Well, its not a post about Canada Post but its a post about Canada. I’ve spent a bit of time on and off in Canada and its one of my favourite countries. Canada has always been deeply etched into the fabric of the family. After the second world war many Canadians as well as Kiwi’s and Ozzies either stayed to learn medicine or came across to learn, and thats where the connection was first made. Our parents knew many expats who went overseas, as well as colonials who came to learn and stay. My brother and I used to get boxes of huge juicy Canadian apples sent from the Golden Horseshoe, regular books and calenders all showing the beautiful scenery of the rockies, Niagara on the Lake, The Falls etc etc. The thing that really got me going were the pictures of Canadian National or Canadian Pacific ‘F’ series diesels, observation cars all in the iconic 60’s and early 70’s liveries. One day I knew I was going to go there. Well, I did. In the early eighties to start, firstly a six month road trip, Greyhounding, hitching rides and working my way in the fruit farms below the Niagara escarpment. Later it was grabbing rides on delivery flights on the jumpseat of brand new BAe146’s, and then hitching my way from wherever I got dropped off back to Grimsby, (no, not the one that stinks of fish, the one in Ontario)
One thing that struck me about the Canucks is they have in many ways a similar sense of humour to the British. In toy train terms this can be no better exemplified than these offerings from Rapido, which may hold some lessons for our home grown talent …
Most of the time I spent in ‘The Near North’, so called because the landscape is just like the ‘True North’, only closer and a bit warmer. It does make a difference to how you think about life to a degree, the nearest town to us was 60km away, so if you forget that pack of screws when you’re in Wallmart, it’s a long way back. Small child was instructed, rather than advised, to not fall off the swings, or get bitten by anything or anyone she didn’t recognise.
Returning from the near north was a six hour drive, to stay in the Grimsby area, whilst there I found a hobby shop about ten minutes drive away. From the outside it just looks like a small roadside store, on the day I arrived it was closed, but a squint through the window had me spying a Rapido ‘Canadian’ box on the shelf. Clearly with one of those in stock they were likely to be a good bet for a serious shop. On the last day I managed to drop in for a few minutes, and for my credit cards sanity that was just as well. It is one of the best little hobby stores I’ve ever been to, with a wide range of quality products and a very welcoming attitude from Peter, the stores owner. I managed to not buy the Rapido (see above vids) ‘Canadian’ set he had in store, though I dearly would have liked to, it was just the sort of train that we used to see on the calendars and pictures sent across many years ago in my childhood. If you’re doing Canada on holiday especially going between Toronto and Niagara Falls then drop in, it’ll be well worth your trouble
DAWN AND MARRA, POPTASTIC!
Steve Jones on electricnose used to put the occaisional music review up, and I’m going to nick a leaf out of his book and briefly do the same here. Being a fan of live music we took time out to go to the 2012 Hamilton Festival of Friends. The B52’s were the headline act this year, but on the accoustic stage I saw a couple of girls that I think may just make the big time. They have a unique sound to them, the harmonies in their voices are almost unbelieveable, as clear as ice melt water etc etc, (I know I take the piss, seriously though, have a listen), they look cool, even I know that as a dad of one teenager and her apprentice, and these girls are serious musicians. The comparison between them and the dirge of this weeks X-Factor Rylan Clark, vote for me I’m not safe (and thats not even the crap singing), is chalk and cheese.
Many people say yeah, go and see so and so blah, blah, blah, but this band/duo/popular beat combo, or however you’d like to categorise them are different, in a good way. They write their own stuff which is definitely in the indie folk genre, which does sound a bit ‘Radio 2, Tuesday Evening’. However, watch their Facetube vid below of the Simon and Garfunkle ‘Cecilia’ cover, I’m led to believe it’s ‘awesome’ or ‘sick’ in yoof speak. What I do know is, it’s worth watching.
If they get big, (I don’t mean in a pie eating kind of way), and I hope they do, remember you saw them on a train geek site first! Some of us actually know cool stuff when we see it and hear it …
Great scenery – is it the backscene workshop?
Good looking girl singers too; where’s my guitar, I’m off to the Near north.
It’ll certainly work for a backscene mate, nothing in the way for a few thousand kilometers!