Music Monday – “Well, Canada’s been good to us/We’ve a living and a home/We’ve all got central heating air/And most are on the phone/I’m a citizen of both countries/And very proud to be/For the thistle and the maple leaf/Are the emblems of the free”

Happy Canada Day!

I recently re-discovered this photo of myself and four other four Canadians on exchange to the University College of Ripon & York St. John (say that three times fast!) in 1995.

I can’t remember the impetus for our fashion choice – maybe at a dance or for the new student orientation? – but anyhow, we all decided to dress as Canadians (and yes, we all had plaid in our wardrobes though one of the cooler exchange students decided to go with leather!)

Anyhow, this was in the cassette days and I still remember going to a nearby pawn shop when I first arrived in York as a priority was to get a radio/alarm for school.  I think I paid ten pounds for a great one that even had dual cassette capabilities but then realised I didn’t have any good tapes to play in it.

Luckily, Tyler who was my fellow exchange student on the far left in the photo above had a few mix tapes – Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Spirit of the West – and since I had a decent cassette player, was able to make copies of them all.

I listened to those tapes non-stop (and my sister mailed me a few to supplement my meagre collection) but Spirit of the West was probably the band that defined the trip for me more than any other – to the degree that I had printed out the lyrics to “Home For A Rest” and posted them on my dorm room door.

Anyhow, there’s lots of SOTW songs I could post today but this one feels right – it’s about Scottish people abroad but could also easily apply in reverse to a Scottish/Irish/English kid from the prairies visiting northern England, not too far from Scotland.

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