Hip-hop bells and a diplomat’s misspent youth

Mitchel Raphael on hip-hop bells and a diplomat’s misspent youth

Fred Chartrand/CP

Hip hop and the Peace Tower

There was much fanfare on the Hill during the week that kicked off celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There was a House of Commons ceremony unveiling a small statue of Elizabeth II riding a horse. It will be placed outside the Library of Parliament for one year and then permanently installed in the Commonwealth Room in the Centre Block where there is already a bust of the Queen. The bells of the Peace Tower played a special selection of songs inspired from an assortment of British tunes. Andrea McCrady, who plays the carillon, the musical instrument made up of 53 bells in the Peace Tower, worked out a special program to mark the jubilee. She plays the bells live every weekday at noon, sometimes with the help of as many as six students. They practise in a special room on the Hill, but on Fridays they test things out on the Peace Tower bells when “not many people are around,” notes McCrady. “I play everything from Renaissance music to hip hop,” she says. For Flag Day on Feb. 15, she planned to play Wavin’ Flag by Somali-Canadian artist K’naan, who recently chastised U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for using it during his campaign. McCrady doesn’t think K’naan will mind her 53-bell version.

‘Elegant’ Olympian butt

Last week, NDP MP Peter Stoffer launched an Olympic awareness campaign at his Ottawa office. In exchange for a donation, people can come to his office to shoot five darts, take five Nerf basketball shots, five shots of pool, five putts of golf and five kicks of a soccer ball. All proceeds go to support the athletes heading to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. His “opening ceremonies” included some celebrity guests: two former Olympic athletes, married couple Greg Joy and Sue Holloway, This Hour Has 22 Minutes host Mark Critch, Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal, and British High Commissioner Andrew Pocock. “The colonies are going to kick some old-country butt,” said Stoffer. Pocock replied, “If the colonies are going to kick some butt, then it is going to be some extremely elegant butt.” Pocock was the first VIP to tackle the Stoffer pentathlon and managed to sink five out of five Nerf basketball shots. As he hit the pool table, Pocock quipped, “My misspent youth is coming back to me.” Double points were awarded for the soccer portion if the ball was kicked while wearing wooden shoes provided by Stoffer. In several cases, the wooden shoes went flying off the players’ feet and ended up whacking the door of NDP MP Dennis Bevington, whose office is across the hall. Gosal, who played a lot of soccer growing up, missed all his shots, which he did with a wooden shoe. The overall champion was Holloway with 180 points. She was followed by Critch (173), Joy (146), Pocock (164), and finally the minister of state for sport (111).

NDP orange baby clothes

Much drama ensued recently over NDP MP Sana Hassainia bringing her baby, Skander-Jack, into the House. Hassainia was unable to find her husband, Amine Kochlef, to watch the baby during the votes, so she brought him into the chamber, only to be asked to remove him (in what was later described as a “misunderstanding”). Her husband told Capital Diary he has special permission to be in the House opposition lobby to help with baby duties, but the day after the kerfuffle that did not seem to stop a security guard from saying he needed to be escorted in by an MP. Liberal MP Hedy Fry noted that former NDP MP Michelle Dockrill not only voted with her baby in the ’90s but also discreetly breastfed in the House with a blanket over the baby. When Skander-Jack was brought out the next day for a press conference, he was in an orange and red outfit and apparently, according to dad, has “a lot” of orange clothing. The NDP likes to start them young.

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