Sunday, March 14, 2004

Auf der Maur interviews Sarrazin

Over at the Media in Montreal Yahoo group, Mirror scribe Kristian Gravenor has posted a previously-unpublished transcript of a conversation between gone-but-not-forgotten journalist-cum-boulevardier Nick Auf Der Maur and Michael Sarrazin, the Montreal actor whose films include The Flim-Flam Man (1967), They Shoot Horses Don't They? (1969) and, alas, FearDotCom (2002). The interview, which was done for an unaired episode of Gravenor's old show Behind the Scenes, took place at Grumpy's bar in 1993. It's full of great exchanges like this one:

Nick: We have some clippings of you from the Montreal Gazette and there is a photo of you in a bathtub with Barbara Streisand, in "For Pete's Sake". I mean not many of us get in a bathtub with her. What was it like working with a super vedette ?

Sarrazin: Great. Great we got along well, I liked her, I admired her tremendously, it was a lot of fun, it wasn't too demanding, because it was a nice light comedy. She is an extraordinary person, a lot of fun, a great sense of humour, we shot it on the lot because you can't go on the street with Barbra Streiseand, it starts a riot. So, it was a kind of light weight kinda movie, but the film experience and meeting her it was a happy time.

Nick: She collects antiques.

Sarrazin: Yeah.

Nick: My mom has an antique coat racks, and every time you get to Montreal my mom asks me to get you to ask Barbra for a coat rack but it hasn't worked out... I also saw you in Playboy nude with Raquel Welch?

Sarrazin: No I don't think so..

Nick: Who was it?

Sarrazin: I didn't pose specifically for Playboy.

Nick: Yeah but who was it?

Sarrazin: I really don't remember.

Nick: It was kind of like a Tarzan thing.

Sarrazin: In those days there were obligatory nude scenes with the actress at which time all of the stills were either pirated or sold by the studio to Playboy and went around the world so everybody thinks I was having I mean they were just still photos taken during the course of your working day they always had a market value, Playboy ran that every year, "Sex in the cinema", I was in a number of years, with whom I can't recall.

Nick: You can't recall? Photographed in the nude with Raquel Welch and you can't remember?

Sarrazin: It couldn't have been her, I haven't worked with her.

Nick: Who was it? I would be able to remember!

Sarrazin: I'm getting old now and I have a girlfriend, I don't want to brag about these things.

Nick: I used to call you up to speak French with your old girlfriend Jacqueline Bisset.
It's a great little interview.

For those of you who don't know Nick Auf der Maur, he was a city councillor, agent-provocateur and columnist who worked mainly from the bars on Crescent St. and knew practically everyone in Montreal. He's also the father of Melissa Auf de Maur, the former bassist for Hole and Smashing Pumpkins (who now has her own band Auf Der Maur).

He's also the guy most responsible for turning me on to journalism. When I was just a young lad of 15, I wrote him a long letter about Donald Duck comic books -- he was a notorious Duck fan -- and he printed the whole thing in his column, which was on page A2 of the Montreal Gazette at the time. That was it for me: After seeing my name in print and getting calls from about a dozen of my grandmother's friends, I was hooked on newspapers.

Unfortunately, Nick died before I was (officially) old enough to meet him for a beer at Winnie's. But I did attend his funeral -- along with about 4,000 other people. And, after one particularly debaucherous evening in third year at McGill, I took a ceremonial piss in alley named after him off of Crescent...

Post-script

-- Credit where due: I read about this transcript on Montreal City, your one-stop blog for all things Montreal.

-- A short bio of Nick Auf der Maur.

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