The Other Side

As I was reading The Guardian today, I was struck by a strange sense of horror and nostalgia, as two key figures from my childhood - offbeat though they were - had died and had obituaries on opposite pages. So - sad news: Bob Bogle and Hans Holzer have died. Bogle was lead guitarist with The Ventures - that Sixties instrumental surf band whose delightful cool twangy Walk, Don't Run was my favourite song and album for a long time when I was a kid; in Japan, they were, literally, bigger than The Beatles.

Holzer is the eerier guy. He is of course the famous ghost hunter, a writer on the In Search Of... series from the Seventies that used to scare the hell out of me and my brother, and part of that whole ESP-reincarnation-haunting vibe that - along with fear of nuclear war - really shaped the zeitgeist of the period.

I can still see those books of his at my house in St. Lambert, newly-bought from a church book sale, dog-eared and full of weird yarns. That was over 30 years ago, but the music and the schlock of that time is as fresh to me as yesterday. I miss St. Lambert these days, perhaps as much as ever, because my brother Jordan and his wife Jacinthe recently had a little baby boy, and I have yet to see him. They live near where we grew up. Near the St. Lawrence Seaway. The summers are very warm and humid - in the 30s - and in those days, boy were they long.