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Obit: Toronto writer & musician Paul Quarrington

Mooh 21 Jan 10 - 10:37 AM
Big Mick 21 Jan 10 - 11:39 AM
katlaughing 21 Jan 10 - 12:28 PM
Big Mick 21 Jan 10 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,valerie spohn 21 Jan 10 - 01:41 PM
catspaw49 21 Jan 10 - 02:10 PM
Mooh 22 Jan 10 - 06:11 AM
Jeri 22 Jan 10 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Rob Levinson 27 Jan 10 - 03:06 PM
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Subject: Obit: Paul Quarrington
From: Mooh
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 10:37 AM

Though I didn't know him personally, he was a big player and writer in Canada, and often mentioned by others for his contributions to music.

May he rest in peace.

Peace, Mooh.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Paul Quarrington
From: Big Mick
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 11:39 AM

Is he related to Tony, Mooh?

All the best,


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Subject: RE: Obit: Paul Quarrington
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 12:28 PM

From Mooh's link:

Award-winning Toronto writer and musician Paul Quarrington has died of lung cancer at age 56.

Quarrington died Thursday morning at his home in Toronto, surrounded by friends and family, according to a statement on his website.

"It is comforting to know that he didn't suffer; he was calm and quiet holding hands with those who were closest to him," the statement said.

Since his diagnosis with lung cancer last spring, Quarrington had channeled his energy into several projects he had on the go, among them, his first solo CD, a third release from his band PorkBelly Futures, and a memoir, Cigar Box Banjo, to be published by Greystone Books.

"I used to think that I was one of the luckiest guys alive — and when I got the diagnosis I thought, well my luck has just run out, but actually it hasn't really," Quarrington said at a concert last August. "You find out how lucky you are in terms of friends and people around you ."

At the time, Quarrington was touring with his band and making changes to his musical memoir, but he'd abandoned plans for another novel.

"Maybe because for a novelist going in you know at the end of the day you're not going to be entirely satisfied with the product because it's just too big and unwieldy. But with a song there's a chance it can be perfect — maybe they're more little bullets as opposed to the big bomb," he told CBC News.

Born and raised in Toronto, Quarrington graduated from the Canadian Film Centre. He first gained attention as a musician, recording Baby and the Blues, a Canadian hit, in 1979, with partner Martin Worthy.

He began writing novels while working as the bass player for the legendary Toronto rock band Joe Hall and the Continental Drift. His first novel, The Service, was published in 1978.

Although he addressed serious subjects, Quarrington's writing was characterized by its humour and deft handling of comic situations. His 1987 novel, King Leary, about a former hockey player, captured the 1988 Stephen Leacock Award, then faded into out-of-print oblivion. It emerged again as winner of CBC's Canada Reads 2008 competition. Anchor Canada subsequently produced a new edition of the book.

"There's a notion that if you're dealing with something that's fun, it's not as worthwhile as it could be," Quarrington told Jian Ghomeshi, host of CBC Radio's cultural affairs show Q, shortly after winning the contest.

"But when I was young and being influenced," he added, "all the novelists I read were funny like Joseph Heller and Philip Roth. I just thought it was part of the deal."

After being diagnosed with lung cancer last spring, Quarrington joked about his condition with his friends and in interviews with the media. "I've always found refuge in humour," he said.

Quarrington was probably best known for his zany, fast-paced novel Whale Music, loosely based on the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. Called "the greatest rock 'n' roll novel ever written" by Penthouse magazine, the book is centred around a former rock legend who lives in seclusion mourning the death of his brother in car accident.

Whale Music won the 1989 Governor General's Award and became a film by the same name in 1994. Quarrington's screen adaptation was nominated for several Genie Awards. A later novel, Galveston, was nominated for the Giller Prize.

Quarrington wrote the Gemini Award-winning screenplay for the 1991 film, Perfectly Normal, and the screenplay for Camilla, which was directed by Deepa Mehta. He wrote several scripts for the stage including The Invention of Poetry and Dying is Easy.

