Saturday, 4 March 2017

Dear John (2017)

Dear John, 

well 4th March has rolled around again, 23 years since you left us and yet, you are still as present as ever. 

Ottawa has just made 12th February officially 'John Candy day', Bill Murray is still mentioning you in his acceptance speeches, there are nods to you in the latest Ghostbusters movie, a podcast called 'Popcorn with Candy' (a dedicated show going through each of your films in chronological order), the internet is a constant hive of articles remembering you or talking about one of your characters or movies, and your kids... well your kids must make you so proud. Every time one of your old classics is replayed on the TV, one only has to take to Twitter to see how much the world still misses and loves you. Facebook pages and groups such as American Light and Fixture - Shower Curtain Ring Division, dedicated website johncandy.com, people sharing their own memories, I could go on. 

The book, well I have to apologise, last year (and the year before), was pretty damn shitty. Chronic illness, among other things, makes everything go slower, however two surgeries later my power is creeping back up and although I am running on around 50-70% most of the time, I can live and function with that. 

Once again John you have got me through a very dark time.  Before each surgery I instructed my boyfriend, Rhys, that if anything happened he was to find the means to get the book finished and released - that was the most important thing. I believe my first words to the nurse as I came round morphine drugged was "Do you like John Candy?, I'm writing a book about him", before I drifted off again, so you and the book have been constantly on my mind. Well I'm working on finishing the book right now, whilst editing I noticed it was a little light on your heritage, so I have gone down a rabbit hole and I'm presently in England, 1801.  I won't go that far back in the book, but to see where you have come from is fascinating. 

So John, I am sending my love to you, your family, friends and fans, and today I will celebrate your everlasting life. You Sir, are the real article. 

Love and thanks as always, 
A very grateful, 

Tracey x

Thursday, 12 January 2017

RIP Tony Rosato, John will be thrilled to see you x

So yesterday I heard the really sad news that Tony Rosato passed away at the age of 62. 

I was lucky enough to have interviewed Tony for 'Searching for Candy' and although we only ever shared an hour on the phone I fell in love with him instantly. He was a very kind, sweet and supportive man. 

Tony was Italian, but grew up in Ontario, and as a child he was neighbors to Dan and Peter Aykroyd, he actually went to High School with Peter. When Tony was considering going to University in Toronto, he saw Peter perform at Second City and Peter suggested he should go into comedy. Tony ended up in the SC joining group, this is how he met John. John was there at times to help train the group and stepped in as Show Director for a while, he and Tony hit it off instantly and became lifelong friends.

Tony told me "As a director he (John) was very giving, very profound in his direction, he would always know exactly what the problem was and how to fix it. He was very gentle as a Director, very supportive he would make you feel very good about yourself whilst you were also getting ideas from him on how you could improve your performance. So he didn’t take you confidence away, but bolstered your confidence,  he kept it simple and within reach so we knew what to do. He was very free with us.

"As a friend he was very protective, very loyal, very gentle, always kidding and a little bit cheeky, but always supportive."

Later John and Catherine O'Hara pushed for Tony to become part of the Second City Toronto's main troupe and also John and Joe Flaherty got him onto SCTV.  

In 1981 Tony went to Saturday Night Live for a season and from there was in a lot of TV Series and Movies as well as being the voice of Luigi in Mario Bros. 

2005 was a sadder time as Tony struggled with his mental health and his family broke up. Once better he went back to work and I am glad to report over the last few months was in a very loving relationship and appeared to be very happy. 

Talking to Tony was like talking to an old friend and his love for John was palpable, yesterday when I heard the news it hurt, I know I didn't really know Tony but some people are special and the world seems a nicer place for them being in it. 

My heart goes out to Tony's family, Second City Toronto, his agent Larry Goldhar, his friends and his girlfriend, Tanya, who brought so much love and happiness into his life. 

RIP Tony, John will be thrilled to see you. 

x  

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 - A year of transition


Well, what a year it has been! Firstly Happy New Year to you all, may your life be filled with love and hope in 2017 and every year to come after that.

So 2016 seemed to be a year of transition for so many, for some it's been a good year and others very challenging, house moves, new babies, loss of loved ones, health challenges, job changes, break ups and get together's. Some have even transitioned off this mortal coil, not just icons but old friends, my heart especially goes out to all those innocents that have been victims of war. In tribute let us live life more fully and be kind to everyone.

For me, this was the year I was definitely going to get the book out, fulfill the crowdfunder, hopefully make John proud. That is until my body decided to declare war on it'self and chronic illness took hold. Luckily a few months ago I had surgery which has made me feel a hell of a lot better (thank you NHS), however I still seem to be running between 40-65% (depending on the day) but getting better all the time. So my body put me on my ass and the book stalled a little, back on track now with a release date in mind (I daren't say it out loud in case illness hears and decides to postpone me further), so although very frustrating, 2016 has been a year of healing and has hopefully prepared me for a good 2017. 

I would like to thank everyone that has sent me well wishes and messages of support, to everyone who contributed to the crowdfunder and have been so patient and understanding, you are magic and I am so very grateful.

One icon we lost merely days ago was the most beautiful inside and out, Carrie Fisher. As well as being everyone's favorite princess, Carrie was  funny, bright, a mental health advocate, author, dog lover and all round good egg. I had tried to interview her for the book but I never got past her gatekeepers. I would have loved to have heard about working with John on The Blues Brothers and one of my favorite Candy sketches Roy's Food Repair

RIP Carrie you did a wonderful job and will be missed terribly, but John will be thrilled to see you.

This year I have also battled increasing anxiety, something that John struggled with in later life and spoke about quite openly in interviews. It is wonderful in 2016 that we had people like Carrie to speak out about mental health, there are still so many walls to knock down, but it did make me think how courageous of John to speak out in the early 90's, how many people he must have helped when it really was a taboo subject back then.

So my new years resolution is the same as it is every year, to be more like John.

Best of luck to us all and sending you huge amounts of love as always,

Trace xx

PS has anyone else gone off food over Christmas? It's never happened to me before but maybe aversion therapy of eating beyond myself may also help me shed a few pounds in 2017 - stranger things have happened, right?