GUEST BLOG: As we continue our look at hobbies that become passions: singing in the shower is fine enough…for some.
GUEST BLOG: Summer is a time many of us pursue hobbies, or at least dream about doing so. Today’s guest blog comes courtesy of someone who makes his hobby a year round pleasure.
TIFF has just announced some of their 2017 lineup so get excited. Still, there’s enough decent fare before then in commercial theatres to tide this fangirl over until then. Here’s my midsummer list of a surprisingly satisfying summer movie season.
So I’ve directed your gaze to a film about Canadian name-dropping, and another to that incredible creative machine, the National Film Board. Encouraged you to drop your drawers and jump in the lake at twilight, and if not, pick up a canoe paddle and give it a try. It’s always better in a canoe, naked or not.
Truly, if we all do only one thing tomorrow it’s this: relish our freedom.
Free to protest.
Free to learn, especially things we weren’t taught. Freedom to listen.
Free to be angry.
Free to welcome.
Free to love.
Free to wander.
Free to wonder at the myriad stories. There is no one ritual but many beautiful customs and I toast them all.
Especially free ones like listening to a bunch of new Canadian music playlists. Who doesn’t like to be reminded of our greats? Joni makes everyone’s lists, and so does Leonard, Feist, K.D Lang, Gordon Lightfoot…and Celine. Apparently she’s cool again. Years ago she graced our green room at Global TV, my old stomping grounds. She was endearing and humble and a family person above anything else. Kind of like most Canadians I know. But I digress…
All holidays are hard for some people, especially those disconnected from the central narratives. Be cautious about branding. Even as I say it, I know I date myself. We live in the age of branding. To hell with it.
Are we nice? Are we polite? Are we tolerant?
We are free.
I choose to believe we are moving forward together. I choose to believe our welcome mat is a worthy symbol, no matter how big a loser that makes me, Steven Marche.
It has become abundantly clear in 2017 that patriotism is for losers. Patriotism is for people and for countries that need to justify their existence through symbols rather than achievements.
This week, a dear friend welcomed a new family into her embrace. She and a generous Toronto based collective have sponsored a new family’s arrival from Eritrea and the pictures and stories of this initiative are so bloody inspiring that I want to cry. It is theirs to cherish and I wish them all the bounty this vast land has to offer. Here is how my wonderful bighearted friend Deb (the best kind of Canadian there is) described Day 2 with her new friends:
They are smart and adaptable and are picking up our ways very quickly. It is truly remarkable.
Happy Canada Day. Be glorious. Be free. Be adaptable and remember those who can’t celebrate today. They are in our hold too.
They may say it’s too hard, it’s too ambitious. Well, I say love is ambitious.
Peter and I spent many Canada Days in Ottawa. This year we’ll skip the crowds. What does your Canada Day look like?
No one is going to accuse you of cultural appropriation if you lower yourself into the bowels of a canoe. Canoe culture is real and part of our historical threads in Canada, as trip enthusiast Kate Dotsikas writes for Voyageur Quest, the only place in this country that you really want to organize your next canoe trip.
The canoe is sleek and unfussy. You need only a paddle (and a cushy thing for your knees, if you’re my vintage).
My paddle’s keen and bright
flashing with sliver
Wildlife is rarely disturbed by a paddler if your dip is quiet.
Meditative for a solo paddler, canoes accommodate crowds too. Dumping is allowed…once.
If you want to know about someone, take them on a canoe trip. Lily dippers are the ones to look out for. They can get back into your good graces only if they join the trippers’ chorus on the lake. Knowing the harmony will win you an extra marshmallow come dusk.
In my side of the family, there isn’t anyone who missed a canoe lesson from our chief canoeist, Marion Langford, today celebrating her 85th birthday.
Over the decades, my mother has given paddling lessons (dockside and in the boat itself) to her five children and their spouses, and all her eleven grandchildren. Once a camp program director, always a camp program director.
The loons on the lake have surely come to recognize the hairstyle and sure stroke of my mother. Neither have changed much. She’s not a cliché either. Happy Birthday Mom. Dip, dip, and swing.
As for the rest of you, any virgin paddlers out there, find a lake. Glide awhile. No need for flag waving. It’s all here.
BARE NAKED NATION
Folklore demands the loon as our brand
a call every Canadian knows
a call to their mate a dip and a date
a smack to their snap turtle foes
We have no quibble with iconic dribble
though truth here be told is amiss
for the face of our coins should feature our loins
the skinny dip mister and miss
From Tofino to Truro a bare naked bureau
disrobing with absence of dread
diving white tushes scatter the fishes
velvety swims before bed
In light of the moon in lieu of the loon
we toast the innocent dip
for cottaging duty is baring your booty
bountiful modest or ripped
A chunky dunk splash a chubby dub blast
or Auntie Anne’s entry to date
Let’s honour and have it humdrum or havoc
CBC hear us debate
Grant us the order no bylaws no borders
we really don’t need to make signs
We just want the status even this wiseass
even the fools who make rhymes
Make us a symbol of national pride
give us our lake waters calm
Let us declare
twilight as bare
skinny dip Canucks are da bomb
Anne Langford © 2015 (written on the occasion of a wedding shower for my niece to introduce her partner to Canadian culture)
150 hugs for the NFB.
Hollywood films are seen around the world. For a very long time, we were a mere footnote. A refuge if you were just a little crazy.
Of course the view changes when newcomers arrive. What do they see then? What happens when you give cameras to refugees and ask them to document their new Canadian world around them as they experience it?
Have a look here.
Who we are depends on what we see, and how we see it. Tomorrow I will show you a beautiful little film that gets it right.