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Podcast #11

Conversations with a Blind Man – Part 2


(Podcast: 1 hour, 6 minutes, May 2010)


Cliff Lorimer has been blind from birth, but even with this disability, he became a writer and broadcaster. He has interviewed and become friends with many of the great rock and roll bands such as The Guess Who; Aerosmith; The Who; The Rolling Stones; Gerry and the Pacemakers; John Denver; The Bee Gees; April Wine; Lighthouse; and many others. In this podcast Cliff remembers some of the back stage stories surrounding many of these great performers.


Cliff has been a professional broadcaster for many years, running radio stations without the help of anyone. In those days, disk jockeys played 45 RPM records. One night while Cliff was at the controls the cleaner decided to dust a turntable by removing the tone-arm from the record. That took the station off the air, but Cliff reacted swiftly and apologized for the interruption. Another night while playing an album, he decided to put his feet up and rest. The next thing you know, the station alarm was going off indicating that there was dead air. He had fallen asleep, but everything was all right. No one noticed the short interlude. Aside from a few anomalies, Cliff was very successful at being an on-air personality.


When The Rolling Stones came to Toronto, they asked if Cliff would be the master of ceremonies. Over the years he became friends with many of the band members. On the podcast he tells us how he was asked to lead the three Bee Gees out of a hotel when there was a fire in the building. It seems blind people are really good at navigating smoke filled hall ways in the dark.


John Denver was involved in teaching blind people how to ski. Cliff, not only learned how to do downhill skiing, but also cross country. He also operated a snow mobile and drove a car. Some of his blind friends decided to do sky diving, but Cliff didn't have enough courage to do that.


On the down side he tells us of how he went to work one day and fell onto the subway tracks. He got back up on the platform and fell a second time onto the train tracks. A passenger on the platform helped him to safety. In the end Cliff had bloodied knuckles, but he could have been killed if a train had come along at that time. The Toronto Transit Commission, the operators of the subway, later placed special tiles on the floor to assist blind people so they would not stray too close to the tracks.


Today Cliff works for Frontier Computing (www.frontiercomputing.on.ca) He says it is really hard for new blind people to find work. Corporations update their computers so frequently that most blind people can't keep up with the changes. Cliff has done his part by helping other blind people get a start in broadcasting.


In the previous podcast Conversations With a Blind Man -- Part 1 John tells us how he copes with life as a blind person primarily at home; while in this podcast Cliff focuses mainly on his life outside the home. It is interesting to contrast the two people. One is home centric; while the other is career centric. Both have interesting stories to tell.


You can reach Cliff Lorimer at

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Conversations With a Blind Man – Part 1

A special thank you to Derek R. Audette, Creative Commons, for the bumper music used in this podcast.