Sunday, June 30, 2013

Parrots, O'Henry and Real History

I went to Ottawa yesterday, a last minute thing. So instead of seeing the opening Saturday of the Jazz Fest in Montreal I saw the preps for the Canada Day show in Ottawa.

I sat under the statue of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and thought about how he had met Emmeline Pankhurst in 1911, at the Imperial Conference and told her that he didn't believe Canadian Women wanted the Vote.

The only reason I know that is because Emmeline mentioned that in her speech in Montreal in December 1911.

 In September 1912, one of Emmeline's operatives, Miss Barbara Wylie (and two others) accosted Prime Minister Borden in London. He said the vote in Canada was Provincial Jurisdiction.  The two other suffragettes were former jailbirds and bragged about it and maybe he was a bit scared and wanted them away!

. I thought the story might interest the CBC or the History Channel, but apparently not. They do't do REAL History on Canadian TV, I have been told by those in the know. Just Ufology and Ancient Aliens nonsense, the lowest common denominator.

Oh, and the War of 1812 because our cher gouvernement thought it would be great to pump that NON event, which was a tiff between Britain and the US over stealing sailors to fight Napoleon. 

But the War of  1812 Myth conveniently features a Native, a French Canadian, a woman and a I guess the government thought it was ideal.

But talk about overkill. Good grief. 

The truth about how the suffragists in Canada sacrificed their young sons to the war effort to win the vote (while turning their back on their own principles and turning against each other) is not very pretty. The truth never is.

Canadian flags. Proudly displayed. What a concept!

A little boy got parroted in front of the Parliament buildings. He did not look thrilled.

The grass on Parliament Hill in front of the statue was very thick,like a carpet. At first I thought they were too cheap to mow it more, but my husband says they keep it that way on purpose. It's about 3 inches thick!

Here's the meal I ate at the Domus, a grilled cheese and tomato soup. Nice presentation.  I watched a bit of the Djokovic match at Wimbledon as I waited for the meal. Just because I could. I have 10 hours of Mobile TV and if I don't use it I lose it.

It's hard to see the ball, but it's not bad watching tennis on my Note. Just big enough. If only my glasses were better: I need a new pair.

I know I need a new pair cause just the other day I borrowed my sister in law's brand new eyeglasses for a moment at home at a meal  and I could see my plate of food so much more clearly! It was a genuine (not metaphorical) revelation

But, I spent all my money on the Note 2! So no new glasses.

It's so sad,  like something out of an O'Henry story, isn't it?

I don't know how to use a Note 2 yet, because as I went to the Gallery to get the soup picture, I noticed that I have a picture of a naked John Stewart.. I have no idea how it got there... I did see the bit on Twitter, but how did I capture it?

Oh apparently, I downloaded the bit from the Daily Show with John Oliver..onto my Note. So I have it forever...Funny, if I try to do that from the Internet, it doesn't allow me to see the clip, saying I don't live in the US..but I can download from the Note

All too weird.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Writing the Century,, Montreal Story?

I am listening to one my favourite BBC Radio Four Features, Writing the Century. This story is about Vera Jack Holme by Louise Ironside and Directed by David Neville.

Right now in 1919 she's in Serbia.

Of course she is!

Mrs. Pankhurst went around giving speeches in support of the Serbians during the war. She visited Montreal and spoke at the Princess Theatre.

The story of the Nicholson girls, my letters from 1908-1913 and the war time letters that I am editing right now would make perfect Writing the Century dramas, but they are about Canada.

The only angle I could muster for the BBC was the Invasion of British Suffragettes in Montreal in 1913... how they were hit with the reality of Canadian politiics and the two solitudes.

I've discovered that Annie Kenney's sister Caroline, moved to Montreal to stay with another sister Nell and became involved with a small group, the Equal Suffrage League.

Above is a storyboard about the  Canadian Suffragettes and how they got all mixed up in the Conscription Crisis in Canada...

The BBC is already gearing up for the WWI barrage of dramas... They recently  run a feature called The Year Before about 1913.

One episode was about Emily Davison... discussing whether she meant to die.

My story about the suffragettes will be published the Quebec Heritage News in September. Now everyone will know the story of the British Suffragettes and Montreal.

I've been told it's an interesting story, but that NO CANADIAN BROADCASTER will want to buy it.. not enough viewers. Apparently, unlike in the UK, Canadians don't do real history anymore.. Just Jesus was an Ancient Alien style rubbish.

