Grey Cup 1996 (Hamilton; Argos 43, Edmonton 37)

84th Grey Cup emblem

1995 was the band’s first year and at the end of the season, I think we were just too addled to even think about going to that year’s Grey Cup. But in the final game of 1995, there was some sort of Canadian identity crisis thing going on and as I recall, the team let anybody in to the final game for free if you brought a flag.

It was quite a sight in 1995, all those fans, and all those flags. It must have impressed the visiting quarterback, a guy from Calgary named Doug Flutie, because he wound up signing with the Argos for the 1996 season and led the team to a 1996 Grey Cup Victory.

Of course most of us had watched the 1995 Grey Cup on TV, and had probably seen the parties, and might have noticed some sort of green and white band from Saskatchewan in some of the media reports, and since the ’96 Grey Cup was in Hamilton, hmm. I wonder. We’d never played anywhere out of town. Could we make it to Hamilton?

As it turns out,

a) we did, and

b) there isn’t as much online record of it as you might like, because people weren’t yet carrying around cell phone cameras documenting every waking minute of their lives.

The 1996 season was notable for, I think, the first mention of the band in the Toronto Star. Dig the old URLs! People didn’t even think to get their own domain names.

Toronto Star, 1996:

ARGGOOSS: As the CFL playoffs get under way, you might want to check out the Double Blue’s official site in cyberspace(http://www.interlog.com/argos).
Along with the standard mix of schedules, results and statistics, the Argos’ homepage has a nice where-are-they-now feature called “Ancient Mariners”.
The latest one is on 1940s star Bruce Richardson, but you can also select one of several earlier Ancient Mariners from the archive provided.

For a look at the lighter side of the gridiron, take a wander into the home page of the Argonotes, the team’s official band

Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh, right, the 1996 Grey Cup in Hamilton. Here are a few memories.

the Ottawa party

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Somehow we’d heard that the city of Ottawa was hosting a party in Hamilton, and we got ourselves invited to that. It was a little awkward, because the Ottawa Rough Riders had either just folded or were on the verge of doing so.
I recall the band actually giving the organizer some money from the stage just to see if it would help. (It didn’t.)

We went on right after the Saskatchewan band. This was our first glimpse of our Western rivals –


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I remember thinking – Hmm. They seem to know what they’re doing. Perhaps I should contact them and see if we can, you know, do some Massed CFL Bands thing in future years? (Foreshadowing! Stay tuned.)

And I think this is us at one of the gigs that year – sorry, cameras back then did not typically embed detailed timestamps and latitude/longitude info in each picture …

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what else was going on

Hey, check this out, I never throw anything out, an email to the band outlining our plans for the weekend


From: Steve Hayman 
Date: Thu, 21 Nov 1996 20:03:06 -0500
To: argonotes@objectario.com
Subject: Quick Grey Cup Weekend Reminder!

Meet at 7:30 PM tomorrow (Friday) at the beer tent at King & Bay. At 8:30 we'll be at the Edmonton hospitality suite in the Ramada Hotel; at 9:30 PM, the Spirit of Ottawa show at the Royal Connaught Hotel.


Then on Saturday, meet at 10:30 AM at the Ramada Hotel for the Edmonton Klondike Breakfast, and we'll move on after that for the parade.

I have been unable to get tickets for the game itself on Sunday - although I did try; talked to the chairman of the grey cup committee, wrote to CFL chairman Larry Smith
too.  Oh well.



Any problems, give me a ring.  

See you tomorrow!
Signed,
"Still no baby."

“Still no baby” ? What was that about? Oh, I remember now (see later.)

the Grey Cup Parade

Hamilton wisely combined the Grey Cup Parade with the city’s annual Santa Claus Parade.
The Grey Cup part was a sort of pre-parade that went right down the main street of Hamilton, with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance, and when they all saw the Argos Band proudly riding on the Argos Float, they all said – if I remember correctly – “Boo.”

