Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
There's the old joke, with the set up and the punchline being one and the same, that we've all heard. With the appropriate amount of timing, a frazzled married comedian can say, "Take my wife," pause for a beat and a half and then finish the thought with, "Please," and a general roar escapes from nearly everyone who hears it - man or woman alike. It's this strange pretend/real suggestion that most men were somehow coerced into marrying someone - they had to do it, they had no choice. They were backed into a corner and so they went out, bought a ring, got down on a knee and signed their life away, knowing that there might not be any going back on any of it, without it hurting three times as much. They locked themselves into a long-term agreement that was as binding, as ironclad as anything they would ever get involved with. They felt as if they stepped right down into the center of a set bear trap and there it was now, clamped like a bitch at their ankle, digging gruesomely into their shin bone. They had set the trap and stepped into it themselves, but somehow, they wanted sympathy, or others to commiserate with them about the bad spot they found themselves in. They wanted people to watch as they started trying to chew their own leg off, just to escape - get out of this holy matrimony.
The folks in the band Rah Rah find that they think about the married life good and often, sometimes in the way that it's thought of above, but mostly as something that their characters knew they were getting into. Occasionally, the hand was forced, as one hears on an older song, "Duet For Emmylou and the Grievous Angel," where they sing, "I won't miss you now, but I will once you're gone/And these are the reasons/I keep holding on/Because you are lovely and because you are home," qualities that they size up to be incredibly desirable in a woman. The song is a conversation - divided into two separate monologues, one from the woman's point of view and the other from the man's. Neither of them know what they're going to do with the other one and they vacillate between continuing to sit out there on the lake, with a pole in hand, rather than just cutting bait and walking away.
The big idea in the song is that, if this were any city other than small town Regina, Saskatchewan, marriage wouldn't have even been considered. It would have been more fashionable and practical to just remain single and have fun. The conflict runs throughout this collection of songs, however, where the idea of marriage is still one of romantic sensibilities. It's too hard to deny, so most people don't. Many of the people that this big group of friends (fans of all of the following, it seems: Neil Young, Blondie and Hall & Oates), write about are drawn to the perceived beauty of tying the knot. It's achieving the sunset, the porch and the quiet home, where everything settles the hell down and they can just read books and paint paintings with their best friend, all day and all night. They all find that there's more to it all that. They find out that bouquets wilt and die and that smiles and hugs are never permanent.