"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Thursday, March 07, 2013

A proud Canadian

RIP Stompin' Tom Connors

This commercial was filmed entirely in Port Dover, Ontario in 1989 or 1990. I happened to be a young reporter at the Port Dover Maple Leaf at the time and was lucky enough to be informed of the filming in the Norfolk Tavern one night. (I'm there in the bar on the right hand side of the screen at 0:06 and 0:10, blink and you'll miss me) They spent an hour dressing the bar with open packs of cigarettes, bag of chip and plenty of glasses of draft beer. Then in comes Tom. He stood around looking stern and soulful at the bar while they shot every angle. Then in came a production assistant with his guitar and sheet of plywood. He did a half a dozen songs and then visited every table in the place for at least long enough to sit and ask everyone's names. He parked himself at table with me and the bar manager and a few guys from the local folk and blues club I set up in town, slugging back Molson's Golden and smoking and telling stories. He claimed to have written a song about just about every city in the country, at least all the one's he'd visited. Most of them, he said, would get him run out of those towns on a rail had they ever been performed in public. The ones on the records were the "nice" ones, the "clean" ones, he told us.

Incidentally, my first full-time professional newspapering job started in December 1988 in Ingersoll, Ontario, working all the hours that there were for $220 a week and all the newsprint I could eat. The editorial staff consisted of the editor - a guy about two years older than I was just out of journalism school - and me. Between us we covered all the events, wrote all the copy, took all the pictures, processed all the film, did all the dark room work and occasionally sold or created an ad. I even delivered the damn thing in the snow one week when the kid on the route I lived on called in sick in blizzard. To top it all off, every week we had to drive across snowy backroads to a central office where all the little weekly papers in the chain were laid out using hot wax, a linotype machine, xacto knives and border tape. It usually took about 14 hours to get it all done.

That central office was in Tilsonburg. And my back still aches when I hear that word.



Peter Hoffman said...

"He's sailin' on to glory
away in the Golden Dory."

Sigh.... so sad.

Otter said...

Not so much to do with Tom, but I think I still have copies of "The Woodshed" from that era.

Kevin Wood said...

ah, yes back when the blog came in paper form

Anonymous said...

So Kevin, what do you think Stompin' Tom would think of having a state funeral? I'd like to think he'd be happier having the money spent on food banks, but that's just my perception.

Kevin Wood said...

completely agree, I think he would be flattered, but embarrassed and pissed off to see tax money spent on it.