Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hybrid cars and hillbilly music

Nasty Brutish and Short has this great picture of the distilled essence of liberal Episcopalianism - on a hybrid car. As I mentioned there, a further irony is that hybrid cars run on nickel batteries, and this article from the Daily Mail describes the environmental damage involved, complete with gruesome photograph of the arid landscape around Sudbury, Ontario.

ANYWAY - this is all a roundabout excuse for posting this old video of Stompin' Tom Connors, singing "Sudbury Saturday Night." This was in contention for the title of All-Time Great Canadian Song, because you can't get much more Canadian than the lyrics of the refrain:
Oh, the girls are out to bingo,
And the boys are getting stinko,
And we'll think no more of Inco
On a Sudbury Saturday Night!

My mom hated Stompin' Tom, and I was brought up to disdain this sort of hillbilly culture. But now that I'm older myself, and my country's culture is dissolving into a multicultural soup, I've discovered a downright fondness for it. It's not just the voices - look at the faces! That backup guitarist - you couldn't find a more Canadian face than that, but those people never get to run things anymore, and I miss them.


Blogger Kasia said...

Heh. I kinda dug it.

And if you mean the backup guy on the left (couldn't see if it was a guitar or a bass), he actually reminds me a little of my boyfriend's dad. He was French-Canadian through and through...and played bass, now that I think of it, but Joe doesn't think his dad ever played with Stompin' Tom. :-)

9:44 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Yeah, the fellow with the glasses and the moustache - that's a real Canadian face. I'm guessing this much be from the 70s, and it's not just because of the hairdos; did you notice the clouds of cigarette smoke in that little club? You'd never see that today.

10:04 pm  
Blogger Kasia said...

Sigh. Now I'm going to have to go onto iTunes and buy some Stompin' Tom. You're such a bad influence on me, Dr. Mabuse!

The way Joe put it to me when I asked him about Stompin' Tom (I think he knows who every Canadian is who's ever sold a record) was that he's iconic - kind of like the Canadian Woody Guthrie, but without the politics...that he is to Canadiana what Guthrie is to Americana. Does that sound about right?

Smoky bars...we still have 'em here (though not in California)...

12:07 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

Yes, I think your friend is very perceptive about calling him an "iconic figure". The odd thing is, that there are very few of these figures in Canada. We have artists and successful people, but not many people that you would think of and say, "Ah, yes - the classic Canadian!" And most of them are from the past - not the remote past, but still, I can't think of any today. I suppose there are some hockey players people might consider in that group. I think Canada has an odd, truncated history. We experienced a lot of the same history the Americans did, but we seemed in too much of a hurry to get on to something bigger and better to take anything good from it. It's true that Stompin' Tom doesn't have the political content of Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan, and I think that's why the elites who shape our culture weren't interested in him. Who wants to hear about factory workers and farmers if you can't put a protest sign in their hands and set them to shouting slogans? Our plain old life just wasn't good enough once the Trudeau Revolution kicked in, and now everyone wants to do multiculturalism and pretend that we're not really just one generation away from the people who made and enjoyed this sort of music.

9:05 pm  
Blogger Kasia said...

What about Tim Horton? ;-)

12:33 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

What about Tim Horton? ;-)

Hockey player! See what I mean? ;)

1:14 pm  
Blogger Kasia said...

I know he was a hockey player, actually, but I just had to bring him up because there are more Canadians hitting the Hortons by Joe's apartment each Saturday than there in all the churches in London on Sunday...

3:32 pm  

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