Gallagher’s just-published memoir of "misadventures” as a “rabble-rousing sportscaster” is an affectionate, racy, name-dropping bronco ride through a fast-paced world populated by Hollywood stars, rock ‘n’ roll queens, sports legends, and Canadian media celebrities.
Some may view his swaggering style as affected braggadocio, and others will find his prose reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson–albeit a tamer Canadianized version.
Most will agree that Gallagher’s life has been lived in manic style, exuding an exuberance that undoubtedly belies deep-seated insecurities and for sure a barrel-full of demons, and marvel at his ability to conjure up names, places and events from a fog of his making.
His book, Big League Babble On, is a riveting read, brimming with chuckles, and intentionally written to titillate a full spectrum of readers. It is also an unvarnished playback of a life (so far) populated with extraordinary people and extraordinary events–packed tightly with vivid recollections and colourful impressions over 299 pages.
His reflections also paint a picture of a time not so distant when one could voice an opinion without an inquisition of hecklers demanding a pound of flesh.
Those were days, some might venture, that were more giving and tolerant than our's today. Others, a time over-populated by a Jurassic park of egregiously gregarious philogynists.
It was the last blast of an era before the 9/11 attacks changed the world and false facts became an accepted norm. Before sleaze buckets found themselves outed, tarred and feathered and without friends, and a time when Donald Trump was nothing more than another dime-a-dozen celebrity pimping his fame game.
Broadcasters in Canada will love to read Gallagher's jet-fueled life and times. His epic is laced with stories about those he has worked with and those for whom he has worked. Gallagher's got a gilded gift of the blarney, and a great attachment to many of the notables he has met. His knowledge of the sports world is known and noteworthy; what’s astonishing are the stories he has collected from having had uncommon access to players out of uniform, as well as the cigar-chomping tycoons who buy and trade them at will.
Gallagher doesn’t just tell wild stories about the off-camera and off-mic lives of the rich and the famous. He inserts himself into these stories: gets drunk with them, snorts dope with them, gets crazed with them, even cries with them–and more than not gets inside their heads.
His recollections of Harold and Yolanda Ballard are telling indeed.
Sections of this book have been cut or whitewashed to pre-empt litigation–but there’s still plenty of meat on Gallagher’s bone to call this a ‘must read’.
Hey, it’s Gallagher, and he has his reputation to protect as a wild man living on the lunatic fringe.
–To hear it from the horse's mouth, Bill King has an interview with John Gallagher that will be published on the FYI website on Thursday and teased in the Friday newsletter. It's a must-read for the fans, and a sports snort the likes of which you have not had the pleasure of reading ever before.