The Tragically Hip

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I remember buying Up to Here after returning to Edmonton shortly after dropping out of art school in the fall of 1989. I’ll admit here that it was a rebellious anthem of sorts. “No one is going to tell me what kind of art to make. Fuck the establishment!” They empowered my early 20 something bullshit angst that at the time was such a crucial part of my identity.

In 1991, after a couple years of pissing into the wind and partying, I returned to Cowtown armed with a new passion: film. I shared a house with a bunch of film students in my second year and the Hip was an insanely huge part of that period. Fully Completely came out in the fall and it was truly the soundtrack of our lives. I must have listened to that album top to bottom 100 times in the span of  a month. We only lasted about 9 months in that little house on 5th avenue NW before it all fell apart, but the house parties were epic. And I can honestly say that we wore out those antique hardwood floors in the living room before we wore out Fully Completely.

I was working on a little Canadian tv show called North of 60 when Day for Night was released. I had broken into the biz working on the show the year before making $330 after tax as a trainee working 60+ hours a week. I had finally started to make a little money but by September was already beaten down by the long hours and long commute. On a series, you always start later and later as the week disappears and I recall listening to Nautical Disaster on repeat on those 3 am Friday night drives home from Bragg Creek. Screaming out of key at the top of my lungs with the windows down. The Hip kept my eyes open and got be back home safe and sound.

Tonight I hung out and swayed and sang and yelled and cried in my basement with my wife and my dearest friends, absorbing every moment of the last concert from this band who has been such a huge part of my life, who is attached to so many of my foundational memories. I thought of all those times just mentioned. I thought of all those in my life who have battled cancer and won and also those who have lost. But most of all I thought of how fucking grateful I am to be Canadian. And have the people in my life that know and accept me as I am. And also, I am horribly thankful for the Hip and all they have given to me and to the rest of this amazing country.

No dress rehearsal, this is our life.