Q&A: Talking World Cup with Brendan Canning

Q&A: Talking World Cup with Brendan Canning

Brendan Canning and the rest of the BSS crew headline play Olympic Island this Saturday (Image: Athena Kay) 

Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning is also a footie fanatic. With the World Cup just underway and Canning’s squad playing Olympic Island on Saturday for their almost annual summer mini-festival (which will feature a handful of outfits, including Band of Horses, Beach House and indie legends Pavement), we thought we’d take our interview opportunity to chat with the bassist exclusively about the beautiful game.

What appeals to you about soccer?
No ice skates. I was kind of a smaller kid, and it seemed like a sport where you could get away with being smaller.

You never played hockey?
I was an OK road hockey player, but I’ve skated about five times in my life.

What country do you support?
Well, I’m half Irish, but Ireland didn’t make it in.

The loss against France must have been hard to swallow.
Ireland is not a great side; they can really use some help putting in goals. But they didn’t really lose that fairly, with Thierry Henry’s hand ball.

You guys are heading to Europe after the island show. Do you expect to watch many games while you’re there?
The festivals always have games on the big screen. Once in Denmark, we watched the Greece–Portugal Euro 2004 final with 15,000 other people in this big muddy field. We all put on our big rubber boots, and those who didn’t have rubber boots put plastic bags over their shoes, and walked a kilometre to the screen. It was cool to stand outside with the rest of the punters to watch the game. We actually played a soccer tournament at a festival and made it to the semi-finals before our soundman let a squeaker in, which was painful. I don’t want to relive that.

Are you the only soccer fan in BSS?
I’m the only hardcore fan. About half the band watched the Champions League final together and Kevin gets into it a bit, and so does Andrew. Also, when they play FIFA, I do the commentary.

Are you a good commentator?
Not bad. I’m more of a colour guy rather than a play-by-play guy. Maybe it can be a second career for me, though you’d probably have to work your way up by covering fourth division games in England.

Where do you watch games in Toronto?
I’m not much of a beer drinker anymore, so I like watching at home. We’ve got a decent looking TV so I can watch in high definition and not have to worry about shovelling back a pint. We used to go to the Duke of Gloucester on Yonge Street, and over the years I’ve watched games up at Il Gatto Nero. I haven’t been to the Football Factory yet even though it’s just around the corner from me. Scallywags is the Liverpool house, and they’re my club, but it’s up at Yonge and St. Clair, and I’m not totally into going to all the way there for a match.

If BSS were an international side or a club team, who would you be?
Maybe France or Liverpool.

Why?
The ability to achieve greatness but not without its dysfunction and strange management decisions along the way.

Who’s going to win the World Cup?
Oh, I don’t know. [Pauses, hums, has.] Ya know… I’ll say England.

England?
[Laughs] Yeah! It’s time to break the 44-year drought.