About

‘ALONE AND GONE – The Story Of Toronto’s Post Punk Underground’

Copies will be available at the BOOK LAUNCH Saturday 20th June 2015 between 1 and 4 PM at THE RIVOLI 334 Queen St. W., Toronto

‘Alone And Gone’ is set in Toronto during a time of the worst unemployment since World War 2. There was a nuclear accident in our backyard and a civil war within the North American Continental boundaries. In 1979 Punk Rock had blown itself out and what was left was a dispiriting caricature. When The Edge closed down in 1981 it was assumed that the local Toronto music scene was finished.

But that is where our story begins.

In 1980, there was no NOW magazine, no MTV, no CDs and no internet. As a 17 year old just out of high school you got your information about your favourite bands by listening to CFNY, hanging out at The Record Peddler, buying fanzines and going to The Turning Point.

‘Alone And Gone’ is a book based around the photographs of Simon and Nick White as seen in their 2010 exhibition, ‘Toronto Calling’. Using original interviews from the fanzines of the day and chasing down some of the surviving protagonistas, ‘A&G’ portrays a city in flux; a city uncomfortable with its staid ‘People City’ reputation. It wasn’t all clean streets and people muttering “sorry” as they shuffled off to their office jobs. There was an underground of youth who were fired by the initial wallop of punk and were inspired by the DIY nature of the music they were hearing on the then just born CFNY, ‘The Spirit Of Radio’. Fanzines; rough photocopied rants and tirades summed up the feeling of the times, and were the only way to learn about our favourite music. Ryerson Radio (CKLN) boosted its signal and became a beacon of the just emerging local music scene, which was unwilling to repeat what the punks had done before.

This period (1978 – 1983) is widely credited as being the ‘Post Punk’ years. Bands such as The Rheostatics, The Vital Sines, Breeding Ground, Kinetic Ideals, The Sturm Group, The Dave Howard Singers, Youth Youth Youth and Rent Boys Inc. all released their home produced basement recordings on cassette tape, which was the cheaper alternative to vinyl.

In any other major city such as London, New York, Los Angeles, this period has been documented, covered, re-hashed, examined and picked over; but in Toronto? Aside from a few vague references and comments online, nothing has appeared to try and understand what was going on. It was an exciting time. Post Punk is about what happened when a vibrant new energy collided with the world wide events of the day. The College radio network was just being born and CFNY had championed acts like The Specials, Bob Marley, Echo And The Bunnymen, XTC, The Cars and U2. This ‘Post Punk’ era laid the groundwork for what was to happen next.

Using the original ‘cut and paste’ methods as seen in the ‘zines of the day, ‘Alone And Gone’ applies scans, digital methods, rough techniques, bashed up old typewriters and original ‘DIY in the basement’ film processing to tell the story of the post punk underground in Toronto.

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