'Everything you know is wrong'
My Own Private (game of) Telephone'
Well, we might have known, but we also forgot.
The story as I've been telling it to others for years — for decades! — now, and as (I think) we have been telling to each other when nostalgia has struck over drinks, went roughly as follows.
Vern and I had been practicing for maybe two weeks — he on guitar, with me as lead vocalist and (piss-poor) tambourine man — when we decided we were ready to take "Dow and Pineau" out to the streets and start our climb to stardom.
We were 16 years old and determined to begin our careers as buskers at the very top: right in front of the main entrance to the Eaton Centre at Yonge and Dundas.
And so, laughing with adolescent faith in our inevitable stardom, we set out in search of fame and fortune.
Only, Vern started to get cold feet and, even as we approached our destination, he stopped and said he wasn't going to do it, he wasn't going to play.
I tried cajoling, then yelling, but only when I kicked a rock (and hurt my foot), did I get through to him the importance of finishing what we had set out to do.
And so it was we boldly set up facing the Eaton Centre.
Vern laid his guitar case upon the sidewalk and took out his Norman, wrapped the strap across his chest and began to tune up. I nervously banged the tambourine against my thigh, hoping against hope I would not forget the words to "Helpless", or "Run for Your Life" or, especially, to our cover-tune par excellence, "Eleanor Rigby".
At length, Vern began to play and I to sing. And before long a couple of funky chicks (who later told us they were from New York City) stopped to watch us and then began to dance. Between the glorious music and the dancers' enthusiasm, we gathered a crowd that might have approached 50 people and the money poured into the open case.