That time I didn’t know I was a Tragically Hip Fan

The Tragically Hip

I was a teenager of the 1990s. Like most kids my age, I enjoyed dressing grunge. But I have recently learned that perhaps the similarities stopped there.

While I was busy following the dramatic tales of Carrie and Austin or wishing I was Cher in Clueless or building my Nicole Kidman wall paper (yup, that was a thing once…and up until today, only a handful of people in this world knew about it), my teenage counterparts were educating themselves on the greatest musicians of our generation.

Last year, I discovered the Black Crowes. A few months later, Nirvana. And, now I can say that my curiosity has been peeked over the amazing melodies and lyrics I missed out on while I was jamming to the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys.

I have been living the last two decades under the assumption that The Tragically Hip was not my thing.

Even years ago, when Saskatoon hosted the Junos and the Hip showed up to one of the local bars, I remember my friend buzzing in anticipation at the thought of being in the same room as Gord. Me, I was not at all phased as I said, “I don’t really know that band.”

I actually thought she was going to slap me across the face. Her reply was something like, “Don’t be stupid. Everyone knows the Hip.”

This past spring when the Tragically Hip advised their fans of Gord Downie’s illness, I felt heartbroken for the nation of people – including many of my friends – who have been die hard Tragically Hip fans.

And as I watched my friends scramble for tickets, it never even occurred to me that I should be trying to get some myself. It never occurred to me that I should have been in Kingston, enjoying the one of the greatest musical experiences of my life.

So while the internet was breaking from the posts of the entire nation who were enjoying the live concert, I was sitting on my couch thinking,

If we had cable, I would probably check this out. Only because I know this is their last concert ever and it seems like the Canadian thing to do (to support them).

And while I sat there watching some random Netflix movie I don’t even remember, I had this nagging feeling that I should pull up ITunes and check out their music, in case I knew a song or two. And if I didn’t, then perhaps there would be a song or two I could buy to support them.

So I did just that. And to my surprise, not only did I know EVERY song that showed up in Apple’s search engine, I LOVED every song as well.

After I made several purchases, I listened to my new playlist a couple of times. Then I became depressed.

Afterall, now that I know I am a huge fan of the Tragically Hip, it is too late to do anything about it. I will never see them play live. I will never be part of the cult following. It is like having the opportunity to stand front and centre as the world changes but instead, staying home and washing your hair. It makes no sense.

I guess I can relish in the idea that their music did reach me. I have danced to it a number of times. I have screamed the words aloud and experienced the thrill that only a familiar, iconic song can bring. I just somehow missed out on the fact that these truly iconic Canadian artists were the ones bringing the magic to my ears.




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