October 6, 2010 § 2 Comments

I met Alston at Yulblog.  I had just joined the group, which was celebrating its five-year anniversary with a party at the now defunct Zeke’s Gallery.  I sat on a vintage couch that had seen better days and smoked a cigarette, and within moments Alston and I were engaged in a furious argument about smoking bans, which had yet to encroach upon Montreal.

Despite the argument, or perhaps because of it, I liked Alston immediately.  He was smart and sociable and Scorpionically intense, and he was one of only a few people I know who doesn’t take disagreement personally.  He was also kinda hot, as Uberfrau keenly observed, and wickedly funny.  I later realized that Alston brought out the ham in me and was grateful to him for it.

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July 16, 2009 § 2 Comments

Well, as the Montrealers among you well know, it’s been a lousy summer.  The rain is near-constant and falls in showers, sheets, and occasionally violent storms, the last of which flooded basements throughout the city and unleashed a rumoured tornado.  The weather makes it difficult to commit to a terrasse, and even my balcony has lost its allure, being as often as not too cold and damp to enjoy.

The weather does have certain upsides: for example, it interrupts my neighbours’ renovation projects and sends their children scurrying indoors, leaving the alley beyond my window blissfully quiet.  But whatever benefits this silence confers are far outweighed by the feeling of being trapped within four unchanging walls.

When the sun peeked out the other day, I dropped everything and bolted outside with my camera, which, not being waterproof, I’ve had little opportunity to use.  On a whim, I decided that I would document the network of alleyways that Mile End is famous for, which had suddenly come alive in a burst of flowers and billowing clotheslines.

As the neighbourhood has gentrified, the facades of its buildings have lost a certain amount of their charm.  Wood has been replaced by aluminum and steel, which are sturdier materials but also less crafted and colourful, and the decorative flourishes provided by unsupervised tenants have slowly given way to the visual conservatism of owners preoccupied with design concepts and property values.

Still, you can see vestiges of the old Mile End in its alleys, which, by virtue of being less public, have been slower to succumb to renovation.  From the back, the neighbourhood is still a bit funky and lopsided, which is of course just the way I like it.  It means that people like me still live here.


May 19, 2009 § 4 Comments

Summer, 2008

August 12, 2008 § 3 Comments


More thoughts about buildings and sound

July 7, 2008 § 3 Comments

A while back, I wrote about a condo development that was being built in front of Arit and John’s living room window. As it happens, the building was finished several months ago, and its units are now being shown to prospective buyers.

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May 28, 2008 § Leave a comment




Prelude to summer: or, The Party

May 26, 2008 § 4 Comments

It was a colossally good drunk.  I won’t speak about the hangover.

The Professors threw a party last night, which feted an academic conference I did not actually attend.  Even so, the booze was free and plentiful and I shamelessly took advantage of the fact to  get completely legless.  I was by no means the only one.  

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a party, and even longer since I’ve been to a full on, balls-to-the-wall, smoke-‘em-if-you-got-‘em party, as last night’s indisputably was.  Montrealers, I’ve noticed, don’t throw parties quite the way they used to, which has everything to do with the fact that spacious apartments have gone the way of the dodo.  It’s hard to tear the roof off in a 3 ½, and harder still when most of your neighbours are colicky newborns.

Thus, it falls to the Professors to offer up their homes for summer revelry, and to provide the gallons of beer, wine, and spirits it takes to get a loftful of their peers and graduate students loaded.  That this cohort happened to include several old and much-missed friends and a decent smattering of new ones was merely the olive in the martini glass.

And yes, that was me dancing my ass off to Eminem.  Je ne regrette rien


Grub first, then ethics

May 1, 2008 § 1 Comment

Appropriately enough, on this May Day a certain unnamed Montreal university finds itself deep in the mire of a protracted labour strike.  The normally docile campus is veritably throbbing with bad faith, as an ever-expanding cadre of high-ranking administrators subjects the thin bonds of collegiality to a campaign of repression and reprisal that reeks faintly of desperation.  These are, if nothing else, interesting times.

Meanwhile, I am still awaiting my student loan, which should have arrived weeks ago and which, in a slightly more perfect world, I would have no need of.  My friends have been quick with kindness, buying drinks they know I can’t afford and offering far more than that, all while politely ignoring the discomfort that tongue-ties my gratitude.  Still, today, I am seething with intensities and disappointments that feel electric under my skin.  I’m in good company, at least.


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