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Jason Toews and fifi (the band)

fifi – A Band (The Book)

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I Wrote It, And I Say Greedo Shot First

Never have I felt more sympathetic to George Lucas’ dilemma than during the process of collecting and posting all of this fifi material. If you’ve been following along, you know that I have already ventured out onto the slippery slope of rewriting history by omitting one song from the original release of “Don’t Eat Bricks.”

Sad to say, the revisionist propaganda of the Cultural Revolution must continue, tempting me to make a “Gang of Four” joke here, prevented only by the fact that fifi was usually only a “Gang of Two.”

Annette’s Choice

Beyond the audio recordings, photos, artwork, and videos… the project of gathering and making accessible all of the fifi material must necessarily include the full-length book we wrote: “FIFI – A BAND.”

When I actually began the tedious work of scanning the pages in preparation for posting the book, however… I thought it might be better to pretend we never wrote it. It certainly contains some funny passages, and – especially for my friends who know all the characters involved – it does have its share of juicy (but harmless) character assassination. There are a few clever plot elements, and it’s an impressive attempt to weave together all of the various tropes of the fifi mythology into a narrative piece.

And yet…

It contains the lyrics to the song that I already chose not to post. It also contains a few jokes that are a) not very funny and b) cringe-inducingly racist/sexist. Beyond that… it was written when we were very young, still enamored of egregious puns and sophomoric scatology. Okay, admittedly, I still enjoy those things, but perhaps even more embarrassingly: it contains several misspellings, and the grammar is simply atrocious.

What to do?

My compromise decision was to blank out two or three sections that I couldn’t possibly justify, and let the rest stand. I present it here – again – primarily for the satisfaction of my OCD, secure in the knowledge that I may be the only one who ever looks at it. Well, me and Jeff Lageson, possibly. But I’m pretty sure that’s it.

How We Came To Receive The Inspired Word Of fifi

Eric and I had been working on this book since 1985 or so, when we were both still in high school. At that point, the only “personal” (e.g. non-ENIAC) computers we had seen were the command-line-only Tandy units in Mr. Broenkow’s “Introduction to Computers” class. For this reason, we wrote our book the old-fashioned way: by hand, on hundreds of sheets of college-ruled notebook paper stuffed into Menudo Trapper Keepers.

Like many of our joint projects, “the book” fell idle for a time as Eric and I went through one of our periodic break-ups, or else Eric moved away, or something. In 1989, determined to finish the last few chapters so I could check this project off my list (again: OCD), I took the entire manuscript along on a family vacation to Disneyland. As we drove from Seattle to Anaheim and back again, Jen and I read the existing chapters to each other, then brainstormed on the best way to wrap it up. We took turns writing while the other drove, which led to a thousand miles of constant carsickness, but by crackety, I was going to finish that damn book if it killed me.

Upon returning home, I got permission from a co-worker to come in after hours and use his Mac to type the entire book in MS Word. I printed all 214 pages on a company laser printer when nobody was looking, and stored the MS Word files on four floppy discs, which I immediately lost. I gathered the photos and asked another co-worker to produce half-tones (it’s a commercial printing term; look it up), which I then waxed and stuck directly to the laser-printed pages. Yes, really.

I finished printing and assembling the book in 1990, and gave a “thank you” copy to the co-worker whose computer I had used on so many late nights to type up the manuscript. Several years later, when he got fired and was sadly cleaning out his desk, he returned my gift to me, unread.

The Book

2 Comments

  1. You guys and my dad were some real nutjobs.
    I’m quite glad to point out he’s hardly changed.

  2. I may or may not look at the scans … since I actually know where my copy is and can look at an autographed original …

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