Ricky Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Ricky Blue
is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Ricky Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

His columns are archived here

Posted 11.22.04


It's not too bad up here, eh?

Ask a Canadian: "How's it goin', eh?" And you won't get back: "Great!" At best you'll get: "Not Bad."

And you might even get something like this gem I once heard: "Well, my heart's still beatin', my body's still warm."

We Canadians have a downbeat attitude towards life. We are not an optimistic nation. We are suspicious of a Pollyanna. We read enthusiasm as hype. And we resist.

Americans like optimism. For one thing, it's good for business. You can sell things to Americans. They support fads. They will come right out and say: "Hey, I like that. Give me two of them!"

The Canadian will say: "I'll go home and think about it. And then, after a while, this itch to purchase might pass."

In the recent American election the Republican Party presented itself as an optimistic party, a party of growth. That's why it carried so much of the warm and happy Sun Belt. It was the Party of Upward Mobility.

The Democrats, on the other hand, seemed negative and downbeat. So they carried the bleak, desolate, and savage places: like the inner cities, the North, and university campuses.

They were always pointing out what was wrong, rather than what was right. And, as Bush said: "A list of complaints is not a plan."

We Canadians are like that. We like to point out what's wrong. But we don't really have a plan. We are suspicious of plans.

Like historically, when the early Americans said: "Hey. We have a plan to break away from this silly British monarchy and start a better, freer country!" Canadians responded with: "Nah. It will never work."

We have a kvetch culture. You would never know how good our lives actually are by reading our newspapers or watching the CBC. You would think that our whole country is comprised of victims.

But we console ourselves by making fun of the simple optimism of ordinary Americans. In that way we are like the Democrats.

The uber-Democrat Michael Moore has made a career out of making fun of Americans. In that he is very Canadian. So it should come as no surprise to find out that a Canadian film company, Salter Films, produces him. Michael Donovan, founder of that company, was standing beside him on Oscar night when he made his famous George-Bush-is-a-fictitious-president speech.

Salter is the same company that produced 'Talking To Americans' with Rick Mercer, one of the most successful Canadian television specials ever. It made fun of Americans by suckering them with silly questions about Canada. Indeed, there is nothing like making Americans look foolish to make Canadians feel better about themselves.

And now that their pessimism lost the election, some American Democrats are talking about emigrating to Canada. They would definitely feel at home here.

So, why not? If all our optimistic, ambitious Canadians eventually move south to further their fortunes, why shouldn't all those disgruntled, pessimistic Democrats move north to put a cap on theirs?

In the U.S. success is measured by excess, by having too much of everything. Think Hollywood or Vegas. Canadians don't really like anyone to have too much of anything. We will turn on them if they do. Canada is a place where, as Leonard Cohen once said: "Survival is success."

We are a wry winter people. And when one Canadian says: "Ever cold out, eh?" The other answers: "Don't worry. It'll get worse!"