LIFE LESSON #9 - Be Versatile

Here it is ladies and gentlemen, my first published article. Next to an advertisement for some bar with the ridiculous name of BG Cuddles. Yes that's the 80s for you. Let's move on.

The year was 1988 and I had just been hired as a stringer for Pulse magazine. My first assignment was to interview a country singer by the name of Reg Benoit.

Reg, it turns out, was a heck of a nice guy. He was known as the "man of a thousand voices" because he could imitate a number of different singers. Having seen him perform, a better description would have been the "man of a dozen voices". That being said, he was quite talented, as at least six of those voices were female.

Imagine walking down a lonely street and hearing the sound of Dolly Parton emanating from inside a dusty little bar. The music is obviously too loud to be a jukebox so it must be a band. You decide to walk inside. As your eyes slowly adjust to the darkness of the bar you look up expecting to see a beautiful, well-bosomed blonde that's pouring her heart out as she sings a song about losing her man. Instead you see - a short, hairy Newfoundlander with a full beard.

Thanks to the miracle of the Internet we can learn more about Reg's career here. About 10-years after this article appeared he suffered a serious spinal cord injury. However, Reg took it in stride, became a pastor, and moved into music full-time playing charity events and seniors' homes. He is still gong strong and was inducted to the Pathway of Fame in Peterborough, Ontario. It all goes to prove being versatile in work, and in life, is a lesson well learned.


And here's something extra. I actually found the first draft of the article and had it scanned. Yes kids it was done on a typewriter using copy paper. Any changes were done by hand as you can see. You can also see the archaic way journalists used to identify each page of their story. The first page was the lead. At the end of the page (if it went to another), you would write A copy next. The next page would be called A copy. Followed by B copy, then C copy etc. until you reached the end - at which point you would type -30-

Why not just number the pages you may ask? I asked my first journalism professor that same question and he said, "This is the way it's done and if you're going to work in this industry it's the way YOU WILL DO IT."
I miss the hard-bitten, no-bullsh*t old journalism. No one held your hand back then.

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