Transcript: An '80s-era Toronto Kid Tells All | Apr 08, 2019

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a dark blue blazer over a magenta blouse.

A caption on screen reads "An 80s Toronto Kid tells all. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says IT WAS A DIFFERENT TIME,
THE 1980S.
AND CATHAL KELLY'S NEW BOOK "BOY
WONDERS: A MEMOIR," TAKES US
BACK THERE WITH RECOLLECTIONS OF
HIS YOUTH IN THE TORONTO OF
ANOTHER ERA.
BY DAY, HE'S A NATIONAL SPORTS
COLUMNIST FOR "THE GLOBE AND
MAIL."
IN THIS BOOK, AS HE OFTEN IS IN
HIS COLUMNS, HE'S A WRITER WITH
A WIDE PERSPECTIVE AND A
WATCHFUL EYE.
AND CATHAL KELLY JOINS US NOW
FOR MORE.

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover is rusty orange, with the title in old-fashioned style font.
Cathal is in his forties, bald, with a trimmed beard. He's wearing glasses, a black suit, blue shirt and black tie.

Nam says HI.

Cathal says HI.
WELL, THAT WAS REALLY NICE.

Nam says WELL, YOU ACTUALLY SAID
THAT WE MET A LONG TIME AGO,
BACK IN THE DAY WHEN, LIKE,
THREE PEOPLE COVERED THE
RAPTORS.

Cathal says THAT'S RIGHT, YOU, ME AND
SOME OTHER GUY.

Nam says I KNOW.
I CAN'T EVEN GET TICKETS NOW.
THIS BOOK IS GREAT.

Cathal says THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Nam says IT PACKS A PUNCH.

Cathal says THANK YOU.

Nam says WHEN WRITING A BOOK LIKE
THIS, HOW RELIABLE IS MEMORY?

The caption changes to "Cathal Kelly. Author, 'Boy wonders.'"
Then, it changes again to "May the force be with you."

Cathal says I DON'T THINK IT'S THAT
RELIABLE AT ALL.
I HAD TO GO BACK... MY MOTHER IS
MY GREATEST SOURCE ON THIS, SO I
HAD TO GO BACK AND CHECK WITH
HER.
I THINK I GOT MOST OF IT RIGHT,
BUT I THINK ALL OF US IF WE WERE
TO GO BACK AND FACT CHECK OUR
MEMORIES, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE
WERE KIDS, HAVE CHANGED A LITTLE
BIT OVER TIME, AND WE PROBABLY
ARE MORE THE HERO OF EVENTS THAN
WE THINK WE ARE.
I TRIED MY BEST TO BE HONEST,
BUT I ALSO WANTED IT TO BE A
GOOD STORY.

Nam says RIGHT, BUT I THOUGHT IT
WAS REALLY INTERESTING BECAUSE I
READ A LOT OF BOOKS, AND MOST
TIMES, YOU'RE RIGHT, WE DO
REMEMBER OURSELVES MAYBE IN A
BETTER WAY THAN WE ACTUALLY
WERE.
BUT YOU'RE ACTUALLY REALLY
SELF-CRITICAL.

Cathal says WELL, YEAH, BUT YOU'RE THE...
OF YOUR STORIES.
EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND YOU.
I THINK THAT'S WHERE THE MEMORY
CHANGES, PERHAPS YOU'RE A REALLY
PERIPHERAL FIGURE IN SOMETHING
THAT HAPPENS, AND THEN SUDDENLY
YOU ARE RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF
IT.
I DON'T THINK YOU CAN WRITE A
BOOK LIKE THIS, ABOUT YOURSELF,
IF THE JOKE ISN'T ON YOU.
I THINK IF YOU TRY IT ANY OTHER
WAY IT'S TEDIOUS AND IMPOSSIBLE
TO READ.

Nam says IF YOU COULD READ SOME
THINGS FROM THE BOOK BEFORE WE
GET INTO THE CONVERSATION.

Cathal says SURE.

Nam says AND THIS IS 1980.
YOU'RE 7, AND YOU'RE WAITING IN
LINE TO GET INTO A THEATRE TO
SEE THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

She hands him a copy of the book.

Cathal says YEAH.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "The empire strikes back." The quote reads "THE FIRST PART OF THIS MEMORY IS MUDDY. I RECALL THE SENSE OF PANT-WETTING ANTICIPATION. I REMEMBER SEEING THE POSTER PINNED UP ALONGSIDE THE DOORWAY. THE FIRST TANGIBLE EVIDENCE THAT
THIS WAS REALLY HAPPENING. MOSTLY I WAS DISORIENTED BY EXPECTATION. I FELT SURE THIS EXPERIENCE WAS GOING TO CHANGE MY LIFE FOR THE BETTER. I WAS GOING TO GET SOME ANSWERS TO IMPORTANT QUESTIONS. THEN THE VAN APPEARED. I REMEMBER THE VAN QUITE SPECIFICALLY. IT WAS BROWN AND OLD AMERICAN BEATER, WINDOWLESS WITH A SLIDING PANEL ON THE RIGHT SIDE. IT WAS MOVING VERY SLOWLY DOWN THE LINEUP EAST WARD ALONG BLOOR STREET. THE PANEL WAS OPEN AND SOMEONE, A MAN, MAYBE A TEENAGER, WAS LEANING OUT THE DOOR DANGEROUSLY. HE WAS YELLING SOMETHING AT
EVERYONE."
Quoted from Cathal Kelly, "Boy wonders." 2018.

