16 March 2005

An ordinary day

How appropriate that the Premier chose to include the words "An ordinary day" to a Great Big Sea song in the Throne Speech yesterday.

The speech, which the Lieutenant Governor received only a few short minutes before reading it in the House of Assembly, was a decidedly ordinary document.

The simple, nearly amateurish rhymes of the song lyrics are certainly a good parallel to the speech. And the sentiment in the song' s opening stanza is hardly revolutionary:

"I've got a smile on my face, I've got four walls around me
The sun in the sky, the water surrounds me
I'll win now but sometimes I'll lose
I've been battered, but I'll never bruise, it's not so bad."

Let us all be happy that we are alive. Take pleasure in the ordinary and remember that for every success in life there is a failure.

Oddly enough, Brian Tobin used to like throwing bits of pop culture into his speeches. I guess he felt it connected him with the ordinary people - people like you and me.

My favourite Tobinite attempt at feigning a passing acquaintance with culture was his quote from The Great Gatsby that finished with the words which said more about being stuck in the a rut of old destructive behaviour than about working to meet a future challenge.

I can't help but think that what we have in yesterday's Throne Speech is picking a piece of art because it goes with the drapes rather than because it stirs emotions appropriate to a larger theme being explored.

Off the top of my head, I can think of other song lyrics or other quotes that would have been more appropriate to yesterday's Throne Speech:

- "It's the end of the world as we know it" - actually, use just the title and the chorus since the rest of the song is a bit hard to follow. But the title sounds kinda inspirational. Yes I know it is an REM song, but Great Big Sea blessed it with a local version.

- "Stubborn Man" - Awesome song by a local traditional band about, well, a stubborn man. Seems oddly appropriate. A Fine Crowd also have another line in another song that might more accurately describe the place if our debt gets to $17.0 billion: "misery looking up poverty's arse".

Geez (he said flipping down the Fine Crowd song list.) Here's another lyric that strikes the right timbre: "I can't get nothing done, cause I'm always on the go."

- "Feel it turn" - Another Great Big Sea tune. "I had a dream I was moving forward//Floating gently to the sun//I've come to see my world rewarded//A new day has begun".

Once upon a time... (yes I know it a shop-worn phrase but it seems fitting), speeches contained lines from classical works, since most people knew them. In this less literate age, pols seem to like more ephemeral things.

Joe Smallwood once tossed out a paraphrase of a stanza from Blake's Jerusalem:

"I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In this green and pleasant land."

I've been known to toss biblical quotes at people, but it gets a bit dodgy depending on the audience. "If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle" is obvious for someone in communications.

Well, I have exhausted this little riff.

Anybody have other suggestions for the next speech?