Why not a song about local vandalism in Wakefield, Quebec


by admin on December 2, 2009

By Andrew Salkeld
I was greatly encouraged by the report on Martha Wainwright and her Black Sheep song.
First, the lyrics are a great improvement over her earlier songs.  I was asked by a young British relative a year or so ago if all Canadians spoke like Martha Wainwright. He was alluding to an album of hers that contains almost nothing but foul-mouthed and four-letter obscenities.Second, I join Paul Symes in welcoming the song as “brutally honest” and telling-it-like-it-is.  Drunk-driving and death-on-the-road experiences are part of the rich pattern of Wakefield life! (We can, however, be grateful she left out the bit about the visit to the toilet).  This reach for the truth could be emulated by local songsters and songstresses – and I would encourage compositions dealing with local vandalism and break-ins, as well as the municipal council’s recent proposal to open a regional septic tank sewage disposal plant next to Home Hardware (and presumably Hamilton Motors and Morrison Heights); the wrap-around approach of Hwy 5; and other pressing local issues.  In this way, through the medium of song, we would at least be able to hear about these things clearly, be suitably scandalized, and also read the banner headlines on the front page of the Low Down.
Third, this negative, attention-catching approach to life-in-the-Hills will encourage a positive backlash.  Local songsmiths will now doubtless sharpen their pencils and vocal cords and woo us with a true reflection of life here in Wakefield, including images that the vast majority of us see, hear and enjoy every day of our lives.  The beauty of our surroundings – our river, hills and trees and parks, the love and support of friends and neighbours, the amazing spirit of our community, our ability to pull together, our wonderful and courageous local leaders, healers and artists, our many amenities and our spiritual centres as well as our ability to plan together for the future (PPU).
In fact I will go so far as to start a small fund to honour the winner of a competition for “Best Song or Poem honouring Wakefield”.  Perhaps the Low Down and Paul Symes could organize such a contest.
Finally, when I contrast the picture of an agonized Martha Wainwright on the front page of last week’s Low Down with the gorgeous photograph of Lindsay Ferguson that I have been obliged to admire through November in the Wakefield Nudes Calendar, I know exactly where I stand, when it comes to local expression and charm!
Andrew Salkeld  lives in Wakefield.