The brother was on the doorstep when I arrived back from L.A.
Literally, on the doorstep. As the cab pulled up and I alighted, I saw a figure get up on his hind legs in the doorway. "How's your honour?" he roared.
"Ah, you are a judge?" the cab driver asked. "No," I replied. "I am the condemned."
The brother offered to carry my bags. I waved him away. I tried but failed to conceal the bottle of duty-free port upon my person. He eyed it. Meanwhile, I looked around suspiciously, searching for evidence of his posse of "lads" in the vicinity. Nothing. But I remained suspicious.
Indoors, the cats eyed the brother with alarm. Yes, him again. For some time now, the brother and a passel of his cronies, the lads, have been ensconced in Victoria, part of a rogue modern-dance troupe bent on dancing for dollars in the streets. As I was informed by the brother, "Victoria is where the youthful energy of the West Coast blends with the time-honoured British, European and Asian traditions." And, as it transpired, the troupe was told to go away and quit bothering people. The brother was cited for being especially objectionable.
"What's going on?" I asked, sharply. The brother beamed. The cats backed away.
"Canada's Got Talent!" he declared and waved his arms in a macabre manner, similar to the way Krista Erickson waves her arms on Sun TV when she's calling out to the "friends" she mistakenly believes are watching.
My heart sank. I cursed the existence of every TV talent show. Riffraff in search of glory. I knew what was coming. The brother and the lads were setting their hearts on an appearance on Canada's Got Talent. The show, starting in March on CITY-TV, offers an opportunity to singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, and "other performers of all ages," who compete for a cash prize of $100,000 and a booking to perform at a Las Vegas venue.
As constant readers will remember, the brother once masqueraded as Joe Pieweed. He attempted to enter as a contestant on Canadian Idol as "Joe Pieweed, Performance Artist." The judges had not been impressed by his rendition of Papa Ooh Mow Mow, especially as he had his T-shirt pulled over his head at the time. Even Ben Mulroney had given him a quizzical look.
For Canada's Got Talent, the plan is for a trio to compete. The brother plus Roy, who is one of the lads, and Roy's prospective spouse, one Gloria. It appears Gloria joined this motley crew because she was the only true fan of the rogue Modern Dance troupe dancing for dollars in the streets of Victoria. "Lovely, lovely young lady," the brother said. "You haven't seen modern dance until you've witnessed her bony white elbows going up and down."
Their routine, I was informed, will consist of the brother doing his infamous routine of pulling his shirt over his head and bellowing Papa Ooh Mow Mow, which will, I was also informed, "segue" into Roy singing a medley of songs about Gloria. First, Van Morrison's Gloria – "Like to tell ya about my baby/You know she comes around/She about five feet four/A-from her head to the ground…"
This in turn will "segue naturally" to Roy's rendition of U2's Gloria – "I try to sing this song/ I try to stand up/ But I can't find my feet…" ("That sounds apt," I interjected at this point.) And finally another "natural segue" into Laura Branigan's Gloria – "Leave them hangin' on the line, oh-oh-oh, calling Gloria, Gloria." All the while, Gloria herself will be standing there, moving her bony white elbows up and down.
Will it impress the Canada's Got Talent judges – Martin Short, Measha Brueggergosman and Stephan Moccio? A gig in Vegas and a cash prize of $100,000?
"Have you auditioned with this grotesquerie?" I asked. "Ah, no," the brother replied. "Gloria encountered a bottle of schnapps the night before. Muggy heads ensued. But we got it on video and sent it to Canada's Got Talent on YouTube. You can do that. We await the good word. Hence our presence here, you might say."
At this point the doorbell rang. My heart sank further. It was like the scene in which there is the knocking at the gate in Macbeth (Act II, Scene 2). "That will be Roy," the brother announced cheerily.
As I moved warily to the door, the brother called out, "It behooves me to mention that there is a Plan B. In case Canada's Got Talent fails to grasp the singularity of our artistry." He paused. "Plan is B is based on inside information that there will be a Canadian version of The Bachelor. I'll be there."
And me, I am truly the condemned.
Frontline: The Meth Epidemic (PBS, 10 p.m.) is a repeat, like much of prime time tonight, as the U.S. State of the Union address (multiple channels, 8 p.m.) dominates. The doc, unlike the State of the Union, paints a rather terrifying picture of the effects of addiction to methamphetamine. According to the program, in Oregon it is estimated that 85 per cent of property crime, as well as most car thefts, muggings and identity thefts, are linked to the drug problem. Blame is spread around.
Check local listings.