Michael Barclay: The Never-Ending Present • Apr 24


Michael Barclay in Conversation with Stuart Berman
Tuesday April 24, 2018
Doors 7:00PM, Talk 8:00PM
Tickets: Free with Pre-Registration • All-Ages

In the years between the release of their self-titled debut EP and 1989’s Up to Here, The Tragically Hip played their earliest Hamilton gigs in the building that now houses Mills Hardware. Some 30 years later, the band returns to the space thanks to Michael Barclay’s new book The Never-Ending Present: The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip (ECW Press), the first print biography of the iconic rockers.

Featuring an on-stage conversation between author Michael Barclay (co-author of Have Not Been the Same: The Can-Rock Renaissance 1985–1995) and Pitchfork writer Stuart Berman (biographer of Broken Social Scene, Danko Jones). The Never-Ending Present: The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip will be available to buy on-site, with a portion of proceeds from book sales going to benefit EcoJustice and Frontier College.

In the summer of 2016, more than a third of Canadians tuned in to watch what was likely the Tragically Hip’s final performance, broadcast from their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. Why? Because these five men were always more than just a band. They sold millions of records and defined a generation of Canadian rock music. But they were also a tabula rasa onto which fans could project their own ideas: of performance, of poetry, of history, of Canada itself.

In the first print 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. This is a book not just for fans of the band: it’s for anyone interested in how culture can spark national conversations.