Don’t expect ‘hokey’ Junos
The Canadian psyche is a weird combination of fierce pride and self-loathing.
With certain things ó sports and music, for example ó weíre a proud bunch. But with other things ó such as home-grown TV shows and movies ó the observation that something is ìso Canadianî usually isnít a compliment.
Thus we come to the annual Juno Awards, which honour the best in Canadian music. The 2010 Junos take place in St. Johnís, Nfld., on Sunday, April 18, and can be seen on CTV.
The Junos are about music, and Canadians like Canadian music. But itís also a TV show, and if it gets too ìhokeyî in terms of stereotypical Canadiana, Canadians actually donít tend to like that.
Itís one of the many lines that must be walked by Junos executive producer John Brunton.
ìWeíve never experienced a tidal wave of Canadiana like we just had at the Vancouver Olympics, but itís interesting,î Brunton said.
ìWe know absolutely that when it comes to music in Canada, we donít suck. Like at the Olympics, where we won more gold medals than any other country this year, we can compete with anybody when it comes to music.
ìSo if you compare Junos ratings to the Geminis (TV) or the Genies (film), itís in line with the way Canadians respect Canadian music, as you say, compared to our television or movie industries.î
Itís a Canadian idiosyncrasy, but Brunton took a stab at explaining it.
ìEvery year now – as opposed to every few years – Canada is producing multiple international success stories in music,î Brunton said.
ì(CTVís) Flashpoint is one of our few truly successful international (TV) shows. But it doesnít happen very often, and to what extent? Is it on the measure of Michael Bubleís international success, or Shania Twainís, or Celine Dionís?
ìWhatever the reasons, there is no prejudice whatsoever among kids in Canada about, ëThatís a Canadian song, or an American song, or a British song, or an Australian song.í They quite simply donít give a damn. They like good songs, and guess what? Our artists are creating good songs over and over again.î
Some of those songs will be on display at the Junos, which this year have adopted a unique double-venue approach.
The show will be broadcast from two locations in St. Johnís: The main arena setting of Mile One Centre, plus remotely from George Street, which will be enclosed and transformed into a massive outdoor party zone.
ì(The arena) is a small venue, and tickets sold out in 14 minutes, so we wanted to accommodate way more fans,î Brunton said. ìI donít know if youíre familiar with George Street, but itís like the Bourbon Street of Canada, without the sleaze.î
And without the flooding, hopefully.
Nonetheless, weather is a concern.
ìIt adds all sorts or risk and complication,î Brunton admitted. ìShooting outside in Newfoundland, whether itís in the middle of July or in April, itís a white-knuckle ride.
ìThere could be pea-soup fog. You just never know there. Itís one of the charms of the place, but itís going to keep us on our toes, because our best-laid plans may need to change right up to the last minute.î
It all sounds so Canadian. But really, in this case we mean it in a good way.
Don’t expect ‘hokey’ Junos