‘Dat you, Snook?’

Bob Wakeham
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Now that Bill Rowe has finally, and mercifully, relinquished his full-time preacher role behind the afternoon mike at VOCM (the radio station some cynics have dubbed the Voice of the Cabinet Minister), and joined the ranks of other retired giants of the open-line show circuit (the journalistic depth of those who’ve sat in that seat of bombast is rather startling), it turns out that “Snook,” of all people, has been given a shot at the job.  

Yes, that’s Snook, a.k.a. actor Pete Soucy, now taking the calls of everyone from politicians seeking free air time to professional whiners to souls bored in the mid-afternoon looking to make regular offerings to their own version of “Chapel For Shut-ins.”

(OK, OK, before I’m threatened with a public whipping at the hands of Marg and her band of callers, or even worse, a tongue lashing, I do concede there’s always been the odd few minutes of importance emerging from the hours of bluster, some of those occasionally worthwhile contributions delivered, in fact, by good friends of mine.)

In any case, I’m sure Snook or Pete or perhaps one of Soucy’s less famous characters won’t have to dig  too deeply for topics over the next little while, given that a provincial election campaign, a nectar of the gods for the open-line show addicts, is well underway.

But there might be some identification problems for Pete/Snook.  

“Good afternoon, you’re on the line.”

“Snook, buddy, how ya gettin’ on?” 

“The name’s Pete, or Mr. Soucy, whichever you prefer, but I’m not Snook.”

“Go way, b’y, don’t go gettin’ stuffed shirt on us; you’ll always be Snook.”

“Excuse me …”

“Come on, now, Snook, give us a ‘rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrright on’.”

“Sorry, the name’s Pete.”

“How’s Dougie?  He tokin’ up in the control room?”

“I’ve never heard of a Dougie, as you so quaintly put it.”

“OK, have it your way, Snook, b’y. But here’s what I wants to talk about anyway, Snook: what kind of an arsed up choice do we have this fall? I gotta ask ya. First off, you got Kathy. Now don’t get me wrong. Seems like a fine person and all. Bright and all. Did her thing for lots of women’s rights and all that sorta feminist thing years ago. But I can’t make head nor tail of where’s she’s comin’ from. Like her compass has gone haywire, my son. All over the map. Like a spintop, she is. And she made a real balls of that coast guard thing.”

“Watch the language now, caller.”

“Jes, Snook, b’y. Since when did you get all religious?”   

“The name’s Pete. And language control’s my new game.”

“OK, Snook, b’y. But she messed up. Ya gotta admit. In any case, you got me off my line of thought … think that’s what they calls it. Aside from Kathy, you’ve got Yvonne. Now, again, Snook, my son, Vonnie seems like a genuine article. Got some smarts, too. But she’s no leader, b’y. And even for me, she’s a bit rough round the edges, if you get my drift. Premier Jones? Nawww. Opposition crackie? I get it. She’s good at that, no doubt about it. I know she had old Danny pissin’ mad a few times. But Premier Jones? No way, b’y.”

“I’ll have to cut you off if you keep up that kind of reference to excretory functions, caller.”

“I don’t know what that means, Snook. But, give us a break, b’y. I’m on a roll. Anyway, I know my time’s about up. And I have to say something about Lorraine. God almighty, you got to hand it to her, Snook, b’y. Been tryin’ for years to help out … how would you say it? … the oppressed, the downtrodden. You OK with that vocab, Snook? That good ’nough for ya?” 

 “Yes, fine, fine.”

 “And Lorraine was a nun, too, b’y. Had the good sense to get out, though. Not a good place for a woman wantin’ to speak her piece, that papal church isn’t. And I like the cut of her jib, b’y. But Premier Michael? Nawww. Can’t see it, b’y. Besides, Newfs are ’fraid of lettin’ the NDP anywhere near the throne, them being half-cracked socialists and all.”  

“Well, thanks for those spell-bounding words, caller.”

“There ya go, again, gettin’ holier than thou. I liked you better when you were Snook. Come on now, for old time’s sake. Give us one last ‘rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrright on.’”

“Goodbye, caller.”  



Bob Wakeham has spent more than 30 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at bwakeham@nl.rogers.com.

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 24, 2011 - 12:23

    Thank God that the arrogant self serving book pusher Bill Roe is finally gone. Wish I could say you will be missed Bill but I wont. My question is why did they keep you there so long in the first place?

  • are u joking dude
    July 18, 2011 - 07:46

    mr. peter; aka snook; is dread ful at this radio thing; voice is one mono tone; no character or emotion; like listening to CBC opera radio; but i guess VOCM just doing normal every day thing VOCM does; give a liberal a temp job until they decide what they want to do; run for politics or right a book; or become a mini celeb in nfld/lab but funny column robert; very funny

  • leo quilty
    July 16, 2011 - 18:32

    rrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiight on randy

  • Velda
    July 16, 2011 - 16:33

    Anybody remember "Charlie Farquharson" from the old TV show Hee Haw? Charlie was a fictional rural Ontario farmer - pretty "unpolished" if you will. Charlie was portrayed by Don Harron, in real life a highly educated and articulate gentleman. I myself am from rural Ontario, and I can assure you of this - nobody got a greater charge out of watching Charlie than the rural farmers of Ontario themselves (i.e. my grandparents). Charlie was hilarious. Very much like Snook. Gotta be able to laugh at ourselves.

  • Cyril Rogers
    July 16, 2011 - 13:51

    Actually, I don't know why people are so offended by Snook or the term Newfie. Snook is a combination of any number of characters we had and still have in this province. It is exaggerated, no doubt, but folks we need to be able to laugh at ourselves. Most people I know enjoy Snook's antics even though we all know it is not "proper" to laugh at some of his pronouncements. That's why Revue is still popular! It is satire! As for the term "Newfie" I have travelled and worked in all parts of Canada and I am a proud Newfoundlander and Labradorian. If people choose to use that term with me I take time to educate them about our province, if, in fact their comment is meant to be insulting. Most Canadians appreciate us as a people, especially when we are able to help them learn about us. More than one has decided to visit after we have done our tourist promotion.

  • Randy
    July 16, 2011 - 13:30

    Soucy has been re-placed already by that Dalley fellow who use to be on nitghline..I think Pete should have been retained.He's a heck of a lot better at it then Dalley or the windbag Simms,who just loves to hear himself speak .VOCM have gone so far downhill over the past several years,it's surpriseing they're still around.Most of thier callers or the few that are left ,are regulers from St.John's.

  • David
    July 16, 2011 - 11:56

    Thanks for a good laugh

  • Candy
    July 16, 2011 - 11:19

    Thanks for the chuckles:)

  • Maggy Carter
    July 16, 2011 - 11:10

    Pete Soucy is an intelligent, articulate, likeable guy. His alter ego on the other hand is an a*hole. He is an offensive caricature of an illiterate, moronic, ill-spoken person that Soucy not only thinks exists in this province but that is reflective of a large number of Newfoundlanders. He is wrong. Snook is a stereotype that, like the term 'Newfie', evokes derision and ridicule of Newfoundlanders. CBC and NTV have variously devoted air time to this boring, tired old character because they think he is popular with viewers. Perhaps, but I have yet to meet one. Like many others, I instantly switch stations whenever he appears on screen. Some people find it more accceptable that it is one of our own portraying Newfoundlanders as a bunch of toothless hicks. If he appeared on the National, CBC would be swamped with nasty letters. The fact is that Pete Soucy is a far more accurate reflection of contemporary Newfoundland intellect, speech and behaviour than is Snook. Best wishes to Soucy on his radio stint but - please - leave the dummy at home.