Life in progress


Song-Lyric Sunday – The Tragically Hip

I’m breaking from Helen’s theme on Song-Lyric Sunday today because what I want to write about is time-sensitive.

I’m not much of a Tragically Hip fan. I never have been. But what the band is going through right now affects me. It has the potential to affect all music fans, regardless of preference. You see, a few months ago, when The Tragically Hip announced their final tour, they also came out with the news that their lead singer, Gordon Downie, has brain cancer.

Over the years, The Tragically Hip have become a Canadian icon, every bit as much as David Bowie was to England. Yet they chose to handle the same disease differently. Some would say Bowie did it right, not allowing his fans to fawn over him during his final days. Those same people might say The Hip announced Gordon Downie’s disease as a publicity stunt. But I would have to disagree. The same number of people would have bought tickets to their “final tour” (in brackets because we know what that usually means) and perhaps some of their most loyal fans would have waited until they came out of retirement. As it is, it doesn’t seem they will.


On August 20th they will walk off the stage for the very last time, in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. The venue, the K-Rock Centre on Tragically Hip Way. How difficult will that be for both the band and the fans? I’m in tears just thinking about it, because even though The Tragically Hip isn’t “my band,” it will happen to every one of them, eventually. Because of the timely announcement, the CBC will simulcast the concert countrywide.

To one of Canada’s greatest bands. I salute you.

Wheat Kings

(Lyrics from Google Play Music)
Sundown in the Paris of the prairies
Wheat kings have all treasures buried
And all you hear are the rusty breezes
Pushing around the weathervane Jesus

In his Zippo lighter he sees the killer’s face
Maybe it’s someone standing in a killer’s place
Twenty years for nothing, well, that’s nothing new
Besides, no one’s interested in something you didn’t do

Wheat kings and pretty things
Let’s just see what the morning brings

There’s a dream he dreams where the high school’s dead and stark
It’s a museum and we’re all locked up in it after dark
Where the walls are lined all yellow, grey and sinister
Hung with pictures of our parents’ prime ministers

Wheat kings and pretty things
Wait and see what tomorrow brings

Late breaking story on the CBC
A nation whispers, “We always knew that he’d go free”
They add, “You can’t be fond of living in the past
‘Cause if you are then there’s no way that you’re going to last”

Wheat kings and pretty things
Let’s just see what tomorrow brings
Wheat kings and pretty things
Oh that’s what tomorrow brings

Written by Gordon Downie, Gordon Sinclair, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois, Robert Baker • Copyright © Peermusic Publishing