Friday, August 11, 2006

Breakfast in Ontario

When I first moved to the midwest US in the mid-1990's, I was immediately struck by how often I heard John (ne Cougar) Mellencamp on the radio and at parties (back when I was so green that parties were still keggers). Sure, we'd all heard "Small Town" and "Jack and Diane" aplenty in the early 80s, maybe even tapped along, and (surely) couldn't miss the videos. But to this day in the American midwest, as when I first traced Ferris Bueller's path down Lake Shore Drive, the pride of Bloomington, IN, still gets a conspicuous amount of radio play.

Likewise, if you ever travel to the northeast (the tri-state area of NY, NJ, and CT, where I'm originally from), you can't scan the dial for long without hearing the distinct tenor of Billy Joel. I was away for ten years or so and hadn't heard one tortured line from "We Didn't Start the Fire," one gratingly peppy clip of "Uptown Girl," when, bam, I keyed up whatever rental car I had hired at the time to have "Movin' Out," then "Piano Man," then "Big Shot," then "Tell Her About it," immediately and incessantly assault my ears.

Of course, John and Billy made their careers as local boys, so it's apt that their tunes serve as regional soundtracks.

Here, however, in Ontario, Canada, who might you expect to dominate the buttery-clean airwaves? Shania Twain? Alannis Morrisette? Rush (yep, they're from Canada)? Nope.

Supertramp. Can't get away from 'em. (And they're from the U.K. -- part of the Commonwealth, with Canada, I know, but still hardly local.) "The Logical Song.""Long Way Home.""Give a Little Bit.""Dreamer." I've heard them all, several times over, since we've been here (and many for the first time since the late 1970's).

In fact, the first night we tuned in to Canadian TV, none else but Canadian Idol was on (ha!). The celebrity guest? Rodger Hodgson, lead singer of Supertramp. And Dennis DeYoung of Styx, too, but I haven't yet been aurally afflicted by "Lady." (I suppose "Renegade" wouldn't be all that bad, for the laff with the kids, you know, just to embarrass them. Mommy, stop singing, pleeaase . . . Sorry, kids, Mommy's feeling 13 again)

Of course, Supertramp's Canadian club has been only one surprise, and easily the most benign, since we've arrived. . . the others shall make up the next post (I'm just easing us all back into this; thanks to those who have kept checking in).

There but for the grace, go we, as we are here, and the area is indeed so lovely. Tomorrow we vacate the extended-stay Days Inn on Division to move in to our (St. Lawrence) riverside house, though saying we move in is something of an overstatement. It'll be more like squatting, for a while. That is, for reasons that fail comprehension, our worldly goods, which (as reported here) I had packed and witnessed being loaded on to an Allied truck on August 2, remain in Illinois (musically accompanied by the Cougar, one would think). But again, that's another post of a wholly different tenor.

Besides (rock snobs bedamned), I kinda like Supertramp.




Euonymous said...

period? full stop? er, to what?

Euonymous said...

judging by the screen name of my periodic poster, perhaps he's been offended by my comments about Billy Joel.

To this I say that I still dig "The Stranger," have it on SACD, and that before I fell irremediably in love with the Beatles (when I was twelve), I loved Billy Joel (i.e., when I was eleven). Of course, who was Billy Joel's idol? Paul McCartney -- the other man of a thousand voices. They are something of a pair, if you think about it, for better *and for worse.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should add that before I dug Billy Joel, I was besotted by Davey Jones of the Monkees -- the P McC figure of that concocted group (and they did manage to put out good stuff).

Overall, as far as radio play is concerned, my feeling has always been this, and is especially strong where the Beatles are concerned: look to the albums for the quality stuff. There are many Beatles songs I hear on the radio I can't stand, but that were pushed at the time, and remain in rotation, because radio couldn't/ wouldn't absorb the more interesting and compelling stuff.

Anyways, NYC, would love to hear what you meant by your minimalist post. . .

Anonymous said...

I believe the once angry, now "reconciled" Ottawa songstress' name is spelled "Alanis" and "Morissette."

Euonymous said...

My life in considerable upheaval at the moment, I'm afraid I'm at a loss for any self-deprecating wit to account for the error. . . what can I say? My bad.

Colleen said...

I dig Supertramp. period. full stop

palimpsest said...

Well, you made it! (And who is this stranger who dares to respond on this clever and intellectually daunting page of wit and wisdom?) Just me, Kathleen (who is, btw, far too uncultivated to be here) wishing you well, and happy to hear you've arrived safe and sound in your new land. While PTSD prevents me from diving into the crazed waters of 70's tunes, I just wanted to say hello, or whatever it is that those people say. I am, after all from Ottawa. Ottawa, IL that is --but close enough. So congrats! and happy settling. Look forward to checking in on the blog for the occasional cerebral workouts. You're a killer! And again, glad you arrived safe -- love to the little ones!

Anonymous said...

I was glad to hear that you finally got somewhat settled into the new house. I heard about your beautiful morning with the children. We miss you, GNO will not the same without you. By the way, I am extremely fond of Supertramp. Never really cared much for that John guy with the mulitple last names.


Dice Skorina said...

Is that why I love Billy Joel so much? He seeped into my psyche when I was just a kid? When you are in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, it is Bruce Springsteen you hear all the time, and then, once your realize his Greatness, you make pilgrimmages to Asbury Park. Mellencamp (or Mellonhead, as my dad used to say) is a FAKE.

Glad to hear you are doing well, and to see that you are truly, truly a soccer hooligan -- but who am I going to visit in Chicago now? I am going to tell my sister to read your blog, she reads Language Log all the time...Good luck!

Your Cousin, Dice

Euonymous said...

Ha, great to get some Skorina spirit in here. . . Terrific to hear from you, Dice! Hope you and the brood are well. Met a swell guy named Bruce and naturally thought of you. More soon.

Euonymous said...

Oh, and now I have the presence of mind to answer my anonymous Canadian spelling critic regarding my miswriting of Ms. Morissette: isn't it ironic (dontcha think)?

No esprit de l'escalier here, no sirree.