Here are a couple of grainy photos from the live CBC coverage. For the full effect, please yell “BOO” at your computer when reading.
That’d be me at the front holding the shield.

Parade2

Parade1

the MOB – the Massed Ontario Band

Somehow I thought it’d be fun to worry about not one but two bands in the parade, and put together the first and last appearance of the MOB – the Massed Ontario Bands, a combined entry from the marching bands of Queen’s University, the University of Western Ontario, the non-marching but game-to-try-anything Waterloo Warriors Band, and the Carleton University Band, which turned out to be one guy (thanks for coming, Peter.)

We sent out a few simple tunes to all 4 schools and everybody theoretically learned them – I think we were doing “Ca-Na-Da”, the 1967 Centennial song, “Hogan’s Heroes”, the theme from a TV show about – wait, can this be right? a world war II prison camp? people thought that was funny? – and “Scotland the Brave”, because of the large contingent of pipers from Queen’s.

I wish I had a picture of this. I’ll find one and add it. Everybody enjoyed it, old rivalvies were set aside, the group some how self-organized into a marching band shape and proceeded down the parade route. That was pretty cool. I still have the MOB banner out in the garage.

the game

A classic. Argos win, in a snowstorm. Flutie, long thought by many westerners to have fumbled on a crucial late game third down, did not in fact fumble, because if he had fumbled, surely the refs would have said something.

did you get in

No. We faxed the league, and commissioner Larry Smith asking if we could get in, and got a reply a week after the game saying basically “Sorry, everybody was out of the office and we didn’t see this message” which is an easier reply than “No.”

later that same week

The Grey Cup was on Sunday November 24, 1996.
on Monday, November 25, I sent the following urgent email to the band –

Subject: ALERT!  ARGO VICTORY PARADE TUESDAY NOON!  BAND NEEDED!

12:15 (noon), Union Station. Parade up to Nathan Phillips Square. Possibly marching, possibly riding on a bus.  We will be right behind Doug Flutie himself.

I need people for this!  Can you come?  Please?  It'll be over pretty quickly.


BONUS: FREE LUNCH!  Seriously!  The city will buy us lunch if we do this.

I called the mayor's office - which is running the parade - and got us invited.  Somehow the Argos neglected to mention us as a possible entrant.  Figures.

Our first GREY CUP VICTORY PARADE

On Tuesday, November 27, the team organized our first Grey Cup Victory Parade, from Union Station to City Hall.
Gerry was whacking the bass drum pretty hard; an “E” fell off live on TV and by the end of the parade, the bass drum read “GR Y CUP CHAMPS”.

Here’s Global’s report on the victory parade, with the typical sort of downer woebegotten angle that too much CFL coverage of the day included. But they also included a brief glimpse of the band

On Wednesday, November 28, this picture from the parade was on the cover of the Toronto Star. Doug Flutie, Alexa Flutie, coach Don Matthews, the Grey Cup and … a glimpse of some guy with a trombone.

Flutie Parade

Later that day I took a copy of that day’s paper to the hospital and proudly showed it to a brand new baby. Nick, see that? Your dad’s on the cover of the paper today. Happy Zeroth Birthday. Maybe you’d like to join the band in 16 years or so. We could use some more trumpet players.

That was a pretty good week.

Grey Cup 2007 (Toronto; Saskatchewan 23, Winnipeg 19)

Part of our Ongoing Series of Argonotes Grey Cup Memories.

The 2007 Grey Cup was the first one in Toronto since 1992 (and, thus, the first home grey cup for Argonotes, since the band started in 1995.)

We were particularly pleased to be joined by the Saskatchewan Roughrider Pep Band, who, of course, manage somehow to go to every Grey Cup, whereas in Argonotes we could only muster the strength to go to the East Division ones.

warming up

As usual we played at all the team parties, including the fabulous Spirit of Edmonton event and their legendary Saturday morning breakfast. I recall that we’d established an official band beachhead at the Novotel downtown where most of us stayed Thursday-Sunday. That sure made it easier to get around without anybody worrying about what anybody had had to drink, if theoretically that were happening.