Nam says WHAT WAS HE YELLING?

Cathal says DARTH VADER IS LUKE'S FATHER.
DARTH VADER IS LUKE'S FATHER.

Nam says OH!
AND YOU WERE IN LINE WAITING TO
SEE THE MOVIE?

Cathal says YES.

Nam says AND THAT'S BASICALLY THE...

Cathal says AND THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT OF
THE WHOLE THING.
LIKE, THAT'S BASICALLY "STAR
WARS," IS THAT DARTH VADER IS
LUKE'S FATHER.
IT WAS GIVEN AWAY BEFORE THE
MOVIE.
I WAS TRYING TO FRAME THIS AS
THE FIRST GREAT DISILLUSIONMENT
OF MY LIFE.
AND IT IS SO CINEMATIC THAT YOUR
PRODUCER MEREDITH IN HER
PRE-INTERVIEW HERE, THE FIRST
THING SHE ASKED ME WAS: DID THAT
ACTUALLY HAPPEN?
AND YES, IT DID, 100 percent.
I KNOW IT SOUNDS TOO PERFECT TO
BE TRUE, BUT IT DID ACTUALLY
HAPPEN.

Nam says WELL, YOU SAY THIS
MOMENT TURNED YOU INTO A CYNIC
AT 7 YEARS OLD.

Cathal says YEAH.

Nam says IN WHAT WAYS?

Cathal says THINGS ARE NEVER GOING TO
TURN OUT EXACTLY AS YOU'D HOPED,
AND IN THE SENSE THAT I WANTED
THAT STORY COMPLETED IN MY
OWN... IT'S BACK TO THIS IDEA OF
YOUR OWN PERSPECTIVE ON YOUR
LIFE.
YOU ARE THE HERO.
EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND YOU,
AND THAT YOU'RE STARTING TO
LEARN THAT THINGS ACTUALLY...
LIFE IS GOING TO SPEND A LOT OF
TIME TIT HITTING YOU IN THE
AHEAD AND IS PROBABLY GOING TO
ACCLIMATEDISAPPOINT YOU
ENORMOUSLY AND
YOU HAVE TO ACCLIMATE YOURSELFTO
THE...

Nam says RIGHT.
IN THE BOOK YOU DO SPEND A LOT
OF TIME THINKING ABOUT WHAT
YOU'RE GOING TO BE LIKE GROWING UP.

Cathal says YEAH, WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT.

Nam says BUT NOW, YOU KNOW,
YOU'RE KIND OF A BIG DEAL,
RIGHT?

Cathal says OH, NO.

Nam says YOU ARE KIND OF A BIG
DEAL.
LOOKING BACK, HOW DO YOU THINK
THAT 7-YEAR-OLD SELF WOULD
RECEIVE YOU AS AN ADULT?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Cathal says I'D PROBABLY BE SICKENED BY
ME.
THE SECRET TO MOST SUCCESS IN
LIFE AND I THINK THIS IS VERY
CONTRARY TO WHAT WE TEACH PEOPLE
RIGHT NOW IS THE LESS YOU EXPECT
THE... THEY TALK ABOUT THE
ANXIETY THAT YOUNG PEOPLE FEEL,
AND I THINK THAT'S BECAUSE THE
EXPECTATIONS ARE SO, SO HIGH,
AND I THINK IT'S DEEPLY
UNFORTUNATE.
I DIDN'T HAVE THOSE SORTS OF
EXPECTATIONS.
MY EXPECTATIONS WERE THAT MAYBE
I WOULD HAVE A JOB AND MAYBE I
WOULD HAVE A HOME AND MAYBE I
WOULDN'T LIVE IN A CARDBOARD
BOX.
YOU KNOW?
I REMEMBER I USED TO ALWAYS HAVE
THIS GOAL IN MY MIND, YOU KNOW,
AND OF COURSE THIS IS YEARS AGO,
THAT SOME DAY I WOULD MAKE
30,000 dollars.
BECAUSE IF I MADE 30... I DON'T
KNOW WHERE I CAME UP WITH THIS
NUMBER.
IF I MADE 30,000 dollars, EVERYTHING
WOULD BE FINE.
AND THE CRAZY THING IS NOW THAT
I MAKE 30,000, I WAS PROBABLY
RIGHT.
30,000 IS PROBABLY THE LIMIT OF
YOUR HAPPINESS.
SO NO, I DON'T THINK MY
7-YEAR-OLD SELF...

Nam says CAN YOU SAY THAT BECAUSE
YOU'RE MAKING MORE THAN 30,000?

