Two thoughts on Canada Day, 2020:
In one of his many collections of essays, Canadian humourist Eric Nicol mused about what it means to be a Canadian. He wrote that a Canadian citizenship document would probably say:
“This is to certify I am not an American.”
I’m not much of a nationalist or flag waver, so that sums me up pretty well. We can’t even do controversy well, like the Canadian ambassador to Russia allegedly “interfering” with Russia’s attempt to ban marriage equality.
One of the few things I am nationalistic about is music. Most Canadian music doesn’t travel well because of Canadian Content laws, or CanCon (which will turn 50 years old in 2021). The laws forced record companies to develop Canadian acts, which created multiple generations of Canadian music. But at the same time, the US, UK and other places said, “They’re only on Canadian radio because of CanCon, not because they’re any good.” Their loss. (Except France, which was happy to have Quebecois artists.)
A year before CanCon, Mashmakhan’s “As The Years Go By” was released in summer 1970, fifty years ago. It was a #1 hit in Canada in August 1970, a Top 40 in the US, and went platinum in several countries, a rarity for any singles in that era, let alone for a Canadian group. It wasn’t number 1 on Dominion Day (what is now Canada Day), but this is close enough.
As summer ends, though, kidding goes out the window when I talk about a darker event in Canada’s history.