you're reading...
Week In Review

The 168 Turnaround: Dear Jack–Raffi’s Love Letter

THIS WEEK: October 23 – 29, 2011

The Week At Large
Life is tough; life on a film set … well, that can be deadly. According to reports, a stuntman died late this past Thursday while filming an explosion scene on the set of The Expendables 2. It just goes to show that Hollywood isn’t only fun and games … not anymore. But as it turns out, neither is the music industry. The CBC reports that superstar singer Adele is set to undergo throat surgery. According to Columbia Records, Adele will have the operation “to alleviate the current issues with her throat.” Speaking of singers, rapper Lil Wayne has once again promised to retire in six years, reconfirming a claim he made last March. By now, I’m sure he has all the money he needs to buy and lick as many lollipops as his heart desires, so why not retire? God knows I would.

The Close Up
So I bought a pumpkin the other day. Being in the throes of my quarter-life crisis (it comes part and parcel with a university degree in English literature), I often look back on my childhood and wonder what I could have done differently to avoid the rut I seem to be stuck in. I think for too long I’ve taken life too seriously, often adopting an expression of nonchalance or—worse—indifference when I should have just hung loose my goofy grin and been done with it. And so I bought a pumpkin, hoping that I could relive the excitement most kids experience every late October.

Yes, life is hard, and as an adult I find that I’m often envious of children. After all, aside from their lack of responsibility, when else can you listen to children’s musician Raffi and not look like a creep? “Baby Beluga,” anybody? How about “Down By The Bay?” Or what about “Bananaphone?” The warmth and smoothness of Raffi’s voice is like a hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea—everything right and close at hand. Can you do any better?

Raffi (otherwise known as Raffi Cavoukian) is in the news this week because he’s put to music former Canadian NDP leader Jack Layton’s last letter to Canadians. The letter, which was released after Layton’s death, was an expression of optimism and hopefulness that truly transcended politics. You can listen to a snippet of the song below, or you can download the whole thing for free here.

Raffi--a hero like no other

Speaking about the song, Raffi said, “In his last letter to Canadians, Jack Layton expressed a spirit of cooperation and positivity that resonated strongly with me and with many Canadians. This message was so widely shared immediately after his passing, I wanted to capture its wisdom in song to help us remember.”

And so in reflecting on my childhood and reawakening my love of Raffi’s music, I’ve found a message worth holding onto. From a perspective of adult cynicism, Layton’s words may seem somewhat smarmy and idealistic. But sung from the mouth of Raffi, Layton’s aspirations for the world become entirely possible and within our reach.

But that’s Raffi for you—he’s a real inspiration. And so quarter-life crisis be damned—this year my pumpkin won’t be sneering; it will be smiling.

How’s that for a treat?

The 168 Turnaround is a week-in-review column, a place for me to reflect on the week’s most interesting pop culture news items.  If it mattered to me or I think it might matter to you, then it will be here.  If I’ve overlooked an important news item, or if you have a comment or question, please leave a response below.  Thank you for reading.


One thought on “The 168 Turnaround: Dear Jack–Raffi’s Love Letter

  1. When I heard that Raffi had done that I was really impressed. And I remember you and your sisters listening to his music. I really would like to hear this song. Maybe when you are over next, you can play it for me.

    P.S. Have you carved your pumpkin yet?

    Posted by April Roe | October 29, 2011, 12:12 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 96 other subscribers


My Tweets

%d bloggers like this: