The Tragically Hip: Nautical Disaster Meaning
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Nautical Disaster Lyrics
and the screaming filled my head all day.
It was as though I'd been spit here, settled
in, into the pocket of a lighthouse on some
rocky socket, off the coast of France, dear.
One afternoon, four...
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:
German battleship Bismarck's sinking on 27 May 1940, ~1000 miles off St. Nazaire, France. Survivors were left in the water & literally clawed at the sides of HMS Dorsetshire as it steamed away and left hundreds to die of exposure in the frigid North Atlantic. Survivors (about 100) spent the duration of the war in POW camps, many of them in Canada. I agree with the above poster's interpretation.
anonymous Feb 17th report
Actually, I thought it was about the Canadian raid on Dieppe in World War 2 however, I contacted Gord in the late 90s through their fan page and was amazed when he responded. He said it was really just a dream and he wasn't sure in the dream what it was in reference to.
anonymous Sep 21st 2020 report
All true, but if you watch the Hip concert at Woodstock, he streams as usual, and this time he mentioned the 'young Trudeau'. All his songs are about (at least) 3 things, and I think he wrote this song also for Michel Trudeau, who died in an Avalanche in Kokanee, BC, at a young age.
anonymous Sep 22nd 2019 report
History recalls the Scotish being invaded , twice . We called upon our brothers to help . This was definatly about 1 of those occurrences, in my opium ;-) . It goes back 1000's of years .
They paid people , or befriended them to become traitors. Im sure they got stabbed in the back ... just like Julius , eye for an eye . They got kicked off the pant legs . The parasites in the blood . Look at your history for that ... its hidden a little ... jsyk .
Go leafs Go Gord ♡ you, rest in paradise ... hope 2 see there 1 day .
Your a very brave and honourable soldier . I know that .
anonymous Oct 19th 2017 report
Not my interpretation, but the actual meaning of the tune.
Nautical Disaster is actually about the tragic Canadian raid on Dieppe, France August 1942
The Hip was a Canadian icon because of the Canadian culture and history in all their albums.
anonymous Nov 11th 2016 report
Possibly talking about the leopoldville disaster during Christmas Eve 1944. Accident occurred 5 miles from Cherbourg off the coast of France. It was a troop carrier which had 2000 soldiers. 500 died in the water. Turned out the Belgium crew took the life boats for themselves. There was a lack of communication between the crew and the young troops. The American troops had no instructions. There were dingy type rafts which could have been released but the crew didn't release them, resulting in needless loss of life.
anonymous Oct 20th 2016 report
The key to the song is in this line:
"anyway, susan, if you like, our conversation is as faint as a sound in my memory
as those fingernails, scratching on my hull..."
He's using the escape from the shipwreck as a metaphor for the loss of a relationship...where even though susan may be dying of pain and heartache herself, he has no choice but to "kick her off his pantleg" and "head for home"...
Sorry: ** 27 May 1941, not 1940.
Sorry: **27 May 1941, not 1940
anonymous Aug 13th 2014 report
It's indeed about the sinking of the HMT Lancastria. But that happened in 1940 & about 4000 got killed (like it says in the song)
anonymous Sep 24th 2013 report
The song is about the bombing of RMS Lancastria, the mission to evacuate British nationals from France in 1947.
anonymous Mar 28th 2013 report
Not to dissuade the first interpretation of this song, but there appears to be more than waking up in this song. It is reasonable to assume that with "the screaming in his head" that this could have more to do with a mix of memories and dreams. Perhaps the song is an introspective look at post-traumatic disorders that could have occurred (and most likely did occur) during the previous conflicts around the world.
anonymous Jun 21st 2011 report
the song is a narraration of a dream followed by being woken up by his phone. The dream that takes place is a WWII event known as the "Sinking of the Bismark," a German battleship. The Bismark was sunk of the coast of France by British ships. Survivors of the shipwreck were rescued by passing British ships but most were left behind due to a U-Boat alarm. When the phone rings the dreamer awakes. He talks to Susan, presumably an ex. he compares the pain she brings him to that of his memory. He voice is like the "finger nails on the hull"
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