What a country!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Canadian Women Won the Vote (Draft 5)

Comment les femmes canadiennes ont obtenu le droit de vote:

Avec un pot de vin au cours de la Première Guerre mondiale

Hoe kwam Canadese vrouwen winnen het recht om te stemmen?

Met een steekpenning Tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog 1.

Πώς καναδικές γυναίκες κερδίσει το δικαίωμα ψήφου;

Με μια δωροδοκία Κατά τη διάρκεια του Β 'Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου 1.

Papaano pinino ng Canadian kababaihan manalo ang karapatang bumoto?

Gamit ang isang suhol Sa panahon ng Ikalawang Digmaang 1.

कैसे कनाडा महिलाओं को मतदान का अधिकार जीता?

1 विश्व युद्ध के दौरान रिश्वत के साथ.

Come hanno fatto le donne canadesi vincono il diritto di voto?

Con una tangente durante la guerra mondiale 1.
어떻게 캐나다의 여성이 투표권을 승리 했는가?

1 차 세계 대전 동안 뇌물로.

Wie kanadische Frauen gewinnen das Wahlrecht?

Mit einem Bestechungsgeld während des 1. Weltkrieges.
Jak Kanadyjskie kobiety wygrać prawo do głosowania?

Z łapówki podczas II wojny światowej 1.

Как канадские женщины выиграть право голоса?

При получении взятки во время Второй мировой войны 1.

¿Cómo las mujeres canadienses ganan el derecho al voto?

Con un soborno durante la Primera Guerra Mundial 1.

Jak vyhrát kanadské ženy volební právo?

S úplatek během 1. světové války.



Monday, June 24, 2013

Much Ado about Humidity

Place des Arts on a beautiful summer night in Montreal during Festival Season.

I'm not big on air conditioning. We spend all winter with the windows closed, I like the air.

But there are days.

Now our central air-conditioning broke down and when we sent for a repair guy he said our system, with the  compressor in the attic, was antiquated and dangerous.

So no more air-conditioning.

But the rain!

I awoke this morning and the humidity was 91 percent in the house and 71 outside, so I put on the fans and opened the windows.

Now, a few hours later, the humidity is 79 in the house and 75 outside. It is not raining.


Above is the video for Casabon, a local band playing a small stage during the Francofolies.

Lots of rain for festival season.

With intermittent sun.

Last year we had no rain and they said our veggies would be expensive because of it. But we had a beautiful Greek Summer..PERFECT.

This year too much rain.

You can't win.

Still, that HUMIDEX business bugs me. In the good old days it was 80 degrees. PERIOD. Not 80 that feels like 100.

What does any temperature feel like, in reality, person to person?

It's what you are used to.

My sister in law spent a few years in Bangkok and when she returned, she wore sweaters in mid July when it was 80.

So there.

Anyway, don't expect to go to Greece again soon, but maybe Italy. I'm trying to learn Italian via the Internet, with music videos, sites for Italian parents with rhymes and fables, traditional grammar sites, etc.

I discovered this singer called Giorgio Gaber, an Italian Leonard Cohen. His La Liberta is stuck in my head at night.

Freedom is not star on a tree
it is not the flight of a fly
freedom is not free space
Freedom is participation.
Lyrics to La Libertà :

[parlato]: Vorrei essere libero, libero come un uomo.
Vorrei essere libero come un uomo.

Come un uomo appena nato
che ha di fronte solamente la natura
e cammina dentro un bosco
con la gioia di inseguire un'avventura.
Sempre libero e vitale
fa l'amore come fosse un animale
incosciente come un uomo
compiaciuto della propria libertà.

La libertà non è star sopra un albero
non è neanche il volo di un moscone
la libertà non è uno spazio libero
libertà è partecipazione.

[parlato]: Vorrei essere libero, libero come un uomo.
Come un uomo che ha bisogno
di spaziare con la propria fantasia
e che trova questo spazio
solamente nella sua democrazia.
Che ha il diritto di votare
e che passa la sua vita a delegare
e nel farsi comandare
ha trovato la sua nuova libertà.

La libertà non è star sopra un albero
non è neanche avere un'opinione
la libertà non è uno spazio libero
libertà è partecipazione.

La libertà non è star sopra un albero
non è neanche il volo di un moscone
la libertà non è uno spazio libero
libertà è partecipazione.

