The Never-Ending Present
The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip
by Michael Barclay; Michael Barclay
Pub Date 03 Apr 2018
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The biography of “Canada’s band”
In the summer of 2016, more than a third of Canadians tuned in to watch what was likely the Tragically Hip’s final performance, broadcast from their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. Why? Because these five men were always more than just a band. They sold millions of records and defined a generation of Canadian rock music. But they were also a tabula rasa onto which fans could project their own ideas: of performance, of poetry, of history, of Canada itself.
In the first print biography of the Tragically Hip, Michael Barclay talks to dozens of the band’s peers and friends about not just the Hip’s music but about the opening bands, the American albatross, the band’s role in Canadian culture, and Gord Downie’s role in reconciliation with Indigenous people. When Downie announced he had terminal cancer and decided to take the Hip on the road one more time, the tour became another Terry Fox moment; this time, Canadians got to witness an embattled hero reach the finish line.
This is a book not just for fans of the band: it’s for anyone interested in how culture can spark national conversations.
A Note From the Publisher
“Barclay’s remarkable chronicle of the Tragically Hip is as wide as it is deep. He sets down their story with a historian’s care and an artist’s rambling curiosity, revisiting each note with wit, expertise and so much heart. It's eminently readable, clever and funny — what an achievement.” — Sean Michaels, Giller Prize-winning author of Us Conductors
“As a fan, this is an immensely pleasurable read, full of anecdotes, info and lyrical insight I had never seen before. Curious, casual fans and serious Hip heads will find so much to love about this book. This is a monumental, definitive chronicle of the band.” — Stephen Dame, HipMuseum.com