Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars

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9780399172083: Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars

Neil Young’s first memoir, Waging Heavy Peace, was an international bestseller and critical sensation. The Wall Street Journal wrote that it was “terrific: modest, honest, funny and frequently moving,” while The New York Times found it “as charismatically off the wall as Mr. Young’s records.” Now, in Special Deluxe, Young has fashioned a second work of extraordinary reminiscences about his Canadian boyhood, his musical influences, his family, the rock ’n’ roll life, and one of his deepest, most ebullient passions: cars. Through the framework of the many vehicles he’s collected and driven, Young explores his love for the well-crafted vintage automobile,and examines his newfound awareness of his hobby’s negative environmental impact. With his ferocious devotion to clean energy, he recounts the saga of Lincvolt, his specially modified electric car, and his efforts to demonstrate to lawmakers and consumers how viable non-gas-guzzling vehicles truly can be.

Special Deluxe captures Young’s singular lyrical, almost musical, voice. Witty, eclectic, and wonderfully candid, Special Deluxe is an unforgettable amalgam of memories, artwork, and political ponderings from one of the most genuine and enigmatic artists of our time.

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About the Author:

NEIL YOUNG’s music and songwriting—which span forty years and thirty-four studio albums of rock and roll, folk, and country, with shadings of blues, techno, and other styles—are among the most enduring and popular in modern times. From his early days with Buffalo Springfield through his solo career and collaborations with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crazy Horse, and dozens of other notable musicians and groups, Young is acclaimed for both his musical talents and his artistic integrity. With a major hit in every decade since the sixties, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. A well-known political activist, environmentalist, and philanthropist, Young has been involved in several causes, notably cofounding Farm Aid and the Bridge School, which assists children with physical impairments and communication needs.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1959 Lincoln Continental “Lincvolt”

1957 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible “Aunt Bee”

PREFACE

Originally, my idea for this book was Cars and Dogs. That seemed like a nice enough idea for my second book, basically an outgrowth of the first one. I reasoned that I have had a love affair with cars my whole life, so that would be a really good thing for me to share in this second effort. I also have had some really great dogs, and I thought that both cars and dogs would be perfect vehicles to tell some more stories.

Drawing on my pedigree as the son of a great Canadian writer, Scott Young, and my family history of author friends, I could surely pull something together that would be of interest to somebody and potentially keep me busy for a while, which I really would appreciate. It was my original hope that I could write an interesting book and continue the fun I had with my first one. The only problem I had was the feeling that the book was going to get serious and obsessive about some of the things that I really care about. That had been something I had to face with my first book. In writing about cars I would have to come clean about a lot of my feelings concerning fossil fuels, global warming, and American politics that might end up driving away readers. Unlike the cars themselves, a fun and innocent topic, the subject of politics and legislation might change the book significantly from the way it started, making it not that much fun for some people to read. I had my fair share of doubt.

To complicate things further, upon closer inspection and a great deal of soul-searching over a period of more than one hour, I realized late one night that I was perhaps the worst master of a dog that the world has ever seen. I have done almost everything wrong that one can do with a dog, and that would surely be a royal turnoff for any dog lover reading my new book if I called it Cars and Dogs. With that in mind, I changed the title to Cars I Have Known just to make sure that I did not attract any dog lovers who might really hate the book and me after the first few dogs. That said, I hope I have made the right decision in still including my dogs, and indeed some other dogs. I am trying to underplay their presence in the story by not mentioning them officially, yet including them whenever it seems appropriate.

1948 Monarch Business Coupe

CHAPTER ONE

kippy was a Labrador mix. We had Skippy when I was a young boy, about four or five, I reckon. He was basically a yellow Lab, with some sort of other dog thrown in for seasoning and personality, as well as endurance, I am sure. I say that because my dad used to take Skippy for runs on the weekends or any other time it seemed right. The dog runs were a wonderful family experience. It was about 1950, gasoline cost twenty-seven cents a gallon, and we had a 1948 Monarch business coupe with a huge trunk. Skippy would jump right in the trunk happily, as far as I can remember, his tail wagging and ready to go, because he knew we were going for a run in the country. After my dad closed the trunk door with Skippy safely inside, we would all jump in the car.