In a post appropriately titled What we learned while killing our brain cells, the legendary Boatmen Blog had these kind words to say about our performance at Saturday morning’s Spirit of Edmonton breakfast. (The whole post is worth a read but, well, if I had to pick one paragraph it’d probably be this one.)

It’s never too early for Steve Hayman to bring his A-game. As always at the Spirit of Edmonton Breakfast (which, as you can see, is really a goldmine for material), we were treated to an MC making assorted jokes that range from the corny to the slightly blue. For a guy trying to work a room full of drunks on a Saturday morning, he did a fair job. But he had nothing on the leader of the beloved Argonotes, who came equipped with a dizzying array of one-liners – among them a solid one about Saskatchewan poised to match the number of Grey Cups won by Sarnia and Queen’s University, and…well, truthfully, we can’t remember the others, on account of the nature of the event. But trust us, he was very funny. And we maintain that the Argonotes’ cover of BTO’s Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet is genuinely more enjoyable than the original.

strolling around Toronto

I’m lucky I didn’t get fired for having the band play inside the Apple store at the Eaton Centre.

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The CFL Pep Band Summit

Just before the parade we hosted the Saskatchewan band for lunch at our favourite pregame hangout, Joe Badali’s which – what do you know – turned out to be the starting point of the parade. (Photos of summit to come, once I can find them.)

parade? what parade? who said anything about a parade?

There was no official Grey Cup Parade, which naturally caused a lot of sneering in western Canada about those high faluting Toronto hipsters who are too cool for the CFL etc etc etc – any Argo fan has been hearing this for decades – but that didn’t stop anybody. Naturally we got together with the Saskatchewan band, the Calgary Grey Cup Committee (who host the annual pancake breakfast and do the horse-in-a-hotel routine) and various fan groups and decided we’d all meet at the corner of Front and Simcoe on Grey Cup Saturday for the ..

the Not the Grey Cup Parade

The theory being that parade permits were super expensive, but protest marches were free, so it wasn’t a parade, it was a protest march objecting to the lack of a parade.

We started at Front and Simcoe, went west on Front (mostly on the sidewalk), turned south on John St over the bridge to Skydome, and wound up at the Convention Centre.

We may have tipped off the media in advance. Rob Leth of Global did a fantastic report.

June Trueman

UntitledImage

Right at the start of that report, and again towards the end, you can see a Winnipeg fan hugging a Saskatchewan fan named June Trueman, who was a delightful member of the Saskatchewan pep band and who, sadly, passed away last month. June was a founding member of the Saskatchewan band and seemingly everybody’s favourite alto sax player. It was always a pleasure to seek her out and say hello. Thank you, June.

I remember turning around during the parade and seeing this incredible mass of humanity following along, which was pretty amazing for a non-event that we only started “planning” a couple of days before.

post parade performances

Here are a few Youtube clips of band performances that day

Post-parade, Super Tequila at the Convention Centre

Grey Cup Sunday, Surfin’ USA in the fountain outside Skydome

Geez, that fountain was a good spot. I’m glad nobody found the switch to turn on the pumps, though. We got a nice picture there, and then moments later the fountain was swarmed by Saskatchewan fans.

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as a proud Canadian band, isn’t it a little weird that you keep playing “Surfin’ USA”

how about we call it “Surfin’ PEI.” Happy now?

did we get into the game?

Yes. The league graciously gave us some passes to get in, although we didn’t have any seats so we had to find obstructed-view unsold seats. The Saskatchewan band got in, of course; they always buy tickets. What? Buy Tickets? Who does that?

more photos and video

See more from 2007 on the band web site here.

was it fun?

are you kidding? it was the best. What’s more fun than getting together with your friends, even your friends from Saskatchewan, and making some music?

We never sounded better than we did playing in that fountain. I remember Dave Keith telling me “You know what, by the end of the season, we actually sound tight.”

