Toronto Mike



One of my favourite tunes to kick back and listen to is The Tragically Hip's live version of "New Orleans is Sinking" with the Killerwhaletank monologue.

Hip fans will instantly know what I'm talking about.  Others won't care.  In the middle of the most excellently bluesy "New Orleans is Sinking", Hip singer Gord Downie begins a rant about working at a killer whale tank.  It's a great story that sounds perfect stuck in the middle of their most popular song.  This version was a B-side to the radio-only promo of "Long Time Running", and has been shared amongst Hip fans ever since.  I'm a fan of the Double Suicide version of "Highway Girl" as well, but nothing beats the Killerwhaletank.

I heard it this afternoon on 97.7 HTZ-FM and I'm playing the MP3 right now.  I did a search for the lyrics, and I found them on this guy's site.  Here they are for your enjoyment:

I had job before this, I had a job before this. Ultimately, it was that job that drove me into this. I worked at an aquarium, an aquarium with lots of money from the government so it was HUUUGGEE! I uh I was a clean n' scrub man we called each other in the C n' S union. I scrubbed the inside of the killerwhaletank. The, and after a while the boys in the C n' S or clean n' scrub we just sort of made it one word: the killerwhaletank, the killerwhaletank uh, the killerwhaletank uh. I'm going into the killerwhaletank UH yeah. I got along with these two big beasts so well, it was like they knew me they looked at me with their hundred year old eyes and it was like they knew me. High, I'd put on my SCUBA gear, my mask, my regulator, {breath} and I'd fall into the tank with nary a sound maybe a pfftt. And then I was underwater. Sometimes, I'd jump out, right in front of the window when people are expecting a killerwhale and they see a human, they get spooked. Spooked. Anyway I'd do that. But I was in the water this particular day, unbeknownst to me, Shamu and Bartholomew, their relationship had grown stale, seems I was going in there so much and looking so good, Shamu took a shining to me, and they're so smart those things ya know they've got all these human emotions, love, lust, GREED, hundred year old eye jealousy. Bartholomew was LIVID. Unbeknownst to me I can't hear a goddamn thing underwater. He came up he was bumping up against me a lot. The stale, killerwhale, bumping up against someone so pale and frail. How was I to know the killerwhale whose relationship had gone stale, well, he brushes up against me sometimes, skin's like sandpaper I say "Hey man, Bartholomew what's up? What's up? What's going on big fella? What is it? What is it? I, I don't wanna steal your mommy, and I sure don't want to take the place of your daddy, I only want to be your friend." And he circled around and I thought we were all patched up and I was scrubbing and he took my- he came up, he came up, he came up, he ripped my left arm off. I mean the killerwhale they're beasts of the deep they're I mean they're quite dossile and friendly in captivity but somewhere along the line, the thousands of years of breeding just snapped and he took my left arm, man he took my left arm, took my fucking left arm. "Wha-What is it Bartholomew?" I spoke to him in a language he could understand, as I came back.
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