Canada Day weekend tends to be Christmas in July for my family, as three of us have birthdays that fall within 10 days of each other (you still have just over a week to buy any lingering presents pour moi). For the first time in a few years, music predominated the gifts I received, ranging from the recent round of Leonard Cohen reissues to the new Arcade Fire album. Amy and Gavin are good at throwing me curveballs, with this year's being a very pleasant surprise...
For nearly a decade, Amy and I videotaped MuchMusic's year-end roundup of the cheesiest videos of the year, Fromage. Hosted by either faux Frenchman Charles de Camembert or Ed the Sock, these shows usually mixed well-known acts with the hopelessly obscure. The latter tended to provide the most entertainment, due to any combination of low budget, chutzpah, inept dancing, dubious musicianship or jaw-dropping novelty value. Most years also included at least one semi-slutty dance video, one cornball country selection and one useless cover version. At the end of each show, the worst video of the year was inducted into the Mall of Shame, along with a lifetime acheesement artist.
We ceased recording the show when these acts were given the boot in favour of tiny clips and even-more-exposure to tabloid celebrities.
A runthrough of the cheese served up:
For some reason, we only taped part of the show, missing out on the end. I think it was either a mediocre world beat tune or My Army of Lovers by Army of Lovers.
Standouts: Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Techno (Don Cherry raps about his favourite hockey players), Heart of Soul (The Cult), Help I'm White And I Can't Get Down (Geezinslaw Brothers)
Winner: Go West (Pet Shop Boys).
Standouts: Tammy (Kids in the Hall), My Wife (Charlie Chase - gloopy country recitaction from a TNN host)
Wha' the Fuh?: Luther Campbell's explaination of the meaning of the title to H-Town's Knockin' Da Boots to a faux-Brit reporter "Well knockin' da boots actually means two boots coming together, making tasteful lust."
Winner: Blind Man (Aeromsith)
Standouts: The Red Strokes (Garth Brooks and gratuitous amounts of Sherwin Williams' finest)
Wha' The Fuh?: Confederate Railroad's ode to two 1960s icons, Elvis and Andy, complete with faux-Brit expert introduction. This was the dullest episode of the lot.
Winner: The Cowboy Song (Sting)
Standouts: The Beauty In Black (Therion, trying way too hard to be gothy and borrow from Tubular Bells at the same time), Pull Up To The Bumper (Patra, given a three-minute penalty for excessive feeling-oneself-up).
Wha' The Fuh?: The semi-nude dancing animated character hogging the bottom lefthand corner of Tokyo Ghetto Pussy's Everybody On The Floor.
The primo selection of aged cheddar.
Winner: I'm So Happy (Sting, for a second year in a row, complete with mohawk and alien cowboys)
Standouts: The Macarena (Alvin & The Chipmunks), La Danse d'Helene (Real Joy, a tune the writers of The Hokey Pokey could have sued over), Metal Heavy (Muscle Bitches, a video that made merchants of Viking helmets happy), Afterall (Papas Fritas, featuring two guys, a girl and lots of shrimp chips frying)
Wha' The Fuh?: Plenty of headscratchers, but it's hard to top Hay Hayfever (Paolo), which combines an ultra-low budget, a tune recorded deep in a basement with indecipherable lyrics, MC Hammer's surplus pant supply and bad actors with inflatible mallets.
The last episode on the disc, the start of format changes. In with Ed the Sock, tighter themes, shorter clips and videos the host admits are good cheese (i.e., Wesley Willis' ode to Alanis)
Winner: Electric Barbarella (Duran Duran)
Standouts: Puppet Master (Soul Assassins, featuring a dwarf on a string and a tasty Isaac Hayes sample), short snatches of the ultra-mellow Canadian Singers and Ron Jeremy serving up drinks on a beach for Los Umbrellos.
Wha' The Fuh?: David McAlmont overchannelling Grace Jones in David Arnold's cover of Diamonds Are Forever. Scary, scary eyerolling.