Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gord is dead. Long live Gord.

we were crowded around the coffee table on a windy night in august. the wind was pushing in off of georgian bay, and with no rocks and few pine trees to hold it back, it got in our eyes and pulled at our tears. gord was singing. gord was dying.

we had every device we could muster, moving back and forth between inadequate technological platforms in reckless attempts to witness one last tragically hip concert. we were just remote enough to get just enough snippets to form our last impression of gord and the band. the songs were mostly complete, like his remembrances of the lyrics, and we choked up as we watched him, now dancing, now struggling, now screaming, now soothing us through every second we could stand or not.

it is a rare thing to witness a legend.

before youtube, there was a requisite trip to someone's parents' storage something, whereupon someone had the foresight to document and then archive something that would become legendary, and then, there would be the journey to find a technology platform capable of re-rendering the display so that it may be taken in, decades later, by a human that has, by and large, not evolved. i used to get lost in old film negatives of my aunts and uncles as babies and toddlers, my dad as a gangly teenager. now it's an ordeal just to find a wet darkroom to print negatives like that, and everyone looks at screens instead of anything they can hold, just one thing at a time, in their hands. i think gord was holding one thing at a time, in his hands. i think he was always good at that.

my brother saw the tragically hip live at bluesfest one year in ottawa. he said that gord was crazy on stage, and that he wanted whatever gord had before he went in front of thousands of people to perform. i don't know whatever gord had before a performance, but i know that during his performance, he probably gained so much more. people often talk about all of the things a performer is keeping track of while s/he does something beautiful. how many harmonies are being played at once. how many keys are being struck or notes being reached or different rhythms being kept. it is as if maximum multitasking is the ultimate goal, the sign of genius. i would say that the compartmentalization may be a disservice to what is really going on, one or two real, good things, from the artist, to us, the audience, in time.

it's the difference between a magic trick and a hug.

and just like when a hug ends, my chest feels a little colder now that gord has left. there was warmth and humanity and artistry and importance in the bold truth of everyday about that guy. and just like when a good hug ends, my cheeks are a little flush, and i'm all aflutter, because i'm different now than i was before, better, even, and lucky for it.

thank you, gord.

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