Recognizable OOC Recipients: Comedians

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Dan Akroyd

Dan Akroyd was a comedic actor who got his start in Saturday Night Live, then he and John Belushi formed The Blues Brothers which went from a blues/comedy act to a full-length film. Among the films he starred in, were Ghostbusters, Trading Places, Ghostbusters II, and the satire Dragnet. He was made a member of the Order of Canada on 7 November, 2000.

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Eugene Levy is the one on the lef- uh, ri- uhh… Aw, crap.

Eugene Levy worked for years on the comedy show Second City, both live in Toronto and on the 80s hit TV series, SCTV. He has won numeous honours for his comedic creations, and by the time he was awarded the OOC in 2011, he already won many awards and honors. He was made a member of the Order of Canada in November of 2011.

Recognizable OOC Recipients 04: Musicians

Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell

There are actually quite a number of Order of Canada recipients that are musicians. More musicians will appear in later installments.

Saskatoon native Joni Mitchell graced our radios in the decades since the sixties with her folk/pop singing that had been the influence of a great many musicians worldwide. Some of her album covers were self-drawn, and one was a self-portrait. She was made a companion of the Order of Canada in 2004.

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Paul Anka

Going back a generation in music history, Ottawa-born Paul Anka is only two years older than Joni, but had his first hit song at age 15 when Diana went to the top of the Billboard charts in 1957, and was a hit on both sides of the Canada-US border. He continued to produce hit singles well into the 1980s. Greatest hits compilations have been showing up as recently as 2013

Sounding off on the end of CanCon and the CRTC

I guess with the recent decision to axe all cancon requirements for daytime programming in Canada, the CRTC is crawling toward its own irrelevance. Let’s not be naive, Canadian culture is that much more weakened without the protection it partially enjoyed from American influence. With much less Canadian culture left to protect, and with Canadian voices now playing a smaller role in Canadian media, the CRTC really has less of a job to do these days.

To be more level here, one needs to be reminded that the CRTC kept the Cancon requirements for prime time. In addition, the CRTC cites the fact that television must now compete alongside streaming video, and the world-wide web for quite possibly the same viewers who listen and view “content” from just about anywhere and everywhere.

If I watch a video on YouTube, I am usually not aware whether or not the video is Canadian content or not. Sometimes there are clues, and sometimes the video is so famous that its country of origin is unmistakeable (Gangam Style, anyone?). There is a certain amount of reality to the CRTC’s concerns. My viewing habits have made much of what the CRTC is doing to make me more part of Canadian culture, irrelevant. But then, I don’t really know for sure, because to be honest, I don’t really check whether the video is CanCon before I see it. Same for websites.

We feared the encroachment of American culture when we set up the CRTC. Back then, radio and TV were the only games in town. Now we have the Internet, and the prospect of entertainment and information being viewed on all household and personal devices. Not all of that is American. I would say most of it is. After all, the USA is the heart of Google, YouTube, Yahoo, NetFlix, and AOL. The other players are not quite so big. Also, the USA accounts for an outsized proportion of the Internet traffic in the world. While 43% of a country’s citizens on average use the Internet, in the US, it is more like 87%.

I would like to think that I get “world” culture when I go online, but I watch British, American and Canadian documentaries, and usually British or American-produced videos on YouTube regarding phenomena in science or math. My online mailing lists consist of Candians and Americans mostly. I wonder now if having a “Canadian voice” can be said to mean anything these days? It used to mean a way to air “my” concerns with “my” voice. Others living in my country would do the same thing. And in sum, it would turn out that our concerns would be distinctively different from concerns across the border. It is healthy to know our common concerns as a culture.

The CRTC needs to be reminded that we must hear ourselves or be lost in the cacophony of other voices that are not our own. That is the only way we can have more confidence sharing our dialogue with the rest of the world, taking pride in our identity.

Crappy Album Covers (sidebar) — The (belated) Furr Shrine

Fans of this blog may recall that venerable, but enigmatic group of CAC makers from who-knows-where called Furr. As you can see clearly, they are pretty derivative, and the cover shown here dates back to 1977  (so I was close), according to this CAC blog.

Also, according to the same blog, some visitors categorized their music as bubblegum. Hmm… sounds believeable.

But their song titles (these guys have a track listing!) still sound like titles pulled out of the Kiss reject bin: “Sister Honky Tonk”, “Wow, yeah”, and “Goin’ Down the Road” are examples.

But if we are to believe their other links to Amazon (which I don’t), they are now called “The Furr”, hail from Winnipeg, and have a current 2007 demo released on places like Amazon and CD Baby, entitled buy tramadol 50mg “Furr is Murder”. CD Baby has a short bio of The Furr (if they are from Winnipeg, then why does the Canadian Amazon site list them as an Import?). It would appear from their bio that “The Furr” did not exist before 2005. Since this is a 1977 album, either the bio is wrong and they’re all old geezers (I wouldn’t want to be a geezer in all that getup), or we are talking about two different bands.

The Furr are also on Facebook. They have reportedly broken up. But, looking at a recent picture of Matt and Darcy (two of The Furr’s  former members), they don’t look a day over 25. They would have been born 5 years after this album came out. I rest my case.

Michael Tarry, "Rosalie", and the Summer of 1973

Rosalie,
Michael Tarry (1973) (Can Con)
Peaked in Canada at #8 in the first week of July

[flv: http://sj.foodsci.info/wp-content/uploads/misc_media/Michael_Tarry_-_Rosalie.flv]

If you check the Canadian charts that week, he was up against some serious competition, which included — all in the same week —
“My Love” by Paul McCartney;
“Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter;
“Yesterday Once More” by the Carpenters;
“Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Dawn;
“Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrisson;
“I’m a Stranger Here” by 5-Man Electrical Band;
“Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel;
“You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder;
“Cisco Kid” by War;
“Space Oddity” by David Bowie;
“Walk On The Wild Side” by Lou Reed;
“Drift Away” by Dobie Gray;
“Kodachrome” by Paul Simon;
“Daniel” by Elton John;
“The Farmer’s Song” by Murray McLaughlin;
“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple;
“Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce;
“Shambala” by Three Dog Night.
I could go on. These consist of the hits that to me characterise what the ’70s were about, musically.
Ref: Chart

That’s most of my all-time favourites, all charting in the same week.

Rosalie was one of those songs I heard once in a while and stuck in my head henceforth, and until today I only had a vague idea what the words were. I finally had enough (almost 40 years later), and Googled a lyric snippet and got this (see below). I also know the author finally — Michael Tarry McDermott, born in England but presently residing in Marmora (population 1671), Ontario, a place somewhere between Kingston and Peterborough, just north of Belleville (Google Earth to the rescue!). The name that appears on the single is “Michael Tarry”.


She was a ballet dancer,
with the grace of a dove she would dance up above in the other room.
I would invite her down to tea,
but she never would agree,
she didn’t like my way of doing things;
it’s not her way.

And when the music played,
like arrows in your heart,
bleeding from the start she meant everything.
Make the answer lie within
and your troubles not begin,
can you make it that way for me?

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.

Of all the things we talked about,
it would never come across,
you would always get so cross and ruin everything.
You know I tried my very best;
when I did I pleased you less,
there’s no use in trying anymore.

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.