Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ontario, Quebec and Me

Always one of my favourite songs, it was written by British folksinger/one-man Clash Billy Bragg years ago, and most recently included on his 1999 hodgepodge of a collection, Reaching to the Converted. My guess is that it was written sometime back in the eighties (can you spot the callout to Montrealer Corey Hart?) when Bragg was bouncing back and forth across the world and spending a lot of time in Canada, trying to build a career. For a political wonk like Bragg, the Canadian political scene must have been fascinating -- and exasperating. The song is no less relevant today. And it was never just about Canada.

Except for the title, it doesn't even seem all that political at first -- just another oblique, cryptic love song; the sort of thing Bragg has always had a deft hand with. At least until you dig a little, and consider the title again. And then it becomes a prayer, almost, for any two people, nations, ideologies, solitudes or what have you that don't always see eye to eye but still want to live in peace.

In a world that is increasingly dumbing down , with all too many politicians, pundits and glib, vile, cynical opportunists who would rather divide us than unite us, catering to our lowest, basest, most vile instincts, maybe it's time more people paid attention to prayers like this.


"You don't need my Christmas cards
You already have my heart
This has been a holiday romance
Right from the very start

For we know how to spend the time
Who cares about the weather
We'll dance in the town till the sun goes down
And push our beds together

From the land of the midnight sunglasses
To the mountains of the moon
You could never stay a day too long
Nor never come back too soon

For we know how to spend the time
Who cares about the weather
We'll dance in the town till the sun goes down
And push our beds together

And you know what a fool I am
With my short attention span
Flying in the rainy season too
Nothing can keep me away from you

For we know how to spend the time
Who cares about the weather
We'll dance in the town till the sun goes down
And push our beds together."



Or maybe it's just a dumb love song. But I like it.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Writer on Board said...

Hey Kevin,

Looks like we have similar tastes in music and such. Thanks so much for the kind words on Thrilling D. Also, I found a typo: "In his novel-length debut, the Puero rican [Puerto Rican]/American gumshoe..." I've never met a Puero Rican but I like the sound. Do they whistle when they walk? No matter. Nothing but love. Feel free to delete this after reading. -Alex

12:21 PM, June 09, 2010  
Anonymous Asset Search said...

A lovely creation by Billy Bragg, he is the boss of music. there a lot of singer here but Bragg is the best of them. really heart touching lines.

4:35 AM, June 14, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stumbled across this short post. Well put!

I wasn't aware of the political tension between Ontario/Qu├ębec, so I never really understood the title. Thanks for enlightening me.

2:05 AM, April 05, 2013  

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