Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL - Steve Bartlett

In the bus­tle of a Toronto air­port, a fa­mil­iar face stood out in the crowd.

Jim Cuddy.

I gen­tly tapped my wife on the el­bow.

“What?” she says. “Look,” I whis­per. “Ooooh,” she replies.

She is a ma­jor fan of Cuddy and his band, Blue Rodeo.

We see them play once, some­times twice, a year.

She refers to Jim as her boyfriend.

And there are pic­tures in my house of my wife and some friends meet­ing the group after a show many years ago. (Those pics hang along­side a photo of me with a mon­key on my head. Not sure of the jux­ta­po­si­tion.)

Any­way, as Cuddy sped past us in T.O. — ev­ery­one seems to be in a rush at Pear­son In­ter­na­tional — all I could muster was a pa­thetic, “Hello!”

He smiled po­litely, said hi, and kept walk­ing.

There was so much more, on so many lev­els, I wanted to say.

As a Cana­dian, I wanted to ask his thoughts on the state if this coun­try. He’s likely criss­crossed it more than any­one, ex­cept for maybe Trooper.

As a long-strug­gling gui­tar player, I wanted to dis­cuss the chords in the song, “Try.”

As a fan, I wanted to say a sim­ple thank-you.

And as a jour­nal­ist, I wanted to ask about an en­counter dur­ing Juno Week a few years ago.

I in­ter­viewed Cuddy about the Juno Cup, a char­ity hockey game a bunch of mu­si­cians and ex-NHLers had to raise money for a mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion char­ity.

It was a pretty straight­for­ward story. I wrote it and moved on.

A few nights later, I was work­ing on red car­pet cov­er­age with a col­league, grab­bing quick quotes from some of the big­gest names in Cana­dian mu­sic. (My ears are still ring­ing from the shrill screams when Justin Bieber sped past.)

As Cuddy walked a red car­pet lined with me­dia from across the coun­try, he ap­proached me and pointed out a gaffe in my hockey story.

I was thrilled.

Not be­cause I made a mis­take — I hate er­rors in my copy — but be­cause Jim Cuddy, Cana­dian mu­sic icon, took the time to make note of it on the Junos red car­pet!

And he did so in a calm and pro­fes­sional man­ner. (Not ev­ery­one keeps their cool when jour­nal­ists make mis­takes, like in­sert your lo­cal politi­cian’s name here.)

I didn’t think Cuddy would have read the story, let alone re­mem­ber me or care enough to dis­cuss it on awards night.

The ex­pe­ri­ence re­mains a jour­nal­is­tic badge of hon­our, a story usu­ally shared with other re­porters over a few beers.

Ear­lier this month, about two weeks after we crossed paths with Cuddy in the T.O. air­port, my wife and I went to see Blue Rodeo head­line an out­door con­cert.

Cuddy en­ter­tained with his typ­i­cal awe­some­ness and I re­gret­ted not strik­ing up a con­ver­sa­tion with him in Toronto.

Just bad tim­ing that’s all.

Steve Bartlett is an ed­i­tor with SaltWire Net­work. He dives into the Deep End Mon­days to es­cape re­al­ity and small mon­keys. He’d love to hear about your en­coun­ters with the fa­mous or in­fa­mous. Reach him at steve.bartlett@thetele­gram.com.

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