Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Wedding Song Blues
David Simmonds

Re:Sound recently applied to establish a fee structure on the airing of recorded music to accompany live entertainment; receptions, conventions, assemblies and fashion shows; karaoke bars; festivals, exhibitions and fairs; circuses, ice shows and fireworks displays; parades; and parks and other public areas. The Board has recently authorized the fees. That’s where the press got the idea that parades and weddings are going to be out of business.

Now, we’ve the theory straight, sort of, let’s look at the numbers. In a parade, Re:Sound will be able to charge $4.39 per float with recorded music. That’s only half of the already existing SOCAN rate of $8.78. That’s right: you should have had a SOCAN licence for that float in the Canada Day parade before you crank up the volume on “Bud the Spud.”

Actually, parades and parade music are small potatoes. Re:Sound is expecting to draw in less than $3,000 from them. The big-ticket item is “receptions, conventions, assemblies and fashion shows.” Those expected to pull in over $1.5 million per year, again at about half the existing SOCAN rate, but don’t cancel that wedding just yet.

Let’s assume that weddings constitute one quarter of all of those receptions, conventions, assemblies and fashion shows. Now according to one website I checked, you can expect about 157,866 weddings in Canada during 2012. If my mental arithmetic is right, that means that each wedding will cost about $2.50 more than the facility holding the event already pays. That may not be small potatoes, but it’s still a few truckloads short of amounting to a hill of beans, at least on a per-wedding basis.

Speaking of weddings, I discovered a website called Our Wedding Songs dot Com, which suggests appropriate songs for each element of a wedding; the ceremony, the bouquet toss, the garter toss, the father and daughter dance and so on. I notice that for “first dance” songs, “From this Moment” by Shania Twain places a respectable ninth. “Bud the Spud” doesn’t seem to be on the list at all.

What’s the top song on the list? It’s “At Last,” sung by the late, great Etta James, but someone else wrote it; she’s just the performer.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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