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Jim Cuddy: A brief glimmer of hope in lives of desperation

"Everyone watched the wedding, couldn't get enough; At least for one moment, we were right there up above." The first single off Jim Cuddy's latest solo album Skyscraper Soul is Everyone Watched the Wedding, a thoughtful ballad about the ceremony involved with the marriage of Prince William and the former Kate Middleton, but also about hope, splendour and the momentary distraction from one man's more mundane lot. A video of Everyone Watched the Wedding, as well as a second video on the song's demo process, is available at Here, the Blue Rodeo crooner talks about the song's inspiration:


The genesis of the song was watching The King's Speech, which was screening on airplanes in a month I was really travelling a lot. I must have watched it four times. I was struck by what George VI had to give up in order to lead that nation – not having to overcome the stutter, but having to give up a semblance of a normal life that he had planned. It was very specific in the film that in order to lead, to be a monarch, he had to be other than the people. He couldn't be at all of the people; he could not have anything to do with normality. I thought that was a great sacrifice, in anybody's life.

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After that, I heard that two billion people were expected to watch the royal wedding. I was blown away by the number. I started reading about William, and his indoctrination into giving one's life to the nation, and the education involved with preparing him for that. It was a noble thing. I assumed it had to do with helping Britons lead inspired lives.

There's also the pageantry and the beauty of the wedding. I tried to see it solely from what I know are some very desperate straits in England, having travelled there the last couple of years. People were watching it because they wanted a break in their lives. They want to see something beautiful and uplifting, but they also want to see the sacrifice of that man.

I realized they would watch the wedding, and then go back to their normal lives on Monday. There's a line just before the chorus: "That one day, hope was all you could see." There's a another line: "Knowing all our lives will never be, but they looked so beautiful to me." I think hope is temporary. That has to be accepted. I don't think it was a coincidence that England blew up a couple of weeks later.

There's a level of helplessness in the world these days. The difference between rich and poor is certainly the greatest it's been in my lifetime, which is 55 years. I have to assume that there are people in this world who realize that they will never get out of the circumstances they're in.

I tried to have the guy in the song have very normal circumstances, but to also to exude a certain quiet desperation. I identified with him, not because I live a quietly desperate life, but because I was moved by the wedding. I was surprised by how beautiful it was. And that's the point of the song. It's not pro-royalist or anti-racist. It's just that moment that he's watching this event and not thinking about his life. And that's an important moment for him.

As told to Brad Wheeler

Jim Cuddy plays Oshawa, Ont., Oct. 14; Foodstock, in Melancthon Township, Ont., Oct 16; with a tour of Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to follow in November.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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