It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.


—Ornette Coleman


Charivari Press






There is nothing straightforward about Bill Smith’s life and career and his rambling, chaotic memoir is no different. … The life recorded here has been spent in extremes, driven by an obsession with jazz, and fuelled by an irrepressible imagination. … This is such a hilarious, poignant, and thoroughly captivating tale that … better to preserve the rough edges than risk toning down and smoothing out the singularly authentic voice so brilliantly captured here.


—Pamela Margles,

Whole Note Magazine.



Bill Smith is a British Columbia-based musician, writer, editor, graphic designer, photographer, and record and film producer. With John Norris, Smith co-produced the Canadian jazz periodical Coda Magazine, Sackville Recordings and its subsidiary label Onari Records from 1976 until 2001. Smith was a founder of a succession of Toronto-based groups integral to the Canadian improvised music community in the 1970s, including Canadian Creative Music Collective, and New Art Music Ensemble. The latter became the Bill Smith Ensemble in 1980; they recorded five albums, including collaborations with Joe McPhee and Wadada Leo Smith. Smith has also recorded with, among others, Birdyak, Wolfgang Fuchs and The Six Winds. Smith initiated a series of projects with the title Imagine the Sound in the ‘80s, including a book of his writings and photography and the acclaimed documentary film directed by Ron Mann. Now residing on Hornby Island, Smith currently works with Arthur Bull and Tony Wilson.







our childhood dreams quashed...





Rant & Dawdle:

The Fictional Memoir of Colston Wilmott


As Imagined by William E. Smith


Buy Now


Rant & Dawdle is a fictional memoir comprising thirty-eight interwoven stories from the perspective of a grumpy old man living on a small island off the west coast of Canada and an expectant young boy born into the poverty of WW2 English working class. The old man dreaming in retrospect, the young boy living a developing history, both to eventually rendezvous in the eighties. Filled with the humour and history of a post war generation nurtured on comic books, the Goon Show and jazz.




The book has an unusual structure, interleaving first and third person narratives and alternating time periods, beginning at the extremes of life and simultaneously moving forwards and backwards towards mid-life. ...This style works best when musical anecdotes are triggered by travels or memories of shows seen. For example, The death of Paul Rutherford brings reminisces about London's Little Theatre Club, and a trip to new York City provides opportunity to describe the Greenwich village scene. ...the book's real strength is the honest and intimate account of a life."


Lawrence Joseph, Signal to Noise.




Comments on the self-published limited edition from fellow artists:


You covered an enormous territory and gave new life to an era of history and ideals that we all need to remember. There were so many things that rang a bell, I wished I'd taken notes. And so many times I laughed!


Renee Rodin - Writer, Visual Artist, and Cultural Worker

(Vancouver, Canada)


It’s bleedin’ brilliant. It’s not a book, it’s an achievement. Bravo.


Art Lange - Writer, Producer, Former editor Downbeat Magazine (Chicago, USA)


Fantastic! I started reading and found it was almost impossible to stop! What is so great is that I can relate to a lot of things you write about. Thank you very much. And what a brilliant edition!


Leo Feigen - Leo Records

(Newton Abbott, UK)


I laughed out loud many times. And the jazz stuff. I think it's very important that you have written it all down. Unique and insightful.


Jim Munro - Musician, Bricoleur

(Richmond, Canada)


A wild bit of synchronicity today ...overburdened with work-related stress I closed my office door and on impulse dialed up You Tube to watch the Chuvalo-Ali fight, which i have never seen (it's there). Later that same day I come home to my little apartment, pour myself deep glass of scotch, open your book randomly for a read, only to find, not only the wonderful evocation of the mystique of the Colonial Tavern, but your beautiful account of that very same fight.


And so it goes…


Arthur Bull, Musician, Poet , Chinese Translator

(Digby Neck, Canada)