Uncut editor Allan Jones recounts interviewing Canadian curmudgeon Gordon Lightfoot sometime in the mid-70s…
How we come to be talking about it, I can’t remember, but the next thing you know, Gordon’s lambasting the young American draft dodgers who made lives for themselves in exile in Canada rather than get shipped off to Vietnam. As far as he’s concerned, Canada should have booted them all out, sent them packing back to the States or banged them up in prison.
A man, he says, is nothing without a sense of duty. If he’d been an American, he would have volunteered to fight in Southeast Asia.
“Only Americans know the anguish of that war, but what kind of leniency can you extend to a guy who skips out of his country when 50,000 men get killed in a war?”
I may in some circumstances have let this pass. But during the long wait for Gordon, I appear to have grown somewhat cantankerous. So I launch into a patently ridiculous speech about America and Vietnam and the peace movement, generally coming on here like a veteran of the Weather Underground or the SLA, a history of random bombings on an FBI rap sheet, guns stashed in every cupboard of a South Compton safe-house, Patty Hearst trussed up in a closet close-by, peeing on the carpet and going out of her mind.
“Why didn’t I write about the war?” he says, in answer to that very question. “It was none of my goddamn business,” he says. “The United States at that time was a target for every loose tongue around. I didn’t think it was my place to say anything. I have,” he goes on, “a lot of sympathy for America. I also make a lot of money there. And if you don’t mind me saying so, some of the nicest people on earth are Americans and I wish you wouldn’t dwell on this particular subject. I suggest we talk about something else.”
(click here to continue reading ‘Even worse than Lou Reed. . .’ – Uncut.co.uk.)
Yeah, screw you Gordon Lightfoot. I never liked your schmaltzy songs in the first place.