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BillHenderson

Long Time Running - Gord Downie

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No idea if this will have any traction here or not, but figured it may with Canadians forum members and a few others. 

Earlier this morning, Gord Downie, front man for the Tragically Hip, passed away from incurable brain cancer.  It is impossible to fully communicate what this man meant to so much of my country.  Our prime minister - far better known outside of our country than Gord ever was - broke down in tears talking about him this morning. Last summer, when the band played its last concert (we all knew he had cancer then) over 50% of all Canadians tuned in live to a national broadcast of the concert, uninterrupted by any commercials.  Streets were closed across the country to stream the concert.  People set up projectors and bed sheets in their back yard and invited all their neighbors over.  It was a night that our country stopped to celebrate, give thanks, and weep.  

Like the band we are all here because of, the Hip have been around forever,..  They have been the soundtrack to much of our lives.  From the 80's until this year's Secret Path, which provoked an awareness of a devastating  and unforgivable aspect of our nation's history, Gord's lyrics and music have regularly drawn awareness and attention to social injustice, promoted a nuanced understanding of our history, all the while being the "go to" sound track on our docks and in our bars while we worked our way through a two-four. The fact that they never "made it" beyond our nation's borders was a common thread in discussions of Canada's evolving identity, over the past 4 decades.  It became a source of somewhat smug pride that we alone understood and got the opportunity to enjoy them.  They were a great rock band, with a strong social conscience, and an unwavering respect for, and appreciation of, their fans.  And they are gone.

So, if you know a Canadian, give them a hug or a kiss today.  They may need it. 

He was one of the best things about us, one of the best things the ever happened a country.  

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Simon Vozick-Levinson captured in a way non Canadians may understand in the New York Times today, "The place of honor that Mr. Downie occupies in Canada’s national imagination has no parallel in the United States. Imagine Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Michael Stipe combined into one sensitive, oblique poet-philosopher, and you’re getting close. ".  He knows our country well.

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Without exaggeration, I can say that Gord's death has affected me like that of no other artist.  John Lennon's death had a deep effect on me as a teenager, and that is the only one that comes close to this.  

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rowlandh, I feel the exactly same way.  The only one that would be similar going forward is if something happened to Bono.  The two transcend their music.  They both set such great examples and have inspired me to care about things I used to ignore - the plights of people in Africa and in our native communities.  And both have written so many lyrics that wrap their way around our souls.  I see from your tag line that you are out on the rock.  Here is a Gord tribute that is right up your alley.

 

In case that doesn't work, look at the Oct 24th rant here:

https://www.facebook.com/rickmercerreport/?hc_ref=ARSl8INpIBGcwDevplzcp6f74nfJ5nvHCysl9qVX4OZLd4ocU3WM8R87lHmX4BQV9Yo&fref=nf

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Happy to see a mention of Gord's passing here. This also affected me in a deeper way than I anticipated. Maybe more so the diagnosis than the end. I actually shed a tear listening to Nautical Disaster just after the Hip's last concert. Couldn't listen to Day for Night for almost a year afterward. I guess it's been a mourning period was a long time running.

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