Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Canada/More Fun With Namesakes

I love Canada. I seriously do. I have never been there but it is basically my holy land. I would love to go there, traveling around, skiing and seeing all my favourite bands. I have a bunch of family there too, so I could probably get accommodation pretty easily.

I've always felt like I can relate to Canada. As some of you may know I spent a bit of time in my youth kicking back in Toronto, NSW. If you listen to Darren Hanlon as obsessively as I do, you know that NSW has a tendency to steal the names of other, more famous places. I guess it might be to make believe that the location is more exotic than it is. I remember being on the phone to someone in another state and mentioning that I was in Cardiff for the day. This was the Cardiff that was only about twenty minutes drive from my house, but I think it says something about what I'm like that the person I was talking to not only assumed I had spontaneously left the country, but wasn't even that surprised by the idea.

I spent time in Toronto mainly because I went out with a guy who lived there. Oddly enough, when he was a kid he had actually lived in Canada, gone to high school in Sydney and then found himself living in Toronto, NSW. I guess there's something to be said for familiarity. Possibly the most Canadian sounding thing I did there was when was when I found myself drinking with a brass band at ten in the morning at the Toronto RSL, although I was sadly the designated driver. You have no idea of the looks I received when I turned down the free beer, even though it was ten in the morning. 

I remembered another thing that makes me feel like I have ties to Canada after receiving a letter from the optometrist who prescribed me my first pair of glasses. His name was Brian Adams and I always thought that was the funniest thing in the world. I love namesakes. More specifically, I love comparing people to their famous namesakes. Dr Brian Adams may have been my favourite, but there have been others that I've known. 

My best friend in high school was a particularly good example. He was one of the best people I've ever been friends with, just because of the sheer level of absurdity I could get away with in conversation with him. Every single person we knew was convinced we were doing it, but we were honestly just really good friends. One of the most wonderfully random phone calls I have ever received was when he called me out of the blue after we hadn't seen each other in a while, and duly informed me that he was in an airport in Sri Lanka. The thing is, his name was George Martin. I hesitated before including his full name out of fear he might find this by googling himself, but then I remembered that this entry would be nowhere near the top of the google results for that particular search term.

I've often wondered if having the same name as someone so closely connected to the Beatles affected the way he listened to music, because he was very retro. He listened to a lot of vinyl, but it wasn't a hipster thing. It was more to do with the fact that almost all the music he listened to had been released before the invention of the CD. 

There was one particular day when we were out together - we had arranged to meet at a butcher. Solely for the pun value. Which we didn't shut up about for a long time, even though it doesn't work that well in past tense. From the butcher we wandered down to the Beaumont St Beat, a shop that advertised itself as the only independent music retailer in Newcastle. I was always insanely jealous of the people who worked there, who got paid to know more about obscure music than anyone else. It was kinda my dream job.

There was an album that George wanted that wasn't currently in stock. He put in an order form, but gave them my number. I think it was because he was going on holidays and didn't want to miss the call. The thing is, it was a Beatles album. I am so glad that I was the one who answered the call when the CD arrived. I'm fairly sure that if either of my parents had answered a call from a music store saying they had a Beatles album reserved for George Martin, they would have hung up straight away.

-Smackie Onassis

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