[parlato]: Vorrei essere libero, libero come un uomo.
Come l'uomo più evoluto
che si innalza con la propria intelligenza
e che sfida la natura
con la forza incontrastata della scienza
con addosso l'entusiasmo
di spaziare senza limiti nel cosmo
e convinto che la forza del pensiero
sia la sola libertà.

La libertà non è star sopra un albero
non è neanche un gesto o un'invenzione
la libertà non è uno spazio libero
libertà è partecipazione.

La libertà non è star sopra un albero
non è neanche il volo di un moscone
la libertà non è uno spazio libero

libertà è partecipazione.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Of Dog Poop and French Indie Bands

The French from France band Aline at the Francofolies, tiny venue..Lotto Quebec stage.

Not very crowded, but the people there were young and pretty..great style. Lots of colourful layers, solid browns and blacks mixed with colourful prints, dresses over leggings, scarves and hair in the casual tied-up look..the young women I'm talking about.

And there's a strange man dancing around. He looks like Reverend Jim from the old TAXI sitcom.


Today was beautiful, but I stayed in the boonies and walked the dogs, twice, once in Hudson and once in Vaudreuil along the water, where they are tooling up for La Fete.

We save old plastic bags from bread and such to pick up poop - but frankly I think it is counter intuitive to pick up a highly biodegradable thing and wrap it in plastic and put in in a garbage can to be put in a landfill for ALIENS to find 1000000 light years from now.

And some people don't even bother to throw away the bags.

I found this along the side of the road, today.. Can you see what it is? A green 'eco-bag' for dog poop, that someone has left in the grass at the side of the road. HOW DOES THAT HELP THE ENVIRONMENT???

I want to know.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The News Media,my bra strap and Musings on Modern Art

A CBC Reporter interviewing about the Montreal City Hall Scandal.

My bra strap made it onto the National News.

The National With Peter Mansbridge.

How did it get there?  It's all because my husband works in News, the night shift 3-12 for the competition.

I am  having trouble with a 4,000 word essay I am writing about the Suffragettes of Montreal and I thought I needed to give it a rest, for a day.

But if I stayed at home, I'd open the file and fiddle. I can't help it.

So I went into town with my husband and had him drop me off at the Francofolies. It's my third visit, but I brought a lunch. I have spent too much the last two days on food and drink.

(That's what these Festivals are all about, and that's fine for a tourist.)

Anyway, I had him drop me off at Jeanne Mance and Ste. Catherine, where they've turned the entire block into a beautiful modern venue that parallels the Museum of Contemporary Art and culminates in the State of the Art Bell Stage. Very impressive.

I found a place to sit in the middle of the block, in front the museum on the concrete ledge by the grass.

The sun was warm and I felt very happy watching some toddlers play in the 'pint-sized' fountain in the middle of the street.

Toddlers are fun to watch, when you are not watching them.
Imagine, a human being enjoying  a natural element (and not just to 'consume it') Well, they are only 2 years old.

I took out my new Samsung Note 2, which I love. It's the real reason I have come into town so much this past week. I can stay connected! And I don't feel lonely. I started listening to an audio of Emile Zola's book Oeuvre ( It is autobiographical and is about his friendship with Cezanne, the Father of Modern Art.

And then a studious looking young man came up and  sat beside me and true to his appearance he started reading a book, a real book, with paper pages.

And then the news crew (shown above) came and asked him if he wanted to be interviewed.


What's wrong with me, I wondered? Am I too old? Do I look like a crazy bag lady with my beads and bra strap showing? (I had meant to keep my jacket on, but the sun was too hot.) Do I look like a tourist with my camera?

Do they as a rule avoid "older" women as interviews? The reporter herself looked about 12.

The young man agreed to be interviewed, although he seemed indifferent. The reporter asked him five questions or so about the Mayor and his stepping down, and the scandal and if he thought things could be fixed and if he thought this was a black mark on Montreal's reputation since the story has made the international news.

I sat there holding my Samsung Note, and thought, "They don't realize that right here sits a woman with expertise in the issue. Someone who could list all the Municipal Scandals of the past and put everything in perspective."

And then I thought, well, I wouldn't have consented to be interviewed as 1) my husband works for the competition 2) I live off-island 3)I'm TOO much of an expert 4) My bra strap is showing.

