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Oh Canada and Allelujah!


What a couple weeks it's been in Canadian arts and culture, eh? A few weeks ago, Godspeed You! Black Emperor won the 2013 Polaris prize (which includes $30,000 in cash) and responded with this, now notorious, statement, addressed to "music-writers" and "kanada" and lambasting Polaris with ----

"we’ve been plowing our field on the margins of weird culture for almost 20 years now, and “this scene is pretty cool but what it really f****** needs is an awards show” is not a thought that’s ever crossed our minds." ---

The whole thing angered many, pleased many more, and more or less created a mini-Canadian music scene windstorm (it was also picked up by Stereogum, Pitchfork, Spin, etc. so the winds know no borders). We here put GY!BE's superb album Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! on our 2012 best of list, and we couldn't help but agree that expensive prize galas aren't exactly what our music industry needs.


But if that was not enough media spotlight, David Gilmour, author and professor, managed to ignite the world's ire when he told the Shelf Esteem blog, "I'm not interested in teaching books by women" late last month. And Gilmour, who is long listed for the Giller Prize, is no small-time author, so once again Canada was in windstorm mode and papers around the world carried the news. A lot of papers.

And then came yesterday's Nobel Prize for Literature announcement, and I don't know about you guys but when the Swedish for "Canadian" dropped out of the announcer's lips, it was another windstorm, but a personal one. Allelujah! Not only has Canada never won a Nobel in Literature (unless you count Saul Bellow, and who does?), but of all our great writers, it's hard to find one more amazing and worthy than Alice Munro.

We do amazing things here in Canada, Gilmour's gaffaw notwithstanding, and we've managed to get major world attention several times in the last few weeks, mostly for amazing things. And it's media frenzy like the ones we've witnessed recently that helps us remember that Canada is just crawling with awesome: we've got two amazing scene festivals, arguably the most respected music blog that consistently covers industrial, and our own Artoffact imprint has three great CanCon artists on our 2013 release schedule (Ohm, Rational Youth, Volt 9000). It's a great time to be Canadian.

Don't bend! Ascend!