I just shared this on FB, I figured maybe should live here too...
This news today of Gord and his illness has left a pit in my stomach, something altogether fetid. A part of me is going with this and I’m not ready to say goodbye. This man and his band are tied to me in way that few other bands could be. For those that know me well, you know I champion a lot of music and how it has developed into a significant driving theme in my life, but this band is different.
For what felt like a lot of my youth, I was often the new kid with the weird accent. From being the Yank transplanted to UK, to then the kid with the British accent plonked down in Perth, ON (Lawd ‘ave mercy!). As anyone moving from country to country or town to town can attest, being new is not the easiest thing to slide right into, in fact it still gives me anxiety to this day, but there are some equalizers that help the situation. A few things cut across culture, geography and language and among them, my favourites; food and music.
Perth was a tough transition for me - scrawny kid, brit accent, (and dressing me for school in a snowsuit in April didn’t help either, Mom) but one thing that can make a transition easier is having a common thread. The Hip came to be this to me.
At age 13, I remember my first Hip encounter… listening to Road Apples at Byron ’ s place, in his tiny room, dancing around like a couple of monkey’s plowing through a case of red bull, to the seizure-inducing atmosphere of the strobe light Byron had recently completed in electronics class. This is forever etched into my brain pan, but it began a relationship with a band that regardless of who you were, or where you were from, at least in my experience, was a band you could pull out of the hat and all could relate to. There was no awkwardness, no uncomfortable things to avoid - just admiration and appreciation for The Hip. Everyone seemed to revel in it.
They also proved to be a great comfort and help to me moving on to Brockville when I was 15. Having this tool in my hip pocket, to play and prove that I had something to relate to these new bunch of people, helped assemble the basis of many friendships to which I still hold dear in my life today. Like many things in life, there’s an ebb and flow. The Hip haven;t been in my musical lexicon regularly for quite a few years but I recognize them for their very foundational place in the creation of this mixed up being; yours truly. They were, in a nutshell, both a coping mechanism for my chronically newness and spark for my gregariousness and for that I’ll be forever grateful.
2016 has been a year of upheaval, sadness, shock and awe and it doesn’t appear to be slowing. Today’s news sucker punched me when I wasn’t ready and it’s taking a bit more of a toll than I expected. But this corduroy road isn’t at an end yet. I hope to be out there one last time this summer, with all of you, taking in the sheer brilliance of the best front man Canada ever produced. Calling all to muster that Courage to see Gord off in the fashion he deserves.
It couldn’t come a worse time.