Launch of “Old Father William’s Well-Ordered Universe” with author
Saturday, Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m.
Whistler Public Library, Fireplace Lounge
know that it took Sylvester Stallone only three days to write the screenplay
that became “Rocky”?
people probably wouldn’t have heard about that strange incident. But it’s just
one of many strange, but true tidbits contained within the pages of “Old Father
William’s Well-Ordered Universe: a generally reliable compendium of facts,
figures and formulae, specifically intended for the bathroom-bound.”
of the toilet-side tome is none other than the illustrious author and radio
personality, Bill Richardson, who is perhaps best known to Canadians as the
voice of CBC’s Richardson’s Roundup, and the current host of Saturday Afternoon
at the Opera and Sunday Afternoon in Concert.
his on-air quips and commentary, Richardson has published over 12 books,
including “The Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast,” for which he snagged the
Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
To most, it
would seem that Richardson wears two distinct hats – that of an author
and a radio host. But he finds the two aren’t necessarily distinct.
past, his radio work gave him plenty of fodder for his writing, but now that
his focus is almost strictly on opera and the performing arts, Richardson
doesn’t find there is as much crossover.
music-driven, so my job, my responsibility on the radio, is very much one of
making a palatable presentation of the music that we’re dealing with each week,
so it doesn’t really have very much to do with writing,” he pointed out,
“Although, that said, every now and then when I was working on ‘Old Father
William,’ I’d be dealing with something that was operatic and it would find its
way into the book.”
all of Richardson’s literary leanings are comedic – he’s published
serious books for young adults – this latest work is clearly intended to
make the reader chuckle.
case of this book, it never would have occurred to me that what the world
needed was another bathroom book,” Richardson said, “It was a commission that
came from the publisher.”
decided that a good approach to a bathroom book would be a compilation of
unique lists, and created the character of Old Father William’s to be the
narrative voice within.
serve to open it up randomly and just find something that you can take in at
the moment,” he explained, “But I also wanted it to be a book, if you were to
read it from … start to finish, you would see that everything kind of
random facts compiled by Richardson through extensively random research at
local libraries, broken up into categories and headings, such as “A Highly
Selective Survey of Pre-Decapitory Utterances,” there are also a number of
“Instructions on Better Living” pages scattered throughout.
include “how-to’s” complete with diagrams on a wide range of topics: fighting a
duel in Russia, avoid being killed by a bear, sharpen a razor, use napkins, sit
gracefully, and, of course, get potable water while lost at sea in a small