Saturday, June 03, 2006

Singles Scene #5

Fergus: This month I go on another road trip. A friend in Owen Sound has just had a baby so we pack the kids into the Caravan and head for a fall colours tour of the Beaver Valley, before settling in Owen Sound for the evening. Fortunately, we haven't had time to pick up a baby gift; that means a stop at the Fergus Market is in order.

I say fortunately for a couple of reasons: First, it's a long trip and the kids are sure to get restless. One or two stops along the way would be a good thing. Second, because the Fergus Market is a great place to continue my search. If you have never been, it's a fairly large market with 20 or so stalls and a few small cave-like stores. You can get both new goods and used junk, as well as fresh fruit, ripe cheese and baked goods. There's a small stall that sells new baby stuff: clothes, blankets and the like. The Missus grabs a diaper bag while I buy some strawberry tarts and lemon squares. The lady at the tart stall tells me how wonderful my kids are and entertains me with stories of her own five grown children. I nibble away on a tart thinking, "five kids and she still doesn't have a clue how to bake." You can taste the dough over the berries and later I discover to my dismay that the lemon squares are also doughy.

The baked goods are, however, the only disappointment on this stop. After spending far too long at the used tool guy's stall we buy the kids a few small toys. A sword for the boy, his second in as many months, and some Indian figures for the wee miss. As soon as they are quiet, I stumble upon my treasure. A music stall: records, CD's, bootleg videos and . . . 45's. A big pile of 45's! 3 for $1.00!! In alphabetical order!!! Of all the places I've stumbled across in the last six months, this is the first to bother putting the singles in alphabetical order. And 33 cents apiece is dirt-cheap. The Missus wants to walk ahead and I yell for her to leave me a couple of loony's. She leaves me the kids and I think, what the hell, I should get one or two records out of the guy for them.

There are four piles of records here, 50 maybe 75 records per pile; it's hard to tell as small piles hold a deceptively large number of singles. I quickly find a Paul Anka section and toss the idea of tossing this idea. After (Your) Havin' my Baby I am not sure I ever want to hear Paul Anka again. But a gig is a gig and he is Canadian. None the less I decide on one I have never heard before, As Long As We Keep Believing, thinking maybe it won’t be so bad. Next up is Blood Sweat and Tears, again a song I never heard of: You’re The One. The choice here is fairly good, but I'm in a gambling mood so I decide to risk it all on these two songs I don't know. Of course the price is three for a buck, and my last one is an old favorite from my very early youth, Edward Bear's Last Song. I'm in and out in about three minutes with a dollars worth of Canadiana. Nope, nothing disappointing but the baked goods.

The rest of the day and evening is nice if uneventful. We picked the perfect weekend for fall colours and the Beaver Valley is stunning. The kids and I drop a fishing line in the water at Meaford, then we pick up Chinese take out before visiting the new Mom and Dad. The baby is a beauty, as all baby's invariably are, and the missus is all a glow from holding her. By midnight we are back on highway 6, this time heading south; her grinning away and me nervously quizzing her about whether she is serious in wanting another one. We arrive home too late to worry about my new found Canadian gold, and I put them away until tomorrow.

Next day, first thing (as early as a wife and two kids allow first thing to mean) I begin. Somewhere I Heard that Paul Anka has done some Albums in Italian; Listening to As Long As We Keep Believing I wish he would take out citizenship, then I wouldn’t have to listen to this crap ever again. Truly horrible music, and believe me it hurts me to call it music. If Air Supply was boring, they wouldn’t be this bad. One thing I have learnt, My Way was not an accident. It’s like an industry with this guy!

Next up is Blood Sweat and Tears You’re The One. One of the most respected bands in Canadian Music, loved by the critics, tolerated by the fans, Blood Sweat and Tears is one of those bands that did everything with an eye towards quality instead of the charts. David Clayton Thomas is one of those high end Canadian art types that the CBC love. I am not sure which side is really the A side, but it turns out I know this song. Quality soft rock, nice jazzy backbone to it this is, none the less, not to my taste. Not a bad song, mind you, just not what I listen to. Soft slow and comfortable; a man could screw to this song.

We end where my music memories begin, with Edward Bear’s Last Song. Ahhh. Canada. The Canada I knew and was a pre-teen in. On Friday nights in grade 8 a group of us got together at one house or another and had little parties. This was always the song at the end of the night, the song you broke up to, or got together to. We played spin the bottle and basically had a life like we would never know again. In the next year our social circles would grow so large, and never again would we all get together again, in some cases I never really socialized at all with a lot of these people. Yet here they are, so up front in my memory.

That said, it’s amazing what perspective brings to the table. This really is one of those horrible bits of tripe that I so rail against, yet I can’t hear it enough. To me it’s a gem, the creme de la creme of tripe, if you will. Like a cold day reminds me of Christmas, I swear I am 12 and falling in and out of love again when I hear this song. I want to say it’s beautiful, but a modicum of objectivity won’t let me; it is the memories that are beautiful. This is just the one recollection in the soundtrack of my puberty, but I’ll take it.

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