All four of us were mostly sick for Christmas. I don’t like to say it ruined Christmas but it was pretty hard to savour the moment, or be in the spirit, or breathe …
However, silver linings and all that, when the other two had gone to bed early because they were still in the throes of their illness, my older son and I – who were climbing out the other side – finally got around to sitting down and watching Long Time Running.
If you’re not familiar with it, Long Time Running is a documentary about The Tragically Hip’s last tour after frontman Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Here’s the trailer:
It was really, really worth watching.
And, sure, I was already emotional because of being sick, and weak, and not sleeping all that well. Plus, when your head is already completely overflowing with cold “stuff” tears come pretty easily.
But it would have been great no matter when I watched it.
It does, truly, put into perspective the amount of sheer hard work and perseverance the entire band has put into their career, and particularly how amazing it was for a man as sick as Gord Downie – a dying man – to do this tour.
It also tells a really interesting story of a working relationship. This band has been together for a long, long time. Many of their support crew / staff showcased in the film have been with them forever. This is not typical in any organization these days – much less a band.
Finally, as always, it inspires me as a writer. Gord Downie’s The Hip’s lyrics are quirky, funny, clever, timely, timeless, haunting … they’re just amazing … so that, alone, is enough to make me want to write, and write, and write, but there’s also a sensation of connecting – of putting it all out there and trusting the audience to run with it – that I love.
Whether it’s Gord Downie’s unique dancing, or his neckbands made of socks, or the moment in the movie when he says he’s learned to look the audience right in the eye and if there’s a really high note to hit, it makes it easier when he’s facing the fans – well, that’s a great reminder to be free with your thoughts, and ideas, and emotions. To give them to the audience as a gift.
Also, it was great to watch it with my fifteen-year-old. While The Hip have given many gifts to many Canadians, they’ve also given small, personal gifts to families like mine, where a mom and a son, with thirty years between them, can love the same music.
Note: We also watched the Doctor Who Christmas special, and I also ended up doing some ugly crying when the Doctor had to say good-bye to all his memories as he prepared to regenerate, but I mostly blame that one on the wicked head cold … 😉
What’s making you laugh, or cry (or both) these days?