We had a great turnout! We moved extra tables and seats filled up quick.
Carl, none the worse for having his arm in a sling after a recent accident, started off by reading an early part of the book in which he explains what he hoped to achieve by trying to write a book about Céline Dion, an artist whose fanbase he simply did not understand. What could he learn?
Sean Michaels, founder of the much-loved Said the Gramophone music blog and author of the forthcoming novel Us Conductors, was Carl's interlocutor for the evening. He chose to read Owen Pallett's contribution to the new edition of the book, a hilarious essay about Pallett's teenage feelings around the song "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers.
Following that, Sean and Carl had a lively discussion. Carl talked about the secret shame of knowing that his neighbours could hear him listening to Céline, and then the double-whammy of feeling guilty for being embarassed in the first place. They discussed how being open-minded about taste means untraining some of your instincts -- "holding onto your taste with less defensiveness" and "refusing to cast good taste as a moral achievement." Carl also admitted the book's connection to Montreal in the late 90s: without that period in his life, he probably never would have written it.
Eventually, the floor was opened up for questions, and people had lots: has Carl ever tried to get in touch with Dion's people? (Yes: they're not interested in talking to him.) Will "authenticity" make a comeback? (Maybe? These things are cyclical.) Can Nickelback ever be cool? (Unlikely.)
After that, Carl signed tons of books and everybody hung around...to talk about music, of course. It was great. Thanks again to everyone who came out!