Would ode to Dildo, N.L., fly on family-friendly CBC?

CanWest News Service
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The Newfoundland outpost of Dildo might be about to have its praises sung a second time thanks to the CBC.

The Great Canadian Song Quest, a contest sponsored by CBC Radio 2, lets listeners choose 13 Canadian acts, each of which will record a song about a similarly elected location in their home province.
Options include such colourfully named destinations as Magnetic Hill, N.B.; Love, Sask., and Dildo, N.L.
It's this last possibility - one that stands a good chance of winning, according to sources at the CBC - that could potentially cause headaches for the family-friendly broadcaster.
"Who knows if the songwriter in Newfoundland would do a straight take on Dildo. That's in the hands of the artist," says Kai Black, CBC Radio 2's executive producer of daytime radio, who thought up the contest while passing through Ontario's Bobcaygeon.
The town was famously featured in a song of the same name by The Tragically Hip, and Black wished there were more records immortalizing Canada.
While there are plenty of songs about American cities - New York, New York; My Kind of Town (Chicago Is) and Allentown, to name just a few - many Canadian acts intentionally left northern locations out of their lyrics because they were looking to place on American charts.
However, one feisty Canadian folk act has actually taken on the titter-inducing town in Newfoundland before. The Arrogant Worms, an Ontario-based folk band, recorded A Night in Dildo in 1994.
"It's one of our better bar songs," says Trevor Strong, the band's lead singer.
Ironically, Strong says the record, which mentions locations all across Newfoundland, was actually commissioned by the CBC.
According to Strong, when writing a song about certain townships, it's in a songwriter's best interest to employ restraint.
"When something is so blatantly obvious, it's better not to go for the obvious joke," Strong says.
"It's Newfoundland, it's Canada - you can make lovely suggestions about the rocks and the ships and the sea and, you know, whatever else you might find."
Of course, while the Radio 2 brouhaha has perhaps brought a shade of unwanted attention on the small town along the Baccalieu Trail, local residents are tickled pink at the idea of hearing a song with their name in a chorus.
"I enjoy Dildo because of the atmosphere," says Susan Clement, a retired factory worker who moved to Dildo from Toronto. "It's an old-fashioned town with great values - never mind what folks may think of our name."
The contest, which launched Sept. 7 and wraps Nov. 23, is entirely fan-generated, and voters are allowed to cast a ballot once per day in each province.
Black says that the contest has received more than 10,000 votes and that contributing artists such as Sloan, Martha Wainwright, Shad and Ron Hynes are raring to get into the studio to record their hymns to Canadian towns.

Organizations: CBC, Tragically Hip

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Canada, Magnetic Hill Sask. Ontario New York, New York Chicago Allentown Toronto

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