The Tragically Hip: Dire Wolf Meaning
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Dire Wolf Lyrics
Isle aux Morts (Translation; Island of the Dead. A place famous for multiple shipwrecks.) is a small community on the Southwest coast of Newfoundland. In 1828, the Harvey family, with the aid of their Newfoundland dog, "Hairyman", rescued 163 people from the sinking brig "Despatch", shipwrecked on the rocks off Isle Aux Morts. The present day Canadian Coast Guard Ship "Ann Harvey", is named in memory of the daughter of George Harvey who, while she was only 17 years old, assisted in these heroic deeds.
Tallula Bankhead and Canada Lee were actors in the 1944 Hitchcock film "Lifeboat". Newfoundland's world famous fishing grounds are called the Grand Banks (One portion called the Head) and, in 1949, the independent country of Newfoundland joined Canada as the 10th province.
The Dire Wolf is the ocean. "On the Dire Wolf's crest (a big wave) the Newfoundland (the dog) paused".
Gambier Island is in Howe Sound British Columbia, part of the Sunshine Coast. "Gambier bleached in tomorrow's thorough light".
The song's inspiration is the poem "Sea Surface Full of Clouds" by Wallace Stevens. The Grateful Dead also has a song "Dire Wolf".
According to the Canadian Comedian/Actor Rick Mercer. He once received a call from Gord Downie asking how to properly pronounce Isle aux Morts. Mercer directed Downie to call Mercer's father who obliged; possibly how to say it using the vernacular ( "I'll a Mort" with a short, quick "T" sound).
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