Anyway, they left and inspired by my book, I decided to go across the street to the  Museum, something I've been meaning to do for, say, 30 years.

I love Modern Art. It makes me happy in an Expo67 kind of way.

But first I watched another, 'grubby' news reporter (or something) do a schtick in the fountain in barefeet.

The neat way he left his shoes reveals that under that messy exterior is a very orderly mind-set.

That, and the fact he kept doing the bit over and over til he got it right.

I paid the 12 bucks entry fee and joked that in two years I could get the Seniors discount. EeeWWW!

I had to check my bag, which contained my Canon Sureshot, so I had to take pictures with my Samsung.

(I was too shy to take any in the Permanent Collection, but I will say I enjoyed it. Not too many pieces but all fun and interesting. And with Modern Art, the room itself is the ART. It becomes more than the sum of its parts.)

The special exhibit had some interesting pieces. There was no guard around so I snapped this one.  And I'm not sure if the light was already there or it was my flash. (It CAN'T be my flash. It is verbotten to use flash in a museum.)

I was fumbling with my smart phone and almost dropped it on the artwork. Imagine.  I wonder what would have made me sadder. Going to Jail for destroying a priceless cultural artifact, or breaking my 800 dollar smartphone.

I also like this take on the Statue of Liberty. Or is it a take on American Values?

(Reminds me, I must get to MOMA and the TATE, before I die, anyway)

The funny thing with visiting a modern art exhibit, when you leave, you see Modern Art EVERYWHERE.

I found this interesting piece outside the washrooms. Hmm. A comment on the bottled water industry, no doubt.

And then I got inspired to do my OWN performance art piece.

I mean if these pictures were in the Museum, in a room, oddly lit, with strobe maybe, all to themselves....

Reminds me, I pulled this off YouTube, for an article on the Textile Industry. Venus Contemplating What to Wear in an Age when Clothes are cheap.

Anyway, I  took this picture of the Festival Site from the Museum. The fact is, the Festival Site is in itself a Contemporary Art Installation, where modern people (see: CITIZEN CONSUMERS) get to  interact in it.

The Outside of the Museum.

And here is my bra strap on the National, taken off my big screen, when I got home at 2 a.m. My TV saved it for me, all by itself.

They used one sound byte of the kid's opinions. Ah, the news.

My lunchbag (which once belonged to my son at elementary school!) gets more air time than I did. I brought my lunch, a chicken wrap, yogurt and berries and still spent.. well, a lot for three glasses of wine and a cheese plate so I could watch the Bell Stage at 6 pm, in comfort. I enjoyed myself, tho.

The performer, Clement Jacques,  looked a bit like Russell Brand. I wonder if he is as edgy or as smart.

Bell sponsors the event, but you can't get free wireless at the Francofolies, even if you are a subscriber. I know, I tried.... (But I still have a G of data download left until the 21st. Another reason to go back.)

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Last English Mayor of Montreal and Corruption

Jean-Marc Couture at Francofolies Saturday Night, Ford Stage.

I just woke up to the news that Montreal's Anti-Corruption Squad has just arrested Mayor Michael Applebaum.

I wonder what that's all about. I guess, I'll soon find out.

Michael Applebaum is the first English Mayor of Montreal since John James Guerin, 1910-1912.

I have written about Guerin on this blog. His story ties into my story about the Suffragettes of Montreal.

They suffragettes (well, suffragists) of Montreal helped get Dr. Guerin elected in 1910, on the Reform Ticket.

They got the spinster vote out. Unmarried women with property could vote in municipal elections.

In 1909  a Royal Commission headed by a Mr. Cannon  published a report claiming Montreal City Hall was saturated with Corruption with 25 percent of City revenue finding its way into Aldermans' pockets.

Guerin lasted just two years, and I can't figure out EXACTLY why.

Perhaps it is because he spent all of his tenure as Mayor in England, at Edward's funeral and George's Coronation.

And perhaps because he attended at December 1911 speech in Montreal at Windsor Hall, given by militant suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

What was he thinking?

And they had yet another corruption inquiry, the Coderre Inquiry into Police Malfeasance and Misconduct in 1924-25.

I write about it in Milk and Water.

That was all about VICE, as in drinking, gambling and prostitution.. and even, yes, movies.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Maxime Landry, Corporal Klinger and Douglas MacArthur...etc

A cute church facade on Ste. Catherine East, integrated into a modern office building. At first glance it looks like the church is just squished in there...

