December 20th @ Free Times Café

A while ago I was looking for something to watch on TV (not for me really, but rather to keep in touch with the world around me so I would be better prepared to write these little blurbs – yes I care too much – it’s been said before). Anyway, on the listings page I saw a show called Bass Masters. Now, being a musician, or at least someone who hangs out with musicians, I was intrigued. Would the show profile pioneering rock bass players like John Entwistle or Jack Bruce; perhaps the funk masters like James Jamerson or Bootsy Collins; maybe jazzers like Charlie Mingus orJaco Pastorius. I was intrigued.

Imagine my disappointment then when I watched the show only to discover that it wasn’t about bass players but rather about people who fish for bass (damn homonyms, no wonder English is so tricky). Yes, this was an entire show about people fishing, and not just fishing, but specifically fishing for bass. And this wasn’t some one-off show, no way – this was the last show in the series for the year. That’s right, an entire season of watching people fish for bass – be still my heart.

As it turned out however, the show I watched was oddly compelling. You see this show was about the guy who won the competition and therefore was being crowned the Bass Master. And being the Bass Master is a very big deal. We saw the Bass Master being paraded around a full arena in one of the Carolinas (North or South I can’t remember) to a packed house of people standing and cheering. And he was being paraded around in the truck that he won for being the Bass Master, towing the boat that he won for being the Bass Master. Not pictured was the $1,000,000 he also won (yes, I have the number of zeros right) for being the Bass Master.

The highlight of the show for me was when the announcer asked the Bass Master how it felt to win and the Bass Master replied, with tears streaming down his face (and its clearly OK to cry when you’re the Bass Master) and I’m not making this up “Next to finding Jesus and marrying my wife, this is the greatest day of my life.”

Now it is possible that I have the order of the three greatest days of his life mixed up; marrying his wife could have been first and finding Jesus second, but being Bass Master was clearly third. And when you think about it, as excited as he was, putting being Bass Master third really was his only choice. I suppose finding Jesus could have been third because presumably Jesus wouldn’t hold a grudge wherever he was placed – although probably being in the top 10 is important – I know he’s used to being in the top three. And while his wife presumably could understand ranking behind Jesus, she probably wouldn’t have liked being behind snagging a bass.

Anyway, all of this speaks to the difficulty in ranking things. And this becomes a real issue at this time of year because now we are presented with a seemingly endless list of the best things of the year. The best songs; albums; books; videos; TV shows; restaurants; toys; quotes; hamburger joints; politicians; art shows; plays; movies; video games; sports teams, athletes; marmots, court cases; actors, photographs; stocks; lists; etc. etc.

And then of course there’s Santa, who has to make a list of everyone who’s naughty or nice – though I suppose it’s easier just having two choices, it’s not like the cut off for presents is the 120,265,456 nicest person in the world – that would be a really long list even for Santa, who apparently has the whole year to figure it out (though my guess is he just uses the same list year after year and just adds the babies and takes off the dead people).

As it turns out, we’re making a list at Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room too. And your help is required. You see, our annual all-request show takes place on Sunday, December 20, at the Free Times Café (on College, just west of Spadina). For this show, we tally up your requests and play the songs that people most want to hear. You don’t have to worry about picking favourites, you can just pick all the songs you want to hear and we’ll worry about the list. If you haven’t voted yet, go to and make your choices.

You can vote even if you can’t make the show, but if you can it starts at 8 and there is no cover. Hope to see you there.

– Jonathan

P.S. I should acknowledge that the joke at the start of this missive about me being a guy who hangs out with musicians was stolen. The original joke goes Q. What do you call a bagpipe player? A. A guy who hangs out with musicians. And that’s the essence of humour; that it shows us the truth.