On “Odes to Cod”

Lately I am mostly  content to slave away at other life-trials and completely neglect this blog (see test pattern, below) while I go at whatever it is I go at with other things and eventually return with a bunch of wordy thisses and thats.

Today I read something particularly egregious about my home province and I really felt the need to comment lampoon a particularly bad travel article concerning Newfoundl[and Labrador]. So I’ll do that here, because I fucking can.

While under normal circumstances I’d advise against reading this steaming pile of shit compliments of http://www.dailymail.co.uk at all, it’s somewhat necessary in order for the following to make sense. So if you’re from here, read it critically, please, if you may, (Or post it on Facebook without reading it because you’re a “Proud Newfie”, I don’t give a fuck.) and if you’re not just fucking ignore it altogether. After you read it once.

Canada high: Newfoundland may be remote but its beauty is boundless (and there is even a shoe hospital where you can turn in your brogues after a night’s jiving)

Wow, that title. That says too much, already. Let’s dive in, shall we?

“Life in Newfoundland is one big ode to cod”

Jumping Jesus, not this fucking shit again.

“We acclimatise in Newfoundland’s capital–the port town of St. John’s [It’s a city, for the geographically precise], whose rows of houses are painted bright colours so that a fisherman could spot his own home as he wandered back drunk in the fog.”

So, okay, we’ve got (multiple) stereotypes as well as straight-up factual inaccuracy. We’re off to a good start! The whole “brightly coloured rowhouse” motif that Tourism NL, artists, and mail- and garbage-box painters have milked the fuck out of over these last decades really only started in the 70s, due in large part to the good work of the people at the Newfoundland Historic Trust. It’s a great story if you like drunk fishermen but it’s fucking bullshit. They were pretty much all brown, the houses. So we must have had a hell of a lot of confused drunk fishermen.  Hey b’y!

“Over breakfast the next morning, the waitress catches us watching a small fishing trawler bouncing it’s way out of the bay. [We’re supposedly still in St. John’s here; no bay. “The bay?” I dunno.  I’m also just gonna let that comma stay back there, even though it doesn’t belong. I didn’t write or {shittily} edit it]

‘My husband, his father brother father, his cousin and a close friend are that boat’, she says as she deposits [?] our eggs.”

Is this for fucking real? There is no way. If this is true, and there’s a waitress somewhere in town who watches everyone she knows go out in a boat from one of the restaurants that looks over the harbour every morning, I need to meet this person. For now I will assume they somehow broke the space-time continuum and had breakfast in 1907. What’s a “brother father brother”? Only in Newfoundland.

” We sit swaddled against the chill, numb fingers clutching roast beef sarnies and jam jars of fresh lemonade…”

The fuck is a sarnie?

“… who recounts one Christmas when the seas froze over and a polar bear strolled into town.

She was so busy baking partridgeberry muffins, she didn’t notice it walk past her window.”

Women in Newfoundland, amiright? No? Good. Seriously, though, “So busy baking patridgeberry muffins”? Ten bucks she was on the can. Or down at the Club playing the waps.

“The local beer is Iceberg Beer.”

This is news to me, and I have drank a veritable goddamn fucking waterfall of local beer.

“…the Artisan Inn [Trinity] whose Dutch owner, Tineke Gow, came, saw, fell in love, and is gradually buying up a clapboard empire.”

Clapboard empire? I don’t–oh, maybe I get it–nope, no I don’t. So she’s a businessperson? What is it with you British and Empire anyway?

“Newfoundland feels lost in time; nostalgia hangs in the air, and there’s no sign of the efficiency and technology which flood our own lives (I haven’t seen an iPad all week).”




[Earnest-Voiced Voiceover: “Imagine a place frozen in time, where the sky is so huge that everyone knows everyone and buttery nostalgia hangs thickly in the air, ready for this morning’s fresh partridgeberry muffins…”  *Throws TV out window* *Denounces Newfoundlander status*][Seriously though, partridgeberries are deadly.]

“But it’s the open-armed, ‘everybody knows everybody’ mentality which sucks me in.”

Remove the words “me” and “in” from the end of that sentence, and remember the fact that we’re well-used to smiling for  and feeding myth to annoying fucking tourists and you’re getting closer.

‘The sea is a peacemaker,’ as Captain Dave says. ‘If you get into trouble out there, somebody’s gotta save you.’ 

Yeah, like the UK. Er, Canada. Never mind. Our captains go by the first names though! We don’t have last names here!

*Goes back to writing Odes to Cod*


2 thoughts on “On “Odes to Cod””

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