The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie, performs during the first stop of the Man Machine Poem Tour at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., Friday, July 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Music History

What Was It Like to Have Gord Downie as Your Neighbour? His Neighbour Speaks.

The Gord Downie stories just keep coming. This originally appeared in the online edition of Globe and Mail and comes via It’s too good not to share.

We moved in next door to Gord Downie and his family in 2011. It was our first house. We were newlyweds. Barbara was pregnant with Roman and I had just started my own business. It was a new and exciting chapter in our lives.

I met Gord on move-in day. He was outside, locked in mortal combat with his Thule rack, trying to secure it to his minivan (“The Black Potato,” he called it). He wiped his hands on the handkerchief that was perpetually hanging out of his back pocket and came and shook my hand.

“Hiya. I’m Gord.”

“No kidding,” I thought.

Our friendship grew in the oddest ways. Around garbage. I’d receive an e-mail: “Hi Brendan – it’s Gord from next door [no kidding]. We’re headed to the country for the summer. Can you take our garbage to the curb on Thursday? Have a great first summer together. These are magical times.”

Another e-mail: “One more time, my Green Bin is tucked inside my Grey Bin. This Thursday could you slide my Blue Bin and Green Bin to the curb with yours?

Thanks for your help with this, Sir. I’m grateful

Summer on!”

It was usually e-mails about garbage. And yard work. And then, slowly, over the years, e-mails about Truffaut, Cockburn, Herzog, Neil Young, Jean-Pierre Melville, Gordon Lightfoot.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37808 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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