After canceling August’s letters page due to a lack of decent submissions, the epistles started rolling in. We thank you, readers. And though the majority of them were terrible, a standout few were thoughtful and interesting. Most importantly, though, every single one arrived on actual paper tucked into an actual envelope and delivered by an actual, physical mail man. In return for this effort, we decided to look up the writers of a couple of our favorites and give them a call.
Unfortunately, this enterprise was contingent on several factors. In order for us to track them down, the writers had to sign their full names instead of “Trish from California” or something. Then they had to have their numbers listed in the phone book or somewhere online, and then they had to either pick up the phone for a weird number or feel like responding to a probably kind of creepy voicemail. All of this eliminated a substantial chunk of the possible subjects (including, sadly, all the negative screeds because those guys are always too scared to put their real names on the line).
Anyway, here’s a couple of decent fellows we talked to. We like that they are both older guys in smaller towns and they read
First up is a 57-year-old DJ/painter from Halifax—a radio DJ, not the gay kind that puts his hands on a record like they’re crab claws and goes “wikka wikka” and then gets paid in free energy drinks.
Vice: Hi, is this Doug Taylor?
There are two Doug Taylors in Halifax. Did you send a letter to Vice magazine?
Yes, I did.
Ah good, it’s you. So your letter was extremely well written for being on unruled paper. All the lines are so even with each other.
I do stats for a softball team and those have to be straight.
What kind of softball is it, like company teams playing each other?
It’s just a bunch of folks. We’ve been together 20 years and I do stats for them and play too.
What’s the team called?
We’re sponsored by Propeller Brewing Company, so we’re just Propeller these days. We’ve had four sponsors. We started out as CKDU, the local campus radio station; then we were Flamingo, which was the best bar in town for 15 years; and then we were Gus’s Pub, which is now the best bar in town, but when we first went there it was a dive.
Do you get free beer for your games?
They give us a bit of a break. It’s two for one, but we have to pay them up front for everything and submit a form to get half back.
Google says that you write music reviews for an alt-weekly up there, The Coast.
Yes, I’ve been doing that since ’99.
Do you have some sort of music background?
Well, I’m a DJ. I used to work in commercial radio and I’ve had a show on the local campus community station for 21 years. I use a different name for that—Nick Barrington. It’s something I used to do for a living, but the way commercial radio has gone it’s much more enjoyable to play and say what you want. There’s just the absence of a paycheck. But you can work around that.
If you don’t get paid for your radio work, what do you do besides reviews for money?
People keep asking me that. I’m supposedly a painter, but I do different things. Other years have been more prosperous than others, but I’m able to support a negative-cash-flow lifestyle.
Halifax has got to be good for living cheap versus somewhere like Montreal or Toronto.
I think Montreal’s actually cheaper than here. But then again I’ve lived in the same apartment for 11 years, so that helps. If you’re a good tenant they take it easy on you with the rent increases.