Bill Rowe started out with a bright future.
Youngest cabinet minister in the province's history.
Leader of the Liberal party.
And then he imploded in a fireball fuelled by unfettered ego and spectacularly bad judgement. Knowing they were stolen, Rowe took police reports on a fire investigation involving a provincial cabinet minister and passed them around to every newsroom in town. Correctly identified as the source of the leaked reports by a judicial enquiry, Rowe's political career was over.
After that, the best Rowe could do was match wits with the likes of the Moonman on a popular daily radio forum for any kook in the province with a phone.
Rowe gave up that job to become Danny Williams' personal ambassador to Hy's but after a few months doing nothing in that gig, Rowe came back to host an afternoon version of his morning show.
He gave that up to write books. They have all been works of fiction, including the stuff - like his latest one, at left, Rowe and his publisher have called "memoirs." There are no facts in them, only Rowe's opinions.
If you like your truth made up, then Rowe won't disappoint you. You'll especially love No punches pulled if you like books where large chunks were obviously typed using only the middle fingers of the author's hands.
You'll be disappointed if you like your truth to have some veracity or even if you expect the author to give you his own opinions. Rowe is chickenshit. He invariably attributes shitty remarks to anonymous "informants" and "sources" rather than offer his own assessment.
Rowe is characteristically small-minded and petty. Evidently, he continues to nourish old jealousies even after 40 years. Brian Peckford gets a rough going over and Rowe is not above recycling unsubstantiated stories from an old biography of Frank Moores if it makes Peckford come off badly.
Rowe is especially resentful toward Clyde Wells. When the party brass told Rowe he had to quit after the Farrell fire mess, Rowe told the boys he would leave for Don Jamieson but not for "that little fucker from Corner Brook." Jamieson came back from Ottawa and Peckford's Tories kicked his ass across the province.
That little fucker from Corner Brook went on to become a successful premier and a chief justice of the supreme court, as Rowe whiled away his days on Open Line. Rowe is clearly still bitter at Wells, who represented Tom Farrell all those years ago in the legal action arising from the fire investigation. For Wells, Rowe breaks his anonymity on shitty digs: Rowe claims one dead man - Steve Neary - told him things another dead man - Joe Smallwood - supposedly said about Wells.
The result is that you learn more about the inner workings of Rowe's psyche than about any of the Premiers he supposedly is dishing on. And frankly, that's probably why Rowe isn't writing about his own political career: who'd buy it?
Take the 20 bucks you had set aside for this book and give it to the charity of your choice in the name of the late Lloyd Soper. He's the judge who pulled no punches in his inquiry into the fire at Tom Farrell's apartment.* Tell them Bill Rowe sent you. That might be a lie, but in the greater scheme of things your money will do more good with a charity than it would encouraging Bill Rowe and Flanker to produce more of this sort of junk.
-srbp-*Updated to explain who Lloyd Soper was.
And if anyone wonders what "no-holds-barred" really means, try these:
- The Farrell fire investigation report, (apologies for the typos resulting from the scanning)
- Stunned is as... well...
- The Spleen
- Staggering insights from Bill Rowe
- Bill Rowe: townie twit
- Why columnists need editors (Rowe seems to have plagiarised a Lysianne Gagnon column)
- On the horns of a nationalist dilemma (skip down to the update)
- Brokeback Mountain of crap
- A room with a view of the pork barrel
- When insight is gossip
- A veritable GPS to the butts of the powerful, and
- this reminder that Bill Rowe's idea of a radio call-in show was having callers listen to him while he blathered on: