Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Reader's Diary #51: David Adams Richards: Hockey Dreams (up to p. 175- Ch. 13)

I'll do my best to keep this one reasonably short. I feel the need to comment on an analogy (or is it a metaphor- please someone explain the difference) that Richards uses that helps clarify his point.

At the beginning of Chapter 8, he mentions a song he once heard by a black man, a blues man, from the Mississippi delta. Richards had been more familiar with a later version of the song by some white rockabilly singer of the 60s. As most people were.

Upon hearing the original for the first time, he was sort of taken aback. It wasn't what he'd been used to. But then he considered the history of the song. Record moguls knew the song had something, some je ne sais quoi, but couldn't sell it as it was. They had to make it friendly to the masses, package it in a way that would get the appealing- but superficial- aesthetic across without the underlying roots of the music; the cultural significance and emotion.

Unfortunately, Richards doesn't commit to the analogy. After going on about it for a couple of pages he writes,
"What does this have to do with my hockey book? I don't know. It's just
something I thought I'd mention."
I may not know hockey, but I do have a reasonable knowledge of music, and it was finally an analogy I could grasp. Of course, Canadian hockey is like the old Mississippi blues, and the Americanized (or globalized) ice hockey (to use Richards' terminology), is like rock and roll. Not a perfect analogy to be sure, but one that makes sense. Too bad Richards didn't try to own it. Unless this is that hard-to-grasp sense of humour of his.

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