Wednesday, March 03, 2010

After the Gold Rush

So it's been a while since I last blogged and there are a couple reasons for that. First and foremost was, of course, the Olympics came to town and I've been indulging in non-stop celebrations and festivities over the past few weeks, blogging the last thing on my mind. Of course, the e-mail backlog built up and the RSS feeds got clogged. When I did actually check-in I read this article about music blogs being deleted and was hardly in a rush to get back. Meanwhile, I got another DMCA notice for my year-end post, which I had previously edited and re-posted a while back thinking I could leave up the links to mp3s from the artist's official websites. Oddly enough, before I made any movement to repost it a second time, I got another notice for the same post while it was sitting in draft mode... I know I'm not exactly stringent on my mp3 posting policy in the first place, so if Fong Songs ups and disappears for repeat violations... well, it was fun while it lasted. 4.5 years and counting--ZING!

I did make it out to one Olympic event with my family, the women's freestyle moguls at Cypress Mountain where we were rooting for our Jennifer Heil, who had triumphantly won gold at the Turin games. Just before the games started it was blared all over the news that Canada had never actually won a gold medal on home soil during the previous Olympics in Calgary and Montréal (news to me!). Heil ended up winning silver, Canada's first medal of the games, finishing in between Americans Hannah Kearney and Shannon Bahrke who took gold and bronze respectively. It was thrilling to have the opportunity to see such an event live, though it was one of those experiences you wouldn't want to relive due to the hours spent in the cold rain, freezing toes, crazy 2 hour+ lines for food, and the 2 hour line to catch a bus back into the city. At the same time we were fortunate because a day or two later, the general spectator tickets for many if not most of the events at Cypress were cancelled due to the dangerous conditions of standing area, which had basically turned into a mud pit with all the rain.

The very next day Canada's home soil gold medal shutout came to a triumphant end as Alexandre Bilodeau suddenly became a national hero, taking the gold in the Men's Freestyle Moguls! In a stroke of amazing luck, the Victory Ceremony tickets my family had purchased months ago turned out to be the very one where Bilodeau would be awarded his gold medal. Needless to say it was an amazing experience to be right there when for the first time ever at our Olympics the Canadian flag was raised above the podium and our national anthem played, which of course was proudly sung at the top of everyone's lungs. By the end of the games, this spectacle would be repeated again and again as our Canadian athletes won a record-breaking number of gold medals and surpassed our previous highest medal count.

The biggest win was saved for last with the epic men's hockey final. With Canada leading the USA 2-1 into the final minute of the game, American Zach Parise (whose dad incidentally played for Team Canada in the '72 Summit Series) gave our country a collective heart attack, tying the game with only 30 seconds left. As the clock ran out and we prepared to enter sudden-death overtime, we held our breath hoping our boys would pull through to make history while trying in vain to avoid thinking about the alternative outcome. After about 7 minutes of tense back and forth play (we'd gurgle and scream every time the puck came close to our net), Sid the Kid scored the goal of a lifetime. On home soil, in front of a sea of screaming fans in red, with the entire country watching, Sidney Crosby scored the overtime, gold medal-winning, record-breaking goal against Team USA, the freaking dream goal that every kid from now on will re-enact in their backyard rink. It was an unbelievably perfect ending to the games that more or less shut down the country in celebration. It was so much like a fairy tale, even the clouds parted and the sun gloriously came out as people poured out into the streets and marched downtown in joyous glee.

Then there was the Closing Ceremonies, which I will try not to rant about too much. After all the formalities of speeches, flag passing, and a Sochi 2014 preview, the music portion began. Much like he sent Conan O'Brien off the air, Neil Young extinguished the Olympic flame with a moving rendition of Long May You Run. From what I've heard, NBC's coverage of the Closing Ceremony cut out early to debut a new reality show, which had American viewers livid, though I was thankful that most didn't have to watch the organizers march out a terrible line-up of Canadian music acts that left me more embarrassed than proud to be a Canadian. Nickelback, Avril Lavigne, Simple Plan, Hedley... this was the best you could come up with? Were The Tragically Hip, perhaps the most quintessentially Canadian band, not answering phone calls? Rush, The Arcade Fire, Metric, Feist, K'naan, Blue Rodeo, Hawksley Workman, The Guess Who, Stompin' Tom Connors, Paul Anka, heck Anne Murray... so many choices but no, you called up Hedley and asked them to sing Cha-Ching, of course very much in the Olympic spirit. Sigh. And the Canadian stereotype mega-spectacular... um, very Springtime for Hitleresque. I'll leave it at that.

Now it's back to business as usual and we're all already feeling a little Olympic withdrawal...

k.d. lang - After the Gold Rush [originally by Neil Young]
The Euphorics - After the Gold Rush [originally by Neil Young]
The CBC Radio Orchestra with Veda Hille, Ndidi Onukwulu, and Michel Rivard - After the Gold Rush [originally by Neil Young]

Wait, bring on the Paralympics!

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