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db’s books available for purchase online

db’s books published by McClelland & Stewart are now available for purchase direct from the publisher online.

NEW - Keon and Me: My Search for the Lost Soul of the Leafs



Hockey is the lens through which we see our lives—how we measure right and wrong, how we understand our hopes and fears. So it was for Dave Bidini in 1974, the last year Dave Keon played in Toronto. In a new grade in a new school, Bidini found himself the victim of a bully—a depredation he could understand only by thinking about what the Leafs dauntless captain went through game after game.

Throughout his twenty-two-year career, Keon was only in one hockey fight, in his last game as a Leaf on April 22, 1974. It was on this day that the eleven-year-old Bidini decided to fight back, an occasion that the writer looks back on with breathtaking courage and honesty. But while Bidini would remain a blue-blooded Leafs fan into adulthood, Keon became estranged from the franchise with which he'd won four Stanley Cups, two Lady Byngs, and the first ever Conn Smythe Trophy in 1967.

Told in two narratives—one from the point of view of the young Bidini growing up in Toronto in the early seventies and one from the perspective of the man looking for his absent hero—Keon and Me tells not only the story of a hockey icon who has haunted Toronto for decades, but of a life lived in parallel to Keon's. It's the story of cultural change, an account of the tribulations of the NHL's most beloved (and most despised) franchise in the decades since Keon left under a cloud, and most of all, it is a story of growing up, with all the wisdom and sadness that imparts.

Part ode to a legendary hockey player, part memoir, Keon and Me captures what we all cherish in the game we love and the importance of the innocence we cling to long after the cheers have faded.

Dave launches 10th book

Dave's 10th book, Writing Gordon Lightfoot: The Man, the Music and the World in 1972, will be released on October 18, 2010 by McClelland and Stewart, Canada’s century-old grande dame of publishing. Writing Gordon Lightfoot explores Canada’s political, psychological and musical transformation that accompanied the 1972 Mariposa Folkfest, which featured surprise performances from Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot, at the height of his career.


The winnah and still champeen ...

db carried the day on behalf of his choice for CBC's Canada Reads 2008. Paul Quarrington's hockey comedy is the first comic novel to triumph in Canada's virtual book club cum hockey fight.

Of course, music fans already know something about Quarrington, whether from reading Whale Music or seeing the eponymous movie -- but, if you don't, well, now you have two reasons to seek him out.

But there's lots more to see, read, listen to than the announcement of the victor. Quarrington himself responds to listener comments prompted by his victory. Paul and db tour the Hockey Hall of Fame and chat hockey, also available from the same page. And, db penned a tribute song to King Leary, too.

To review the Canada Reads knucklefest, visit the Canada Reads website by clicking here.

Inside db's friendship with Paul Quarrington 
db joins Paul Quarrington and Randall Maggs in episode 4 of AOL's "Moving Stories" expounding on how to "write hockey," live hockey and love hockey. Well worth the visit to the site for anyone interested in Canada's national game.

db's catalogue for sale online
db's novels published by McClelland & Stewart are now available for purchase direct from the publisher online. Click here for db's author profile and links to specific books.


NEW Dingers: Contemporary Baseball Writing (2008)


db's article about Warren Cromartie is anthologized in this collection of baseball writing.

One in the series of Moosehead Anthologies, this edition is edited by David McGimpsey, who also happens to write the "Sandwich of the Month" column for Enroute magazine, Air Canada's in-flight freebie.

Published by DC books, 166 pages. To buy a copy from Amazon, click here.


Around the World in 57½ gigs (2007)


db's latest recounts his adventures as a man with a guitar in search of the global state of rock'n'roll, and was released by McClelland & Stewart on October 30.