Montreal has so many churches they have to figure out clever ways to use them in modern life.

I found this walking from 'the Gay Village' where I ate supper with my husband and son to the Place Des Arts Summer Festival area, where the Francofolies are happening.

A nice warm Saturday.

Some musicians were playing weird instruments in a tiny resto too.

And this resto has bizarre death masks looming over it.

Another picture of the Cross on Mount Royal as seen through the googly-eyed lampposts of Place Des Arts Plaza. (You might have to squint)

Robert Charlebois was playing at Salle Wilfrid Pelletier. Remember him? Eastern Western, Northern Southern..and Pan American... Song?

Another squished in church just outside the festival venue. Hmm. New Roof...Aluminum roof. No more need for fundraisers.

Anyway, first we had dinner at an Indian Restaurant in the Village and although the food was not nearly as good as the food at our favorite Indian Restaurant GAJ (in the ugly strip mall in Vaudreuil, the one across from the horrific, abandoned Future Building) the ambience was 10,000 times better.

I joked to my husband that his meal was his Father's Day gift. He looked longingly at the Dunn's Delicatessen across the street..He's a smoked meat, hamburger and souflaki kind of guy.

My son and I ordered the Veggie Combo and I ordered a plate of butter chicken, for my husband. The only Indian dish he likes. So, I promised to take him to lunch the next day at the A and W.

My husband. Can you tell he's related to General Douglas MacArthur? Look at that honker!  Same mouth too.

The service at the Indian Restaurant was friendly and the price OK too. And we got what we were looking for, a broad-shouldered 6 foot 7 man (she-male as they say in 30-Rock) in blond wig, heels etc. ambled awkwardly by.  (I was too shy to take a picture but I am sure he would not have minded.) He made Corporal Klinger look feminine.

The Bell Stage, I discovered, is pretty terrific. I guess it was worth all that MESS downtown for so long. And if you want you can sit under the canopy at the SAQ winebar resto and listen and watch the show in comfort.

They've closed off Jeanne Mance for a block, parallel to the Musee D'art Contemporain.
I've been meaning to visit that place for DECADES. How come you just never get around to visiting destinations in your very own city?

I think the Museum was originally out near Habitat, near the Port so it was hard to get to. (The Old Expo site.) But that was before I had kids! 30 years ago.

I know why I never got there. It's easy to find people to go with if you want to go to the Casino, but the Art Gallery?

I am determined to visit soon! This year. Maybe during the Jazz Festival!

Landry had a funny bit where he sings his mother's favorite standards and his band is embarrassed and so they put paper bags over their heads.

Does Landry remember The Unknown Comic Skit from that Gong Show with Jamie Farr?

You know, MASH comes on at noon and we sometimes watch that iconic dramedy, always remarking. "MY gosh, MASH aired 30 years ago." We feel so old. And then we figure out Who's Alive and Who is Dead. Jamie Farr, as far as I know, is alive. (He was a very good actor, you know. He was in a famous war movie my husband likes. Which one? Dr.Strangelove? Maybe.)

MASH  is still fabulous to watch. In fact, my younger son, born 1988, says he's been watching the old show. And only because they sometimes mention his 4th cousin, Douglas MacArthur.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

La Grande Sophie and the Cross on Mount Royal

La Grande Sophie Entrance at Francofolies June 13, 2013

Beautiful people alert! I went into Montreal Thursday and my husband let me off in front of the Queen Elizabeth and as I crossed the PVM Plaza I noticed a line up of rather tall, thin and good-looking young people. A Modeling Try Out, or something.

I walked to Place Desjardins, where I ate a late lunch and then took in half of the inaugural free show of the Francofolies.

Two hours standing was all I could handle. I saw Fannie Bloom and La Grande Sophie.

I noticed you could see the cross on Mount Royal through the googly-eyed lamp posts of Place Des Arts Plaza.

I wanted to see the Dale Chiluly Exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, but I checked on my Samsung Note 2 and discovered the exhibit closed at 17.00, which is 5 o'clock. I think I'll go today.

Instead I walked the pedestrian mall on Ste Catherine to Papineau.

I passed a pretty church on the corner of Ste Catherine and de Bullion. De Bullion Street was called something else before 1925, because it was a notorious street in Montreal's notorious Red Light District, showcased in the Coderre Report on Police Misconduct, they changed the name.

