Susan Visser

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  • The Never-Ending Present

  • The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip
  • Written by: Michael Barclay
  • Narrated by: George Stroumboulopoulos
  • Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 220
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 199
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 197

In the first 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. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved the band, loved the book!

  • By Susan Visser on 2018-09-18

Loved the band, loved the book!

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2018-09-18

I loved the band and loved the book. I've been to many of the Tragically Hip shows and once met Rob Baker in the airport in Vegas. He was on the same flight as me, so I chatted with him before the flight boarded. I'm embarrassed to say that I asked the stupidest, but most frequently asked question: Why do you think you didn't do as well in the US as you did in Canada? Michael Barclay gives a really good answer to this question... they did do well in the US and may have actually preferred the 1000-2000 person venues they played better than the arena shows in Canada. Another observation is that Canadians always wanted the top 10 songs played whereas in the US they could likely play to a less demanding audience. There are always two sides to extreme fame.

I stopped buying albums after Phantom Power, but listening to this book encouraged me to dust off my old CDs and to download the new ones. I also downloaded Gord's solo albums and am quite enjoying them all.

I know many people who really didn't like The Hip, but that's too bad for them. This book shows how unique they were in terms of band politics, friendships, song lyrics, and even talent. Not many bands stay together as long as they have and continue to create amazing songs.

Although I know many of the songs by heart, I didn't always know what they meant. The book dives into the stories behind many of the songs. It's truly amazing how some of the songs turned out to be prophetic.

I listened to the book, so George Stroumboulopoulos read the book to me. He did a fantastic job and was clearly a friend and fan of the band.

Although much of the the book centered around Gord, given the circumstances of their final tour, Gord's cancer, and ultimate death, you'll find a lot of great quotes and stories about all the members of the band.

Since listening to the book, I've also watched the movie "Long Time Running" I enjoyed it and noticed that some of the quotes from the book came directly from the movie.

I was aware of Gord's involvement in the Secret Path - raising awareness for those who suffered at the hands of residential schools, and I knew that Gord and Joseph Boyden were friends, the book gives more details on how the story of Chanie Wenjack came to be a story they focused on. One chapter of the book is dedicated to this part of Gord's history and it goes into the politics of white people telling stories / raising awareness of Aboriginals. I've the Wenjack novella and plan to get the book and the album that Gord created. It's an important story to tell so that history is not repeated and that we see that Canada has made many grave errors over the course of its history. #audible1

6 of 6 people found this review helpful