July 1, 2012

A Canadian BQT flashback

Happy Canada Day! This day has somewhat special significance for your beloved quizmaster, since I am —technically—Canadian. My father was born in the bustling metropolis of Windsor, Ontario,  best known as the city where 19- and 20-year-old Detroit kids go on Friday nights in order to drink legally. When I was 15 years old, he was transferred to the considerably more bustling metropolis of Montreal, Quebec, where I spent the last three of my high school years (and by virtue of my dad's heritage, acquired a Canadian passport, which is pathetically out of date at the moment). Montreal was awesome, but by the time I was 20, back in the States for good, this adventure had retreated into the nostalgic recesses of my mind, and I was boring old American again. But I will always bristle when my countrymen express their characteristic ignorance of their northern neighbor (as when, yes, right-wing idiots declared they were moving to Canada to escape Obamacare). And to answer your question, yes, it was damn cold, but that doesn't sound so bad considering what it's like in NYC right now (good thing global warming is a myth, huh?).

Today is Canada Day, the anniversary of Canuck independence (1869), and I'm honoring it by tweeting my favorite Canadi-factoids all day. But twice in the BQT's history—2003 and 2008—I commemorated the holiday with a special audio round: "Keep on Rockin’ in the Land of Socialized Health Insurance" (well, the first time I didn't call it that, since I wasn't as imaginative back then). Songs by Canadian artists, of which there are many, many, because Canadians are awesome (and there ain't much else to do in Winnipeg but form a band). Digging through the archives, here's what I deemed quizworthy back in the day…

1. "These Eyes" -- The Guess Who
2. "Fat Lip" -- Sum 41
3. "Never Surrender" -- Corey Hart
4. "Puppy Love" -- Paul Anka
5. "All For Swinging You Around" -- The New Pornographers
6. "Suzanne" -- Leonard Cohen
7. "Sk8er Boi" -- Avril Lavigne
8. "Southern Man" -- Neil Young
9. "Informer" -- Snow
10. "Carey" -- Joni Mitchell

A nice mix there: legends and flashes in the pan, great tunes ("These Eyes" is immortal) and conscious garbage ("Puppy Love"). I remember that hardly any teams could ID the New Pornographers song, but hey, I wanted to seem current (Avril Lavigne wasn't enough for me; BTW, in those days before easy song downloading, I acquired that song by purchasing a bootleg CD on Canal Street in Chinatown). I also seriously considered upping the list to 11 tracks, since I felt the desperate need to squeeze in Toronto's pride of the '90s, Barenaked Ladies. Laugh, if you want, but I was way into that band in high school, when they had yet to break through in the States, and they were a terrifically dorky live act. Granted, everything they've done in the past 15 years sucks, but hey, how good is your band?

 Circa 1992, I could really relate

Then, five years later…

1. "Man! I Feel Like A Woman" -- Shania Twain
2. "Heat Of The Night" -- Bryan Adams
3. "Signs" -- Five Man Electrical Band
4. "Turn Me Loose" -- Loverboy
5. "Building a Mystery" -- Sarah McLachlan
6. "Closer To The Heart" -- Rush
7. "Money City Maniacs" -- Sloan
8. "1234" -- Feist
9. "Welcome To My Life" -- A Simple Plan
10. "If You Could Read My Mind" -- Gordon Lightfoot

Only time ever A Simple Plan opened for Gordon Lightfoot. It's strange, but I have a much less vivid memory of this round than the one from five years earlier, though clearly I was over Barenaked Ladies by then. And it looks like I was conscious of not reusing anyone from the first edition. BTW, when you're a geeky teen boy in Canada in the early '90s, it is a legal requirement that you become a Rush fan. And when you're a geeky Canadian indie-rock snob in the mid-'90s, it is mandatory you become a Sloan fan (best band ever from Halifax, Nova Scotia). Listen:

So seriously, who should've been in there? And what if I did a new edition now? (Well, a year from now.) Is Bieber too obvious? Time to finally give Bachman-Turner Overdrive some love?