Cathal says OF COURSE.
I SAY THIS WITH A POSITION OF
PRIVILEGE.
OH, IT'S GREAT TO MAKE 30,000,
BUT I CAN REMEMBER IN MY 20S
LIVING... FILING MY TAXES ONE
YEAR AND I MADE 11,000 dollars, AND
SOMEHOW I LIVED.
AND I DON'T THINK THAT MY LIFE
IS THAT MUCH DIFFERENT THAN IT
WAS THEN.
I JUST DRIVE A CAR AND EAT
BETTER.

Nam says AND EAT BETTER.
IN THE BOOK, TOO, AS YOU'RE
GROWING UP, SOME OF THE THINGS
THAT YOU DID AS A YOUNG PERSON,
I HAVE TWO KIDS, AND I WAS LIKE
YOU'RE ON THE SUBWAY AT THAT
AGE?

Cathal says YEAH.

Nam says YOU WERE WALKING TO THE
CORNER STORE AT SEVEN?
YOU GREW UP IN TORONTO, AND
TORONTO'S KIND OF LIKE ANOTHER
CHARACTER IN THE BOOK.

Cathal says OH, YEAH.

Nam says WHAT DID YOU LOVE THE
BEST ABOUT THE CITY?

The caption changes to "City kid."

Cathal says THE CITY?
I DON'T THINK I... YOU KNOW,
BECAUSE WE GET INTO A BAD GAME
IN TORONTO WHERE WE LIKE TO
COMPARE OURSELVES TO OTHER
CITIES.
TORONTO IS NEVER GOING TO BE
LONDON.
TORONTO IS NEVER GOING TO BE
ISTANBUL.
TORONTO IS NEVER GOING TO HAVE
THAT HISTORY.
IT'S NEVER GOING TO BE THAT
CAPACIOUS, BUT WHAT TORONTO HAS
FOR ME IS THAT'S WHERE I WAS
BORN.
TORONTO MEANS SOMETHING TO ME
BECAUSE OF THAT.
I'VE GROWN UP WITH THE CITY.
I CAME TO THE STUDIO TODAY... I
HADN'T BEEN TO THIS PART IN
TOWN, I DON'T KNOW, IN A COUPLE
OF YEARS.
I LIVE IN THE WEST END.
THERE WAS NO REAL REASON TO COME
UP HERE.
I CAME UP HERE ON THE SUBWAY.
HOW MUCH IT HAS CHANGED.

Nam says HOW HAS IT CHANGED?
YOU GREW UP IN THE '80S AND '90S.

Cathal says TO ME IT'S LIKE... I KNOW IT
WOULDN'T SEEM LIKE THIS TO
ANYBODY.
IT'S LIKE BLADE RUNNER.
IT'S ALL GLASS AND STEEL.
ALL WE NEED IS THE POLLUTION.
I JUST COULDN'T GET OVER HOW
MUCH THIS CITY IS CONSTANTLY
RENEWING ITSELF IN A WAY THAT
MORE SETTLED CITIES, GREATER
METROPOLISES DO.
TO ME THAT'S THE KEY BEAUTY OF
TORONTO IS IT'S STILL CHANGEABLE
AND IT'S CHANGING IN FRONT OF
US.
IT'S CHANGING IN A SERIES OF
MONTHS.
WE LIKE TO BEMOAN THE FACT THAT
THIS CITY ISN'T GOING PLACES.
I'D PREFER TO SEE IT AS A PLACE
THAT IS STILL LIKE... IT'S LIKE
LEGO.
YOU CAN MOVE IT AROUND AND WE
STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S GOING
TO BE.

Nam says AS MUCH AS YOU LOVE THE
CITY, THOUGH, BECAUSE IN THE
BOOK IT'S A SERIES OF STORIES
ABOUT SOMETHING THAT WAS
IMPORTANT TO YOU AS A CHILD, I'M
ASSUMING.
BUT AT THE END OF THE BOOK YOU
HAVE A LIST OF... A SERIES OF
LISTS, AND BEST CITIES IN THE
WORLD, TORONTO'S NOT ON THE LIST.

Cathal says WELL, I THOUGHT THAT WENT
WITHOUT SAYING.
OF COURSE IF SOMEBODY SAYS WHERE
WOULD YOU LOVE TO VACATION?
IT'S NOT GOING TO BE TORONTO.
I GO TO THESE PLACES EVERY DAY.
BUT YEAH, YOU'RE RIGHT.
THAT IS TERRIBLE... I'M TRYING
TO TALK MY WAY OUT OF IT.
THAT'S A TERRIBLE OVERSIGHT ON
MY PART.

Nam says BUT THE WAY YOU WRITE IS
SO... IT'S KIND OF MESMERIZING.
YOU WRITE SOMETHING... YOU WRITE
ABOUT "STAR WARS," AND THEN YOU
KIND OF SNEAK IN SOMETHING THAT
KIND OF PUNCHES YOU IN THE
STOMACH.

Cathal says HMM.

Nam says YOU WRITE ABOUT YOUR DAD
AND THE RELATIONSHIP THAT YOU
HAD.
YOUR DAD DIED WHEN YOU WERE 19.

Cathal says MM-HM.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Nam says LOOKING BACK, CAN YOU
GIVE US A SENSE OF WHAT YOUR
RELATIONSHIP WAS LIKE WITH YOUR
DAD WHEN HE WAS ALIVE?

