From 1981 to 1989, I was assistant producer and co-host of the radio show, On the Arts, at CJRT-FM in Toronto. With the late Tom Fulton, who was the show's prime host and producer, we did a half-hour interview program where we talked to artists from all fields. In 1994, after I had gone to CBC, I had an idea to collate an interview anthology from some of the more interesting discussions I'd had with guests from that period. Since they all took place during the Eighties, I thought I could edit the collection into an oral history of the decade from some of its most outspoken participants. The book was assembled from interview transcripts and organized thematically. I titled it Talking Out of Turn: Revisiting the '80s. With financial help from the Canada Council, I shaped the individual pieces into a number of pertinent themes relevant to the decade. By the time I began to contact publishers, though, the industry was starting to change. At one time, editorial controlled marketing. Now the reverse was taking place. Acquisition editors, who once responded to an interesting idea for a book, were soon following marketing divisions concerned with whether the person doing it was hot enough to sell it.
|Tom Fulton, the host of On the Arts at CJRT-FM|
When we spoke to poet and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, he had just come out of a relatively long period of contemplation that dated back to 1979. The culmination of that hermitage was a collection of prayers, psalms, meditations, and contemplative texts he wrote called Book of Mercy (McClelland & Stewart, 1984). Little did any of us know, perhaps not even Cohen himself, that shortly after the publication of this book, his music career would once again catapult him back into the larger public arena.