October 19th @ Free Times Café

I’ve been thinking recently about what it is that makes Canada unique. The struggle to define Canadian identity is of course one that has been going on since Canada became a country. It has engaged the minds of some of the smartest women and men in this country – some of the dumbest too – take a bow Don Cherry.

Now I am hardly among the smartest people in this country (and I can see all the heads of those reading this little missive nodding in agreement at this point) but I think I have something to contribute to this debate. I think Canada should be known as a nation of turtle smugglers. That’s right, turtle smuggling.

Earlier this month a Canadian man was caught in Detroit trying to smuggle 1,007 turtles (they counted each one) to China. And in September, another Canadian was stopped coming from the US with 51 turtles strapped to his body. Where you may wonder were they strapped? Well 41 were strapped to his legs and 10 were between his legs (sparking a variation on that age old line – is that a turtle between your legs or are you just glad to see me).

Now I know that turtle smuggling is not necessarily something to be proud of, but we could make something of this. The CBC could have a show called “So You Think You Can Smuggle Turtles” and the theme song for the show could be Happy Together by, of course, The Turtles. And they could up the ante by having people strap snapping turtles between their legs – that would be gripping TV. Cities could have turtle strapping contests, and schools could have fundraisers where adorable little Canadian tykes would be used as mules to smuggle turtles across various borders. I don’t know about you but this could really take off – although turtles actually rarely do ever take off.

There is obviously some work to do to make turtle smuggling the thing that Canadians are known for. Maybe we could rent Johnny Depp for a few weeks to reprise his Pirates of Caribbean role for some commercials where we show him strapping turtles on his body to outsmart whoever it is that pirates outsmart. And maybe we could get some folks to write some stirring Stan Rogers type songs about turtle smuggling (“Oh the night was dark and the water cold/We had 457 turtles hidden in the hold”). Yes, I think this could work, but it will take time.

While I plan to dedicate much of my life now to making turtle smuggling an essential part of the Canadian national fabric I still plan to remain a part of that musical ensemble known as Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room. And we will once again be plying our trade (if you can call a gig where there is no cover a trade) at the Free Times Cafe (on College just west of Spadina) on Sunday, October 19. The show starts at 8 and there will be lots of music of many different genres. And if I move around a bit more than I usually do onstage, who knows, I might have a turtle or 12 strapped to my legs.

Hope to see you there.


October 19th Set List
Set #1 Set #2
Waly Waly / Calypso Piper
Little Bit Of Rain
Excuse Me…
Diamond Girl
Sugar Mountain
Jump In The Fire
Blue Side Of Lonesome
I’ve Been The One
Crazy In The World
Choo Choo
I Don’t Look Good Naked
My Back Pages
Down Under
Glenora Ferry
Hungry Heart
Where Does Love Go
Dead Flowers
Sisters Of Mercy
Parents Like Us
This Old Horse
Together Again
Wheels On Fire
Mercedes Benz
Trashy Women
Happy Together
The End Is Not In Sight
Every Time You Walk Into The Room