Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Re-up: Nothing Says Patriotism Like Screaming Like an Idiot

Recently, word from back west came that CBC Radio 2 was hosting a li'l something called the Great Canadian Song Quest, a listener-commissioned swing for the bleachers of immortalising some classically Canuck minutiae in song...

...kinda like what I did four months ago.

Now, I myself am not eligible for the GCSQ: the specific sights/smells/experiences to be enshrined in sound are first voted upon by the public, and then a handful of established Canadian musicians will write the tunes about the elected subjects. The roster of redoubtable artists include everyone from Hawksley Workman & Martha Wainwright to Sloan & Joel Plaskett, so no wonder my phone never rang.

Certainly, the Song Quest is full of noble intent: it's a bit embarrassing that the closest Canada comes to a self-celebratory anthem is the domestic-only hit "At the 100th Meridian" or, uh, "YYZ". Perhaps our famed modesty (at least compared to our noisy neighbours to the south) prohibits us from getting overly patriotic. But hell, if you want to run with the big dogs, your bark has to be as loud as theirs. If you want to compete with "I Love L.A." or "La Marseillaise", then you can't be shy about ceremonialising cultural ephemera or even bloodthirsty jingoism. If you want cops singing your song at wakes for their brothers-in-arms, you've got to aim bigger than bagels and go for heart-rending abstraction like the Pogues did with "Body of an American".

Which is why I spent two-and-a-half minutes hollering like a drunk at the Calgary Stampede about such True Northern staples as Mounties, Trudeau, and (of course) Tim Horton's. Damn the torpedoes! Show some love for the donuts!

For those of y'all interested who haven't already, you can download "A Hesitant Pride" as part of the Breeds With Anything EP for free over at SVC Records.

No comments: