Paul Quarrington, RIP…

Yesterday, I found this song echoing through my head for the first time since…oh, about 1995 or thereabouts, when I was at journalism school and you couldn’t turn on a radio anywhere in Toronto without hearing it:

And today, I found out why I suddenly had this little adolescent earworm. Paul Quarrington, singer/songwriter, novelist, and filmwriter, has passed away. He wrote this song along with the Rheostatics, and lobbied for them to be in the soundtrack of the film version of his novel, Whale Music. Until then, no one knew who the Rheostatics were; a damn shame, because they’re a fine, still underrated band (and recently reunited just to pay tribute to the ailing writer who once gave them such a big, generous career-boost.)

I still haven’t read that book (yeah, I know–shame on me!), and I only saw parts of the movie when it finally came onto TV. But it was big, big news while I was in j-school. All my classmates were talking about it, and this haunting song was everywhere. I still have memories of intoxicating darkroom chemical vapors swirling around my head while this was playing in the background as I did my job as photo editor of my j-school paper. Somehow, it was very appropriate: quirky, funny, poignant, meditative.

I dare you to listen to it and not find yourself absentmindedly singing along with the “ba ba ba ba, ba ba ba ba” chorus at some odd, unforeseen moment…

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