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Fucked Up? Fuck yes!

September 22, 2009

I’m not actually a huge fan of Fucked Up. I like their record, but I don’t love it. However, I’m glad they won the Polaris Prize last night. Frig. Admittedly I hadn’t listened to every record on the short list, but based on the ones I had heard and the familiarity of some of the names, they seemed like a pretty safe, CBC-approved bunch. Certainly predictable, if not mediocre. Except for Fucked Up. I couldn’t figure out what the hell they were doing on the long list, let alone the short list, and now they’ve won. Goddamn!

The cynic in me thinks a lot of jurors may have been prompted to vote for Fucked Up as a year-too-late response to the arts funding debate which sprang up as part of last fall’s Federal election. Remember the snit some people got in when they heard government monies were helping another band with a swear in their name? And some nonsense about the Conservative Party knowing what kind of art ordinary Canadians want? Voting for Fucked Up in a privately-funded meritocracy would surely demonstrate that worthwhile Canadian art doesn’t always have to mean Group of Seven exhibitions, weird NFB shorts, or a series of moose sculptures in downtown Toronto. And I guess it worked.

Plus, it’s been kind of funny watching mainstream media fumble with the band’s name. He-who-cannot-be-named went with his stock stand-in for “fuck” when he interviewed two members on Q this morning, referring to the band as “Effed Up.” Most mainstream newspapers, blogs, and wire services went with some variation on “F—ed Up,” but The National Post couldn’t even bring themselves to include the “ed” in their headline, and instead announced “F***** Up wins the 2009 Polaris Prize.”

My own cynicism and the oh-so-Canadian reluctance offend aside, I’m really happy the Polaris surprised me. Fucked Up seem pretty stoked on it too.

fuckedupFrom chromewaves‘ Flickr stream

4 Comments leave one →
  1. passerine songs permalink*
    September 22, 2009 8:20 pm

    I don’t really know what to say about it. This whole process was f***** up right from the beginning.

    Like, they pick all these bands and many of them don’t even have a chance. They short list a bunch of predictable stuff, and then pick the most conspicuous band of the lot to win. I guess its cool they won, meh, but what was the decision based on and what does it reflect, apart from the tastes of white dudes in Ontario?

    • September 22, 2009 8:29 pm

      Yeah, I think the criticisms Exclaim! and others have raised still apply, and if the Polaris folks want to maintain any semblance of relevance to the country as a whole, they need to address that stuff. I guess I’m just relieved the white dudes from Ontario didn’t go with Metric. I read somewhere today (forget where) that some are attributing the win to Joel Plaskett and Chad VanGaalen splitting the votes of singer/songwriter fans. Democracy is weird.


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