on the bus again

The Waterboys have been added to this year’s Bluesfest lineup. And while these days The Waterboys also answer to the name Mike, it’s still an interesting addition to the schedule. Also interesting was a preview in Saturday’s newspaper that trumpeted how The Waterboys “have influenced bands such as Simple Minds, Big Country and The Hothouse Flowers.” Sadly, limited space in the arts section meant the accompanying sidebar that explained to readers under 40 who Simple Minds, Big Country and The Hothouse Flowers were, had to be shelved.

I’m always intrigued by the endurance of certain reference points and the demise of others. “Danger, Will Robinson!” a companion exclaimed during a lunch outing yesterday. That phrase, culled from a 1960s television series, has proved to have remarkable staying power in popular culture. (Yes, there was a feature-film remake… 15 years ago.) Likewise, as you read this somewhere in North America a newspaper or magazine editor is poised to publish an article titled “Have [something] will travel.” That for the record, is a play on the title of another TV series — one that hasn’t been on the air since 1963. In Canada, we have endless CBC references to This Hour Has Seven Days, a program few remember. And nothing in the Canadian media has the staying power of adding the suffix “gate” to a scandal. It’s a bit perplexing, given that even American media — which unlike Canadian media might have some reason to at least recall Watergate — abandoned the practice ages ago.

Meanwhile, perfectly good moribund catchphrases continue to gather dust. Surely, cursing was more interesting when it consisted of threats like: “A plague on both your houses!” And new products were more impressive when they employed “space age technology.” I mean, every product made since the early 1960s can make such a futuristic-sounding claim. We are still in the space age, people! Just as, despite the commonplace usage of the term “post-rock,” rock is still very much with us. Reviews of Sigur Ròs’s March 29 Scotiabank Place concert should, therefore, refer to the combo as a “rock” band. Or, under the circumstances, a “stadium rock” band.

That should clear up any confusion.

(Scribbled during a 95 bus trip from Baseline Station to Bank and O’Connor. This time, as you can see, I had time to form complete sentences.)

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Filed under On the bus, Ottawa

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