Patios. The one thing I have to say about Montreal is the cafe and bar patios. There’s a lot of them, and they are given a lot of space, not like the little fenced-in drinking pens there are in TO and a lot of other puritan, Canadian cities more concerned with drinking by-laws then with culture and aesthetics. All it takes is one too many uptight busy-bodies to prevent a good thing from happening, like what they’ve got in Montreal. You can sit at the corner of Saint-Laurent and Prince Arthur for hours, reclined and stretched out, just watching the people strolling past laughing and smoking and socializing and shaking hands and flirting, just like there was nothing else in the world to do but just that. I may be a bit naive about the place, but the patio thing really lends to the European feel of the city. Patios, and the notion that every person living in the city has the right to a balcony, no matter if they are living in a run down apartment or a single floor of a townhouse. Everyone gets to have one. And everyone gets to sit on their balcony, put their feet up on the railings, smoke an cigarette and drink a glass of wine.
Man, have I ever missed out.
I think this commentary also comes from a lot of guilt. I’ve been to Montreal before, but this is the first time I’ve been in the city sober. All the other times I’ve been here I really can’t remember much, except for a few things like the peepshows and the inside of Churchhill’s. There’s also me stumbling into a Burger King at three in the morning yelling: FIRE! FIRE! Oh yeah, and me getting trapped in a building at McGill and urinating on the floor of one the classrooms.
Yes, I was the stereotypical, binge drinking, no-tipping Ontarian and I owe it to the city to say something nice.
As for spoken word, first off, I gotta say that although the spoken word scene is on the small side in the city, the audience is way better than in TO or Vancouver. They’re attentive, they’re quiet and they’re earnest. This might have something to do with the fact that unlike in Toronto and Van, less than 80 percent of the people listening aren’t poets simply waiting to get on stage.
I visited two venues during my stay, both of which will be appearing online in The Latchkey National Word Calendar coming out next month. There’s the Chameleon Cove Open Stage, which is a mix of music and poetry happening every Tuesday night at McKibbin’s Pub, at 1426 Bishop (514-288-1580). You should be there at around 9:15 pm to sign up. There is also a venue right across the street from McKibbin’s on Wednesdays. It has been listed as Wednesday’s Child, but the new name is soon to be Fantastic Fred’s Fabulous Funtime Variety Show. It’s a great show, don’t worry. FFFFVS is both music and poetry and it happens at a place called Kafein, at 1429 Bishop, every Wednesday (514-904-6969). Be there around 9:00 pm to sign up.
That about wraps it up, folks. Next stop, Fredericton.