Cathal says VERY POOR.
I THINK LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE.
HE WAS AN ALCOHOLIC.
HE WAS MENTALLY ILL, BUT STILL
INCREDIBLY FORMATIVE, LIKE, IN
THE SENSE THAT WHY I DIDN'T LIVE
WITH HIM, BUT I NOW FIND MYSELF
DOING MANY THINGS... IT'S
STRANGE.
YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE ONE PARENT
WHO'S MY MOTHER WHO YOU TRY TO
EMULATE, AND THEN YOU HAVE
ANOTHER PARENT, IT'S ALMOST
QUITE USEFUL, THAT IS AN
INSTRUCTIVE EXAMPLE OF WHAT NOT
TO DO, AND YOU THINK TO YOURSELF
THAT'S NOT HOW I WANT TO END UP.
IT'S NOT EVEN SO MUCH NOT HOW I
WANT TO DO THINGS, I JUST DON'T
WANT TO END UP THERE, AND THEN
YOU WORK BACK IN YOUR CHILDHOOD
MIND, WHAT WERE THE STEPS THAT
GOT HIM THERE?
WELL, I WON'T DO THAT, I WON'T
DO THAT.

Nam says I DON'T KNOW IF A LOT OF
PEOPLE CAN DO THAT.
BECAUSE AT WHAT AGE DID YOU
REALIZE THAT YOUR FATHER MIGHT
NOT HAVE BEEN LIKE ALL FATHERS?

The caption changes to "Paterfamilias."

Cathal says WELL, I DON'T KNOW.
I'M 46.
LIKE 42?
I DON'T THINK I RECOGNIZED IN
THE MOMENT.
I KNOW I DIDN'T.
I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE IN THE MOMENT
THAT HE WAS ANY DIFFERENT FROM
ANYBODY ELSE.
I DIDN'T RECOGNIZE THAT IT WAS
BIZARRE.
IT'S JUST YOUR REALITY, RIGHT?
IT'S NOT SOMETHING YOU DISCUSS
WITH YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD FRIENDS
THAT YOUR FATHER IS, LIKE,
CONSTANTLY DRUNK AND COMPLETELY
ERRATIC AND...

Nam says BUT HE HIT YOU TOO?

Cathal says WELL, YOU KNOW, NOT TOO MUCH.
LIKE, I WORRY WHY I'M BEING THIS
WAY ABOUT THIS IS I WORRY THAT
THIS BECOMES A STORY MANY...
MANY PEOPLE HAVE FAR MORE
DIFFICULT STORIES THAN MINE, AND
I DON'T WANT TO COMPARE MYSELF
TO THEM.
IT'S NOT THAT.
I DIDN'T LIVE IN TERROR.

Nam says BUT YOU LIVED IN FEAR.

Cathal says EH, I THINK A BIT OF
MANAGEABLE FEAR IS PROBABLY A
GOOD THING.

Nam says IN WHAT WAY?

Cathal says I THINK IT HARDENS YOU UP.
I THINK LIFE IS... THERE'S A
CERTAIN AMOUNT OF FEAR THAT
SHOULD ALWAYS BE IN YOUR LIFE,
AND THAT FEAR DRIVES YOU.
YOU KNOW, MIKE TYSON HAD A LINE,
IF HE'S NOT THE GREATEST EXAMPLE
IN THIS THING.
HE SAID FEAR IS LIKE FIRE AND IF
YOU USE IT RIGHT IT CAN HEAT
YOUR HOUSE.
IF YOU LET IT OVERCOME YOU, IT
WILL BURN YOU ALIVE.

Nam says AND YOU LEARNED THAT
LESSON AS A CHILD?

Cathal says I THINK SO.
WHEN I HEARD THAT LINE, I
THOUGHT, THAT'S WEIRD, THAT
MAKES SENSE TO ME.

Nam says YOU TELL A STORY ABOUT A
FAMILY REUNION THAT TOOK PLACE
IN NORTH BAY AND YOUR DAD HAD
YOU FOR THAT WEEKEND.
IT WAS HIS FAMILY.

Cathal says YEAH.

Nam says WHAT HAPPENED THAT WEEKEND?

Cathal says OH, IT GOT A BIT... THERE WAS
A LOT OF HOWLING AT THE MOON AND
IT WAS A FAMILY THAT LIKED TO
DRINK.
THAT WAS THE END OF MY
RELATIONSHIP WITH MY FATHER IN
MOST SENSES BECAUSE I GOT
TERRIFICALLY ILL.
I HAD ASTHMA, AND I WAS SENT TO
THE DOCTOR, AND IT'S A LONG
STORY, BUT...

Nam says YOU HAD AN ASTHMA
ATTACK, BUT HE DIDN'T BELIEVE ME.

Cathal says HE DIDN'T BELIEVE ME.

Nam says IT TOOK HIM MAYBE TWO
DAYS TO TAKE YOU TO THE
HOSPITAL.
HE DROPPED YOU OFF AT THE
HOSPITAL.
HE LEAVES YOU AT THE HOSPITAL
AND YOU'RE ALONE WITH NO ONE.

