Pigeon Camera references


"...This house it has it politics;
over there that's my room
and that's my sister's.
And that's my sister,
With something we could no longer contain

It's boring,
I'm embarrassed,
I don't endorse that;
I didn't want this,
it's horrific
I'm embarrassed"

Pigeon Camera developed out of a monologue Gord performed during the Hengelo show. The concert fell on road manager Dave Powell's birthday. Gord sang an impromptu song about Dave's childhood in Thunder Bay. Though none of the lyrics were retained, the themes of the song were spying and incest-- two unlikely themes which would return in this song.

As Gord sings "I don't endorse that," Paul adds "Slammed in my face" as the backing vocal. The timing and layering create an audio illusion which sounds like "Door slammed in my face."

While the song deals with incest, the literal reference is far more fun to write about, so let's go there:

"...Where's our Pigeon Camera
By now he could be anywhere"

Pigeons, being easy to train and eager to return to their nests after long journey's, were first used as spies during World War II. Yep, forget about James Bond and shoe phones, that pesky visitor to your balcony each morning may just be what a real "company man" looks like. With small camera's strapped to their chests, Pigeons were perfect for reconnaissance work... well, except for their unreliable and unpredictable work ethic, total dumb luck photography style and constant AWOL'ing to go statue sitting in Paris and Bucharest.  

The United States recently declassified some of their Pigeon Camera work which included missions during the Vietnam War. From a USA Today story about a new CIA museum: "the exhibits include a robotic catfish, a remote-controlled dragonfly and a camera strapped to the chests of pigeons and released over enemy targets in the 1970s. The secret gadgets currently used by CIA are left to the imagination of visitors. The pigeons' missions remain classified, made possible only after the CIA secretly developed a camera weighing only as much as a few coins. An earlier test with a heavier camera in the skies over Washington failed after two days when the overburdened pigeon was forced to walk home.

"People don't think of a pigeon as being anything more than a rodent on top of a building," said Pat Avery of Newalla, Okla., who runs the National Pigeon Association and loves to recount decades-old exploits by famous military pigeons such as "Spike" and "Big Tom."

But as surveillance technology improved, the need for CIA pigeons diminished. "They're pretty passé now," she said.

"...it’s like we burn our boots
with no contingency plan"

On Canada Day 1990, Gord famously lit his boots on fire during a huge holiday concert at Barrie’s Molson Park. When the band returned to play the final Edgefest in Molson Park some thirteen years later, Gord confessed that it was in fact his brothers boots which he’d torched those many years ago. Gord told the assembled mass that his brother didn't quite see the humour in it.