Media, Darling: My first record – part 1

Last year for the holidays, we asked some of our past Media, Darlings to share their favourite holiday traditions (check out part one here and part two here). This year, we decided to mix up it a little, and got them to spill about their very first album/record/tape/CD. The results were even better than we were hoping for. Without further ado, here goes the first round: 

Laura Serra: Culture Club’s Colour by Numbers. I used to turn our family room into a dance studio, jump off the sofas and boogie the night away.
Doug Wallace: Throughout the whole of the 1960s, I was obsessed with The Beatles. She Loves You came out when I was two years old, and the words were dead easy to remember! Aside from the obvious bubble gum compilations (so cheap and pressed for peanuts in Mississauga) that my teenaged siblings brought into the house every weekend, I spent my “drugstore” money on Beatles albums, until I had most of them — and then they broke up. And now, as they slowly die off (and their hair is brown still!), I have my eye on the complete iTunes set. On my list.
Flannery Dean: I have an older sister and so much of my music (like my clothing) was hand-me-down and consisted of mixed tapes (cassettes!) that she and her friends made. But my first big-girl purchase was a bargain-bin CD of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits when I was 12 or 13. I bought it because I had a crush on a boy at school who was a self-styled troubadour in the vein of Bob D (he was adorable and pretentious — adorably pretentious). The crush on the boy faded. My affection (One Too Many Mornings) for Bob Dylan endured. 
Athena TsavlirisGosh, I think it would have to have been a Madonna album. I totally remember wearing white fishnet gloves and belting out Papa Don’t Preach into my curling iron. 

Maryam Siddiqi: I have a horrible memory and can’t remember the first album I bought (though I have faint visions of Corey Hart’s Christmas EP — on red vinyl!), but do know that the first poster I ever had on my bedroom wall was of Wham! It was the cover of their Make it Big album. Many a hairbrush was used as a microphone for my renditions of Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, and I had a bit of a crush on Andrew Ridgeley. Fun fact: I’ve never really cared for Careless Whisper.


Sasha Tong:  The first CD that I bought with my own money was Blind Melon, you know, the one with that cute bee-girl on the cover. Need I say more than No Rain? Come on, that song is a pretty awesome jam and to this day it’s still one of my go-to Karaoke songs. You should also know that I went to see them open for Lenny Kravitz in Vancouver when Shannon Hoon whipped out his BLEEP and peed on a person in the front row. I thought it was really cool back then and I actually still do….

Randi Bergman: The first tape I remember having was a single of TLC’s Creep, which incidentally was purchased for me by my grandmother. I can’t imagine that she would have bought it for me had she known the lyrical content, but then again… I had no idea what it meant either.

Mackay Taggart: My first album, I’m hesitant to admit, was Boyz II Men’s sophomore CD II.  I was 11 and (at the time) far from soulful, romantic or deep…though come to think of it perhaps the same can be said for Boys II Men. My one saving grave was that the CD was a gift, however enough digging would probably reveal a letter to Santa that requested the title along with the latest air powered NERF gun. Looking back on the lyrics of the album’s hit single I’ll Make Love To You, I question what a sixth grader could really glean from words like “Girl relax, let’s go slow, I ain’t got nowhere to go….Girl are you ready? It’s gonna be a long night”. Nonetheless I had my hands on a record spun nightly by Tarzan Dan on AM640, so I felt cool. All this said, acquiring that album back in Christmas of 1994 was probably the closest I’ve ever come to having “game”.

Bonnie Munday: I remember playing Supertramp’s Breakfast in America over and over again as a kid with my best friend Sandra in her basement. I loved the lyrics and that the band was British, but listening to it now, it’s pretty cheesy. 

Paul Boynett: My first album was Never Mind the Bollocks by the Sex Pistols. I bought it because my close friend brought over Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy and I needed to cleanse my ear palette as quickly as possible (do we even have ear palettes?). I had never even heard the band but their notoriety intrigued me so I bought it without hearing it. From the opening sound of boots marching in Holidays in the Sun to the very end, I love everything about the album – still.

Funny side story: I left the album at my British girlfriend’s house and her mom threw it out.  I thought it was because it was so loud and obnoxious, turns out it was because bollocks was a “bad” word over in the UK and she was offended by the reference. Who knew? I guess the album was an education as well.

Stay tuned for part two of our Media, Darling’s first albums next week. What was your first album? Leave a comment or tweet us @rockitpromo.

Media, Darling: Brian D. Johnson

Brian D. Johnson is best known as senior entertainment writer and film critic for Maclean’s, Canada’s weekly news magazine, where he has worked from 1985 to the present. He is also president of the Toronto Film Critics Association, and has worked professionally over the years as an author, musician and filmmaker.

Born in England and raised in Toronto, Johnson began his career as a staff reporter at the Toronto Telegram and the Montreal Gazette during the early 1970s. He has since written for publications such as the Globe and Mail, Saturday Night, Toronto Life, Chatelaine and Rolling Stone. Johnson is the author of three non-fiction books: Railway Country: Across Canada by Train, The XV Olympic Winter Games: The Official Commemorative Book and a history of the Toronto International Film Festival titled Brave Films, Wild Nights: 25 Years of Festival Fever.

Brian is married to author Marni Jackson and they have a son, Casey.

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
I always wanted to write, and the media turned out to be the fastest way to get into print.
Where would you like to be five years from now? 

On a northern lake or a southern beach, retired from working the media treadmill full-time, and doing my own creative work, as a writer and filmmaker.
Any advice for people getting started in your industry? 

Get an adventurous variety of experience in the world, traveling and working, before narrowing your horizons to a single specialty (such as film critic).

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
The New Yorker, the Sunday New York Times, CBC One, Real Time With Bill Maher, Steve Martin’s Twitter Feed.

Best interview you’ve ever had? 
The best would be any one of the various interviews I’ve done with Leonard Cohen over the years. 

The worst is a competitive category, but it would be a tie between Tommy Lee Jones and Melanie Griffith, neither of whom felt like playing ball.
Best advice you’ve ever been given? 

From documentary director Errol Morris, when asked what the key to conducting good interview is, he told me: “Shutting up”. His answer was met with a long silence.
What rule(s) do you live your life by? 

As few as possible. But trying to enjoy it is not a bad start.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros? 

If you want to build a trusting relationship with a journalist, think like one, and when asked off the record, be honest about the nature and quality of what you’re promoting.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.

Virginia Kelly is the best film publicist in town. She’s smart, funny, informed, responsive, candid and passionate about cinema. One of a kind.
I hate? 

Aspartame, freezing rain, and Rob Ford’s “vision” of Toronto.
I love? 

Swimming in a spring-fed Canadian lake with no motorboats and water that’s safe to drink.

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varnasi by Jeff Dyer.

Best place on earth?
That lake, and its location is my secret.

Dinner guest?
Bob Dylan.

“We don’t need another hero”.
Favourite app? 
Flipboard for iPad.

Pool or ocean?

Voicemail or email?