Cathal says YES, I'M ALONE.
HE JUST KIND OF DROPPED ME IN
THE ER AND THEN WENT BACK TO THE
PARTY.
AND BECAUSE THERE WAS NO ONE
THERE.
THEY ASKED... I SUPPOSE THEY
ASKED HIM IF I WAS ALLERGIC TO
ANYTHING, AND HE SAID NO, NOT
KNOWING, AND THEY GAVE ME A
MEDICINE I WAS ALLERGIC TO.
SO IT GOT QUITE TENUOUS FOR A
MOMENT.
BUT IT TURNED OUT OKAY.

Nam says BECAUSE YOU ENDED UP
HAVING A TV.

Cathal says THAT'S RIGHT.
IT WAS THE BLUE JAYS, FIRST
PLAYOFF RUN.
I MEAN, THAT TURNED FROM A VERY
BAD MEMORY INTO KIND OF A GOOD
ONE.

Nam says WHY WAS IT A GOOD ONE?

Cathal says I THINK THAT'S THE FIRST
EXPERIENCE OF BEING TUNNEL
VISIONED INTO SPORTS.
LIKE, I'M A SPORTS WRITER NOW,
AND THAT IS TYPICAL.
MOST PEOPLE HAVE A LOT GOING ON
IN THEIR LIVES.
IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO GET
TUNNEL VISIONED INTO SPORTS
WHERE THAT'S ALL THAT MATTERS,
AND YOU'RE TRYING TO CONNECT
WITH PEOPLE WHO FEEL THAT WAY.
I HAD HAD THAT EXPERIENCE WHERE
THERE WAS... I WAS WINNING... IT
WAS LIKE LIFE AND DEATH FOR ME
IT FELT IN THAT MOMENT, WHETHER
THAT TEAM WON.
AND OF COURSE BECAUSE THEY'RE
FROM TORONTO, THEY LOST!

[LAUGHTER]

Nam says BUT I ALSO... I KNOW IT
WAS A WHILE SINCE YOU READ... I
MEAN WROTE THE BOOK, AND I JUST
READ IT YESTERDAY.
THERE WAS A LINE WHERE YOU SAID
THAT YOU ACTUALLY LIKED BEING AT
THE HOSPITAL BECAUSE YOU
WANTED... YOU ENJOYED BEING ALONE.

Cathal says YEAH, I AM... YES, I HAVE
STRONG MOLE-LIKE TENDENCIES.
I DO ENJOY MY ALONE TIME.
SO YEAH, I DID LIKE BEING
CLOISTERED IN THAT WAY.
I WOULD HAVE MADE A SORT OF OKAY
MONK, I THINK, SORT OF.

Nam says LOOKING BACK WITH
EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED, DO YOU
THINK THAT YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR
FATHER BETTER NOW THAN WHEN YOU
WERE A KID?
AND I ONLY ASK YOU THAT
BECAUSE...

Cathal says YEAH, NO.

Nam says AS AN ADULT NOW I THINK
I UNDERSTAND MY PARENTS WERE
PEOPLE BEFORE THEY WERE PARENTS.

Cathal says YES, THAT'S TRUE.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND IT YET
BECAUSE HE WAS... HE DEFIED
UNDERSTANDING.
LIKE, THERE WAS... HE WAS NOT A
LOGICAL PERSON.
HE DID THINGS THAT MADE
ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE.
LIKE, HE ONCE BOUGHT A CAR THAT
THE STARTER BROKE IN THE CAR AND
HIS SOLUTION TO THE FACT THAT
THE STARTER HAD BROKEN WAS HE
NEVER TURNED THE CAR OFF.
SO IT SAT... IT WAS AN OLD VW
RABBIT THAT HE COULD KEEP...
DIDN'T TAKE MUCH GAS.
IT RAN 24 HOURS A DAY.
24 HOURS A DAY IN THE GARAGE.
OPEN THE GARAGE DOOR AND IT
WOULD BE LIKE A NUCLEAR BOMB HAD
GONE OFF, SO MUCH SMOKE WOULD
COME OUT, DRIVE IT AROUND AND
LEAVE IT IN THE GARAGE.
DIDN'T MAKE RATIONAL DECISIONS.

Nam says BUT YOUR MOM WAS... SHE
WAS VERY STOIC, YES?

Cathal says YES, QUITE THE OPPOSITE.
MY MOTHER WAS NEVER CHANGED.
LIKE MY MOTHER WAS VERY... YOU
ALWAYS KNEW WHAT YOU WERE GOING
TO GET.
YEAH, AND THAT WAS... SHE WAS
THE ROCK.

The caption changes to "Materfamilias."

Nam says AND SHE ALSO SEEMED TO
ALWAYS HAVE YOUR BACK, EVEN WHEN
YOU DID SOMETHING WRONG.

Cathal says YEAH.

Nam says YOU ONCE GOT ARRESTED.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THAT?

Cathal says YEAH, I WAS ARRESTED FOR
SOMETHING EXTREMELY STUPID,
WHICH WAS POPULAR IN THE MID
'80S, WHICH WAS STEALING HOOD
ORNAMENTS, AND WE WERE CAUGHT
DOING IT.
BEYOND... IT DEFIED... AGAIN,
WELL, MAYBE THE IRRATIONAL PART
OF MY DNA.
AND SO I WAS TAKEN TO...

