The name of this pretty Enchanted polish is Desert Night Sky, but I’m Canadian, which means that starting this past Saturday with the nation-wide broadcast of beloved band The Tragically Hip’s final live performance, they are literally all I can think about, talk about, listen to. So in my Hip-addled brain, it becomes Day for Desert Night Sky, a play on the title of their 1994 album Day for Night.
Lead singer Gord Downie, a man many view as Canada’s unofficial wandering troubadour, is dying. Glioblastoma, or in simpler terms, a fucking brain tumour. In the wake of his diagnosis, the band, childhood friends who grew up in the same hometown as my husband, decided to head out on one last coast-to-coast tour, to say goodbye to the country that has supported it – fiercely, some may say greedily – for the last 33 years.
Our national broadcaster, the CBC, aired The Hip’s final show in Kingston, Ontario this past Saturday, and if it seemed to you, wherever you are in the world, that there was a sense of time standing still emanating from the Great White North, you’d be correct. Die hard fan, unrepentant hater, casual listener, we all watched together as the band said its goodbyes to us, and we to it. I watched all three hours of that incredible concert – crying through Fiddler’s Green, running out of the room during a particularly rough Bobcaygeon, trying to will Gord, through the impotent power of my thoughts alone, to finish Grace, Too amidst his anguished tears – and I wouldn’t even call myself a fan. It was the very essence of Canadiana, a pure moment of undisputed national pride, the likes of which I don’t think we’ll ever see again. The CBC estimates that over 11 and a half million people watched the un-edited, un-censored, advertisement-free show on Saturday night, or roughly one-third of the country.
So this polish has become Day for Desert Night Sky, the artwork of which is framed in the exact same dusky navy blue as this polish. It’s also the same deep, denim blue of the Canadian tuxedo (jeans-on-jeans) worn by our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, when he attended the show on Saturday night. Coincidence? Perhaps. I suppose I’d be more likely to find Hip memories crawling out of all the dusty recesses of my mind this weekend than any other (like the time a horny young man in a bar hauled me out onto the dance floor to dry hump my leg to twangy historical number Nautical Disaster. I tried to politely disengage, but he was as persistent as a schnauzer who’s scarfed down a pack of boner pills. So I “pepper sprayed” him in the face with my knowledge of Downie’s esoteric lyrics, screaming “DID YOU KNOW THIS SONG IS ABOUT THE SINKING OF A GERMAN BATTLESHIP IN THE 1940s?!? OVER 2,000 MEN DIED!!!” directly into his ear. Guess who backed off in a hurry? In addressing the rapturous audience one final time last Saturday, Gord Downie said, “Thank you. Thank you for that.” Well, thank you, Gord, for that.)