He wrote for television, including for Due South and Moose TV.He had adapted his 2008 semi-autobiographical novel, The Ravine, about a down-and-out television producer, into a short film.

He also was working on an eight-part series for television, Notebooks on Euphoria, with movie and television director John L'Ecuyer.

Quarrington penned several non-fiction books that reflect his love of mainstream Canadiana — fishing and hockey — including the 2001 Fishing for Brookies, Browns and Bows: The Old Guy's Complete Guide to Catching Trout.

He won three National Magazine Awards for his journalism work.

He taught writing at Humber College and the University of Toronto, and sat on the board of directors of the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival.

An accomplished guitarist and songwriter, he maintained an active career as a musician in recent years.

His band, country-blues ensemble PorkBelly Futures, includes drummer/songwriter Worthy, bassist Chas Elliott, guitarist/harmonica player Stuart Laughton and singer-songwriter Rebecca Campbell. Its first CD, Way Past Midnight, was released in 2005 by Wildflower Records and spent six months on the Americana charts. Its second CD, PorkBelly Futures, was released in April 2008 and contains many of Quarrinigton's original compositions.

He leaves two teenage daughters, Carson Lara and Flannery.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Paul Quarrington
From: Big Mick
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 12:36 PM

I just talked to Paul Mills and he tells me that this is Tony's brother. There is another brother who is the principal bassist for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. What an amazingly talented family. I know Tony and he is a supremely talented guitar player and musician. These lads must have been raised by remarkable parents!

God be good to this man. By Paul's account he was a wonderful author, songwriter and musician. His voice will be heard in many. My sympathies on the loss to his family.

All the best,


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Subject: RE: Obit: Paul Quarrington
From: GUEST,valerie spohn
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 01:41 PM

here's to a wonderful Canadian writer and I bet he's skating down that big rink in Heaven right now !
loved his writing and treasure my copies of his books and give them as gifts - and what gifts he gave us all
his writings !
thanks Paul altho I never knew ye

God Bless You
blessings from the west coast

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Subject: RE: Obit: Paul Quarrington
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Jan 10 - 02:10 PM

Thanks Mick......I wondered as well. Talented to say the very least...........


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Subject: RE: Obit: Paul Quarrington
From: Mooh
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 06:11 AM

Sorry Mick, I got bogged down with work today and missed your post. Glad you found your answer.

It was Rick Fielding who first alerted me to the Quarringtons. Somehow I have to believe the connection continues.

Life is fleeting but love is eternal.

Peace, Mooh.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Paul Quarrington
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Jan 10 - 06:34 AM

My condolences to Tony and other family members, and friends.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Toronto writer & musician Paul Quarrington
From: GUEST,Rob Levinson
Date: 27 Jan 10 - 03:06 PM

The Mighty Q,

I first met and worked with Paul at the Yorkville Book Celler in the early 80's He helped me get a job as we walked through the bookstore and he observed that I knew that we were looking at books.
"You'll go far, rob" he said.
He showed me the best places to drink in Yorkville, so much so that U of T professors would call at Hemingways to tell me what lectures I had missed.
Paul, you were a good mentor...thank you!
Through the haze of dance halls and floors strewn with sawdust, Paul,let me into the world of english lit. I had nothing to say and so pretend to want to write, while just feeling lucky enough to hang with Paul ,John and Grant.
Seven years ago, my daughter, Sarah Rose came home with a girlfriend.
"Its Flannery" she said.
Oh Shit," I thought. "Not Flannery O'conner."
Close enough, Paul came back into my life through his really cool daughter, Flannery who Sarah hung out with at Withrow School.
Paul and I laughed at this, after not seeing each other for a long time.
Over the years, Paul has taken the time to read my poor attempt at putting things down, and always patiently, said
"Rob, if anybody can do can."
MOst recently, we would bump into each other in the beach where we lived.
He'd laugh at me and run away from my outlandish behavior.
"MIghty Q,"   I would yell at him. He would cross the other street and smile.

Mighty Q, thank you for your time and patience. God bless.

Robert Levinson

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Mudcat time: 21 June 5:54 PM EDT

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