ALAN FREW

Musician. Author. Speaker.

Dear Canada Blog #9 March 4th 2018

Well forgive me for sounding like a broken record but that was a tough night. Little or no sleep, coughing constantly, the only good news is I am coughing up guck and getting it out. I am reluctant to take antibiotics because now it really is about letting it finish its course. I would be fine of course if I didn’t have to sing but tonight is Vancouver and I do NOT want to miss it.

A big shout out “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” today, to Glass Tiger’s and the Frewband’s singer, Carmela Long.

 photo by Allan Zilkowsky 

photo by Allan Zilkowsky 

Happy Birthday Carm, you have my back consistently night after night. The best. We love you, and we hope you have a fantastic day and wish you were here with us. We’ll be rocking out soon enough. 

Watched my favourite English Premiership team, Chelsea, lose yet again to a Manchester City team that remains too strong for everyone. They will cruise this league again. Meanwhile my “real” blues Glasgow Rangers, coasted into the The semi/final of the Scottish Cup and will now face their bitter rivals from the other side of Glasgow, Celtic.

 I miss my Glasgow pals from both sides, we are bitter rivals for the 90mins...

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...and we LOVE noising each other up before the game. But after it’s over, we turn it off and move on as the best of friends. The way it should be.

A funny story. I went home to Glasgow one of many times, to see a cup final between Rangers and Celtic and my pal George ( a die-hard Celtic fan) asked me where I was staying when there. I told him the name of the hotel but he wouldn’t hear of it. “You’re staying at my place!,” he said. End of story!”

And so stay with him I did, for about 4 days. We broke bread together, sharing dinners. We went to the pub and the betting shop. I revelled in his hospitality.

On the morning of the Cup Final, we gathered in a fairly “neutral” bar, about 6 Rangers Fans and 3 Celtic fans all chatting having a beer and laugh. Noising each other up, BIG TIME. Comes time to leave for the game, ( which means us traveling to the stadium in different directions) and so we wish each other “bad luck” on the result but good luck to all stay safe and we set off. 

We leave the bar and as I was crossing the street, I hear this voice screaming at the top of its lungs, “GET IT RIGHT UP YOU, YA BLUE- NOSED BASTARD!!! SEE YOU? I HATE YOU YA RANGERS PRICK!!”

Well I doubled over laughing, I couldn’t keep it together, for it was none-other-than, George!! my pal, whom I was staying with lol, it was hilarious. Too many people take that side of sports all too seriously. We love the banter, we love the rivalry and we ALWAYS want our respective lads to win but that’s where it ends. Nothing messes with the bond of friendship, ever. We understand that without the rivalry and the goading of each other, it would be boring. Sadly though, it’s not like that for so many others who choose to hate and hurt each other and well, that’s just sad.

Speaking of “football,” soccer to lesser mortals, lol, I set off for a walk around Vancouver to clear my head and get some air and as I walked away from my hotel, thousands of people were walking towards the general area of the hotel due to the fact that B.C. Place is nearby and the Vancouver Whitecaps were at home with a game on today. It NEVER ceases to amaze me how people still recognize me in 2018. It’s pretty spooky. Seriously, when not on stage, I go about my day to day and I never give a thought to that side of my life. Then suddenly bunches of people, all friendly thank goodness, saying, “ Hey, Glass Tiger!” and asking for selfies and autographs, it truly never cease to blow my mind that they pick me out of the crowd. It still humbles me after all this time and reminds me of just how much of a mark Glass Tiger made on the music scene. Thanks guys.

Headed back to the hotel in time to order some room service and watch some of the Oscars. I realize that through these past 10 to 15 years they have lost much of their glamour but I have loved the movies all of my life and so I will continue to live a little vicariously through them once a year.

I Want to take a moment to remember a day, a date, and the loss of a very special talent. Friday March 4th, 1994. Although, when I think a little deeper about it, the day before is forever etched in my mind even more so. For that was the day that I called John Candy’s house to speak with him regarding the possibility of my providing some music for a couple of projects he was working on.

I had last seen him back in Toronto when we golfed together,  as we had done several times before. I had always felt honoured to having become a pal of John’s and part of an inner circle of such fun with him in it.

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We spoke about the music and he knew I was coming down to LA to record and so it was an opportunity for us to get together again.

On March 3rd, I called his home, greeted by his dear wife Rosemary. She sounded a little distraught but she was told me that she would absolutely make sure that he got back to me but also of how worried she was about the fact that he was burning all of his candles at both ends, filming not just one movie but two!  Wagon’s East and Canadian Bacon.

Sadly, I never got the chance to speak with or see John again because on the very next day, March 4th, the world lost him to a heart attack, in Durango Mexico. The world remembers John for many of his amazing characters, some will always call him Uncle Buck but for me? He will forever be, Del Griffith. He will forever remain one of the highlights of my life.

Since The Queen Elizabeth Theatre,  is only around the corner from our hotel, I walked it, focusing on still getting those legs moving and breathing fresh air.

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Good news is I got through it once again, probably even better than last night. Strangely enough though, as soon as I do that, I cough once again.

Afterwards I went with the lads for a snack and a beer.

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Have an early wake up call in morning because Sam and I are going to do CTV morning TV show.


So goodnight dear Canada and just for the record I got ; Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Actor all correct 😉

 

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 ~Alan