Too much, the magic bus

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Hey there. Great to see you again.

A few things have changed since my last column, which was written four-and-a-half years ago for a different publication.

I write for this paper now, and have been forced to grow up a little, thanks to marriage, fatherhood and the bank's five-year, fixed-rate, bi-weekly death grip on my goombobabobas.

It's all good though, because how I help support my wife, our son and the mortgage is by having the second-best job on the planet.

Only being lead singer of U2 is better.

Newspaper reporting provides extremely varied experiences. It puts you in a lot of different situations and places. In recent weeks, I've been all over the map - literally - covering the provincial election.

Week 1 of the campaign was spent on the Liberal party bus, which, sadly, does not have dance poles like some of the other party buses out there.

Anyway, covering the Grits took me to the west coast, the Northern Peninsula, central Newfoundland and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

OK, that last stop didn't happen, but somewhere near Lourdes I felt like I was experiencing a method of torture used to break terrorists - the same music played over and over and over and over.

Canadian country crooner Johnny Reid's "A Place Called Love" was in the CD player for 147,003 consecutive hours. It was enough to make me confess to heinous international crimes I couldn't possibly have committed because they occurred when I was a kid still drawing moustaches on my sister's Barbies.

Having Reid on continuous loop had me begging to be thrown under the Liberal bus at high speed on a rough rural road.

No offence to Johnny Reid, of course. I saw him at Mile One in August and enjoyed his live show, especially the way the ladies melted with every word and seemed ready to pelt him with undergarments.

Liberal Leader Kevin Aylward appears to feel the same way about Reid's music. He wasn't tossing his boxers around (thankfully) but it was him who was responsible for all-Reid, all-the-time. He even threatened to sing karaoke, and at one point danced alone to the song "Let's Go Higher" with all the rhythmic dance stylings of Chaz Bono.

Aylward loves that song, which you might recognize from the commercial for CBC-TV's fall lineup (a roster that, sadly, no longer includes "The Edison Twins").

The Liberal leader regularly played the tune before campaign stops. It was his anthem, his "Eye of the Tiger."

But after a couple of days, the reporters on board had had enough. We started razzing Aylward and tweeting about the wannabe premier's musical obsession. (For the unfamiliar, tweeting involves 140-word posts to Twitter, not little birds or embarrassing sounds no one accepts responsibility for.)

And since Johnny Reid is on Da Twitter, we began tagging his user name (@JohnnyReid) in our tweets.

Liberal MP Scott Simms boarded the bus at Lewisporte Junction. He didn't care for Johnny Reid, and when Aylward jacked up "Let's Go Higher" in Lewisporte, Simms faked enthusiasm by raising his index finger during the chorus.

Amused, I shot a short video and posted it to Twitter with, "Not every Liberal shares a love of @JohnnyReid."

This drew a surprising response.

The country singer himself tweeted, in his Scottish brogue: "nor does Johnny Reid share a love of every liberal travels.. JR."

Thrilled, I broke into song, the only song there ever was and the only song there will ever be.

It goes, "Just when you think I've reached the moon, you look at me and say, 'Let's go higher, let's go higher.'"

Reach Steve at On Da Twitter, he's @bartlett_steve.

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