When the Lemon Sisters sang the Irish National Anthem

I sat at the Juno awards ceremonies sometimes when Blue Rodeo had taken off, feeling amused that someone let me in, even gave me a good seat. Sometimes people made speeches that were awkward, egocentric or just very rambling. If life offers you a moment like that it’s an amazing opportunity to inject interesting content back at the world. My favourite was when Catherine O’Hara and Mary Margaret presented something together and scared all the straights who produced the show by ignoring the teleprompter. These O’Haras led everyone in some exquisite surrealism. I seem to recall they said please join us in singing the Irish national anthem and nobody understood what was going on and at the same time everyone understood this was an actual moment of greatness and the quality of the event had been infinitely raised all due to the Lemon Sisters making things up on the spot, such is the power of choosing improvising over script. Jack Nicholson also did it the year he won the Oscar for As Good As It Gets. Near the end of his thank you’s, he declared the award was dedicated to…and then listed famous people like Miles Davis and Robert Mitchem, then some less so like Luana Anders, all of whom had died around that year, then concluded “they aren’t here anymore but they’re all my heart”.

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