Book Review — Skinheads, Fur Traders, and Djs: An Adventure Through the 1970s

Skinheads, Fur Traders, and DJs: An Adventure Through the 1970s by Kim Clarke Champniss is a biography and a bit of a musical history. Champniss is a Canadian television personality and musician, best known as a VJ for MuchMusic during the 1980s. This is his second book.

Champniss lived an interesting life over the time covered in this book. England wasn’t doing well. He didn’t do well in school. So he made a choice different than most. Instead of joining the military or taking up a profession that would be considered illegal, he took a job with the Hudson Bay Company and spends a year in Eskimo Point (now called Arviat), Nunavut (Formerly part of the Northwest Territories). Here the former biker/rocker turned disco fan finds himself in the wilderness isolated from music and the fashion of the times.

Champniss writes well and makes life sound exciting even in difficult times. Going from London to a town of 750 people of a radically different culture presents interesting adaptations and for the most part some humorous stories. After leaving the Hudson Bay Company he talks about other struggles of attending college and trying to hold a job in rather poor economic times. Through everything, he has his music and the music blends with his lifestyle. He follows his dreams of becoming a DJ in Canada. Champniss includes quite a bit of music history, but mostly of the disco and dance variety. Those looking for Lou Reed, Led Zeppelin, or even Rush will be disappointed. KC and the Sunshine Band is, however, mentioned more than a few times.

This is an engaging and well-written biography. Although a few years younger than Champniss, I remembered all the music and world events including the inflation and unemployment. To be completely honest, I had no idea who Champniss was but the subtitle “An Adventure Through the 1970s” was enough to hook me. Well done.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Book Review — Skinheads, Fur Traders, and Djs: An Adventure Through the 1970s

  1. This sounds interesting. Is it a really thick one or??? I had a friend who used to work ”near” Arviat. He psent almost a year there doing surveys for the government of Canada and he came back a changed guy!!! He was really impressed by how much people were welcoming there and he even started a little band there playing the flute, etc… He came back with nothing but good memories… BTW I just published a review with a Q and A about Keith Richards bio by Victor Bockris and I would really like to have your input about these!! I have been going through a really rough patch in my life and it’s been really awefully hard to concentrate but I think I’m getting better now and I will be putting out a review about John Cale autobio followed by the usual Q and A with the author in a couple of weeks followed as well by a book called Uptight about the Velvet Underground by Bockris and Gerard Malanga + Q and A with author. I hope that my shortcoming during the last couple of months haven’t diminished your interest in my reviews, I know I haven’t been my best but my father died and my GF left me after 10 years right after so it was really tough to hit 50 years old… All of this to say that i hope i haven’t lost your interest in my posts. I really admire you and value your opinion. Keep up the awefully good work you are doing my friend!! The best to you!!
    PS: I bought the rights to my website so that I can advertise and stuff now and it’s really motivating. Loud Alien Noize is going to get a lot better now. I have gained experience and connections and friends so well.. I think it wil show in the quality of the posts. Peace Out form Montreal my friend!!

    • Easy read. A bit of a rough time in the far north though.

      • OMG I know!!! I’m not that far up North here in Montreal and the winters can really wear you out. I mean here it doesn’t matter if it’s minus 40 and that there’s a snow accumulation of 4 feet, people still go to work. Nothing ever stops because of the weather here.. As long as the lelectricity is holding up, you are expected to show at work and ON TIME!! Yup. I’m not exagerating. Ask anyone who lives in Quebec… Maybe once or twice during winter the schools will close but it has to be really ugly out there.. As for the other businesses well, like I said, you are expected to show up so yes, winter can wear you out… I don’t go outside as much as I should and eeverything is more complicated, you need warm clothes, good winter tires, a reliable car, a well insulated house and the money to pay the heating bills whcih get quite high during winter months… Anyways… Imagine how it can get if you live wayyy up North like this guy did… Some places you don’t see the sun for a couple of months during winter, there is no daytime, thatcan really get depressing… OMG!! Never lived through that but I can easily imagine… The Natives really are tuff cookies!!

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