Almost everything I supposedly learned from Dick Hebdige about English post-war youth subcultures, I’d already been taught before by Derek Hannah (pictured above beside me circa 1995), from Glasgow(ish) who just sort of seemed to show up in Calgary one day, having newly married a Calgarian he’d met in Europe. He was also a few years older than all the other kids who played in bands or went to shows. His advanced age (he was 26 when I first met him), combined with the odd way he spoke English, combined to confer on him a special status, a respected godfather to all the city’s indie-pop bands, an honour he would have earned, as I learned, in any case, no matter how old he was or where he came from: there wasn’t a whole lot Derek didn’t know about soul and rockabilly and Scottish post-punk, in specific, and the recorded history of popular music more generally. More importantly, he was generous and kind with his knowledge; his excitement for Northern Soul, especially, was contagious. Here's a man who had actually been to a soul weekender.
Which is why there was such massive and universal disgust on the pop side of Calgary's music scene with an incident that occurred in Calgary, on stage at an independent festival I had co-organized called the Panacea festival. It was my idea—and my idea alone—to have MCs introduce each upcoming band during changeovers. I was thinking, I don’t know, old-style, 1950s-like, little bit of Alan Freed pizzazz maybe, make it a rock ‘n’ roll spectacle. Derek agreed to MC one of the venues one night. A local punk band with a prominent following took to the stage and, before playing a note, their singer decided to make fun of Derek—Derek who had done nothing except say the name of buddy's band politely, engagingly, and with a subdued Scottish accent. “Who the hell was that guy? What the fuck was that? Seriously, who even was that? Is this a fucking joke?” The crowd jeered and booed and pointed and laughed at Derek as he hopped off stage.
By the mid-1990s, being a punk in Calgary no longer seemed a very Hedbidgean experience at all. There was no manifesto, no political purpose, no musical innovation, and, perhaps most inexcusable of all, very little stylistic innovation either. It was poorly trousered men making fun of other men, like me and Derek, for not being men in the correct and boorishly menacing, punk-approved way. Probably I deserved that mockery, I was excessively foppish and sometimes I egged people on—but not Derek, Derek deserved none of it. Derek was the dude our entire indie-pop subculture revolved around. He radiated enough quiet confidence to carry everyone. He played bass in a number of bands, including Brass and The Lux. He now lives in Auckland, where, I think I heard somewhere, he sells some vinyl at events and festivals around town from time to time.
Both these images are from the Calgary Cassette Preservation Society blog, which also reviews the album and provides links to the music.