Friday, September 23, 2016

Sing Out Your Dead!

Just for fun, I once wrote and posted on Youtube a song called "All of My Good Friends Are Dead."

In it, I name a bunch of real guys.

A few people have asked me why I chose the ones I did.  Here's the answer:

The song starts with "All of my good friends are dead. Tommy and Alex and Ed."
NOT DEAD YET: Alex, of first verse fame.
Those are my three surviving brothers.

I don't think they were offended by being named in the song but who's asking? It's not my fault Ed rhymes with dead.

Next line--"Pat and Gerard are in the graveyard" refers to my late brother Pat, who in fact, died far too young some 27 years ago and his drinking-buddy and our first cousin the late Gerard MacIsaac. I know they'd give my ditty four nicotine-stained thumbs up.

Plus Gerard rhymes with graveyard.

Next to go? After the line
"All of my buddies are gone," I take out "Trevor and Michael and John."
Trevor is Trevor MacIntyre, and Michael is Mike Blondin, whom I've known since we were altar boys together in Sudbury. Trev and Mike are both still alive, last time I checked.
ALTAR BOYS: 40 Years hence but still on the outside of the coffin looking in.

Ditto John. That's O'Callaghan and unless something happened since Tuesday when he emailed me about a trip to the dentist to share this-- "after he pulled a tooth, I told him I felt light-headed, by about half a gram"--he's still fine thanks.

After O'C., we hear that "Nigel and Clyde, they both up and died." Nigel is my close friend and colleague Nigel Simms, who is very alive and very well in Winnipeg.
MIRROR FOGGED UP? CHECK: Simms is still here. 
In addition to copious other good qualities, Nigel is an extremely deft joke-taker, which is a rare and underappreciated personal trait, don't you think?

Clyde is Clyde Donnelly. He and I were pages together when we were in grade seven and that summer, my dad put me on a train from Sudbury to Sioux Lookout to visit Clyde and I was only 12. That was the last time i saw Clyde and I've always wondered what he got up to. I hope he's not really gone. Plus he rhymes with died.

Next comes a truly sad part.

"Some of them died in their sleep. Mike Lynch he just swam out too deep."

He really did. He was I think 16 when he drowned in a Sudbury hotel pool. He was on staff at the place and having an after-hours swim, I believe.

Everybody who knew him, including a few of other guys I mention in this song, loved Mike Lynch, and he was his parents' only child. I get teary eyed thinking about their loss.

I should also mention that when we visit Sudbury these days, we frequently stay at that same hotel and think very fondly of young Mike Lynch. So it's with no disrespect that I sing about his tragic end. I hope he'd approve.

That said...

What happens next is, "Joe Quinn crashed the car after leavin' a bar."

There is no Joe Quinn. At least as far as I know. What I meant to sing was Pat Flynn, a very alive and breathing Toronto man who owes me a phone call but I was too superstitious to use his real name. If this doesn't get his attention, nothing will.

"Some of them drank way too often.
Got carried away in their coffin.
Tom and Joe smoked
They smoked til they croaked;
And all of them drank way too often."

Every Tom and every Joe smokes and drinks.

For the record, I was singing about my brother Tom and his lifelong pal Joe Nichols who used to come to our house in Sudbury and play the guitar and sing. I bet he didn't know he'd be an inspiration to Tom's kid brother.

The best part about the next line "They're gone and they're not coming back" was when I first played this song in front of my neighbour Baxter Naday, no sooner had I finished the line than he responds, "how do you know?"

Good question.

I think he was 12 at the time and already way smarter than me.

"Not Jason, not Tim and not Jack"
were three guys I worked with when I wrote the song. I'm not saying my song was, like, foreshadowing or anything, but I don't work there any more.

I've actually changed the lyrics--but not in the uploaded version--to "Kevin" as in Kevin MacLean, "Roman"--another Sudbury altar boy whose surname Stankiewiecz rhymes with precious little on this side of the ocean, and finally, Mac, as in Macbeth "Mac" Swackhammer, who I also haven't heard from in ages.

I really should thank these guys personally for letting me exploit them, but if you can't exploit your friends, who can you exploit?

If you want to hear the actual song, click here.

Finally, speaking of composing songs and de-composing friends, did you know that you can cure earworms by chewing gum? Click here. You're welcome.

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