2010.01.27

JUST ANOTHER JOB

(Like me, you won’t expect the bumper, a song called Adieu Alouette, starring a psychedelic animated Robert Charlebois, but stick it out and you’ll know a lot more than you did before about Québécois culture.)

One of the ideas turning over near the back of my head, popping up and demanding more and more attention, is a FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS-style series about hockey. When I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had found my hook into writing such a show–small town wins Hockeyville-style contest and the aftermath–Shana expressed her shock that Canada hadn’t already done it.

Canada has the laziest television and film industry of any country anywhere. The English-speaking industry–I think we may actually contribute more to Indian television and film than our own. That’s not to say the people in the industry don’t work hard; they do. It’s just that they’re making American programming. We speak English, and we’re so damn close to America that, for the most part, we just don’t bother making our own shows. Why should we when the Americans will sell us CSIs for cheap?

We’re getting there. We’re getting better. Some day, maybe, Canadians can work in Canada, rather than moving down to Los Angeles (which, I read once, is the 5th largest Canadian city by population. That number’s probably higher now).

This is a short half hour film by Pierre Letarte, documenting the 1972 Québéc Nordiques when they were being coached by Maurice Richard. It has me thinking about THE HOCKEY SWEATER, of course. Which sent me looking for a good version of Stompin’ Tom’s The Hockey Song. For as much as Canadians love hockey–and we really do. I grew up in a house where my dad played goal, and my brother played in the street because he couldn’t skate, and I still love hockey, even though I kinda hate watching it on TV–as much as we love hockey, we don’t actually create a lot of cultural product. But I’m not convinced that’s the fault of our industry, of the way we’ve let American stories dominate our national identity. I think it’s actually our nationally identity summed up: we’d rather play hockey than watch.