Omemee, our little town with a population of 750, was on Highway 7 between Lindsay and Peterborough, in the province of Ontario in the vast country of Canada, and the open and wild countryside was only about three miles away. We would ride out there together, past the dump, along the swamp, and across the low bridge—which enabled the water to slowly run under it, joining one part of the swamp, or “bog” as it was called locally, to the other part. On one side was a large expanse of water with stumps sticking out of it where trees once stood, before the mill and dam were built, forever changing the natural flow of the river. On the other side was the marsh, which was mostly cattails and swamp grass.

At the far end of the bog, at the dam, farmers would bring in their crops to the mill to have them ground by the grinding wheel, which was turned by water running under the mill, hitting a big paddle wheel. Where the water entered the mill from the bog, it swirled and kind of boiled and was really deep. That’s where the fish were living. Once, while my mom and dad were visiting friends who lived near the mill for dinner, instead of sitting around bored while they talked and drank, I went down to the mill at sunset and caught some frogs, put them on my line, and nabbed three or four really big bass, which I proudly brought back to the party.

Back in the car, though, when we got across the low bridge, it was obvious that we were on a road that was built on an old abandoned railroad line. It was straight, narrow, and all overgrown with trees. The surface was smooth for miles. We would cruise along on our old gravel road through a beautiful leafy tunnel of multicolors, the sun streaming down through them. When Daddy stopped the car I would get out with him while he opened the trunk and let Skippy out, then we would get back in the car and away we would go, with Skippy running behind. After a few miles we would reach the Hog’s Back, a road that took off into the hills. Cedar-rail fences anchored every fifty feet or so with rock piles ran along on both sides of the Hog’s Back, a more primitive and much rougher road. It went up and down hills, had big rocks on it, and had grass growing right out of the middle of it. We had to go real slow. Often Skippy would see a groundhog and take off after it, howling and barking. Daddy would stop and let him chase the groundhog for a while until Skippy eventually came back to the Monarch with his tongue hanging out, covered with burrs and all manner of sticky things.

Skippy never caught a groundhog to my knowledge, although he had a great time trying, then we would slowly crawl along the Hog’s Back in the Monarch until we got to a little pond in a farmer’s field where Skippy would drink and drink. Then Daddy would open the huge trunk door and Skippy would happily jump inside and curl up on the blanket Mommy had put there for him. We would make our way home and open the trunk, finding Skippy curled up on the rug, but instantly ready to jump out and go in the house, happily wagging his tail.

A Monarch is actually a Canadian-made Mercury, the same as the American one but with a different name. Ours was kind of light in color and was called a businessman’s coupe, so named I think because it had that huge trunk for putting products in to make an instant sale. This was really a workingman’s car. No frills. I seem to remember ours had a small backseat, although some of them didn’t. It was simple and comfortable with cloth upholstery. My earliest recollection of the 1948 Monarch was at a place called Jackson’s Point, where we lived on the lake for a while before the family moved to Omemee. I vividly recall it in our driveway in Omemee, but it was soon replaced with a four-door sedan.

1951 Monarch Sedan

CHAPTER TWO

t was a stormy and rainy night on Labor Day weekend and the traffic was intense. We were on a family car ride to the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children. I had contracted polio and our house had quarantine signs on it, warning people to stay away. We drove to Toronto in our new four-door sedan, a black 1951 Monarch that looked a lot bigger than the old one. On long trips I usually slept on the floor, listening to the wheels turn and feeling the little bumps on the highway, but that night I was feeling stiff in my back, wondering why my mother was crying so much, and why we were driving in the middle of the night. We eventually arrived at a very big, drab-colored, and imposing building: the Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital.

I was treated for polio there, starting with a lumbar puncture, which was scary and intimidating, not to mention painful. It was performed with a large needle that looked surprisingly like a fishing lure, with colored, featherlike things on the end and the big needle protruding. As I write this, I am amazed that my memory of this needle is so vivid. How could it look like that? Was it a dream?