Imagine what we would have sounded like if we’d ever had a rehearsal.

Remembering Grey Cups past

Part of the reason for this post is that I haven’t blogged anything in a while, but mostly it’s because the 2020 Grey Cup should have been played last Sunday, but wasn’t.

It’s all got me feeling really nostalgic about the Grey Cups I’ve been lucky to attend with Argonotes, from our first in 1996 to our last in 2017.

Some were road trips to Cups in Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal, and some were at home in Toronto, but they were all memorable, multi day festivals of fun and music and drinking and parties and camaraderie and fierce but good-natured rivalries with the Saskatchewan Roughrider Pep Band, and occasionally a football game at the end, and at this time of year, past pictures, videos and posts keep popping up in my Facebook on-this-day-in-years-past memories feed.

I feel the need to write about each of them.

I don’t much care whether anybody reads this series, but I want to gather all my best memories of each one in one spot. And this seems like a good spot.

More to come.

In no particular order ..

Hijinks on the Welland Canal

A couple of ships collided on the Welland Canal last weekend – the waterway that bypasses Niagara Falls, not far from here. The video is definitely not something you see every day.

I wonder what Gordon Lightfoot would have said. Hmm.

The legend lives on
From Ontarians on down
Of the shipping canal they call “Welland”

There’s room, they all cry
For two ships to pass by
If the captains are paying attention

When a load of black coal
Met a ship that was full
Of some windmill parts for Minnesota

And the beeper it beeped
As the other ship creeped
Closer, not changing course one iota

Bystanders, it’s known
Filmed the scene with their phones
As they shouted out, “She’s gonna hit ‘er”

The collision, it showed
Now they’ve got to upload
it to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Sing along if you like! Here’s a karaoke backing track!

update

People seemed to like this poetry when I tweeted it, even though I’m not going to win too many awards for trying to rhyme “welland” and “attention”. I thought I was pretty hot stuff. I got a dozen likes between facebook and twitter.

And then my son tweeted a video he’d made, something to do with Super Smash Bros, and I totally don’t understand it but his has, so far, 1,983 retweets and 8,295 likes, which I think is more than I’ve got in total in 13 years of using Twitter.

I don’t understand it. But I’m a proud dad.

Axe not the cheerleaders

The news broke today that the Montreal Alouettes have disbanded their cheerleading / dance group.

Citing financial concerns, the Montreal Alouettes have disbanded their cheerleading squad ahead of the 2020 season.
“This decision has nothing to do with the hard work (the cheerleaders) put in, or their popularity,” said Charles Rooke, the Alouettes president of communications. “In the current context of financial turnaround, difficult decisions must be made.”

This is sad. And weird, because they’re keeping the coach around (to work as Director General of the Alouettes Foundation) but axing a very talented group.

It’s also shortsighted, and wrong. Here’s why.

it’s a package

People have options these days. Watching a football game from the comfort of your own home in front of your 65″ TV in a luxurious armchair has a lot of appeal. The challenge for a league like the CFL is to get people to come to the games.

what if it was just football

Here’s a thought experiment. Suppose the only thing going on was the football game itself. No cheerleaders. No mascot. No live music. No T-shirt-tosses or other stunts. Just football. Montreal vs Toronto out there bashing in to each other.

How many people would come, if it was just football? You’d have 1,000 diehards, people who really know the Xs and Os of the game, people who are anxiously watching defensive alignments and discussing the minutia of pass interference. They would have a great time, but another 20,000 people would be fidgety, bored, confused, and, most likely, would actually be at home watching something else.

what you really need

There aren’t nearly enough “pure football” fans to make the business work. In 2020, the game isn’t enough. You need a full game-day experience. And that means having

  • a team with a reasonable chance of winning
  • cheerleaders and a dance team
  • a mascot
  • live music
  • giveaways
  • stunts
  • stuff going on before the game, outside the stadium
  • lots of loud and crazy fans contributing to the spectacle.

