November 17 @ Free Times Café

Wow, it’s been a pretty incredible few weeks hasn’t it. I’ve been glued to the news, as I’m sure you have as well. I can’t remember a story as compelling as the Canada Europe Trade Agreement (CETA). I suppose it helped that otherwise it’s been a slow news period but even if there was some really incredible news out there (I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head) I think CETA would still steal the show.

Much of the focus on CETA so far has been about cheese. It appears that the agreement will allow more European cheese into Canada and that is worrying some Canadian cheese manufacturers, particularly from Quebec. I haven’t read any concerns voiced by the people who make Cheez Whiz but that might be because a) there is no real cheese in Cheez Whiz and b) the magic ingredient – “Whiz” – is not included in the agreement.

As I’ve been thinking about the agreement – and it’s really driven everything else completely out of my brain – I’ve pondered if perhaps we don’t truly understand the import of this provision in CETA.

For example, ‘throwing cheese’ in baseball means having a good fastball. Maybe CETA will allow the Toronto Blue Jays to bring in pitchers from Europe with great fastballs duty-free and thus give them an advantage against teams in the U.S. who would still have to pay duty. That would certainly help the Jays who do need help with their pitching.

And then of course there is cheesy music. Cheesy music is easy to identify but difficult to define (there are lots of Internet sites that give lists of cheesy songs but never really define it). It’s not quite as simple as saying that the music that I like is great and the music that I don’t like is cheesy – although that may well be true. Rather, cheesy music is the popular music you hear that appears devoid of any real content but is ubiquitous and drives you crazy.

Europe is really good at cheesy music. If you don’t believe me, just listen or watch any of the winners of the Eurovision Song Contest and you will hear cheese. And this may explain why the province of Quebec is so concerned about more cheese coming in from Europe. After all, Celine Dion is Quebec’s queen of cheese. Celine is the biggest Canadian purveyor of cheese both in this country and around the world. I have heard it argued (it could have been on the CBC’s At Issue panel but it may have been somewhere else) that the fact that Conservative Party has lost ground in Quebec means that they are less likely to fight for protection of Canadian cheese. That also means that the NDP, who is doing well in Quebec, may have to leap to Celine Dion’s side to protect her innate Québecois cheesiness.

What does any of this have to do with Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room’s show this Sunday, November 17 at the Free Times Cafe (College and Major just west of Spadina). Nothing yet – we still go on at 8 and there is no cover. But if CETA mandates more European cheese, then if and when the deal is ratified, our set list may have to change significantly. On the other hand, we do have bagpipes and we play Scottish tunes, so perhaps we already meet our European cheese content. Come see us Sunday and find out.

Hope to see you there.

– Jonathan


November 28th Set List
Set #1 Set #2
Old Rustic Bridge
Five Days In May
I’m Looking Through You
I Mean It When I Say I Do
A Father’s Love
Ashokan Farewell
Do It Again
Car Wheels On A Gravel Road
Roses At The Pow Wow
How Will I Ever Be Simple Again
God Only Knows
Orange Blossom Special
She’s Not There
Spontaneous Combustion
Them Dance Hall Girls
Running Out Of Memory For You
Hanging Around The House
Breathe In, Breathe Out
The Reason I Left Mullingar
Jump Into The Fire
Andrew McNeil (Piobaireachd)
Lay Down Sally
Where Does Love Go
Trashy Women
Bang Bang
Volcanic Jig
When The Night Comes