Happy Steveday, Greggie!
For those of you out of the loop — and that’s everyone but Renae, Dan, and me — that’s “happy birthday, Greg!” in Espersteveto.
Greg is my favorite Canadian — ahead of Neil Young, Robertson Davies, Eugene Levy, Paul Shaffer, and Margaret Trudeau. Heck, he’s in the top five on my list of great guys.
I first met Greg in 1988, at the student union at the University of Wisconsin. He was wearing a button with something like “Elvis is dead, but at least he’s a lot thinner.” Instant love for the boy. He earned my awe that weekend when he showed me a photo of him lighting Richard Butler’s cigarette (which reminds me that I’m still miffed at Renae for not telling me about that free Psychedelic Furs concert in Athens in 1986).
There are few people who can introduce me to new bands — I tend to keep up more than most in my circle — but Greg introduces me to at least one new band every year. Thanks to him, I love The Music and My Morning Jacket, Kent and The Doves, Cee-lo and Helen Merrill, Twilight Singers and Mel Tormé’s “Prelude to a Kiss,” Calexico and Steve.
And, of course, Oasis. You can’t talk about Greg and not mention Oasis. The summer Renae and Greg bought their house, Greg seriously considered taking the money to follow Oasis across the world. We have the same priorities. I finally saw Oasis last September; I think Greg was more excited about that than any of my accomplishments during our long friendship. It’s a good thing he’s not a big R.E.M. fan, or I’d have to steal him from Renae.
But it’s not all about music. Greg is simply one of the most fun, cerebral, open-minded, silly people I’ve ever known. I’d rather sit around Renae and Greg’s kitchen for hours in my pajamas than go out and doing something.
BRAG TIME: In addition to having impeccable music taste and the silliest sense of humor this side of Dan, our Greg is also a published author, having written one of the first studies of American film criticism:
Artists in the Audience (© 1999)
Happy birthday, Greggie! Hope the Bahamian sun and surf is perfect for your birthday!