Now, for any item X on that list, you’ll find people who say “I don’t care about X.” Fine. But there aren’t enough of you! This has to appeal to everybody. And cheerleaders and live music and everything else are all part of the package.

I think the Alouettes, and their new owners, are making a mistake here. (The fact that the new owners are from Ontario isn’t helping, but at least they got off to a good start by proclaiming at an early interview that the Argos suck.)

money? it’s about money?

I have no idea what the operation in Montreal cost, although the Als did mention on Facebook that their cheerleaders are getting paid per game. That isn’t the only model that could work. Surely there are sponsorship opportunities. Maybe a volunteering model with fees for outside appearances makes sense. (I’m honestly not sure how it works in other cities, but I do know that every CFL cheer squad works hard to raise money to travel to the Grey Cup, which won’t be the same without Montreal’s excellent group.)

(Also as you might imagine, I have a little CFL game-day experience. Argonotes, the Until Recently Argonauts Band was completely volunteer-based and never got a dime from the team, although the Drum Line was being paid. Lots of different models can work. But as you might have heard, the Argos and Argonotes parted ways in 2017. I wrote down why, somewhere. I forget exactly.)

ditching the cheerleaders is not right.

If the new owners are that short of money that they can’t keep the cheerleaders going, maybe they aren’t ready for this.

Bugs in the National Anthem.

tl;dr There is a problem with the National Anthem as presented by Canadian Heritage, and also theNational Anthem Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. N-2, and Something Should Be Done. (Business should be taken care of.)

I was looking for a nice patriotic video of O Canada for an app I had in mind, and happened to come across the Canadian Heritage Ministry’s National Anthem site.

One of the links on that page lets you download the Sheet Music. Go ahead. Take a look. I’ll wait.

Notice anything strange? Here’s a list.

1) It is typeset really badly, almost as if it was prepared by someone who is not aware that there actually are music typesetting programs that know how the rules of typesetting. For starters, the treble clef here is a space too high.

First Bar of O Canada

2) It’s in F. I am obsessed with the key signature of O Canada. It is traditionally played and sung in E♭, and there are recordings on this web site where you can hear the Toronto Symphony Orchestra perform it – in E♭. Take a listen! Just don’t try to play along using the sheet music above.

3) The bar lines are missing at the end of each staff. That’s sloppy. NewImage

an actual issue

4) There’s a wrong note in bar 5!

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That C♮ should obviously be a B♮. My other complaints might be nitpicking but this one is inexcuseable. You can’t publish obviously wrong notes. My friend Guy pointed out that the C and D here should really be B♭ and C too. Come on.

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customs

And there’s another odd statement on that site.

Timing and etiquette for anthem use

There is no specific rule as to when it is appropriate to sing the national anthem at an event. It is up to the organizers to determine if “O Canada” will be sung at the beginning or at the end of a ceremony. If two anthems are to be played at the beginning of an event, “O Canada” should be played first followed by the other one.

Wait, what? Every sporting event I’ve ever been to that features two anthems plays O Canada second, not first. The home country’s anthem is the second one. Have we all been doing it wrong?

what does the law say?

Let’s consult the National Anthem Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. N-2.

It says

The words and music of the song “O Canada”, as set out in the schedule, are designated as the national anthem of Canada.

Here is the schedule. Take a look.
The sheet music in that schedule, as far as I can tell, is legally the official National Anthem of Canada, as passed by Parliament in 1985.

A BUG IN THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

Wait, what’s this in bar 10?
I’ll remind you this is the official music as passed into law in 1985.

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The B♭ above the word “The” has a dot, ABOVE it. Dots above a note signify that the note is to be played stacatto. Dots BESIDE a note indicate it should be 50% longer.

The dot was no doubt supposed to go beside the note, but as passed into law, it’s above the note.

As a result, this bar is short one sixteenth note. It is not a complete bar of 4/4.

Canada’s National Anthem Act specifies an anthem with 27 bars of 4/4 and one bar of 15/16.

