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One of the biggest news stories for Canadians this summer has been the final tour of The Tragically Hip and cancer diagnosis of Gord Downie. We wrote a blog a while back about the difficult and possibly if not illegal, certainly immoral, scalping of tickets. Many of The Hip’s fans were locked out of buying tickets and were suitably upset…and royally pissed off. (To our American friends reading this, you probably won’t know The Hip. They never made it big in the U.S.– probably because they are uniquely Canadian and sing about uniquely Canadian experiences, a bit west of quirky and not showy enough to appeal to the U.S. audience. That said, their lyrics strike universal themes and they are, in many ways, Canada’s poets as well as rockers.)

Gill and many of her friends were counted among their fans. The Hip was the music of their generation. They went to extraordinary measures to get tickets but to no avail.

Then it was suggested that they get together with high school pals in someone’s backyard to celebrate the group by playing their songs. Some of them would watch the live streaming of the Kingston concert(courtesy of the CBC) at their parties.

Then we heard the news that some friends actually GOT tickets. Crazy D’s girlfriend was the beneficiary of an extra ticket bought by one of her friends — all she had to do was, in her boot cast and crutches, find her way to Winnipeg for the concert. Neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor injury was going to stop her. I’m not sure how she made it into the nosebleed section in the Winnipeg venue with the crutches, but climb the stairs she did. She may have crawled…which all goes to show the enthusiasm of Canadians for this band.

I think Gill was actually surprised that I knew anything about The Hip, being a senior and all. But I proudly told her some info she didn’t know. I mentioned that Canadian skater Kurt Browning skated to The Hip’s music. And I recalled, I thought, that they had written a song especially for him — one that he skated to in California a few years back. Not believing me, her mother, she Googled and verified my information.

“Ha! You see?” I commented, proud of myself. “Your mother knows stuff!” She was somewhat aghast but I think I rose slightly in her estimation.

Then Gill’s friends –one of whom lives in The Caymans but comes home for summer– managed to finagle tickets. Her Cayman friend will also watch the Kingston concert from The Caymans with other expats. Bless the CBC!

I am writing this blog before Gill flies home to England, so I don’t know how things will work out. She plans  to arrive at the airport in time to watch the concert in the airport lounge before boarding her plane. We assumed she’d have to watch on her computer — which presupposes that the airport wi fi is working. As a Plan B, Gill  plans to organize a singalong with fellow passengers — a live tribute to The Hip right in the Departures lounge! But in exceptionally good news, Air Canada announced it will be showing the concert in several locations in the airport!

I hope it works out. It will be a lovely sendoff from her home and native land before taking off for her other home, the land of 24-hour rain, gales, and the summer that wasn’t! So along with a sunburn, memories of all the peaches and corn she ate here, she will take a piece of Canadian culture with her. Well, if it’s good enough for our P.M. (Justin will attend the Kingston concert), it’s good enough for her.

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