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That Song

For what it’s worth, I think the theme song to CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada is one of the most perfect pieces of music there is. It’s up there with the theme to Doctor Who or James Bond.

So when I learned that the CBC couldn’t make a deal with the song’s composer to keep it, I was a little bit shocked. As a sports broadcast, HNIC is one of the things CBC has perfected and the song is a key component of that broadcast. So for the show to lose its signature song to a rival network is one of those things that frustrate me about the CBC. I’ll defend public broadcasting to the death but sometimes, CBC really doesn’t make it easy.

Radio 2 is going to add more contemporary music? Sure, I’m for that. Test the Nation? Sure, it’s fun. Little Mosque on the Prairie is never missed at our house, nor is Rick Mercer. The majority of the podcasts on my iPod are CBC as well.

But then they go and do things like taking their ratings and cash cow, and decide they’re going to futz with it, just because they can. The fact that they’ve announced a contest for aspiring composers to write the new theme makes me wonder if they had intended to let the current theme go all along.

Of course, to put this into perspective, it’s just a show and it’s just a song. It’s not our national identity and if it were, that would be kind of sad (besides, as a Canadian, I kind of prefer not to have one. National identities are nice and all but they can get kind of ugly). It doesn’t have any effect on the country and its people, other than marking the end of a broadcast era. The CBC could have dug in a little more to keep the thing but maybe the cost wasn’t justified. But it is a ditty designed to sell beer and power tools and retirement plans.

Personally, I would have kept the theme and dumped Don Cherry, but that’s just me.

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Canada

But no sports film will ever be as good as Slap Shot

A recent article in the Guardian named, in the writer Scott Murray’s opinion, six of the worst sports movies of all time. In the comments section, which is no longer there, I added my own entry for worst sports movie.

Youngblood was a 1986 film in which Rob Lowe played an American hockey player who seeks to make his mark in Canadian junior hockey by joining the fictional Hamilton Mustangs. His friend and mentor is played by Patrick Swayze, who would go on to greater fame by being repeatedly name checked in the Trailer Park Boys.  In the film, Lowe is an excellent player who hasn’t learned that he will not become a true hockey star, and verily, a real man, until he has learned to pound the shit out of an opposing player. Will he be able to be a real man and will he bang the coach’s daughter? Well, yes on both counts.

As if that isn’t enough to recommend it, the film also features Keanu Reeves as a Québecois goalie with a h’outrageous h’accent.

No, it’s not a good film by any stretch but I caught it the other day on the unrequested cable channel Game TV.

You didn’t often see Canada playing Canada on film back in those days, even if it was presented as a kind of exile for Youngblood.  I think things are better now but when I was growing up, I always had it put in my head that that there wasn’t much to recommend English Canadian culture. I guess for that reason there wasn’t much effort put into producing it on a popular scale.

So when an American movie comes along with such acting greats as Lowe and Swayze, along with the luminescent Cynthia Gibb and it takes place right here in little ol’ Canada, well, that was a big deal. It’s funny that I thought that but there it is.  Seeing it for the first time in 22 years, I spent most of the movie picking out ephemera from Canada in the mid 1980’s: Player’s Light cigarette packs without big warnings, stubby necked Molson Export bottles, the old Loblaw’s font, bright orange Pizza Pizza boxes, etc, etc.

Today I think things are different in that English Canadian pop culture has found its audience (or perhaps the other way around). And while I disagree with defining Canadian as simply “not American,” it’s nice to see that we’ve gained the confidence to make our own dumb sports movies and not wait for Hollywood to come up and do it for us.

Not Ghana win, after all

Sadly, my full-sized Ghana flag must come down from the car.

Brazil – 3, Ghana – 0

Stupid Brazil. Think they’re so big…

Go Ghana Go!

Well, so far I picked the right team to back:

Ghana – 2, USA – 1

And I’m off for the weekend. Talk to y’all when I get back.

FIFA Round Up

I don’t pay much attention to the foosball and the World Cup and all that. It doesn’t help that I have no sports channels in the cable lineup, either. However, when I do catch it on TV, I can become riveted by it. I understand the popularity.

The US and Canada have gone pretty much a century not paying any attention to the World Cup, even when either of our countries are in it. It’s a shame, too. It looks like a quite a party.

Also, it should be noted that the Scots will never, ever cheer for England. On BBC this morning, a joke went around that the sale of papayas skyrocketed in Scotland for all the Carribean-themed there parties during the England-Trinidad and Tobago match.

When I do watch, I tend to root for whichever ancesteral homeland is there. Alas, Denmark nor Scotland are in this time. I’m also English by way of France by way of Turkey somewhere way way back in the family tree. But that’s just too complicated.

So I tend to root for the African countries. Why? Because they’re underdogs. No African team has ever won the World Cup.

Today, surprisingly, Ghana beat the Czech Republic 2-0. This made a lot of people very happy:
And that’s why I’m jumping on the Ghana bandwagon – their fans are awesome.

In other news:

Well, hey there, Iran. How YOU doin’?