Nam says OR BEING A TEENAGER.

Cathal says BEING A TEENAGER.
I WAS TAKEN TO THE STATIONHOUSE
AT ABOUT 2 IN THE MORNING, AND
MY POOR MOTHER HAD TO COME GET
ME.
AND IT OCCURRED TO ME AFTER THAT
WE DIDN'T HAVE A CAR.
SHE WOULD HAVE WALKED AND IT
WOULD HAVE BEEN... IT WAS COLD,
AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN AN
AWFULLY LONG WALK.
AND ONCE SHE GOT THERE, LIKE,
SHE WAS ENRAGED AT ME, BUT THE
COPS, AS THEY WOULD AT THE TIME,
THEY PUSH YOU AROUND A LITTLE
BIT, SLAP YOU AROUND A LITTLE
BIT, NOTHING TOO DANGEROUS, BUT
I LIPPED OFF AT THE END LIKE A
BUFFOON, ONCE MY MOMMY WAS
THERE, AND SHE BACKED ME UP AT
THAT MOMENT, AND I FELT QUITE
FULL OF MYSELF, AND SHE SAID IF
YOU EVER GET ARRESTED AGAIN,
DON'T CALL ME.
THERE WAS NO ONE ELSE TO CALL,
AND SHE MEANT IT.
AND THAT WAS ANOTHER GOOD
LESSON.

Nam says I'M SURE OTHER KIDS IN
THAT SITUATION MIGHT HAVE GONE
TO THE SIDE WHERE THEY WOULD
CONTINUE THAT.
AS YOU MENTIONED IN THE BOOK,
SOME OF YOUR FRIENDS DID DO
THAT.
WHY DID YOU STOP?

Cathal says I WAS AFRAID OF MY MOTHER.
SO CLICHE FOR AN IRISH GUY TO
SAY THIS, BUT I REALLY WAS
AFRAID OF MY MOTHER.
I WAS NOT AFRAID OF PUNISHMENT.
I WAS AFRAID OF LOSING HER
RESPECT, AND I FELT THAT ALWAYS
THAT MY HOLD ON HER RESPECT WAS
TENUOUS.
LIKE, I HAD TO EARN IT AND
RE-EARN IT.
AND HAD I LOST THAT, I MEAN,
THAT WAS THE FOUNDATION STONE OF
MY LIFE.
I COULDN'T IMAGINE DOING THAT.

Nam says AND SHE READ THE BOOK?

Cathal says SHE READ THE BOOK.

Nam says AND SHE SAID?

Cathal says I THINK IT WAS "IT'S GOOD."

Nam says SO IN THE BOOK YOU WRITE
YOU STARTED READING AT A VERY
YOUNG AGE.

Cathal says YEAH, I SUPPOSE.

Nam says WHAT WAS IT ABOUT
READING THAT YOU CONNECTED WITH?

The caption changes to "Books, music, sports."

Cathal says IT WAS LIVING ANOTHER LIFE.
IT'S THE SAME REASON I READ
TODAY.
IT'S TIME TRAVEL.
IT'S NOT JUST TRAVEL.
IT'S BETTER THAN AN AIRPLANE.
IT'S H.G. WELLS.
YOU CAN MOVE BACKWARDS AND
FORWARDS IN HISTORY.
YOU ARE NOT JUST VISITING PEOPLE
FROM ANOTHER TIME AND PLACE, BUT
THE BRIGHTEST MINDS OF ANOTHER
TIME AND PLACE, THE PEOPLE WHO
SAW THE MOST.
IT'S ART IN ITS PUREST FORM, TO
ME.
IT'S SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO
EVERYONE.
LIKE, I CAN'T... I COULD QUIT MY
JOB, AND IF I COULD LIVE, AND
DEVOTE MYSELF TO DOING NOTHING
BUT.
AND I THINK IT WOULD BE A LIFE
WELL LIVED.

Nam says BUT YOU ALSO MENTIONED
TOO THAT READING WAS THE...
BECAUSE YOUR MOM DIDN'T LIKE YOU
TAKING NAPS IN THE DAY, SO IT
WAS A WAY FOR BEING IN YOUR ROOM
WITHOUT GETTING YELLED OUT.

Cathal says YEAH, IT'S TRUE.
I STILL CAN'T NAP.
I HAVE THIS TERRIBLE AFFLICTION
WHERE I THINK OF MY MOTHER
COMING THROUGH THE DOOR.
LIKE I'LL BE IN A MARRIOTT IN
SAN FRISK, AND I'LL IMAGINE MY
MOTHER COMING THROUGH THE DOOR
AND CATCHING ME ASLEEP.

Nam says GEORGE ORWELL WAS A BIG
INFLUENCE ON YOU.

Cathal says YES.

Nam says WHY?