Around the World in 57½ Gigs chronicles Bidini's global journey after the decision of the Rheostatics, the much-loved Canadian rock outfit he co-founded, tohang it up. Feeling adrift from his moorings, Bidini decided to go on a very long road trip, playing solo and finding out about the state of rock 'n' roll around the world. He first set out for London, England and from there ventured to Finland, Russia, China, Sierra Leone, and Ghana, punctuated by trips to Newfoundland, Gananoque, Quebec and New York City. Bidini found that the rock 'n' roll machine has not yet flattened the globe; each place has taken what suits it from the West's dominant music and ignored the rest. Metal may have had its heyday in North America, but it still suits the quiet Finns as a soundtrack for suicidal musings. In China, db had to coach the quiet crowd, seated demurely in plastic chairs, how to clap rhythmically. In Russia, where live rock lurks in hard-to-find places, the obscure British band Smokie is far more popular than even the Rolling Stones, and the first Western band Mongolian audiences wanted to hear live was Boney M. In Africa, Bidini found out just how far rock has wandered from its roots and, in Newfoundland, just how true it has stayed.

“This man was made for touring. Dave Bidini's willingness to see the unusual, to listen out for the noteworthy, even after months of dragging himself and his instrument of choice into far places previously untouched by Canadian rock and roll, makes this book a real treat. Bidini's enthusiasm, his love of the music and the world, hop off the page. I loved this book.”
—Roddy Doyle

The Travels pages of db's website includes pictures not in the book, and Music boasts recordings made on his African wanderings.

Click here for a review in the April 2008 edition of the Literary Review of Canada.

Click here for the article and an interview with Open Book: Toronto, celebrating Canadian publishing.

Click here for a review in Chart Attack, here for a review on the Torontoist blog site.

Published by McClelland and Stewart, 328 pages. To buy a copy from the publisher online, click here.

For Those About to Write (2007)

Trade paperback

db's companion volume to For Those About to Rock (2004) brings similar insights in his inimitable style to young writers and writers-to-be. Includes anecdotes about becoming a writer, beginning with his first book, On a Cold Road.

Published by Tundra Books, 136 pages. To buy a copy from the publisher online, click here.


The Five Hole Stories (2006)

Trade paperback

This collection of six short stories blends Canada's twin obsessions -- hockey and sex -- in unexpected and startling ways. CBC radio's Talking Books named Five Hole one of Canada's top 25 books for 2006.

Click here to read a sample chapter. Published by Brindle and Glass. The Five Hole Stories features art by Matt James. is hosting a terrific little video of Dave's T.O. book launch for The Five Hole Stories from the Gladstone Hotel. Click here to watch.

Five Hole film now online! 
Named a top ten Canadian short film in 2009 at the Toronto Film Festival, Five Hole: Tales of Hockey Erotica is a visual and aural feast for fans of Dave Bidini the writer and musician.

The goalie with the fabulous legs (you gotta see it to believe it) introduces a magisterial sweep of the camera from waaay above the nosebleeds down to a post-game scrum and then a face-off at centre ice between Bidini and "the "greatest" hockey player ever in this tale of unrequited love.

After its repeat broadcast on Bravo!, the short film is now available online ...

... at the site of its creators ...

... and on YouTube if you want to leave a comment.

Finally, Five Hole the book and music are also still available.


The Best Game You Can Name (2006)

Available in hardcover and trade paperback

The Best Game You Can Name, the title of which is stolen from idol Stompin' Tom Connors' "The Hockey Song," was released nation-wide in September 2006. The book is now in its third hardcover printing.

In 2004, db laced up his skates to play defence with the Morningstars in the E! Cup tourney. While thrashing around the ice, he got to thinking about how others see the game.

db talked to former professional players about their hockey experiences and the result is vintage Bidini — an exuberant, evocative, highly personal, and vividly coloured account of his and his team’s exploits, interwoven with the voices of such hockey heroes as Frank Mahovlich, Yvan Cournoyer, John Brophy, Steve Larmer, and Ryan Walter.

db has provided an unedited sample chapter, called "Hoser's Promenade," downloadable here in .pdf format. Dave calls it the "music-ish" chapter of the new book, which makes it suitable for posting to this site. Who'da thunk Frank Mahovlich was so fond of painting?

Published by McClelland and Stewart, 312 pages. To buy a copy, click here.


Baseballissimo (2005)

Available in hardcover and paperback

In the spring of 2002, db followed and played with the Nettuno Peones in Italy's Serie B baseball league to write Baseballissimo. Nettuno was his destination because this town, south of Rome, has been the baseball capital of Italy since 1944, when the game was introduced by the American GIs who liberated the region.

