This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

July-August 2004

Stuart Ross interviews Jason Anderson on celebrity encounters

Stuart RossWebsite@MrRazovsky

Stuart Ross chats with Jason Anderson about celebrity encounters and giving up his Xbox for the love of writing

Photo of Jason Anderson

Jason Andersonis a Calgary-born writer who lives in Toronto. His short stories have appeared in Taddle Creek and The IV Lounge Reader. He writes about music, movies, and literature for The Globe and Mail, Toro, Saturday Night, eye Weekly and Toronto Life. He has met many famous people, including Kevin Bacon. This Magazine literary editor Stuart Ross sent him some questions while he was covering the Cannes Film Festival.

Are you scared of famous people when you meet them?

Rarely, but that’s because I meet them while doing interviews, as opposed to spotting them in restaurants. In other words, the subject and I each have a reason for the social exchange and usually get it done as pleasantly and smoothly as possible. I get nervous, though—I think I blushed when I met Zhang Ziyi yesterday.

In a world without celebrities, what would we do with ourselves?

Hire new royal families and slaughter them all every century or so. More people might vote, too.

You’re a very prolific freelance journalist. Is it tough to squeeze in fiction writing, which doesn’t guarantee a cheque?

Very difficult. The secret to making a freelance living is volume, volume, volume. I have just enough time to work on fiction but, sadly, none whatsoever for Xbox.

How does your film and music writing influence your fiction?

Whether it’s fiction or not, I always try to write catchy—y’know, like a good Manilow song. I never want to bore anyone or write anything that sounds fussy. Also, my high film and music consumption always leads me to new ideas, though I’m trying to limit the input because there aren’t enough hours in the day. For instance, I’m not going to buy the Police Academy DVD box set.

Are you working on anything big?

A novel that should be done by the end of 2004, as long as I don’t mind being broke. It’s about assassination plots and stand-up comedy. I’m going for a hybrid of W.G. Sebald and Carl Hiaasen.

Stuart Ross is a celebrated poet and teacher. His latest book is a collection of new and selected poems called Hey, Crumbling Balcony!

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