Then Mommy and Daddy had to go home, and I was in bed in the hospital for a long time until they returned, and I finally shuffled across a small room with a shiny linoleum-tile floor, from my dad to my mom, to prove that I could walk. I was very happy to get back into the Monarch and go home. I rolled down the window and played airplane with my hand as I smelled the Ontario countryside. By sticking my hand out the window and tilting it up or down, I could “fly” my arm like an airplane wing.

Once at home again, I moved pretty slowly for a while and couldn’t keep up with the other kids around town, but I was getting better, and in the fall of 1951, as soon as I was well enough, I began grade one at Omemee Public School. Miss Lamb was my teacher. She used to pick me up off the floor by my chin to get my undivided attention when I misbehaved.

The school was a three-story brick building and I remember King George’s picture hanging above the blackboard. We sang “God Save the King” every morning. Still recovering from the polio, I couldn’t run very well when playing with the other kids at recess, although I had no problem getting into trouble with my pal Henry Mason by making faces and weird sounds to disrupt the class. Henry and I were always cutting it up. Ultimately, we both were hanging by our chins at the hand of Miss Lamb.

That was the year I started driving, probably late 1951. There was an old Model A or Model T Ford parked on the road near school and when we walked home for lunch every day we would pass it. It was black and boxy, unlike any of the newer cars, and we were curious about it. Perhaps I was most curious. One day I got in it and turned the key. The car started to move! I was driving! It was my first drive. As long as I held the key on, the car would move! The owner came out and busted me right there. He told me he was going to tell my mom and dad. I was scared as hell. I walked and walked, terrified to go home for lunch. I missed lunch and went back to school, which got my mom and dad upset. I got in big trouble and confessed to my driving episode myself, without the man who owned the car ever having to tell them anything.

The seasons came and went with great regularity and the snows in Omemee were always big and deep. The pure white snow was bright in the sun, almost blinding. When spring arrived, the trees exploded in green and flowers popped out of everyone’s gardens, planted in front of and around their houses. Summer came right on time with the tourists from the States and the countless wonderful afternoons at the swimming hole on the Pigeon River under the big cement highway bridge. Then fall would sweep in on schedule, changing the colors of the maple trees to red, brown, and gold, all along our Highway 7, right through the heart of town.

With the changing seasons, I could feel something in my bones, an occasional chill and tremor through my body. My soul felt it. I think it was life itself as I grew. Those multicolored leaves soon became brittle and started to fall, dying on the ground. They then were gathered with rakes into piles and burned by the roadside, filling our little town with the sweet smoke of burning leaves, marking the end of another season. Year in and year out, right on time, that was how I grew up, and I was happy with the changes as they paraded through our little town of 750 souls.

After Christmas 1951, my parents decided to take the family to New Smyrna Beach in Florida. On that first trip down to Florida, I slept on the floor in the back of the Monarch, with the sound of the wheels on the road putting me in dreamland. My brother, Bob, would sit on the seat. The back windows opened and that was really cool. I played airplane. I spent hours doing that on our long trips south every winter, as the journey became an annual tradition for our family. We would pack up and go to New Smyrna Beach right after Christmas, and Daddy would write there in our little cottage on the beach. I loved those family trips. We were all together and really happy.

Stopping at motels for the night, my mom would put hot towels on my eyes because I had sties, sort of little infections like boils on my eyelids that really hurt. I don’t know why Bob and I both got those. Maybe it was the chocolate bars and candy we ate on the trips. Anyway, we were back in the car in the morning and away we would go!

When we got to Georgia we would always see the signs reading LAST CHANCE FOR PECANS! Those signs would go on for miles and miles. We always knew we were getting closer to Florida when we saw them. Once in Florida, we would travel on A1A, the route that ran from beach town to beach town. We were never in a hurry and it was the time of our lives. Gas was around twenty-seven cents a gallon. Our family’s Monarch would shed about 1,296 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere every time we made that great trip to Florida, and on the way back we would do it again.

