presentation. He said it went something like this:

Q: “You played a character for 17 years. Did it change over time?”
A: “At first I was just ‘Policeman #2’ on the script. I didn’t even have any lines. But every actor knows that your character needs a name. Policeman #2 looks bad on a resume. So we came up with Constable John Constable. John being my real name…I started as a stereotypical police officer in a uniform. Gradually the part changed over the years, I wasn’t so much in a uniform and I became more a part of the community.”

Television and film have changed a lot as an industry since The Beachcombers first aired. Jackson says now: “it’s about telling stories. I’m a big fan of people creating their own content. Everyone’s their own network. It’s not about waiting for the phone to ring. You create things. And you own them. It’s good for the people who create.”

In case you are wondering, Jackson is paying me to write this stuff. I am trying to negotiate a hefty advance on the next post. Actually, that is not true. It’s just kind of fun to be writing behind his back while he’s speaking to 300 students at a secondary school. My morning visit got rescheduled as it seems to be vaccination week in elementary schools, and I’m getting upstaged by a travelling nurse with needles. Sorry, kids! But the organizers and local school staff are very quick about finding another class nearby where the kids aren’t rolling up their sleeves, squeezing their eyes shut and taking big, deep breaths. Or trying to. So today instead of reading in Smithers I will read a little later in Houston, on the way to Prince George.

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April 24, 2013

Writers: start early!
Posted by Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

 class= Victoria Miles with a budding writer at Kildala Elementary in Kitimat">This was one of those moments that makes the whole tour for me. I had a few minutes at the end of the visit to a class at Kildala Elementary in Kitimat to sit down with this student and read her story about a dinosaur who has lost his glasses. She both wrote and illustrated it and has already shared it with the school’s Kindergarteners. It feels good to be someone she wanted to share her work with. That’s sensitive stuff for a writer!

Jackson says he was a bad speller all through school. He dodged stories and essays when he could, but he did write jokes when he was a kid. He remembers one of his first ones, something about an NADP (Northern Alberta Dairy Pool) member who was also the MP from Milk River. I think I am not getting it down quite right here. Doesn’t matter, that early start led him to a career with plenty of comedy in it.

Kids: start early!

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April 23, 2013

Topics of conversation
Posted by Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

I meant to post this last night, but we got to talking to readers at the Kitimat Public Library, and it made for a late evening. So here is a belated post for yesterday.

At some point on the drive from Terrace to Kitimat, I started to notice how many interesting turns our conversation was taking. Hence this list, a random and select assortment of topics we covered on the road:

CBC Radio
Hawkin’s cheezies
Fries or salad
Colon cancer
Adrian Dix
Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours to excellence
Gene Simmons
Root Beer
The work ethic of children
Keanu Reeves
“The Sisters Brothers”
Italians in the family
Skunk cabbage
Forrest Whittaker is a really nice guy
Hoarding vs. “just keeping things”

I know, talk about covering a lot of ground. And this wasn’t the half of it.

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April 21, 2013

Terrace time
Posted by Victoria Miles

Victoria Miles

April 21, 2013

“Who would have thought that a show about fighting over logs would last nineteen years?”
—Roy Luckow quoted in Bruno and the Beach

Feeling nostalgic tonight. Today was a travel day, which equals plenty of time for reading.  I’ve set Nancy Mitford’s classic Love in a Cold Climate aside temporarily, after surreptiously observing Jackson, several rows ahead of me on the plane, reading Mimi. I need to catch up.

So now I’m on page 81 of Bruno and the Beach (the Relic chapter!). It’s like pouring over a prized family scrapbook. The writing is funny and revealing, as the best behind-the-scenes books tend to be.

I was five and oblivious to the first season of The Beachcombers when it aired in 1971. But by the time I was eight or nine, our Sunday nights revolved around this show about “fighting over logs” followed by, if memory serves, The Irish Rovers.

Knowing, even before picking up a copy, that many of The Beachcombers have passed on makes for a bittersweet read. But then I remember The Rovers, and their parting words that sent me calmly off to bed every Sunday night of my young life: “May you be halfway to heaven before the Devil knows your dead!” And surely that’s a comforting thought for the beloved characters of “Nick”, “Molly”, and yes, even “Relic” and the real and talented actors who played them.

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