Cathal says WELL, FIRST OF ALL, MAYBE THE
GREATEST WRITER OF ESSAYS IN THE
ENGLISH LANGUAGE EVER.
BUT ALSO SAW THINGS MORE
CLEARLY.
I HAVE A VERY CYNICAL BENT OF
MIND, AND ORWELL WAS THE GREAT
CYNIC, AND ALSO SOMEONE LIKE...
I THINK HE PLAYED TWO TOWERING
FIGURES IN HISTORY.
THE OTHER ONE THAT LEAPS IN MY
MIND IS MALCOLM X.
SOMEONE WHO COULD PLOT A COURSE,
THEN FIND DIFFERENT INFORMATION,
THEIR ENTIRE LIVES ARE BASED ON
THAT LINE OF PHILOSOPHY.
DIFFERENT INFORMATION AND SAY
I'M GOING TO GO IN THE COMPLETE
OPPOSITE DIRECTION NOW.
I'VE CHANGED MY MIND.
TO ME THAT'S A MARK OF A TRULY
TOWERING INTELLECT, AND ORWELL
HAD THAT ABILITY.
HE WAS A COMMUNIST AND THEN
DECIDED I DON'T LIKE COMMUNISM.
I'VE SEEN IT UP CLOSE, IT'S
TERRIBLE.
AND THEN GO THE OTHER WAY.
AND HE HAD THIS KIND OF
PENETRATING THIS, THIS
SIMPLICITY OF WRITING THAT COULD
GET THROUGH THE KIDS.
I TALK IN THE BOOK A LOT ABOUT
ANIMAL FARM AND WHAT THAT MEANT
TO ME, THAT BOOK.

Nam says YOU WRITE ABOUT TRYING
TO DISCOVER WHAT KIND OF MUSIC
THAT YOU LIKE.

Cathal says MM-HM.

Nam says YOU GO THROUGH A ME
TALCA PHASE BECAUSE OF A GIRLFRIEND?

Cathal says JUST METALLICA...

Nam says BUT YOU ALSO WRITE ABOUT
THE SMITHS FROM BRITAIN.

Cathal says OH, YEAH.

Nam says WHY DO YOU THINK THAT
WAS THE BAND YOU LOVED THE MOST
IN YOUR TEEN YEARS?

Cathal says BECAUSE I WAS A PRETTY MOROSE
KID, AND THEY ARE THE MOST
MOROSE BAND OF ALL TIME.
AND SOMETHING ABOUT MORRISSEY'S
LYRICS... JOHNNY MAR IS GREAT
AND ALL, BUT SOMETHING ABOUT
MORRISSEY'S LYRICS, I WAS
LOOKING
FOR A JOB AND THEN I FOUND A JOB
AND HEAVEN KNOWS I'M MISERABLE
NOW.
EVERYBODY CAN CONNECT TO THAT
IDEA, AND IT MADE ME FEEL THAT
HOWEVER MISERABLE THINGS GOT,
THAT ITSELF, MISERY CAN BE A
SOURCE OF SORT OF AN ODD SORT OF
PLEASURE THAT YOU CAN WALLOW IN
A WAY THAT DOESN'T DESTROY YOUR
LIFE BUT INSTEAD ENRICHES IT.
AND HE HAD THAT.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS, 14, 15
YEARS OLD, HE JUST CONNECTED TO
ME, THOSE IDEAS.
AND THE MUSIC IS GREAT, BUT I
THINK WE REALLY... WE CONNECT TO
GREAT BANDS, THE BANDS THAT MEAN
THE MOST TO US, EITHER BECAUSE
THEY CONNECT US TO AN EVENT IN
OUR LIVES, SOMETHING WE DID.
OR IT'S THE LYRICS.
IT'S NOT REALLY THE MUSIC.
THEY ARE SAYING SOMETHING TO US
THAT PENETRATES AND SEEMS AT THE
TIME INCREDIBLY WISE.
I DON'T KNOW IF I WOULD... I
DON'T LISTEN TO IT THE SAME WAY
ANYMORE, BUT I STILL GO BACK AND
LISTEN TO IT, AND IT MAKES ME 15.

Nam says GOING THROUGH THE
PROCESS OF WRITING THIS BOOK,
I'M THINKING YOU PROBABLY HAD TO
MAYBE THINK ABOUT A LOT OF
THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE NOT
THOUGHT ABOUT FOR A COUPLE OF
DECADES.
YOU MIGHT HAVE GOTTEN NOSTALGIC,
OR MAYBE NOT.
WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE FOR
YOU WRITING A BOOK LIKE THIS?

