Monday, January 16, 2006

A Glenn Gould story

My AM 740 experience (see here) has left me wondering about Glenn Gould and Toronto radio. Did he listen perhaps to "Pet" Clark on CHWO? I've found nothing to suggest that he did, but I did find an interesting Gould story while looking:

One woman that knew him believes the mystery is impenetrable even 15 years after his death. Marilyn Kecskes has been the superintendent of 110 St. Clair Ave. West since 1973. She first met Gould on the elevator when he was wearing gloves and covering his face with a handkerchief for fear of catching her germs. Kecskes said she had never met anyone like him: a maverick and eccentric who was also a raging hypochondriac. She knew he was special, too, because his mailbox was the only one that had been tampered with. Someone had once tried to force it open in hope of getting a bit of his mail.

Kecskes took the elevator to the top floor of this still stylish Art Deco building. Gould, she said, was messy ("orange juice and milk cartons everywhere"), and intensely private (he fired his cleaning lady of about five years "because she liked to gossip about him"). Kecskes added that he covered his bedroom window with a bookcase, that he was a terrible driver who frequently drove his big Lincoln Continental into one of the concrete pillars in the downstairs parking lot and that he disliked intrusions. "Once he called me on the telephone," she said with a smile, "'There's someone knocking on my door. Could you see what they want?' Imagine!"

When the elevator stopped, Kecskes opened the heavy doors next to what was once Gould's apartment and mounted the stairs to the roof. She pointed to what used to be his window. "I used to sit up here, after I had done my cleaning, and I would listen to him play all night long," confessed Kecskes, blushing at the memory. "He never knew I was up here, or else he would have been angry with me, I suppose, but I had the moon and the stars and his music and there was nothing more beautiful."

From Deirdre Kelly, "The Gould Rush" (The Globe and Mail, September 20, 1997).
I found this article quoted in "A Glenn Gould Tour of Toronto and Area," compiled by Michael Davidson. The Globe and Mail online archives go back only to 2002, so it's especially fortunate that Michael Davidson has given this story (which I've seen nowhere else) a life online.

» "A Glenn Gould Tour of Toronto and Area"

comments: 1

yuzu said...

I too, have come across the article.
It really struck me right where my heart aches with sentiment.

Boy I wish I had known about him back in the 70's.
I was just a stupid kid.