That didn't stop my Mother from saying, "Don't talk like a girl from de Bullion!" when I swore.
My mother grew up in a four story townhouse at 72 Sherbrooke Street West. Her father was Director of City Services.

I wish I were a girl from de Bullion. The real estate is worth a lot on the street.

I think I'll go back tonight to the Ste. Catherine Pedestrian Mall. It's a nice day. I imagine all the white tents will be filled with things to purchase.

Nights have been cool, though. When my husband and I got back to the suburbs at about 1 a.m, there was fog on my street and it felt like an autumn night!

Montreal, a mixture of hedonistic destination and churches.

Here's a bit from the Coderre Report about Prostitution in 1926.
I am transcribing an exchange between Juge Coderre and a certain George O'Hadale (can't read my notes here) a Private Investigator from Chicago who was brought in by Dr. Haywood of the Committee of Sixteen to investigate bars, disorderly houses and gambling joints in Montreal.

He spent 15 days in March doing his research.

It seems cabbies, bellhops and just about everyone in the tourist industry tipped him off as to where to go.

A Bennet Cab driver asked him if he wanted to see some girls. The biggest place, never raided because they paid protection...

He said yes of course (Just doing research)

George O'H testimony says: At the door the 'housekeeper' said, "Come in the back, boys, the girls are at the rear."

We went back to a small dance hall. There were no girls, just a man sitting at a piano.

Juge Coderre "What kind of piano?"

George O'H: "Ordinary piano"

The dance hall was square. (O'H motions with his hands to show the size as compared to the courtroom.)

The Housekeeper asks "Do you want to see the girls?"

He says "Yes"

The Housekeeper pushes a button and about 30 girls come out in the space of a minute. They are dressed in shimmies.. little dresses "no bigger than a handkerchief" O'H motions "two strips here  and the dress up to here."

Coderre: The knees?

O'H: 6 inches above the knees.

"Some had socks, slippers, others had stockings slippers. The girls circled us. Some of them were sitting down, some kneeling, and some who were standing up began to shake their bodies, exposing their bodies to us. Encouraging us to go to bed with them.

At the same time, about six of them put their arms around us and said.

"Well, now, come on. It's 2 dollars. Three dollars. No fooling here. Let us go to bed, buy a drink , or get out."

So the Madame asked,

"Are you boys going to stay?"

"I said NO."

She said, "You will have to get out. This is a business house."


This place appeared to be one of the more 'genteel' places. O'H describes the prostitutes in one house as "disgusting." 

In another, girls are smoking 'dope cigarettes' and snorting powder and there are male prostitutes too.


Apparently, the city had spent 2 years in a campaign trying to clean up the Red Light District but not one house was closed. Also apparently, raids are conducted, the Madames and the girls are brought to court, fined and back at work that night.


A certain prostitute claimed she made 150 to 200 a week. At the going rate, that would be 20 clients a night, the man testifying figures.


There are dance halls too where girls as young as 15 go to 'have fun' and 'meet interesting men" and make a few extra dollars.


The prostitutes all appear to be called "Pearl" or "Rose"...


At the Bagdad Cafe, across from the very respectable Mount Royal Hotel, liquor is served up until 7 am.
 Whiskey, high-balls, wines, beers, champagne.

(After this report, the official closing time for Montreal dancehalls was put back an hour from 1 am to 12 am.

All this is to prove, Movie Cliches come from somewhere.

My story in e-book form, Milk and Water, about Montreal in 1927, has my grandfather and my husband's grandfather waiting for the Prince of Wales, who has planned to escape from his handlers and visit an "after hours" Jazz club. ..

Not too far-fetched.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Francofolies, 24 dollar sangrias and not noticing things..for years

Street Performer in Montreal on Ste-Catherine Pedestrian Mall June 13.

Funny how you don't notice things. This is inside of Christ Church Cathedral plunk in the middle of downtown Montreal.  It is described as an oasis and it is. 

I have always thought Christ Church Cathedral was the giant Church with the statues on the top on Rene Levesque.

The word "Cathedral" got me confused.

As for this little church (no great cathedral) that I have passed, probably, 1000 times in my life, I never attempted to bother to learn its name.

Even when they erected La Promenade de la Cathedrale, a shopping mall, right under it!

Today, I am only interested because I am writing about the Suffragettes of Montreal, circa 1913, and a certain Herbert Symonds, the Minister at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral, was a great supporter of women having the vote.