Cathal says IT WAS ACTUALLY ODDLY FUN.
LIKE, FRIENDS ASKED ME, YOU
KNOW, IS THIS GONNA BE PAINFUL
FOR YOU?
AND NO.
NOT IN THE LEAST.
ACTUALLY, IT WAS... I FOUND
IT... THIS IS... I DON'T WANT
THIS TO SOUND MORE THAN IT IS.
I FOUND IT VERY CATHARTIC.
I FOUND IT QUITE ENJOYABLE.
I LOOK BACK ON ALMOST ALL OF
THAT STUFF, EVEN THE BAD STUFF,
WITH NOSTALGIA.
BECAUSE TIMES, ONE OF THE DRIED
IN POINTS OF THE BOOK IS YOU GET
THIS ONE CHANCE, UNTIL YOU'RE
ABOUT 20 YEARS OLD, TO DISCOVER
THINGS.
TO TRULY, TRULY DISCOVER THINGS
FOR THE FIRST TIME.
AND YOUR EYES ARE SO SOFT IN
THAT MOMENT.
YOU JUST ARE ACCEPTING OF SO
MUCH INFORMATION, AND EVERYTHING
SEEMS INCREDIBLE, NEW, AND THEN
YOU GET TO A POINT 20, 25 WHERE
THAT JUST STOPS.
AND YOU ARE DOING THINGS... YOU
GET BETTER AT THINGS, BUT YOU'RE
DOING THINGS FOR THE SECOND,
THIRD, 100TH, 1000TH TIME, AND
YOU CAN NEVER EXPERIENCE THAT
AGAIN.
I WOULD LOVE TO, BUT YOU CAN'T.
SO GOING BACK THROUGH THE BOOK,
YOU REMIND YOURSELF OF HOW DEEP
YOU COULD GET INTO THE DUMBEST
THINGS, AND YOU KNOW, JUST THAT
IDEA OF LAYING AGAINST A STEREO
WITH THE HEADPHONES ON,
LISTENING TO THE SMITHS FOR
HOURS.
YOU WILL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.
LIKE, YOU'RE A BUSY PERSON.
YOU'LL NEVER GET TO DO THAT
AGAIN.
AND THERE'S A CERTAIN SADNESS TO
THAT.
BUT IT'S ALSO WONDERFUL.

Nam says WHAT DO WE GET FROM THE
SADNESS, THOUGH?

Cathal says THE SADNESS ISN'T THAT THAT
WAS A DIFFERENT LIFE.
LIKE, WE THINK OF IT AS I THINK
WE THINK OF OUR '80 YEARS OR '90
YEARS AS ONE LIFE.
THERE'S A THEORY AND PHILOSOPHY
THAT WE AREN'T JUST ONE PERSON,
WE'RE DOZENS OF DIFFERENT
PEOPLE, JUST KIND OF
INTERCONNECTEDLY, BUT YOUR
25-YEAR-OLD SELF WOULD NOT
RECOGNIZE YOUR 55-YEAR-OLD SELF.
YOU'VE CHANGED.
THAT CHILDHOOD SELF I THINK IS
OUR PUREST SELF.
THAT'S THE MOST MALLEABLE SELF.
THE PERSON WE BECOME AFTERWARDS
IS THE PERSON WE HAVE TO BECOME
BECAUSE OF OUR ENVIRONMENT.
AND THAT'S THE SADNESS, THAT
MAYBE I COULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER
PERSON.

Nam says BUT YOU DO SAY THAT THE
THING THAT YOU DID GET RIGHT WAS
THE HAIR, BECAUSE YOU...

Cathal says YEAH, I ENJOYED MY HAIR AT
THE TIME.

Nam says YOU USED TO HAVE A LOT
OF HAIR.

Cathal says YEAH, IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE,
RIGHT?

Nam says YEAH.

Cathal says I HAD A GREAT DEAL OF HAIR,
AND I ABUSED IT TERRIBLY.
AND I'M PRETTY SURE IT'S WHY I'M
BALD.
I STARTED... I WENT BALD AT 29,
WHICH IS... YOU KNOW, BUT THAT
HAIR LIVED ITS OWN LIFE AS WELL.
LIKE, I HAD MOHAWKS, WHICH IF
ANYBODY'S HAD A MOHAWK, IT'S A
VERY DIFFICULT HAIRSTYLE TO
HAVE.
IT DOESN'T WANT TO STAY UP.
IT BREAKS AT THE BOTTOM
ESSENTIALLY.
I HAD THE ROBERT SMITH HAIR, I
DON'T KNOW IF PEOPLE ARE
FAMILIAR, FROM THE CURE, WHICH
IS BASICALLY A HUGE TANGLE.
AND MAN, I DID THINGS TO THAT
HAIR...

Nam says WITH THE GEL AND THE EGG WHITE?

Cathal says HARD TO HOLD.
I THINK IT'S PROBABLY...
PROBABLY GOT DDTS IN IT, BUT IT
WAS UNBELIEVABLE.
IT WAS LIKE LIQUID GLUE.

Nam says IT DID ITS JOB.
WE ONLY HAVE A FEW SECONDS LEFT.
YOU DEDICATE THE BOOK TO
MARGARET.
WHO IS MARGARET?

Cathal says MARGARET IS MY MOTHER, AND
THAT'S THE ONLY TIME YOU SEE HER
NAME IN THE BOOK.

The caption changes to "Producer: Meredith Martin, @MeredithMartin."

Nam says WELL, THANK YOU SO MUCH.
SUCH A FUN READ.
IT'S... I'M THINKING A LOT ABOUT
THINGS THAT YOU WROTE IN HERE,
AND I APPRECIATE YOU WRITING
ABOUT IT, EVEN THE PAINFUL
PARTS.

Cathal says OH, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Nam says THAT WAS CATHAL KELLY,
BOY WONDERS, A MEMOIR.
THANK YOU.

Cathal says CHEERS.

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