Okay so this one will only be for people who were around in the ’80’s music scene. And this story is more about yours truly than the celeb. Remember “Shriekback?”
Well, I was a huge fan. They were playing, this must be around 1986, at the Masonic Temple in Toronto. I went. I don’t remember who I went with – Anne Beadle, Stephanie Collins? Maybe it will ring a bell with one of them. After the show, I rather boldly stuck around, in the hopes they would let a few fans backstage. Whoever I was with chose to go home.
Lo and behold, security let a handful of us diehard fans backstage! There was a sort of ‘green room,’ where they had beer and snacks, and there was the band. I was beside myself. Had a huge crush on Barry Andrews. Got up the guts to say hi to him and tell him I loved his music. He was with his young girlfriend (I mean, no younger than me I don’t think) – and he was a total dick. Barely acknowledged me. He, and she, gave me the most disdainful looks, like I was dog poop on their shoes.
Now listen – I can’t imagine what it would be like, performing night after night. But if you’re going to hang out after the show, and allow security to let a few fans backstage, then there’s really no excuse for being a prick to said fans. Just go have a drink in your dressing room instead, or tell security “no fans tonight please, I can’t handle it.”
The Partridge sisters, however, were so lovely – I think they felt my pain – and we chatted while I hastily finished my beer and cleared out.
The point of this story isn’t really that Barry Andrews was a dick. It’s more about what a strange little turning point it was for me. I was truly devastated – I was only about 21 or 22, and it was my first brush with “greatness,” and I left feeling worthless, like a great big zero. The next day I got up early and did the morning muffin run then picked up a bunch of actors to drive to set on the show I was working on, the first season of this little series called “Degrassi Junior High.”
I made coffee, I served the muffins. Maybe that was the day I pinned Pat Mastroianni (Joey Jeremiah) to the wall for being obnoxious. (Hey – Pat was awesome, and a great, natural actor, but he was also about 14 years old then, and sometimes at little brat. I wasn’t much more mature than he was. Imagine pinning a young actor to the wall these days – Pat, please don’t retroactively sue me, you know I love you). Then I went into the bathroom and sobbed and sobbed. What was I doing with my life? What did the future hold? I had no skills – I loved working in TV but I couldn’t serve muffins forever. I felt like a speck. Goddamn Barry Andrews had made me feel like a speck!
But maybe now, I have to thank Barry Andrews. Because sitting on the can crying led me to be determined to try to expand my horizons. Between season 1 and 2 of Degrassi – just before it exploded into the TV stratosphere and went on to be an enormous international hit – I sat down and wrote a spec script. The head writer, Yan Moore, didn’t love it – but he and creator Linda Schuyler saw a spark in my writing, and gave me a shot at writing a script. That script turned into 16 scripts for Junior High and High, and launched my TV writing career. Thank you Yan and Linda!!
So, instead of saying “F*** you, Barry Andrews,” perhaps I should say, “Thank-you, Barry Andrews.” More tomorrow …