Today’s CanCon: The Tragically Hip “Butts Wigglin’”

In honour of my new play, BIG IN GERMANY, which is all about Canadian rock music and the 1990s, I’m going to share a CanCon music video everyday. BIG IN GERMANY plays at Buddies in Bad Times April 9-21. Get tickets here.

Today’s video is “Butts Wigglin’” by The Tragically Hip. It’s a CanCon twofer, with The Kids In The Hall!


So I don’t know if this actually counts. I don’t know if there was actually a video for Butts Wigglin’ or if this is just something a fan cobbled together with clips from Brain Candy.

I wasn’t a big fan of The Hip when I was a teenager, although I’ve come to appreciate them more as an adult. Ditto, actually, for The Kids in The Hall.

My strongest association with this song is from the movie, which came out in April 1996, when I was 12 and in 8th grade. I already knew I was gay, even though it would be years before I came out to anyone. But there was already a boy I liked.

kids-in-the-hall-brain-candy-originalI had convinced myself that Ricky liked me, too. Some of the other boys in school had even been spreading rumours that they saw him checking him them out, or that he’d touched their legs in a faggy way. Hearing those stories always made me mad and excited and, well, incredibly jealous. He was my best friend! He should’ve been checking me out and feeling me up!

But it was far too risky for me to come out to him. At least not until I was sure my feelings were reciprocated.

Then I saw the trailers for Brain Candy. I didn’t know a lot about The Kids in the Hall, but I knew enough that it was pretty gay. I casually asked Ricky if he was interested in seeing it – he was! My brilliant plan was working! From here all we had to do was get tickets, watch the movie, then….something, then all the horrible things teenage boys want to do to the objects of their affection!

As it turned out, watching Brain Candy in the old Yorkdale Mall Cineplex Odeon with Ricky did not lead to gay sex. Instead, we both squirmed with discomfort at all the overtly gay humour and drag performances in the movie. As we were leaving, Ricky told me it was the gayest thing he’d ever seen, but it wasn’t clear if he meant that was a good thing or a bad thing or if he was feeling me out the same way I was feeling him out.

There were a few more near misses until that September when we both went to different high schools and eventually lost touch. (FULL DISCLOSURE: We may have officially broken up our friendship because of a Collectable Card Game, but the writing was on the wall.) I’d heard stories that Ricky was the first guy in our class to lose his virginity (to a girl, as the rumour went), but I have no idea what happened to him after he turned 14. I remember hearing once he was on drugs and dropped out of school, but you know how the rumour mill goes – I don’t give that much credence. He has a very common surname, so he’s pretty much un-Google-able/Facebook-able.

A key part of BIG IN GERMANY is a story of a teenage gay crush, and although it’s not in the script, I like to think that the guys in the show watched Brain Candy together with a mix of anticipation and dread, desire and discomfort, just like Ricky and I did.

Got a Can-Con love story? Share it in the comments.


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