I missed Canada Day on Tuesday (it’s July 1)! But I believe I did post a Canadian singer then: the incomparable Sarah McLachlan. Apologies to my friends up north, even if they do install the toilet paper backwards.

To make reparations, I’m posting another great song by McLachlan: the famous “Angel,” recorded in 1997 and performed below in her home studio with just voice and piano. Clearly she didn’t need much else, for this is a superb and intimate performance.

The song is clearly about drug addiction, but the Wikpedia article gives a bit more information:

As McLachlan explained on VH1 Storytellers, the song is about the Smashing Pumpkins touring keyboard player Jonathan Melvoin, who overdosed on heroin and died in 1996.

. . . “Angel” was one of the first songs written for Surfacing. McLachlan said that writing it was easy, “a real joyous occasion.” It was inspired by articles that she read in Rolling Stone about musicians turning to heroin to cope with the pressures of the music industry and subsequently overdosing. She said that she identified with the feelings that might lead someone to use heroin: “I’ve been in that place where you’ve messed up and you’re so lost that you don’t know who you are anymore, and you’re miserable—and here’s this escape route. I’ve never done heroin, but I’ve done plenty of other things to escape.” She said that the song is about “trying not to take responsibility for other people’s problems and trying to love yourself at the same time”.





  1. Dominic
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    “even if they do install the toilet paper backwards” – can someone explain? I thought it was ‘supposed’ to be a female/male difference…?

    • Marella
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:44 am | Permalink

      The toilet paper wars are an ongoing struggle between those of us who install it correctly with the paper rising over the top of the roll to where you can see the pattern (if there is one) and grasp it easily for use, and the poor benighted heathens who mistakenly insist on installing the rolls with the free sheet next the wall. We regard these misguided souls more with sorrow than anger, but they really need to learn how things OUGHT to be done. 😉

      • Diogo
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:48 am | Permalink

        Nice. Sometimes, my dog gets infuriated about this and I happen to find the toilet paper all over my bathroom floor.

      • Merilee
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

        This American female who has lived in Canukistan for many years does NOT agree with the website’s prevailing tp-queen’s under orienration. Diana seems a very intelligent and thoughtful woman, but on this question she is just plain wrong!

        Have loved Sarah M ever since Take my Breath Away.

        • Merilee
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

          Whoops- Possession is the name of her song ( including the lyrics ” take your breath away”).

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

          And by wrong you mean very right.

          • Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

            …only if you’re feeling bliss in the arms of an angel….


            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:09 pm | Permalink


  2. Marella
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:41 am | Permalink


  3. Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    I don’t often pay attention when replacing a roll of bum-wad, but when I do, I replace it like Harry Dean Stanton.

    Which is to say, over, not under.

    A fellow Canukistani here proselytises for under iirc. Might be a woman, even.

    Or not.

    I would replace Sarah’s TP any way she ordered me.

  4. Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    This is my favourite song of hers, but I had never seen this particular performance, absolutely lovely, had me teary-eyed.

    Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Posted July 3, 2014 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    I’m Canadian and I also install my toilet paper “over”, not “under”. But I’m surprised that a cat lover doesn’t understand the cat-proofing benefits of installing it “under”.

    • Kevin
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:24 am | Permalink

      Or small children. But kids have opposible thumbs and learn quickly to pull the roll either way.

    • Todd Steinlage
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      My last cat was notorious for unrolling the entire roll. She even started unrolling it when it was “under”. She looked so cute laying on it, you couldn’t stay mad at her (for long).

  6. Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Damn, where have I been? Never heard of Sarah M before. She’s fantastic!

  7. Kevin
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Sarah is has great command of her voice. It is a lesson for all of us to find out what it is we do best and command it.

  8. Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    This has always been my favorite McLachlan song. This version is just as good as the album version, which is pretty damn good. Thanks for posting the video.

  9. Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Love Sara M.

    I’ve never lived in a home that is outfitted with a tp dispenser that permits the spindle to rotate unless the free edge comes over, not under.

    I can’t understand why manufacturers produce products which operate backwards when it is a defect so easy to correct. If this manufacturing flaw were corrected, others would not load their stuff backward and inconveniencing me when I visit.

    You’d think there would be a product recall. Of course, with the current GOP shutting down everything, a regulatory agency has no opportunity to set things right.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Muhahahaha! Don’t make me send my TP spies to correct your bathroom blunder.

  10. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Apologies to my friends up north, even if they do install the toilet paper backwards.


  11. Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I love Sarah McLachin but I’ve never understood why it’s always been her schmaltzy songs that become the most popular. I’m more of a fan of her songs like Sweet Surrender” and “Possesion” (which has an interesting story behind the lyrics). But I’ll admit that Surfacing was one of the best albums of the 90s.

  12. Filippo
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    ” . . . musicians turning to heroin to cope with the pressures of the music industry and subsequently overdosing.”

    I look forward to learning more about these pressures of the music industry, as contrasted with the challenges of someone who is, e.g., a paraplegic, or blind (or being deaf, dumb and blind like Helen Keller), or has cancer, or cerebral palsy, or has been greviously injured in combat, etc. Are these “pressures” the pressures of being “a success,” or “maintaining success”? Of being a “celebrity”?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

      Once I heard John Cusack say that there are a lot worse things that can happen to you than being a famous actor. I loved that he had that self awareness, as narcissism is often the typical disorder for the famous. I suppose the drugs are just so readily available and you’re surrounded by yes men that feed your inflated sense of self and sense of entitlement to the point that drug abuse must relieve the boredom of someone who can do or have anything.

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