The late Neal Peart would have no trouble with that time signature but the average Canadian would. You’ve been singing and playing it wrong your whole life, or at least since the National Anthem Act was passed in 1985.

What Should Be Done.

  • Parliament should amend the National Anthem Act to correct the error in bar 10.
  • Canadian Heritage should fix the extremely sloppy typesetting and obvious wrong notes in the Sheet Music pdf file on their web site.
  • Both versions should be transposed down a tone into E♭ to match the most common way the tune is played (and so that I can claim that E♭ truly is the National Key Signature.)
  • Clarify the rule about playing two national anthems before an event. Surely O Canada should go second.

  • Parliament should consider an amendment that says the last two notes go up an octave, especially after a Team Canada victory.
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while we’re at it

  • Designate Taking Care of Business as the National Rock and Roll Anthem of Canada.

Mileage Runs I Have Known

A mileage run is this ridiculous idea that you buy a plane ticket near the end of the year and fly somewhere for no good reason, all so you can move up to the airline’s next level in their frequent flyer program.
At this time of year, the skies are full of frequent flyers making pointless cross country trips just to preserve their exalted airline status.

If you think it’s silly, I won’t argue.

I’ve been pretty close to Air Canada Super Elite a few times – which requires you to have flown 100,000 miles or 95 segments in the previous year.

That’s a lot.

But it seems to be worth it if you fly frequently – it’s a level where Air Canada seems willing to help you if there’s a problem. Super Elites get to use Air Canada’s concierge service, which gives you a supersecret phone number you can call for problems, and sometimes the concierge will meet you at the airport and sort out a problem on the spot. I have occasionally had some travel snafu where I’ve missed or almost missed a connection, and the Concierge will often be standing right there with your new boarding pass, or even better, they’ll open some secret doors and hustle you through the airport via a mysterious shortcut if you’re tight on time.

My favourite Super Elite perk is that if you manage to use some of your upgrade points to move up to business class – and every Air Canada traveller gets upgrade points, it’s just easier for Super Elites to turn them into actual upgrades – the flight attendant takes the biz class dinner orders in descending order of airline status. And everybody up there knows it. Whoever is the top-ranked flyer on this flight gets their first choice of chicken or fish. You can easily get caught up in looking around and thinking, hey, I’m number 3 out of 12, that’s not bad, but who are those other two people? What’s their story?

I have done a lot of travel for work over the past 30 years and have a little extra bonus status – I’m an Air Canada Million Miler. That bumps you ahead of the normal Super Elites when they take the dinner order. So that’s nice. Air Canada even sends you a model airplane with your name on it when you hit that level. They have other perks at two million and three million miles. I don’t think I’ll make it up there before retiring.

(And you probably think a million miles is a lot, but my just-retired second level manager finished his career with seven million miles on American.)

It’s hard to explain but once you’ve experienced Super Elite service, you’d really like to stay up there. I’m sorry. I like it. I travel a ton for work, and this makes it a little more bearable.

Everything about air travel is pretty miserable, and I wish they’d treat every passenger with respect (and a bigger seat) but at the moment that’s not how it works.

So anyway. Here are some dumb pointless mileage runs I’ve done. (Maps are from one of my favourite web sites, the Great Circle Mapper)

2011 Mileage Run

2011

In 2011 I was at 90 segments mid December and started scrambling to find the cheapest possible 5 segment itinerary on Air Canada or one of its partners (which at the time included USAir.) Wound up doing this out of Buffalo. A quick trip to Salisbury, Maryland for lunch, and right back.

first flightOn the first segment from Buffalo to Philly, I took a stab at the sudoku puzzle in the inflight magazine, but messed it up and wrote a note of apology to the next passenger.

On the fifth flight from La Guardia back to Buffalo, I thought I’d take another shot at the same puzzle, and opened up the inflight magazine to try again, only to see a messed up puzzle and this note of apology.