He wasn't for women's lib or anything: he thought if women had the vote morality would be restored and family values put front and center.

Anyway, yesterday I went into town to see Helen Mirren in the Audience at the cinema at 7. p.m. but by 3 (and probably a lot earlier) it was sold out.

I've seen many other National Theatre Live Productions and I bought tickets at the last minute and the theatre was half full.

But Helen Mirren, and the movie The Queen are famous. I think they might be replaying the event in the cinemas though.

So what to do in Montreal in June...

I decided to walk to the National Library on St Denis, as I had some work to do.

But I got way-layed at Place Des Arts. Les Francofolies! I had a lunch (24 dollar pitcher of Sangria - a small one! Well, really 4 big glasses which the obliging waiter kept pouring out for me) at La Baton Rouge to soak up the atmosphere and then moseyed across the street where the first fresh air spectacle was about to begin.

Ariane Moffat was the headliner, but I listened to two performers Fanny Bloom and La Grande Sophie from France

Fanny Bloom sounded like a cross between Kate McGarrigle and Cyndie Lauper

After two hours of standing up, my simple back ached, so I left.

And then I did walk to the library and passed Theatre St Denis and noticed for the first time (once again) that a 1910 era theatre was fronted by an Art Deco Facade from later years.

And then I passed de Bullion Street, the famous Red Light Street, that figures in my story Milk and Water. If I swore, my mom would say, "Don't talk like a girl from de Bullion Street!" I didn't know what she meant EXACTLY, but I got the drift of it.

I rested at the Bibliotheque National, where I watched an Episode of Mad Men on my Samsung Note. The guards who passed looked disapproving but said nothing. Was I imagining things?

And then at I had to go to my husband's place of work to wait for him to take me home. He works at a TV station 2 metro stops away from the Bibliotheque.

I contemplated taking the subway 'for safety's sake" but I had no change to buy a ticket. So I walked. What was I thinking it being unsafe! St. Catherine Street from Berri (where the library is) to Papineau is a promenade filled with revellers! Thousands of them.

There was a brilliant woman street singer, with two accompanyists and even a wall-side documentary.(See top of this post)

If I hadn`t spent 24 dollars on sangria earlier, I might have sat and had a drink at one of the bazillion restos to kill the time.

Our festival city: Reverend Symonds would not have approved! And how disappointed he would have been to know that giving women the vote would lead to this.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Twitter, Textbooks and Stone Age Tribes

Here's a video tour I made of Visits in Other Lands, my grade four geography textbook.

Many many people come to my website looking up a little boy called BUNGA... a quasi-fictional boy, a Negrito from the peninsula of Malaya..

Bunga was the first 'character' in Visits in Other Lands, a fourth grade geography book that was used across Canada and the US.

And it seems that a lot of Boomers remember their very first geography lesson.

I wrote a story called YouTube and Yams about Bunga. You can find it here on the site of the Canadian Education Association.

Today the front page of the CEA has an article Twitter and Canadian Education, the dangers and benefits of Top Ten lists.

We've come a long way in education from 1964...

This Visits in Other Lands was a highly praised textbook, but it seems to have infantilized the rest of the world for our consumption.

Malaya (Malaysia) ..showing us a stone-age tribe (based on a Danish documentary about the people.)

Oddly, my Father was born in Kuala Lumpur and in 1964 my grandmother was living in that beautiful, bustling city.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sir Pat Stewart, James MacAvoy, Rolling Vertical Lines and Cold Wet Montreal Springs

