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‘Everybody’s getting cabin fever:’ Live musical reading of travel stories a welcome escape

Virtual presentation of Road Trips in Pandemic Times set for March 19
While provincial restrictions on gathering outdoors have been amended, we’re still unable to venture too far.

In the meantime, an upcoming musical reading from a North Vancouver author’s latest collection of travelogues, poems and recollections of happy trails is set to transport you to far flung places and rekindle your memories of roaming abroad.

Deep Cove resident and former North Shore News civic affairs columnist Trevor Carolan published Road Trips: Journeys in the Unspoiled World last summer.

He recognizes the release of his book came about at an exceptional moment, when the pandemic had forced people to stay home, stick to a bubble and recreate however they could in their own backyards and communities.

“The usual promotion things were delayed. I had an eight-country reading tour in Europe that was cancelled – alas. That was pretty typical,” notes Carolan.

The author’s book, culled from decades of travels and international digressions, recounts tales of peace and love in San Francisco, sings the Marrakesh blues in Morocco and fado music in Portugal, recites a desert mantra in Arizona, and basks in the serene dusk along the Mekong in Laos.

“Everybody’s getting cabin fever. Everybody wants to get out there and see something new,” says Carolan. “What makes good travel writing is the sense that you can make your readers want to become part of the story. You try capture that open ears, open mind, open heart – those sensations.”

Carolan will be joined by some exceptional musical guests in order to help him take the audience away to that special place, with West Coast jazz legends Henry Young on guitar and Paul Blaney on bass set to add a melodic score to the author’s talk of highs, lows and sublime moments aboard.

“These guys can be soft when it’s time to be soft and then they can just move this thing into overdrive when needed,” says Carolan.

In Road Trips, Carolan recalls when he truly got into travel writing, after being compelled to write about the burgeoning Haight-Ashbury scene in San Francisco at the late 1960s.

After journeying down to California at the behest of a newspaper editor, a young Carolan was introduced to a young woman backstage decked out in loose purple trousers and absurdly high heels who was drenched in sweat following an impassioned, kaleidoscopic performance.

“It was the singer Janis Joplin,” says Carolan, with a laugh. “I wrote an account of this in the book.”

Carolan’s live reading accompanied by ace musicians – replete with snatches of dialogue, sights, sounds and smells  –  is inspired by the Beat culture of the ’50s and early ’60s, when poets and writers like Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Jack Kerouac would give public readings backed by jazz combos.

“It’s not singing, it’s reciting stories. Either stories or poetry with that accompaniment the music helps it drive with its own rhythms,” says Carolan. “The readers themselves can’t travel physically, but we’re travelling in the imagination. Here are some places where we’re travelling to.”

The virtual Road Trips in Pandemic Times event, featuring musicians Henry Young, Paul Blaney and the stories and vignettes of Trevor Carolan, takes place Friday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m.

The event is by donation and will be broadcast live from Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver.

Tickets and more information are at Eventbrite.