It’s generally a good sign when you manage to last an entire year with any organization. This is particularly true in the news business.
Last year at this time, I was just preparing to give notice at The Frontenac Gazette. It wasn’t any specific incident, just that things weren’t the same.
Somehow, Jeff Green got wind of it and the next thing you know, we’re talking about who’s going to cover what.
So far, so good. I wasn’t really into the ‘retirement’ idea anyway. After all, I can’t afford a winter residence down south. I have thought about writing more books. But none of my novels went anywhere and I can’t really see anybody paying good money to read about my thoughts on why Stratocasters are so great. (Strats are great but my best buddy lent me his Les Paul for the winter and I could be convinced to play one . . .)
Anyways, where were we?
Ah, yes, the year that was.
It was a year like any other really. There were ups. There were downs. Most of it was in a tolerable zone somewhere in the middle.
It was Canada’s 150 birthday celecbration (sic) year. Lotta buttons out there, lotta buttons . . . and banners.
But a lotta stuff went on.
For one thing, Jim MacPherson talked a bunch of us into playing 150 Canadian Songs down at the beach on Wednesday nights. We’d been jamming regularly for a couple of years and Jim thought it would be a good thing to try.
We started with Neil Young’s Old Man and finished with The Tragically Hip’s Ahead By A Century . . . in a downpour.
We took the show on the road too, playing the opening of the K & P Trail and Covering Canada 150 Coffee House at GREC (both Canada 150 events). Two things I’ll remember about the Coffee House: it was the politest audience I’ve ever played for and Jim saying “10 people taking the stage who have three things in common — we love music, we have a strong feeling for this country, and, up until this week, we’ve enjoyed each other’s company.”
But while 150 logos were cropping up everywhere, there were a few other stories going on.
It was fun to cheer on astronaut candidate Andrew Smith as he went through the process (he got to the final 17 of 72).
It wasn’t as much fun dodging all the rhetoric being flung about as Central Frontenac debated the merits and pitfalls of inspecting everybody’s septic systems.
And in North Frontenac, a somewhat different story began to emerge.
The idea of creating an alternate form of municipal development isn’t new. Ideas come along all the time but rarely do the get to the point of having a mayor coming out and clearly championing the case.
But Mayor Ron Higgins was the one doing the presentation of One Small Town (or C & T, North Frontenac, the actual name of the project and/or who’s responsible for what seems a little muddy at times).
It started out as an intriguing concept. A development of self-contained houses were to be surrounded by collective industries complete with energy distribution and even a fish farm (they even claimed “lobsters” as a possibility).
But with question marks about how energy is to be provided without breaking the second law of thermodynamics, running a raffle without a licence and even if the the Earth is flat, don’t expect this plan to be written up in Municipal World any time soon.
And then, there was the end of The Gazette. I worked at The Frontenac Gazette for four different owners (or three if you prefer as Joe Cembal sold it to his son Darryl). So naturally I was sad when it was traded and shut down. Let’s leave it at that.
Oh, and The Good Brothers played down at the beach in Sharbot Lake. That was pretty cool.