Saturday, August 29, 2020

Feel Free at Any Point to Tell Me Exactly What the Poets are Doing... Centuries Ahead though Years Behind... The Tragically Hip and Landing the Balloon

Like most Canadians, I can tell you exactly where I was on August 20, 2016. The Tragically Hip was a staple of Canadian music for the last three decades, and whether you were an ardent fan of the band or merely the proud owner of a Canadian passport, it was impossible not to know who they were in this part of the world, especially in the summer of 2016. This was the summer of their final tour following the heartbreaking announcement that their singer and front man Gord Downie had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. This is not the kind of diagnosis that I would wish upon my worst enemy, and whether it involves your grandmother or a Canadian icon, has a sobering effect like no other.

It was, in short, complete and utter bullshit.

Personally, I count myself as a fan of The Tragically Hip, so the news hit like a sort of record scratch in the soundtrack of my life. More than a fan, I guess. Gun to my head, if you asked me who my favourite band was, I would be hard pressed not to reply with The Tragically Hip. Certainly, they were the musicians whose library of songs I had put in the time and effort to learn the lyrics of more than any other. They're still the only band other than the Beatles that I could say with any degree of certainty that I could name all of the members off the top of my head. It's their music I tend to turn to most often, whether it's to help calm my nerves during the workday or if I need something to sing in the shower.