Tuesday, 30 August 2016

This is Our Life

Tragically Hip week is over now and Canadians of a certain age are still suffering the inevitable post-hip hangover. Make no mistake, it has been an emotionally exhausting few months, from the time news was shared about Gord Downie’s illness up until the final bows of their last waltz in Kingston. An event so captivating that we as a nation tuned in and watched with the same fervor as though it were game seven of a Toronto vs Montreal Stanley Cup final. (Yes I am aware they are in the same conference and could never play each other in the finals, but let us visualize that particular miracle in order to highlight the magnificence of the situation).  Along with this very public outpouring of love for the band came the declaration from many of how the Hip had provided the soundtrack to their lives.

That phrase – the soundtrack to your life – is a weighty statement that carries with it a big chunk of your baggage and memories and even your personality. It's more than that Ramones phase you went through in high school, or when you declared yourself a hip jazz-cat because you bought a second Miles Davis CD. If you outgrew Green Day after grade 9, then perhaps that was merely your soundtrack to getting stuffed in a locker by a senior.

What we are talking about here kids, is the stuff that sticks. The music that was playing during your formative years and beyond. It would have accompanied your teenage span, when you were busy making all the mistakes that helped turn you into a real human being, but also followed you to University or travelling the world. If you had copies of the Tragically Hip’s Up to Here on vinyl, followed by cassette, CD, iPod and finally back to vinyl (when that became cool again), then I have news for you my friend. The Hip are part of the soundtrack to your life.

There is something to be said for music that you never tire of. To test this theory, think back to the last time you visited a cottage. If you listened to Bobcaygeon five times on the way up, and then later pulled out your guitar and sang a whole bunch more Hip songs around the campfire, this is definitely your band. Need further proof? Does your four year-old know the words to Wheat Kings?  If so, then that CD has been in rotation in your car for a loooong time.

It is a rare and special thing to have grown up and matured with a band. Particularly if that band feels like they are from your hometown, and you know that you will never outgrow them. Way back in the day, I wanted them to be a big deal in the USA, and I wanted to share them with the rest of the world, but not anymore. I like the intimate thing Canadians have going with these guys. I still want them to be our secret.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Millennials Unite!

You came up in the toughest of times if you were born from 1982 to 2000. Really it’s a wonder any of you survived into a grown-up sized body, what with peril lurking around every corner.

Okay, so you maybe you weren’t allowed to walk to school or drink water right out of the garden hose, but your generation had to suffer through plastic water bottles that were full of BPA’s and didn’t keep your drink cold at all.

Your moms were pregnant with you and still drank caffeine, ate gluten, and exposed you to low doses of second hand smoke on patios and in other outdoor venues.

If your parents wanted to reach you, it was on a totally archaic flip phone, and even then, only when you were in an area with good reception. You used “pay as you go” and once your minutes ran out you were screwed.

Sunscreen was a joke. Your mom would lather you up with stuff that was rated as 18 SPF or even less! You heard me.

You were sent out in the yard to amuse yourselves on the trampoline. Sure, there was a protective net around the sides, but it could be very abrasive.

You rode bikes with no disc brakes and wore old school bike helmets that fit poorly and were completely unfashionable. 

Nerf Guns? Not as bad as lawn darts, but I suspect they could be dangerous if you got shot at point blank range…directly in the eyeball.

HD was barely invented and Plasma TV’s were like a million dollars. 1080p? Child please…more like 720p.

You got by on 40 gig hard drives and windows 95.

On milk day at school, there was no soy milk option.

Some of you are old enough that you went to a school where kids would actually bring peanut products in their lunches. Yet here you are.

Your dads built elaborate tree-forts with pressure treated lumber that contained arsenic, which could cause cancer if swallowed. Um, hello…do you want me to get cancer dad?

Amber alert? Whatever. If you were kidnapped, you were basically on your own.  

Fair play in sports wasn’t really fair. Yes everybody made the team but if you sucked, the coach would make you sit on the bench during the finals.

There was no Pokémon Go. You made do with the terrible graphics offered on your Super NES, SEGA, or PlayStation. (Or Xbox, or Wii, depending on what your parents could afford)

Netflix? Forget about it. If you wanted to binge watch something you had to go to the video store and rent a whole bunch of DVD’s.

Parents were strict! If you misbehaved, you got a time out, simple as that. It may sound barbaric but it sometimes worked.

Pat yourself on the back millennials – you made it. Now go out and exercise your right to rage at the newest generation coming up…this so called Generation Z. You tell them how tough it was back in the day, before apps and touch screens and water bottles with bits of fruit floating around in them.