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Posted by eleanor

Whither art thou, oh goddess of pitch and timing?

Remember when Anne Murray was the lesbian wet dream? She was a gym teacher in Nova Scotia turned hit maker. An old university classmate of Murray's once insisted to me that Annie was known as the big dyke on campus. And so we all went gaga, even as mainstream Canuckistan embraced Murray for her earnest blandness.

"Like a certain persistent myth of Canada, Anne Murray is emblematic of simple, wholesome, unsoiled virtue. She is the driven snow that blankets our nation like a cloak of downy innocence, that protects us from the libidinous nastiness emanating from across the border," write the authors of "Mondo Canuck."

"That's why so many Canadians were more than a little pissed at [punk Yank music critic] Lester Bangs (a most un-Canadian name) when he dared to imagine what he might whisper in her 'well-formed Canadian ear.' How dare he?

"After all, as Larry Leblanc wrote in Maclean's in 1974, 'If you close your eyes and think of a naked Anne Murray, parts of her always come up airbrushed."

These days, she's the queen of the mushy hetero wedding anthems: "You Needed Me," "I Just Fall in Love Again," "Could I have this dance?" And "Snowbird"!!!

But a select few always understood. Like those who listened to her actually speak: Murray once called the Culture Club hit "Karma Chameleon" "a piece of shit." Of the girl band Bananarama: "They're three broads from London."

And that Saskatchewan farmer who once grabbed her at a concert and wouldn't let go -- the freak who introduced the concept of stalking to the Canadian public. (I expect Murray's hubby was none too pleased, either.)

But married or not, we've always claimed Murray. Leblanc again: "Even though Anne remains decidedly heterosexual she has the flinty good looks, the athletic figure, broad shoulders and boyish hairstyle that naturally make her a darling of the butch set."

Respond the "Mondo Canuck" boys: "Flinty good looks? The Chicago Tribune put it rather less poetically: 'There's always going to be this lingering whiff of phys. ed. classes about the woman."

Indeed. But that, you moronic git of a reviewer, was a plus. And still is.


# re: Whither art though, oh goddess of pitch and timing?
May 26, 2006 4:36 PM
I'm actually more confused about how broad-shouldered athleticism and boyish hair make her a darling of the butch set. I know some bois like that (and not that there's anything wrong with that) but it's not often that those attributes trump curves and heels.
# re: Whither art though, oh goddess of pitch and timing?
May 26, 2006 9:47 AM
This (supposed) reprint of a 1999 People interview, though, makes no reference to Cynthia as more than a pal.

Not that that means anything.
# re: Whither art though, oh goddess of pitch and timing?
May 26, 2006 9:31 AM
Ah, thank goodness for readers! I kinew someone would have an update!

Here's a recent media blurb about Cynthia, though:

Metro: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it that you are still using today?

Anne Murray: I was a staff maid for a summer at the Keltic Lodge in Cape Breton. I looked after the staff there — once a week I changed their beds, had to clean the bathrooms of the staff quarters. And the boys up there were just learning how to drink. What a mess they created. What did I learn from it? No more cleaning toilets after that for me.Murray’s latest album is I’ll Be Seeing You (Capitol/EMI), a collection of Tin Pan Alley classics and a tribute to the loss of her longtime friend and golfing partner, Cynthia McReynolds. Available on CD and DualDisc CD/DVD.
-- published in January 2005
# re: Whither art though, oh goddess of pitch and timing?
May 26, 2006 8:23 AM
Anne Murray and her husband Bill Langstroth separated amicably back in 1998. As he told People magazine, they'd been "cooking on different stoves" for quite a while. Anne was pictured in People with her longtime companion Cynthia McReynolds.

You may think of her hit songs as "mushy hetero wedding anthems," but this dyke loves them. Anne's voice reminds me of maple syrup: sweet, but with a tang of melancholy.
# re: Whither art though, oh goddess of pitch and timing?
May 25, 2006 10:47 PM's the thing...Anne Murray's got a gf now. It's no secret in the music industry and she's got a posse of people that travel with her. Which is possibly more shocking, if not terribly cliche. :) More power to her.