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O O O that CA-CAnadian Rag

Whisked off to Toronto last week to talk to W Networks about a possible new show out there in the Land of the Freer.

I’d forgotten how much I like Canadians. I’ve been out with two of them so I like to think I’m a bit of a connoisseur but a few summery days on the shore of Lake Ontario reconfirmed my feelings.

Toronto’s a great summer city. North American grid but like a lower-slung, decaffeinated version of Manhattan. Great restaurants. A beach (though all Torontonians gasped the same slack-jawed “You did what?” when I said I’d swam in the lake.) And everywhere a complete lack of the smugness that can make New York so irritating. Having such a big brother down South, it’s like the Canadians are those long-suffering, smilingly-pliant but secretly-always-winning younger siblings with whom I so empathise.

It was also lovely being in such a luxurious limbo for a few days. Nothing to do but head from meeting to meeting, chatting. Alone but busy. It’s a beautiful state sometimes. I pottered about up and down Yonge and Bloor drinking bubble tea, trying on summer suits, sniffing round Sam Sam for new records.

My absolutely favorite band of the summer has been The Hidden Cameras, a Canadian combo with beachy, almost evangelical guitar strumming and a innocent-little-boy voice who is actually singing about full on gaysex and the intricacies of SM love. Lyrically in the same vein as the Mercury-winning Anthony but much, much less doomy. I absolutely love them. The album “A Smell of Their Own” has barely been off my iPod all summer.

I found a solo album by one of their number Gentleman Reg which I didn’t love so much. But also the rather groovy New Pornographers and the much-hyped Arcade Fire. Apparently they’re better live… though they have a little too much of the Polyphonic Spree for my taste.

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