Joey Cape, “Burn That Bridge When We Get To It,” 2007.
This, oddly enough, feels very much like a Christmas song to me. I first heard it a few years ago as the holidays neared, and I’ve adored its simplicity and melancholia ever since. I think it’s all about going home and facing your past, your disappointments, your old life.
Burn those bridges to the ground Without a sound You just blew up Onto bigger destitute This is your art This is their truth Someone told you life is short But yours is long Longing for validation Sure you never needed song But without harmony you give them Underwhelming hope, faith, life’s work End it in a flat note gesture Passionate to some, isn’t that enough?
It’s safe to say that if you’re lucky enough to land an interview with Santa Claus, he doesn’t come to you—you go to him. Which is how I have ended up in a mock castle in the middle of this shopping mall in St. John’s, trying hard to ignore the odd looks and sideward glances from lunchtime shoppers as I stare intently at this man’s beard and whiskers, trying to figure out if they’re fake.
They are. It’s only fair to dismiss the illusions now, alas. The beard’s owner is Greg Power, a retired civil servant who has spent the last six Christmas shopping seasons hearing the wishes of children and the constant whirr of a digital camera immortalising countless trips to this castle for eager parents. It’s not a lark, he makes clear, it’s a job, and it is one he takes very seriously.
"It’s very important. It’s more than what it appears from the outside. It’s all done with an effort to make it pleasant and enjoyable,” he says. “Experiences that are positive or negative stay with children throughout their life, you know. This shouldn’t be a negative experience and I certainly don’t want to do anything to contribute to that possibility."