The Never-Ending Present

Michael Barclay's The Never-Ending Present is a biography of one of Canada's most legendary bands, Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip.

Michael Barclay


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, Ont. 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. (From ECW Press)

More about The Tragically Hip

Whether you're a longtime lover or a former hater of the Tragically Hip, you'll recognize yourself in our Hip-themed panel. Today Michael Barclay, Jane Stevenson and Damian Abraham join guest host Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss the band's long career and enduring legacy. Together they touch on the band's ability to reinvent itself, what it's really like to be at a Tragically Hip show, and the musicians that the band has inspired. 9:30
Michael Barclay, Jane Stevenson and F---ed Up frontman Damien Abraham reflect on the power of the quintessentially Canadian band. 10:29
Lots of anticipation for the Hip's big show in the band's hometown of Kingston, Ont., the final concert of their Man Machine Poem tour 2:48
The Tragically Hip perform "Bobcaygeon" live in Kingston, the final stop on their 2016 Man Machine Poem tour. 5:19
The Tragically Hip played their final show of the Man Machine Poem tour. 1:04