Saturday, September 15, 2007

Our antique concerns

Quick! Tell the Queen! The Northwest Passage is open! Now we can sail to China! Maybe pick up the Franklin Expedition on the way, tell them the good news.

Canada is an odd place. I've noticed for years that nothing ever really changes here. We don't progress. We just keep gnawing over the same old bones, decade after decade. So a story about Global Warming™ manages to drag in that hoary old chestnut, The Search For The Northwest Passage, as if it were still 1840 and Britain is looking for a convenient market for woolen frocks. Every 10 years or so, the same weary round of "issues" grinds by - the seal hunt; the elusive "Canadian identity"; French on cereal boxes; today it's Arctic Sovereignty. Next year it'll be the Avro Arrow, as we explain once again why nothing has gone right since 1959. I envy the Americans for being able to think of new things, and forget about old ones. You actually get somewhere.


Blogger Nicholodeon said...

Aw, Doc, you're too young to be so cynical.

Plus you left out Petro Canada, the role of The Queen in Canada, Trudeau, Glenn Gould...I mean, has anyone in Canada ever studied the piano other than Gould? And the CBC and should we the people fund it?

The Americans are known to chew the cud themselves...just think Republicans, Democrats, Ralph Nader, Paris Hilton ...

9:53 am  
Blogger The Bovina Bloviator said...

At the risk of committing sacrilege, especially to y'all Canadians, Glenn Gould's piano playing reminds me of nothing more than a badly functioning player piano.

10:29 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I'm old and cynical before my time, Nick. And I should have remembered PetroCanada and NEP (or maybe just subsumed them under the title "Western alienation").

As for Glenn Gould, BB, all I can say is...FRIEND!!!!!!! I never liked Gould's playing. But the thing that bothers me the most about Gould is the massive revisionism that the CBC undertook after his death. Solo piano music has never been my thing (I hated it when Karen Magnussen insisted on skating to solo piano music at the Olympics) even though I learned to play myself. I didn't listen to Gould myself because I hated his groaning and grumbling along with the piano. If I thought of him, it was just that it was cool that a Canadian musician was famous outside this country. Apart from that, I thought he was a jerk when he announced that he would no longer play in public. (Now that I realize that he was probably insane, I'm not so censorious.)

But the thing is, the CBC thought exactly the same way! If anything, I probably got my opinions from listening to commentators on the radio, who didn't like his idiosyncracies either. And that's pretty much what you'd expect - the CBC WAS stodgy and conservative. That's why everyone with imagination left Canada to succeed in TV or movies - there was just no place for them in Canada. But once Gould was dead, oh, you couldn't find a broadcaster or writer anywhere in Canada who hadn't always thought he was the greatest musical genius since Mozart!

2:35 pm  
Blogger The Bovina Bloviator said...

Doctor, you're too kind and I'm delighted someone else shares my Gouldish thoughts.

If you pop over to my place, you'll find a couple of useful links beneath your remarks about old telephones. Hope they help and cheers!

6:11 pm  
Blogger Dr. Alice said...

I don't have any opinions on Gould himself, never having heard him play, but I did like the bio "32 Short Films About Glenn Gould" - mainly because I am a huge fan of Colm Feore, who played Gould. I also thought the structure of the film was quite innovative, with all those short films packed into one big one.

2:45 pm  
Anonymous antique said...

Oy! I happen to like antique concerns!

11:25 am  

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