It's probably a little sad, all told.
It all started when I was about 13 years old watching MuchMusic, I happened across the video for At The Hundreth Meridian. It was one of the lesser known singles off what was at the time The Tragically Hip's fourth and best-known album Fully Completely.
In my pubescent mind, I could not have imagined that I'd be so taken with a strange lanky man in a truck cap and a hawaiian shirt, or that I'd embark on a lifelong fascination with the music this man and his equally talented bandmates created.
The video was not so much an introduction as an awakening. Sneaking into my sister's cassette collection, I was thrilled to not only find Fully Completely but the band's previous endeavour, Road Apples. Upon listening I found I already had songs like Little Bones and Locked in the Trunk of a Car embedded in my subconcious.
One thing people may not know, but the band, consisting of Gord, Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Gord Sinclair, still tours with their original lineup, after almost 30 years. In January of 2007, a good 14 years after my initial awakening to all things Hip, I was finally able to see the band live in concert, with original lineup intact. But getting there wasn't easy. I am always amazed at stories of them playing in half-filled clubs, where here in the Great White North, tickets tend to sell out within minutes of going on sale.
|Then, as young bucks - Photo Credit|
Once in 2000, when I was living with the ex-hub in our shit-tastic little room in hell .. erm .. Barrie, I came home from work, tired, pregnant, sore and just sick of life in general. I was greeted at the door by the ex-hub grinning ear-to-ear.
"I have a surprise for you!" he exclaimed. I groaned, as usually a surprise meant that he had bought something we didn't need and couldn't afford. At this time MuchMusic was running call-in-and-win contests on the station.. one of the few luxuries we did have in the shit-hole was cable, which was included in the rent.
"I won tickets to see the Tragically Hip".
I blinked. I blinked again. Then all horomonal hell broke loose and I began sobbing and slapping him about the shoulders (I'm not proud of this, bY the way).
"THAT'S NOT FUNNY!! THAT'S NOT SOMETHING YOU JOKE ABOUT!!! YOU DON'T JOKE ABOUT THE HIP!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???!!! WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT???!!!" Somehow he manages to calm me down and convince me that it was true, the tickets were on the way in the mail, the show was on the 23rd of December. Merry Christmas indeed, right?
Sadly no. As I have mentioned previously, the time in Barrie was a blackhole of suck and we had no money, no ride, and no one who would drive us to Toronto two days before Christmas. We weren't even able to find someone who could use the tickets. They went to waste. I have the unused tickets to this day.
|Have you ever seen a sadder sight? I think not.|
Why she didn't leave me a bloody voicemail message, I don't understand to this day... because I was even considering going that night anyway. If I had know, I would have ran in a second. *sigh*
Finally in 2007 I had both the money, vehicle and deft enough typing fingers that I was able to procure one single solitary ticket to a Barrie show. Have you ever seen those clips of girls on the Ed Sullivan show with the girls screaming and crying in the audience? That was pretty much me at my first Hip Show. It took me a good two hours to come down after the performance. I was by myself in the audience and I couldn't have given a shit.
|Me at my first Hip concert. Not really, but you get the idea. Source|
|The show was fabulous. The pictures, not so much. But I got this one.|
It sounds like a cliche, if you're Canadian and you say you LOVE the Tragically Hip, but somewhere between my burgeoning adolescence and my evolving musical tastes, something clicked and the spastic performance and lyrical content spoke to me.
It was a song of theirs that led me to my favorite book, Hugh MacLennan's The Watch That Ends The Night, after an interview revealed that the third verse from Courage was basically pulled from that book. I read it, and have probably read it 20 odd times since.
Wheat Kings was the first dance at my wedding. Yeah, I know. How innapropriate is that, right? For those who do not know, Wheat kings is a song about David Milgaard, a man who spent 20 years in prison for a murder he was later cleared of. How Romantic. DJ didn't have the song we requested so it was a last minute choice of 'Hey, it's slow and we both like it!'
There's actually a pretty cool site you can check out that has a bunch of theories and histories behind a lot of the songs, as Gord likes to sprinkle the lyrics with various historical and geographic references. Kinda like Stompin' Tom that way.
A Museum After Dark
It's pretty cool, you can search by song, or by subject. But yeah, check it out. One of my goals in the future is a road trip where i can visit all the places mention in various songs. Maybe not Copenhagen, that might be a bit of a stretch. But let's see here..
- Bobcaygeon, ON (check)
- Central Park, New York City (home of Gus the Polar Bear From Central Park)
- Mistaken Point, NFLD
- Moonbeam, ON
- Sault St. Marie, ON (check)
- Springside Park, Napanee, ON
- Reno, NV
- New Orleans, LA
- The Golden Rim Motor Inn, British Columbia
- Montreal, QC (check)
I'm not sure what the point of this post is, other than to showcase a severe and long-standing case of extreme fangirlishness.
Okay, so I won't show you the sad poetry, but here's some of my Hip-Inspired artwork. Incidentally, these are the only two paintings I've ever sold. Thanks Sharon!
|Gord Downie Portrait|