The Song: "Nautical Disaster," The Tragically Hip. Words & music by The Tragically Hip (Gordon Downie, Paul Langlois, Rob Baker, Gord Sinclair, Johnny Fay). Track 7 of Day for Night, 1994.
How/when acquired: Purchased CD, c. 1996
In honor of Halloween, the next few posts will be lyrics that send chills down my spine. This line does it every time, a distillation of the randomness of disaster and survival. The meaning we assign to things has no effect on its outcome.
According to an interview with Gord Downie, "Nautical Disaster" was inspired by the sinking of the Bismarck, and ties that disaster to the end of the singer's relationship with a woman named Susan. Devastation comes from any direction, at any time. Some live, some die. There is no why.
My brother Ed is responsible for introducing me to The Tragically Hip, and to this album in particular. I think I remember buying this CD at a store in a strip mall on Little River Turnpike in Alexandria. I'm pretty sure I've seen them live, but I can't remember when or where. The Hip are like that; they hide under the surface of your consciousness, until you happen to hear one of their songs and remember anew, "Wow, this is a really good band." Maybe that's a Canadian attribute?
Continuing the spirit of the season, I'm headed down to Kennebooks tonight, where the internationally-beloved John Connolly will discuss and sign his latest Charlie Parker novel, THE WHISPERERS, at 7:00 p.m.