First of all, I'd love to thank you for an excellent performance at the Marquee Club last Hallowe'en. I'm sorry that I couldn't stay for the rest of your set since I had to go to work the next morning - being in the miltary means being very punctual.
Even though your latest release "White Light Rock & Roll Review" rocks, I still prefer the moody "Avalanche" as well as the old-school MGB stuff: "Hello, Timebomb" still blows me away everytime I play it.
However, "North American For Life" is starting to be my new favourite. Here in Halifax, good music is pretty hard to get on the radio - one rock station just doesn't cut it for me (no offence, Q104!) and the local university station, CKDU, is virtually impossible to get where I'm staying (DND Windsor Park). At least in Toronto, there will always be variety whether people want it or not. I just wish that song could get played more often on the radio here.
I understand that some people have trouble understanding your lyrics - they either find them too bitter, political, sarcastic or all of the above. But I think that it takes a lot of balls to express yourself in any medium. Whether or not people love your music is moot - you will always be your own greatest fan.
Now, having said all that, I found out that you've created a bit of a shitstorm with respect to one entry in your blog asking our Yank neighbours their opinions about 9/11 (always a touchy subject), general world knowledge (a cliche we Canadians all share), their government policy (trust me, it's all the fault of Freemasons) and, of course, our most favourite subject of all, medicare (it's the new Canadian Religion - the NHL lockout is not doing Hockey any good anymore).
The problem is that, as a casual member of the VRWC, I find it a little overused and overabused to ask the Yanks variations of the same 10 questions, mostly asked either by left-wing members of the citizenery, the Europeans or Michael Moore. When asked by Canada's Most Ascerbic Songwriter, this act implies intrusion on someone else's affairs.
Currently, and you and I must agree, we really don't have much of an independant external affairs agenda. We used to be the diplomatic masters of the Postwar/Cold War world, - us being the meat in the USA vs. USSR ICBM sandwich. But nowadays we are starting to rely more on the United Nations for our foreign policy. Why is that? Since we virtually accept everyone from the ROTW ("rest of the world"), why can't we just say "Kofi, listen to us, pretty please with double-sugar-and-cream" and set the tone for foreign policy. Sure, Canadian businesses have a stake in it, but what about the people who vote parties into power? And what about those amongst us who come from despot-ruled places that don't have our QOL ("quality of life").
Instead, we are held hostage by a theory called "moral equivalence" which determines whether or not we should help our friends, make new ones, create enemies and take any kind of positive action. Yes - we do decry children getting killed in Palestine, but when some whacked-out fucktard detonates a bomb inside a Tel Aviv nightclub killing innocents and maiming more, we sit on our fucking hands? You can tell W to free Mumia - sure thing, but do you have to balls to tell China to free Tibet just as much as you can tell W to free Iraq? Little Pauly Poopypants had the opportunity to say so, but didn't - that's independant Canadian Foreign Policy?
As for CIA accountability, ask yourself this: if you were determined to bring down the one that wronged you, would you tell the world how you would do it and where? Too simple.
And for our New Canadian Religion, don't get me wrong: I do have pride in the fact that everyone can have access to basic medical services. But the grim socio-econmical reality is that it is stating to get a little more expensive to receive better treatment. And we all know that in reality, medications are that fucking expensive - nver mind the cost of medical equipment and personnel. Unless you're in the miltary, government or big-ass money, you can't get any better - even my family had to pay extra for Dad's private deathbed and better palliative treatment. If we wanted to get better treatment, we should be able to pay for it on our own and not saddle evryone else for the cost. It's all about choice, Matthew. If the Yanks are happy with their choice of medicare, so be it. The only way we could get better public medicare in Canada, in my opinion, is to make more babies - more power to us if we could. More people = more tax $ = better services. Too easy.
There's a lot more that I'd love to say, but having been through the US quite a few times and having Yanqui relatives gave me some new insight with regards to the 'murrican Way of Life™, and sometimes I just say "what-ever". Sure: the Yanks are not the most perfect people around, but in many aspects, neither are we Canucks, even though we pride ourselves in being globally, environmentally, socially and spiritually aware. If we are that great, why is everyone not listening to us? Why are the Yanks prosperous, proud confident and prolific, and not us? Why, in spite of all the flaws that get aired once in a while, do many people choose to move there rather than move here? Why are we, the second largest democratic country in the world, with a plethora of resources both natural and human, not getting enough, if not any, respect? And to take it one step further, when you add all the flaws and ugliness together, can we still be a happy people? When you add all the good things together, is it still possible to be an unhappy people?
I don't have all the answers to these questions, and I doubt very much if you have enough of them as well, but like some members of the Conspiracy, I do have an open mind. And in the end, after all the statistics have been flung around, after all the invectives, accusations, slanders and innuendoes have been flung around, all that remain constant are mind, body, sprit and rawk 'n roll.
Feel free to answer me. Next time you're in town, let's get together with some coffee/tea/beer/vodka/single-malt and sort this mess out, eh?
Looking forward to your next magnum opus, Matt.
Sincerely, without regrets, Jacques Dray.