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2016

Map

In 2016 I was in the same boat. 5 segments short. A quick hop from London to Montreal and back. Much to the amusement of my family in London. Explain to us again why you are going to Montreal?

2017

Both of those were completely pointless itineraries where I never left the airport. But sometimes you can make an actual trip out of it.

Map

In 2017 I was a few hundred miles short, and Cathy and I made a quick hop down to Dallas for some actual sightseeing – including visiting the fascinating Texas School Book Depository museum. And this is one time that the concierge service really paid off.

Our connection coming home through Montreal was delayed, and I was worried we’d miss the flight to Toronto but much to my delight, the Air Canada Concierge was standing at the gate as we got off the plane.
“Mr. and Mrs. Hayman? Come with me.”

He managed to open a few doors that probably should have stayed closed, and hustled us past Canada Border Services and to the connecting flight.

this is stupid

If you think this is wasteful of time, fuel and money, you are probably right. You have to actually take the flight, you can’t just buy the ticket and not show up….

Airlines are moving towards a model where they care more about how much money you spent than how many miles or segments you flew, but we aren’t there yet. For now, it’s still based on flights. (and in Air Canada’s case, there’s also a minimum spend at each level.)

Sometimes, through some mysterious formula, the airline might let you “buy up” to a certain status if you’re close. I know people who’ve been offered lower Elite tiers. But the formula is a mystery, and although I might gladly take them up on the offer, they’ve never extended it to me.

So my big idea is that if you are close enough to consider a mileage run, the airline ought to let you donate that money to pay for a flight for someone that needs one. But so far Air Canada hasn’t taken me up on that idea.

I promise society that I will keep lobbying for Air Canada to revise this and eliminate the need to take these wasteful flights. If frequent travellers could donate to someone in need, that would surely be a win-win.

surely you’re not doing this again this year

Um…

Tempo!

Check out this showstopper performance by one of the world’s greatest brass bands, Wales’s The Cory Band.

wow

I tried but failed to get Argonotes to play every single piece at this speed, mostly because if it didn’t sound great, at least it would be over sooner.

In this performance please note

  • The tempo, which seems to be about a blistering ♩ = 180, or as P.D.Q. Bach called it, Come un pipistrello fuori dall’ inferno [Like a bat out of hell.]
  • The delighted reactions of the choristers in the back
  • The pure joy of the conductor Philip Harper. We should all aspire to enjoy our jobs this much.

my favourite movie conductor

Naturally this reminds me of the finale of one of my favourite films, Brassed Off, in which the (fictional) Grimley Colliery Band performs this piece at the national championship. They’re not going quite as fast though.

Things you might note from this film –

  • They’re not going quite as fast, only about ♩ = 150
  • Also an outstanding cornet solo
  • The conductor in this clip is the actor Jim Carter, later to find much success as Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey. (In the film, he’s a tuba player temporarily filling in for bandleader Pete Postlethwaite, whose character is too ill to conduct the final scene, but he gave one of the all time great acting-conducting performances. Carter isn’t conducting quite up to that standard.)
  • On tenor horn, Ewan McGregor, later to find much success as Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • the band in this film is actually the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, posing as a different coal-mining-community brass band in a film that I think you absolutely should watch.

In Argonotes we used to joke that our slogan was Faster + Louder = Better.

The Cory Band is proving it to be true.

On the ninth Date of Christmas, my true love saw with me: “Frozen II”

Two movies in two nights in the Twelve Dates of Christmas project! And we’re going to see Frozen’s 11, which I assume is a heist movie where they break into a cold-storage warehouse and steal some fish sticks.

Frozen Poster

Wait, let me read that again. OK. Apparently it’s actually “Frozen II”.

capsule review

You’re asking the wrong guy. I dozed off for the first 30 minutes. Woke to notice there was some sort of burning Pokemon character and somebody was singing about the unknown woods. Went out to lobby to get coffee. Checked phone. Got engrossed in Twitter. Did not return for rest of movie. I hear it was good though.