Our little rented cottage in New Smyrna Beach on Atlantic Avenue was right on the sand dunes and we had a path through the sand directly to the ocean. We stayed in the same cottage every year. Skippy went to Florida, too, and we would run with him on the beach. Cars could drive on the beach, so we could run Skippy right there! It was so fantastic doing that. Dog lovers: In case you are wondering, Skippy did not ride in the trunk on those long trips to Florida. He rode with Bob and I in the back.

Of course, we had to go to school, and there was one named Faulkner Street School that both Bob and I went to. We started after Christmas holidays and left after Easter holidays, returning up north to finish the year at Omemee Public School. Growing up, I went to a lot of schools—twelve before I dropped out—but it never dawned on me that I was different from most kids in that respect.

While we were in New Smyrna Beach, every Thursday we would pile in the Monarch and go to Buck’s Barn and the drive-in. Buck’s Barn was a Quonset hut with wood chips and peanut shells on the floor and a lot of picnic benches with checkerboard tablecloths all set up inside. They served fried chicken and French fries. We had that every week! Families and kids were everywhere. After dinner we would get in the Monarch and go to the drive-in theater to watch a new movie. Car speakers hung on posts at every parking spot. Daddy would set up the speaker in the window of the car and turn it up for the cartoons, which started just as it was getting dark. We were there with hundreds of other cars and it is one of the best memories of my life. Our family was together and all was perfect in the world.

Another thing we did very often was go out for dinner at a special place that had a buffet. I remember standing in line there one night, looking at some incredibly red apples. The apples were right in the center of everything and they were huge and bright shiny red, very appetizing. I reached in as far as I could and got one of ’em and put it on my plate. When we got back to the table everybody was laughing at me! They were totally cracking up that I had taken an apple from the big display. It was made of wax. I had to give it back.

Monday night was bingo night at our house. People from the neighborhood would come, and my mom would...

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Descripción Blue Rider Press, United States, 2015. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Neil Young s first memoir, Waging Heavy Peace, was an international bestseller and critical sensation. The Wall Street Journal wrote that it was terrific: modest, honest, funny and frequently moving, while The New York Times found it as charismatically off the wall as Mr. Young s records. Now, in Special Deluxe, Young has fashioned a second work of extraordinary reminiscences about his Canadian boyhood, his musical influences, his family, the rock n roll life, and one of his deepest, most ebullient passions: cars. Through the framework of the many vehicles he s collected and driven, Young explores his love for the well-crafted vintage automobile, and examines his newfound awareness of his hobby s negative environmental impact. With his ferocious devotion to clean energy, he recounts the saga of Lincvolt, his specially modified electric car, and his efforts to demonstrate to lawmakers and consumers how viable non-gas-guzzling vehicles truly can be. Special Deluxe captures Young s singular lyrical, almost musical, voice. Witty, eclectic, and wonderfully candid, Special Deluxe is an unforgettable amalgam of memories, artwork, and political ponderings from one of the most genuine and enigmatic artists of our time. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780399172083

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Neil Young
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Descripción Blue Rider Press, United States, 2015. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Neil Young s first memoir, Waging Heavy Peace, was an international bestseller and critical sensation. The Wall Street Journal wrote that it was terrific: modest, honest, funny and frequently moving, while The New York Times found it as charismatically off the wall as Mr. Young s records. Now, in Special Deluxe, Young has fashioned a second work of extraordinary reminiscences about his Canadian boyhood, his musical influences, his family, the rock n roll life, and one of his deepest, most ebullient passions: cars. Through the framework of the many vehicles he s collected and driven, Young explores his love for the well-crafted vintage automobile, and examines his newfound awareness of his hobby s negative environmental impact. With his ferocious devotion to clean energy, he recounts the saga of Lincvolt, his specially modified electric car, and his efforts to demonstrate to lawmakers and consumers how viable non-gas-guzzling vehicles truly can be. Special Deluxe captures Young s singular lyrical, almost musical, voice. Witty, eclectic, and wonderfully candid, Special Deluxe is an unforgettable amalgam of memories, artwork, and political ponderings from one of the most genuine and enigmatic artists of our time. Nº de ref. de la librería BTE9780399172083

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