Ahead By A Century references


From the unreleased info page comes the unlikely origins of what has become The Hip's signature song:

Ahead By A Century: Played very often in early 1995. Once the band knew it would be a radio single, Gord changed the lyrics from the original "dirty version." By the time Another Roadside Attraction rolled around, the lyrics as we know them today were in place.
Dirty version lyrics

"...That's where the hornet stung me
And I had a feverish dream
with revenge in doubt
Tonight we smoke them out."

A once popular, but now largely dismissed, method of killing hornets was to fill their nests with smoke. It was a hold over from the days when men were men and tough guys had no problem sticking their hands near a hornet nest while holding a burning object. The smoke would suffocate or "shoo away" (how's that for manly?) bees and hornets. It's not a practical method to be used on your front porch anymore. Professional exterminators once used canisters of steam to perform the job, before commercial spray poison became the norm.

Hornets build their nests with one entry/exit way and usually live in groups, sometimes up to a thousand or more. Removing a nest is a very dangerous job, as the insects become irritated and aggressive when disturbed. 

But hey, next time you see a hornet's nest, before you go looking for your old goalie equipment and that trusty Louisville Slugger, remember that hornets have fans too.         

"...Stare in the morning shroud."

A shroud is a cloth used to wrap dead bodies before burial, and was most commonly used in the archaic and middle ages. Some religions still make use of shroud's as part of their burial rituals. There is no more famous wrapping than the Shroud of Turin, believed by some to have wrapped the body of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion.

The word, as it does in the song, also carries a metaphorical meaning: to conceal or hide something. The morning sun breaks free from the shroud of night and reveals itself to the world each day.

In nautical terms, something that can never be discounted when dealing with Hip lyrics, a "shroud" is used to describe the thick lines of rope that are tied tightly to the ship, connecting the boat to the mast while also keeping that mast upright.