Tag Archives: Vancouver



An adventure through the 1970s

Book launch party at The Rivoli on Queen West, Toronto, this coming Sunday Sept. 10 @ 8pm

When I heard that tv personality and music media insider Kim Clarke Champniss was writing his autobiography covering his childhood and teen years in England and his 70’s adventures in Canada, I knew I would be reading much about my own history…but with just a few geographical differences. I was born a few months before Kim came into the world, so we were both exposed to the same popular music of the Brits and American rock-and-roll in the mid to late 50’s. But while Kim experienced the whole mods’n’rockers evolution in person, I would only hear about it from far off Australia to where my parents had emigrated in ’59. Unfortunately my family would end up way out in the bush, cut off from any form of entertainment other than 4 radio stations and two television channels that only broadcast from 11am until 10pm. Kim, as he tells it in his book, was right there at ground zero in London for the changing social moods and music styles, going from bovver boys to The Beatles. So it was with a touch of envy that I turned the first page…..

Champniss writes like Jackson Pollack painted: bold colourful strokes with trickles of familiar music history, lobbing in droplets of dusty old names that suddenly come back to me – Régine, Slade, Lyons tearooms and Marc Bolan. Then once the reader arrives with Champniss in Canada’s far north, his descriptions of living and working for the Hudson’s Bay Co in the isolated, snow-bound Eskimo Point during the early 70’s will have you pulling a blanket up around your ears – so cold, so windy and wild you can almost feel the biting gusts of Arctic air whirl around you.

The pages turn easily as the reader follows Kim’s journey back to civilization (Winnipeg?) then several road trips across the States and through Canada, with the music of the time playing in your head: glam rock, Motown hits then disco. His brief 1975 return to England plugged Champniss into the emerging sounds of new pop and rock music along with an increased social and political awareness – these were also the days of random IRA bombings and economic unrest as the European Common Market developed. Upon returning to Canada, Champniss soon found his calling as a DJ, working in top nightclubs around Vancouver and he enthusiastically shares his memories of the dawn of the disco era.

Apparently, our lives had intersected in Perth, Western Australia, my childhood home and Kim’s home for a short time in the mid-70s while waiting for entrance into the University of Western Australia (my alma mater). He and his (by now) wife Lily even lived close to where my family had once resided, the beachside town of Cottesloe. But Oz didn’t work out as expected and they soon returned to Canada’s west coast where Kim immersed himself even more in the music scene.  Rock, pop and soul would be joined by punk and new wave, and reading through the artists’ names Champniss notes, the clubs, the cities that gave rise to the new music, gives readers of a certain age that warm feeling of remembrance that sends one off to the basement to pull out the old vinyl and dust off the ancient turntable.

This book definitely leaves the reader wanting more…and fortunately there is a lot more as Champniss ends this story just before he heads to Toronto in the early 80s to join the revolutionary new music & video tv station that we came to know as MuchMusic.SONY DSCNot only is this an autobiography with exciting adventures we can relive with the writer, it is a great music history lesson to be shared with younger readers. I first met Kim when he had arrived in Toronto from Vancouver whilst hanging out at renowned music publicist Richard Flohill’s floor-to-ceiling record lined apartment in Cabbagetown. I remember thinking what a bright, energetic young man Kim was, full of music trivia and fascinating stories of his many adventures around the world. I cannot wait for the next chapter when I know he’ll have more great tales to share.

An adventure through the 1970s
Published by Dundurn Press
200 pages, 29 illustrations, black & white
Available in Paperback $23.99 ISBN: 9781459739239
Or  eBook $11.99  ISBN: 9781459739253

Kim Clarke Champniss (a.k.a. KCC) is an award-winning broadcaster who was a popular VJ on MuchMusic and special assignment reporter for The NewMusic. KCC is also the author of The Republic of Rock ’n’ Roll. He lives in Toronto.

A true story of an adventurous pop-loving teenager who, in the early 1970s, went from London’s discotheques to the Canadian sub-arctic to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company. His job? Buying furs and helping run the trading post in the settlement of Arviat (then known as Eskimo Point), Northwest Territories (population: 750).  That young man was Kim Clarke Champniss, who would later become a VJ on MuchMusic. His extraordinary adventures unfolded in a chain of On the Road experiences across Canada. His mind-boggling journey, from London, to the far Canadian North, to the spotlight, is the stuff of music and TV legends. Kim brings his incredible knowledge of music and pop culture and the history of disco music, weaving them into this wild story of his exciting and uniquely crazy 1970s.

Traditional Akha (1)


These days, we have a special day for everything…Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, bagel day… and tomorrow it’s International Coffee Day so I thought I’d join in with my own spirited tribute to caffeine by telling you about a new Canadian free-trade coffee company I recently encountered during the Toronto Int’l Film Fest – the Doi Chaang Coffee Company headquartered in Vancouver, BC.  BlendsFamilyCI first met their representatives during a TIFF gift lounge visit and was thrilled to receive a bag of their Social Medium beans to try at home. OMG, the flavour is rich, aromatic but not acidic and has no bitter after-taste. My kinda brew!20150909_123025Thanks to their PR & Marketing Manager Brittany Brown for sending me some cool photos and product information; so here’s the story behind this unique Canadian company that is helping farmers and their families create a financially and agriculturally viable industry in Northern Thailand.Bean Sacks (16) Doi-Chaang-45-of-131Doi Chaang Coffee Co. is a Vancouver-based coffee company whose unique business model has been gaining recognition nation-wide. Since 2006, the company’s ‘beyond fair trade’ model has supported farmers living and working in a northern Thailand village with steady access to running water, electricity and improved infrastructure.

“We’re proud to be a family-owned business that allows us to give back and support our global community,” said John M. Darch, co-founder of Doi Chaang Coffee (pictured below left at the TIFF gift lounge in the Shangri-La Hotel). “Our relationship with the Doi Chang Village farmers stemmed from our desire to help a community that, despite their dedication and determination, have not been successful in helping themselves.” Doi Chaang has an equal partnership with Doi Chang village, in northern Thailand, meaning its farmers receive 50 per cent of the company’s profits. While Fairtrade partnerships provide fair working environments, wages and labour rights, Doi Chaang goes a step futher by providing 50 per cent ownership to the workers involved, which they’ve coined Beyond Fair Trade®. “Our sustainable sourcing model has enabled us to distribute to the eastern market which will help the Doi Chang Village continue to thrive,” said Darch. “Our customers are investing in the welfare of the farming families in Thailand, enhancing their standard of living, health care, education and cultural heritage and identity.” 20150909_123022Doi Chaang Coffee Company is one of the most innovative, socially responsible, yet economically viable, specialty coffees on the market. Rated among the top 1% in the world, the coffee is the only single-estate, 100% Arabica, USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified and shade grown coffee grown in Thailand. The beans are cultivated and processed by the indigenous AKHA hill tribe in small, family owned gardens in Doi Chang Village located in the Chang Rai Province of Northern Thailand, but freshly roasted and packaged in B.C. 

Doi Chaang coffee is available in Single-Estate roasts, Blends and biodegradable Keurig-compatible, single serve aroma cups in independent and major retailers across the country including Choices, Safeway, Thrifty’s, Longo’s, Sobeys and FreshCo.  For more information, visit http://www.doichaangcoffee.com/.Social Medium & Hardwired - English - 2 of 2So the next time you fancy a brew-up, think about the impact purchasing fair-trade coffee has on the lives of those who grow and harvest the beans that make our mornings so bearable!  HAPPY INTERNATIONAL COFFEE DAY!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Big poppa