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August 2015

Running Over Challenges

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Living in Canada and in and around the Toronto area I have been exposed to some of Buck 65’s music which I generally found to be odd (in a 20th century way), yet inspired in a ‘yahhhhh progression’ sort of way. Being an avid sports fan with baseball near the top of the list, I would find him on the local sports talk shows expressing his views on the current state of the game and his one true love. I always found him to be thoughtful, funny, sentimental, entertaining, and for the most part in this book he is much of the same. My only gripe was that I was hoping for more humour and a little less self-agrandizing when it came to his obvious physical and artistic talents. I mean we all have demons and in the end they’re great to read about and I for one was wanting more, but who really cares? What impacted me more was his commentary on his own abilities with the bat, the beat, and the beautiful woman that left him at vital times in his life. Having a history of storytelling running in his family and a town that didn’t permit much in terms of entertainment, you begin to wonder where the fact and fiction truly resides. Other than that it was an interesting read from an appealing fellow and one that definitely provides some fun as well as raise an eyebrow. What we can safely gather from this book is that Richard Terfry has a great passion for America’s Pastime, MCing, and women; that much I can be sure of.

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The story starts with a reminiscence of a young boy receiving his first baseball glove from his father. Anyone that has played baseball knows the sensory overload that can come when you try on, work in, beat up, and oil down your first glove. It’s a very physical, but also a very sensual process that takes a lot of elbow grease and patience. The process can take a full winter season where the glove is saturated and stuffed with a ball and finally tied with string only to be thrown in the closet until the snow finally melts. What we dreamers we’ll do for glove knows no bounds. Richard Terfry was ecstatic with his first mitt even if it was a cheaper model. This kind gesture from a father to a son would be the beginning of Richard’s life long pursuance of his dream to play professional baseball. In a snobbish, yet highly-relatable sort of way he expresses his thoughts on baseball as such:

“People who say baseball is boring are the same people who get antsy in art museums. They don’t read Dostoevsky or ee cummings. They’re uncomfortable pronouncing the word beautiful. They don’t notice sunsets or birds’ nests and they certainly don’t watch foreign films. People who say baseball is boring give themselves headaches looking for fishing line at the magic show. They don’t hear the accidental music made by trains and broken air conditioning units. They’re blind to the beauty of an old, greyed, half-collapsed barn or an abandoned warehouse that’s been annexed by wildfire.”

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I guess I was wrong to presume that tyrannical mother’s were more commonly placed among the eastern European immigrants sailing into Canada after the second world war. As it stands today the maritimes have a high rate of England, Scottish, and Irish immigrants and I was surprised to read how many of the maternal figures in this story ruled with such iron fists. Mary Poppins must have clouded my judgment. Perhaps that’s why the protagonist Rich Terfry kept looking for love from the “fairer” sex, and maybe that’s the underlying reason that he kept disappointing them. If you can’t please the person who gave birth to you, than what other women is going to have the tolerance to give you a second look.

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During Buck 65’s musical career in the hip hop industry he had to answer questions about authenticity, primarily because he happens to be a skinny white male from Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia. After an encounter with an angry local rapper in a radio station that led to a beat down and a gun drawn, Mr.Terfry truly became Buck 65. After getting his first little taste of success thanks to world-renowned, genre-bending band Radiohead’s seal of approval for his latest record; Buck has to answer questions about his credibility because of his signing with a big record label, his use of live musical instruments and the shunning of his roots. It seems that at that time hip hop was the last genre to accept change, mind you, if you look today I believe Buck 65 would fit right in with the current mainstream. Many lovers are begging for there hip hop back, but in the end we must be accepting of change and wait for the “pro”gression to a new mean.

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The association of evil and being in your home town, manifesting itself in your spirit where leaving is your only reprieve. It’s a scary thought for many but a stark reality for some as well. For Richard it happened to be in the woods, and rather than falling the way of a character from Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead, he thought leaving would be the remedy to his problems. While some evils went down the wayside, some would travel with him throughout the world. Be wary my globetrotting friend.

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“This evil killed kids. It hexed others. It seduced and raped men to make them it’s servants. In summer, it whispered promises of escape from the sun and then waited with its billion poison needles. In winter it’s black smoke became everyone’s favourite smell. Another trick. When it got inside people, it changed their blood forever. I wear its shadow on my face in photos taken on days from before I can remember.”

For his mother’s love he had endured her screaming fits, lived through her infliction of pain, fought for her attention, and worked for a semblance of love. After her death all he was left with was an unrelenting feeling of guilt, but ultimately a feeling of insignificance. Throughout the rest of his life his mental and emotional hindrances prove to be beneficial in building a persona, maximizing his god-given talent, and winning the hearts of women wherever his journey delivered him. This is a “memoir” that from the outset outlines the fact that the protagonist is a young man that prefers the idea of fantasy to that of reality. With haunted houses, possible accidental homicides, witchcraft practitioners, career criminal chauffers, Russian gangsters, suicide epidemics, evil forestry, clairvoyants and much much more. I think it’s safe to say that there is some creative license being utilized. The best thing is that you’re never quite sure where he was yanking your chain, but you know, yes you know, that he is taking you for a bumpy ride.

“I wrote lyrics to go with them – about Claire and imprisonment and new life and suicide. The system was perfect: from the other came expiration. Life and death were dancing together. Joëlle and I laid ourselves bare in our work, both of us insisting upon remaining strangers to each other, six thousand kilometres between us. Each song passed back and forth was like an intimate confession spoken in two different languages: hers wordless and pure; mine written in blood.”

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