November 17th @ Free Times Café

I’ve always been a bit of a sports fan, but until recently, as in last year’s magical playoff run by the Toronto Raptors (pause to think back how exciting that was), I never really paid much attention to the NBA – the National Basketball Association.

I am giving it a bit more attention now that the Raptors are the defending champions (that does sound good, doesn’t it?), but I’m not a huge fan. For example I don’t think I could name all the teams in the league. I do know that the team in Utah is called the Jazz which has to be stupidest name in professional sports. Admit it, when you think “jazz” pretty much the last place you think of is Utah. The most famous musical group from Utah is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir – and whatever you think of them, they ain’t jazz.

Amway, because I’m not a big NBA fan I hadn’t heard of John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks until very recently. On a basketball court there isn’t anything incredibly noticeable about Collins, he’s 6’9, 235 pounds with a wingspan of 7 feet (yes they measure wingspan in the NBA – and it makes sense, he plays for team called the Hawks). He also, like many NBA players, is heavily tattooed. As someone who has no tattoos (due in large part to my dread of needles) if you’re 6’9 does that mean you have more room for tattoos than someone who is say, 5’9 or do your tattoos have to be proportionally bigger because you’re bigger? Just curious.

The reason that I know about John Collins is that he was recently suspended by the NBA for violating their drug policy. In his case, he was found using growth hormones. I have to say when I heard this two things immediately came to mind. First, the guy is 6’9 – does he really need to use growth hormones. And second, do they work? I’ve been waiting a long time for the growth spurt my parents promised me when I was 16 and I don’t care if I have to buy new wardrobe, it’d be pretty cool to be three or four inches taller. Plus, I don’t think the Law Society tests for growth hormones and I know my mixed volleyball league doesn’t either so there doesn’t seem to be a lot of down side. But enough about me

After Collins was caught he did what all athletes do, he issued a statement where he apologized to the fans. I’ve never had fans to apologize to, but I think if you ever have to apologize to your fans, you want to do so in a way that makes you seem human and relatable – even if you have a seven foot wingspan. Here is part of what Collins said in his apology (and I’m not making this up – I’ve actually made very little up in this blurb which is a bit out of the ordinary for these things) “I took a supplement which unbeknownst to me…”

We can just stop here because if you use the word ‘unbeknownst’ in your apology you have lost everyone. No one uses ‘unbeknownst’ – ‘unbeknownst’ is a word that PR folks and lawyers insist their clients put in statements just so that everyone knows that their statements were written by PR folks and lawyers. The only time ‘unbeknownst’ has any place in any sentence is if it is being uttered by an actor in a Shakespeare play. Otherwise forget it. Whatever sympathy John Collins hoped to gain from his apology – unbeknownst to him, he lost when he used the word ‘unbeknownst.’

And this brings us, as it inevitably must, to Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room. We are a team – a musical team. And on the team we have lots of different players who play lots of different instruments which makes seeing us lots of fun. And, on occasion, despite our diligent rehearsing and our hours of getting songs just right, sometimes they come out all wrong. Sometimes, not very often I want to assure you, we kind of screw-up. Actually we don’t kind of screw-up we really do screw up. And on those occasions, rare as they are, there is no pretending that we’re playing the song correctly – we can’t fool people by saying this is the jazz version of the song – we just get it wrong. And when we do we don’t hide. We don’t say “Unbeknownst to some members of the group this song is actually in the key of G although it appears some people think it is in the key of C and one person, for reasons unbeknownst to the rest of us, is playing it in F.” Nope we just come out and say we got it wrong, go to the next tune and nail that one.

So come to see us this Sunday, November 17 at the Free Times’ Café (College west of Spadina). The show starts at 8. It’ll be good, and if one or two little parts aren’t quite as good, we won’t use our huge collective wingspan to hide it.

Jonathan

PS: While I’m sure most of you know this – bagpipes will be played at the show. The reason I have to tell you is that if the playing of bagpipes at the show was unbeknownst to you, then we could be sued for intentional infliction of musical suffering. You’ve been warned.

November 17th Set List:
Set #1:Set #2:
Mist Covered Mountains
Invitation To The Blues
Song For A Winter’s Night
The Last Time
Ventura
I Mean It When I Say I Do
Roddy McCorley
Lake Dore Waltz
I’ll Fly Away
New Joan Of Arc
People Are Crazy
Glenora Ferry
First We Take Manhattan
When Will I Be Loved
Mary Ellen Carter
Black Orpheus
Breathe In
Bad Hand
Pancho And Lefty
So Long Marianne
Lay Down Sally
I Wanna Be A Blues Guy
Have I The Right
I Won’t Back Down