Proust Q 5.0: Neil Coligan, Man Cave dweller

February 11, 2011

What can I tell you about Neil Coligan? Winnipegger. Former TV producer who now teaches journalism. Loves film and music, probably jazz in particular. Also, his wife Sue. Probably not in that order. I had met Neil before this, but my first strong recollection comes about 1992 or so at a house party I was hosting back in Winnipeg. I confess I was a bit … in the cups, shall we say? Anyway, I had been digging in the cassette box and was so proud of my find that I bashed the stop button on the blaster, pulled out probably something U2ish, popped in my find and cranked it, stopping every conversation with this fiendish, baroque doowop: “We’ll remember you foreeeeeeever Eddie / Thru’ the sacrifice you made / We can’t believe the price you paid / For loooooooooove…” First song on the soundtrack for Phantom of the Paradise, Brian De Palma’s 1974 pop-rock Faust starring composer Paul Williams. Horrible really and unknown everywhere in the known world, but beloved to Winnipeggers. Well, at least two Winnipeggers. “YOU HAVE TO TURN THAT OFF.” Neil was yelling. And he was right. Despite the fact that my roommate Colin Friesen and I were already screaming the lyrics at the top of our lungs, we were alone in doing so, even among our gathered friends. I hit stop. Neil took over the music. He’s still got control of the music, only now he doesn’t do it from my overcrowded living room, but rather, well, he might mention his music a few times in this month’s edition of the Proust Questionnaire 5.0 (What’s this, you ask? Explanations at the end, but take your time.) Neil? We are live in three, two, (silently pointing to the microphone).

Since we are conducting this interview via email, the world is ours for the inventing. In what city and establishment would you like this interview to be taking place?

Cave painting circa 15,000 BC. Neil denies responsibility for this early example of graffiti.

In the Man Cave, which is located in the basement of the home I share with my wife, Sue.  It is my favourite place to relax and prepare my radio show heard every Monday evening on CKUW.  I could have said Chauvet in France, the site of the oldest known cave paintings (approximately 32,000 years ago), but the heating is not up to code.  We’d also have to order out for food which is not so terrible, but my French is poor.

What would you be wearing?
A muddy brown terry cloth bathrobe with pyjamas and slippers likely purchased at The Bay or Zellers.  Labels are not important.  Fit and comfort matter more.

And, most importantly, what would we be drinking?
Fort Garry Dark Ale.  The Fort Garry Brewery is the official sponsor of The Man Cave heard every Monday evening on CKUW, did I mention that yet?

Okay then. What are the qualities you most admire in others?
Imagination, humour, compassion, a fine appreciation of music.  You can’t go too wrong with that combination.

What do you like most about yourself?
That I manage to fend off my inner jerk and can be a good friend.

That I’ve failed as a friend at times and been a jerk too often.

What is your greatest achievement?
Being able to master the remote control and keeping my vinyl LPs clean and playable.

What is your favourite movie? (aka best answer to a question Neil asked himself after the interview was completed)
Godzilla, King of the Monsters. “Poster for Neil’s favorite movie. He admits crying at the end every time.”

What is your present state of mind?
I’m thinking of an idea and perhaps a guest for my radio show The Man Cave heard every Monday evening on CKUW.  Oh, there I go again.

Where and when were you happiest?
When I’m on air every Monday night.

What was your worst job?
Being the producer for a morning radio show in Toronto in which I loved the music, but thought I could do a better job as the host.  They eventually fired me.

Your favourite colour?
Red.  It means the microphone is on.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Having people phone in during my radio show heard every Monday evening on CKUW and pledging money to keep the station on-air.

Of misery?
No one calls.

How would you hope to die?
While my favourite music is playing, I fall asleep and never wake up.

Any last words?
Support Campus/Community radio with a pledge.  Most of us do it for love, but the equipment and staff need money.

(Learn more about Neil’s Man Cave radio show (perhaps you’ve heard of it already?) by clicking here to get to the Facebook page or here for the show’s site. Now, here’s a music video chosen by Neil himself to send you on your way.

Admit it. You read those celebrity Q&As and you know you’re easily as worthy of being profiled. I know I do, but my friends are way more interesting. So, with nods to the “confession albums” of the late 1800s  made famous by the fabulous Marcel Proust’s answers, to French TV host Bernard Pivot who adapted the questionnaire, to Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton who gave it another spin and to Vanity Fair, which uses its own elegantly spun version to anchor the magazine’s back pages, I submit for your entertainment and enlightenment, my own version of the Proust Questionnaire, re-retooled for a blog age.


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