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The Never-Ending Present cover art

The Never-Ending Present

By: Michael Barclay
Narrated by: George Stroumboulopoulos
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Summary

From our talent-rich neighbor to the north comes this biography of one of the most successful Canadian rock bands, The Tragically Hip, which announced a year-long tour after sharing the news of lead singer Gord Downie’s inoperable cancer. Now available to US listeners, The Never-Ending Present details what led up to the memorable night when music fans all over the world watched Downie’s heroic final performance. Author Michael Barclay explores the band’s musical and cultural importance through interviews with friends, fans, and others they touched. Broadcaster George Stroumboulopoulos narrates the Hip’s saga from its start in Kingston, Ontario, in 1984 to its superstar status as kings of the Canadian music scene—even conquering what Barclay calls the "American albatross." This audiobook is for anyone interested in rock music biographies in general or "Canada’s band" in particular, and how fans’ love for a band can foster a profound cultural moment of unity.  

©2018 Michael Barclay (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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Fine tribute avoids hagiography

As a Hip fan from London (England) who experienced the frustration of only seeing the band on their occasional trips to the UK, (but the consolation of seeing them in relatively small venues, plus one night in Minneapolis on the Fully Completely tour), Barclay's history is hugely welcome. It is a riveting account not only of The Tragically Hip's musical evolution, but also the cultural context in which it took place, an eye-opening journey through 40 years of Canadian art, commerce and politics, culminating in a deeply moving (but never maudlin) assessment of the impact of Gord Downie's illness and death on the nation. What's makes this such a fitting tribute is that Stroumboulopoulos' wry narration highlights Barclay's witty and nuanced approach, so that instead of a sensationalistic rock biog, the story reflects the idiosyncratic and often contradictory elements which inform the band's perceived strengths and weaknesses, and effectively analyses the formula for their longevity. While there are no primary-sourced interviews with Downie or the surviving members, Barclay provides a rich and varied cast of characters, who offer insightful commentary on everything from the Canadian punk scene through the wider poet v lyricist debate to the 1st Nation activism that defined the final chapter of Downie's life. Far from a hagiography, the voices of The Hip's critics and detractors are also given a respectful airing, again in keeping with a band that never lost its sense of perspective or humility, despite it's massive appeal to fans (throughout the world!)

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superb, comprehensive fan focused book

excellent account of the history of The Hip. as one of tge rare Irish fans of the band, I found this very interesting and enlightening. the detailed recollections of each albums' recording sessions are particularly engaging. solid music bio, though maybe just of interest to fans.

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