Some Hollywood stars indulge in mud baths and massages to release stress. Jason Priestley likes to race cars. The star of the hit TV series Beverly Hills 90210 races his Ford SVT Mustang Cobra R at speeds of up to 260 km/h—not on the L.A. freeways, he insists, but as part of the International Motor Sports Association Endurance Championship, a series of professional races in Canada and the United States. “I get to take out all my aggression when I’m on the racetrack, so when I’m on the streets I can drive with a little more sanity,” said Priestley, 26, last week during a break while preparing for a race northeast of Toronto. The Vancouverborn actor, who is entering his seventh season as Brandon Walsh on 90210, has just finished shooting a feature film, Love and, Death on Long Island, in Halifax with John Hurt And he is up for best director at the Sept. 19 MuchMusic Video Awards for Toronto pop group Barenaked Ladies’ The Old Apartment. Priestly, it seems, likes to keep in high gear.
An Englishman on tour
For many performers, life on tour can be a constant battle to keep fit and stay sane. But Sting—in Toronto last month midway through a nine-month, worldwide tour to promote his seventh and newest album, Mercury Falling— claims he has no trouble keeping in shape. “I was fit to start with, so have managed to stay that way,” he says. Sting claims, without a hint of putting anyone on, that at age 19 he was a 100-m sprinter whose personal-best time was
10.4 seconds (that would have placed him 0.56 seconds behind Canadian world-record holder Donovan Bailey in Atlanta). Now, the 44-year-old rocker says he practises yoga daily. “I’m probably in better shape now than when I was younger,” he insists. As for the sanity part? “It has been a major ambition of mine to stay sane,” says Sting. “I’m a little eccentric maybe, but then the English have a talent for that.” It would seem that his talents are multiple.
Writing to reach out
Nothing quickens the pulse of a novelist like the prospect of winning one of the everexpanding number of literary prizes. But what happens when they win an award after the judges use words like “abysmal” and “drivel” to describe many of the entries? British author Helen Dunmore says she will take it anyway. Last May, the Bristol-based Dunmore won one of the literary world’s newest awards—the Orange Prize, which honors women novelists— for her third book, A Spell of Winter. And even though two of the five Orange judges publicly trashed many of the 146 entries, she thinks the competition from the five other finalists was top-notch. “There was an extremely strong short list,” says Dunmore, 43, who spoke to Maclean’s while vacationing in southern Ontario this month. “Any one of us could have won it.” A first-prize cheque worth $64,000 helps drown out the critics, too.
Half a punt from the CFL record books
His first punt in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next game on Aug. 26 won’t have to travel far to be a big one. Kicker Bob Cameron is just half a punt away
from surpassing 100,000 yards in his career. That’s 91 km—and a combined hang time of more than three hours. “I guess you could say that I owe it all to drugs,” the 42-year-old kicker jokes, remembering how he broke into the league when the Bombers’ then-punter Bernie Ruoff was busted for marijuana possession before the
1980 season. “When I got the call, I was working on the oil rigs in Alberta.” Seventeen years later, he is averaging 43.6 yards a punt, third best in the league. Cameron says he hopes to stick with the Bombers until he’s eligible to collect his CFL pension when he turns 50. “You might say,” he laughs, “that this is all I know.”
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