Source Code was SCI FI but it wasn't a remake of My Favorite Martian.Anyway, Jake Gyllenhaal would play the Bixby part. Who would play the Martian? I know, Ian Holm.
 It was another bleak day, 14 and overcast and rain. Clearly last year's sunny dry hot Greek Summer isn't going to repeat.
 My husband was watching some low-brow reality show with Hillbillies doing dirty jobs or something so I took to the bedroom with my Samsung Note and downloaded Netflix and started to watch Daniel Deronda that has that girl from the Hour in the lead. The girl with the Italian name.
 (I just started to read the book by George Eliot, for some reason, lately, but didn't finish it, I don't think)and then saw that Hugh Bonneville played the Richie Rich guy and watched the actor imitate Colin Firth doing Mr. Darcy for a while as he danced a quadrille with the girl who was in The Hour. (She has a real strange name. What is it? Ravioli?)
 I got halfway through the first episode and paused it... I wanted to go on the Internet to see if anyone else thought Bonneville was imitating Firth and, of course, plenty of reviewers did think just that, but in a nice way.
 It helped the P and P effect that Bonneville was being followed around by Mr Collins...and that this same actor would soon turn into Sir Downton or whatever.
 But it's funny, I've watched quite a few episodes of Mad Men lately on the littler screen as I lie in bed (alternating with the big big HD screen) but with this Daniel Deronda Period Piece I got the eerie feeling I was looking through a kind of rectangular keyhole into a strange little very anti-anarchic Alice-in-Wonderland world as I held the smartphone up to my eyes, a world of beautiful little people in bright satin dresses and waistcoats performing their slow, stuffy social rituals.
 I wish that Pride and Prejudice was on Netflix. I want to know how it feels to watch that on the teeny tiny screen...I'm so used to watching it on the big screen.
 Big screen- little screen. In Mad Men they often show characters watching TV, on medium screens, the 24 inch variety  but with the lines on the screen going up and down.. rolling all the time.
Now, if I am right, that's the effect you get from filming the TV, something to do with different image rates (must ask my husband.)
 I imagine that the producers of Mad Men decided just to allow it to play that way with the vertical line rolling all the time on televisions in the background...  Maybe the rolling TV image keeps viewers from watching the TV show within the TV show... Maybe  that's the point.
 Anyway, the pic above is of Source Code with Jake Gyllenhaal, a movie I really  liked when it came out. I liked it enough to watch it a few times, usually with different people upon my recommendation. That movie takes place on a commuter train (in Chicago) and is a kind of Groundhog Day - another movie I like a lot.
 Well, after a few views I began to get a sense that the silver trains were familiar - and I checked, and yes, the movie was filmed in Montreal, pretending to be Chicago.
 Just the other day my husband was watching Source Code again and he caught a glimpse of an iconic Montreal Landmark, the Nickel THING, from Expo. On Ste. Helene's Island.  What is it called? An Alexander Calder statue, I think.
 Missed Jake in town back then, but I think I read that they are filming X-Men: Days of Future Past in Montreal right now because James MacAvoy was spotted at the Grand Prix. Another of my favorite actors..and Hugh Jackman and Sir Pat Stewart.. Yikes.
 Bad weather or not, I think I'll go into town and take a stroll...
 Reminds me of a story. Someone I used to work with saw Hugh Jackman with his family at the aquarium in Montreal many moons ago and was stupid enough to bug them. Hugh Jackman waved him off, apparently.
And he told me the story, too, for some reason.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Montreal Water, Montreal Ethics, Rectums and Mouths

Here's the promo for the e-book Milk and Water, about Montreal corruption in 1927.. and more.

I could have called this Relative Values, except that someone got there first.

I was thinking, e-books today are impulse purchases. When I bought books from a book store I would browse, collecting an armful of paperbacks as I strolled down the aisles and then, realizing I had too many books, I'd retrace my steps returning most of the volumes and buying only what I wanted to read right then and there.

Today, with Amazon, it's a One-Click purchase, which is why I have a book about the Reformation on my Kindle. Oops!

Well, it doesn't hurt to know your history.

My son likes the show Breaking Bad. He told me the other day about a brilliant episode that had a Godot style plot, with two characters and a fly.

Well, this Milk and Water has two main characters, a top civil servant and the President of a bottled water company (one French, one English) discussing the ethics of selling water in 1927 the year of a Typhoid Epidemic in Montreal, one caused by milk but no one was sure at the time.

My grandfather and family in Atlantic City around 1927. Hmm....

Montreal, if you don't know, is an island, like Manhattan.

The city has long had water issues...well, water and sewage issues.

Think of the island-city as an organism, that has to ingest clean water and expel dirty water. But where to put the MOUTH and the RECTUM. Well, it has always been easy to know where to put the rectum, where the poorest people live.

 The Mouth cannot be too close to the rectum. And this had long been the issue in Montreal, until they built sewage treatment plants. And that wasn't all that long ago.

Montreal recently had a wide-spread water advisory. I live in a suburb where we always have a boil water's hard to know when it's on and when it's off.

I don't worry, I have a water filter.

But today I am hosting a 96 year old guest for lunch. You can be sure I will be careful, even though this woman is in perfect health.