October, 2010

Trip to Bayfield

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

I’ll be doing a reading and hopefully answering some questions this Saturday (October 23) in the parlour of The Little Inn of Bayfield at 26 Main Street North, Bayfield, Ontario, Canada N0M 1G0.  It’ll be hosted by The Village Bookshop, a spot where one of my writing heroes, Alice Munro, sometimes visits. She spoke at Central Secondary School when I attended it, decades ago, and I was greatly impressed with how politely and sincerely she treated us. I remember one of us asked if she just writes a story and rams in symbolism later. I forget exactly what she replied, but I don’t forget the grace with which she answered the question. Four years ago, I had a chance to speak with Italian prosecutor/author Gianrico Carofiglio. He’s also huge Alice Munro fan, and was duly impressed that she spoke at my high school. He was also relieved to hear that she’s a classy person as well as a great writer.

Hog wild

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

With a few exceptions, the Canadian Bandidos weren’t about motorcycles. Several of them didn’t ever own bikes. That’s in contrast to these B.C. Hells Angels, filmed by police going 160 kms an hour on a B.C. highway.

Bad Seeds: Good Read, Part II

Friday, October 8th, 2010

It’s easier to pick a winning book than a winning lottery ticket, unfortunately. A few weeks ago I predicted my friend Betsy Powell’s new book, Bad Seeds: The True Story of Toronto’s Galloway Boys Street Gang would ecome a bestseller. Today that came true. The book’s too hot to promote in some parts of Toronto and will continue to catch an audience.

Italian mob-fighter hung out to dry during Canadian visit

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Security for Mafia-fighting Italian magistrate Nicola Gratteri is so high that he couldn’t attend his own father’s funeral in the southern Italian province of Calabria. He only dreams of going to a restaurant or the beach or strolling down the street, eating an ice cream cone. His home in Reggio Calabria is a police station. Police once foiled a plot plant dynamite under a road he travelled, in armoured cars, with a cadre of body-guards. For the past quarter-century, the security has gotten tighter and tighter – in Italy and abroad – as he helps put more members of the Calabrian Mafia – or ‘Ndrangheta – behind bars.

So why is it that when Gratteri visited Toronto recently, the RCMP provided no security? That’s a question a lot of people – especially in Italy – are asking at the moment. I wonder how long it will be before the next top-level Italian crime-fighter comes for a visit.

 I know this isn’t a Bandido posting, but I feel it fits anyway. The Canadian Bandidos were slammed as organized crime, when they were often just a Keystone Kops version of bad guys. Gratteri is locking up real organized criminals, and somehow he’s deemed not worth a bodyguard while in Canada.