Baseballissimo was named a Notable Book of 2005 by USA Today and excerpted in the inaugural collection of Best Baseball Writing of the year.

Click here to read a sample chapter.

Published by McClelland & Stewart, 360 pages. To buy a copy, click here.


The Greatest Hockey Stories Ever Told (2004)

Bryant Urstadt, ed.
Available in hardcover and paperback

Tales from db's Tropic of Hockey were selected to be included in The Greatest Hockey Stories Ever Told, an anthology prepared for true fans of the game. If hockey gets your pulse pounding, check this out.

Published by The Lyons Press, 288 pages.


For Those About to Rock (2004)


db's primer for young'uns thinking about a career in music, For Those About to Rock also offers insights into the early experiences of Rheostatics as they became a truly 'road-worthy' rock band.

Though intended for teens, there is material here to appeal to jaded adults, too.


The book was also translated into Bahasa Indonesia (the proper nomenclature for 'Indonesian') for release in Indonesia -- the world's fourth most populous country -- in 2007. The relea-se of this edition positions db for complete domination of Malay archipelago Indonesey-rock.

Published by Tundra Books, 144 pages.


Tropic of Hockey (2001)

Trade paperback

Disillusioned by the commercialization of the game he loved, db set out to find the heart of hockey in unlikely places. Tropic of Hockey documents the search that took him to Romania, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. The book was also the basis for db's Gemini Award-winning hockey documentary, Hockey Nomad.

Published by McClelland & Stewart, 312 pages. To buy a copy, click here.


I Am a Hockey Nomad


Dave Bidini's Gemini Award-winning sports documentary, I Am a Hockey Nomad, is now available for purchase from Canada's favourite online service, Maple Music. The film rates four stars on MSN Movies.

The documentary is based on Dave's best-selling book, Tropic of Hockey, for which Dave travelled the globe in search of hockey magic. Dave's quest takes him far from the corporate branded arenas and millionaire players of professional hockey to lesser-known rinks in Dubai, Transylvania and Mongolia.


On a Cold Road (1998)

Trade paperback

db's first book, On a Cold Road intersperses tales of the Rheos on tour with interviews of Canadian rock'n'roll stalwarts who trekked the live music frontiers of this frozen country from the '70s through the mid-80s.

Published by McClelland & Stewart, 288 pages. To buy a copy, click here.


Other writing

Dave’s writing appears regularly in the National Post, including a new weekly column called “Coffee Run,” in which he explores Toronto coffee shops and expounds on books and music.

db penned one of the Rheos' most incendiary songs, "Fan Letter to Michael Jackson," for Introducing Happiness. He had thoughts to share about the controversial superstar on his passing, published in the National Post.

"Maybe it's just as well. Lots of pain suffered. Lots of pain inflicted. With the late King of Pop, that shopworn cliche about finding peace in death is probably one that applies."

To read more, click here. To hear a live version of "Fan Letter" from Darren Cappe's virtual box set, or to see the song performed on Much Music, click here.

The October 2006 issue of Toro magazine featured an article in which db wrote about his recent travels to China. Visit the Travels page for pics and the full-length, unedited piece.


F. G. Bressani Literary award
db was named the 2006 recipient of the biennial F. G. Bressani Literary Prize by the Vancouver-based Italian Cultural Centre for his contributions to Italo-Canadian letters. Past recipients have included Nino Ricci and Michael Ondaatje.

USA Today "Notable Book"

USA Today named Baseballissimo a Notable Book in 2005. Sports Weekly also teamed with USA Today to publish the first ever collection of Best Baseball Writing 2005, and editor Paul White excerpted Baseballissimo for the inaugural edition. From the Publisher's Weekly review: "Dave Bidini, a 'Canadian rocker,' delights with his account of his time spent following a third-tier Italian baseball team, whose players drink espresso in the dugout, snack on panini spread with grape jelly ('the Italian athlete's equivalent of an energy bar') and play not for money or fame but 'for the joy of play.'"

Gemini Award

I Am a Hockey Nomad, the documentary inspired by Tropic of Hockey, won a Gemini Award for best sports documentary in 2005.

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