Local novelist and punk-rock band biographer Chris Walter has sold a shitload of books at punk gigs, which is where he usually holds his launches; past events have seen him reading before sets by local luminaries like the Subhumans, SNFU, and the Rebel Spell. Given this, it might surprise fans to discover that getting on-stage at bar gigs is not high on the list of Walter's favourite things.
“I love punk crowds, but it’s kind of frustrating not to be able to read,” he told the Straight while checking proofs for his newest novel, Chase the Dragon. “Even if I read for three minutes, people are constantly talking and only the people up front can hear what’s going on”—something he can understand, because who wants to get drunk and listen to some guy read. But all the same, it’s not his ideal audience. “Plus those things are long—if I go to a bar, I’ve gotta get there at 8 and I don’t get home til 2. I don’t know how rock musicians do it.”
He’ll be solving the problem this Thursday for his Vancouver launch of Chase the Dragon, which he’s describing as “his best work of fiction” since 2006’s East Van—an opinion the Straight is happy to second. The reading takes place at the Storm Crow Tavern (1305 Commercial Drive), from 7 to 9 p.m.; there will be no bands, and Walter’s reading will be the main event. “I’ll read longer than I do at gigs because people won’t be as drunk, hopefully. It’ll be less wild than Thrasherbalts, so for people who don’t want to go to a punk bar on the Downtown Eastside, maybe they’ll come out, you know?”
Watch the Straight for an interview with Chris Walter about Chase the Dragon, in an upcoming issue.