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Friday, November 18, 2005

A Canadian Prairie Boy In A Land Of Quebecois Frenchies

Another new city - except this time I only speak half the languages and know one person. It's quite the sensation, but one I like. Why take the easy short road when you can take the long road and walk it? This city, Montreal, meaning, I think, "Mount Royal" is a new city to me in many ways. This Western Canadian Manboy has met quite the city here, and I enjoy the learning curve it presents.

The language barrier is not as drastic as it may seem from first persepctive, but delve a little deeper and it reveals much of about the lay of the land. My French consists of basic pleasantries and some swears. Not quite enough to get me through a conversation with a die-hard Frenchy. My strong prairie english is not met with any warmth until I reveal I am new here. At that moment, a switch, much like being abroad and informing them you are Canadian, not American. They begin speak to me in the clearest english their tongue can offer and over-compensate with kindness. My guess is the French culture in Quebec resents the Anglo Quebecers' who don't learn the language. That is fair. I would consider it equal to the Western Canadian who is irked by the new Canadians english when they enter a taxi. I will try here. When I leave and say "Merci" they smile. An effort is all Frenchy wants, and an effort Frenchy will get.

I've also lost my glasses which doesn't make it any easier. A blurry language that you don't really know is a very tough one to understand. I cannot always read what I don't really understand. Talk about compounding challenges. Truth be told, I find it funny and enjoy the extra difficulty it presents.

I know that "Est" is East. I know "Ouest" is West. I now know that "Henri Bourassa" is the direction to head downtown on the Metro. Actual Conversation:

Brett - "How do I get downtown?"
Transit garcon - "Henri Bourassa"
Brett - "Thanks, Merci"
Bretts' thoughts - "What the hell? Since when is a name a direction?"

It's a quaint place, this city. In the downtown, a searchlight scans the populace atop one of the largest buildings, creating a lighthouse effect. Calming. Inspiring. It's as if it screams to the whole Island and beyond, "Here. It's all happening here". It inspires me to proclaim the same thing one of these days.

The Metro, the Montreal Subway, is not a Subway at all. It has rubber tires. It's clean. People are alert and awake on them. Real people. They talk and laugh. They are going somewhere, but they happen to be there, too. It's like an underground bus. I like it. The busses, somehow, are always full. That's odd. If you like standing on a bus, move to Montreal. Even the handicapped people don't get to sit.

The area I live in is apparantly the artistic capitol of Canada, according to the Globe and Mail I read last week. The postal code we are in is a highly creative area. All sorts of artists and freaks alike have converged on "Notre Dame de la Grace", which is shortened to "NDG" and in english, "Our Lady Of Peace". There's a train track that runs thorugh it and every ten minutes a new train speeds through. It's comforting. The main street than runs through it, Sherbrooke street, is alive and hub of activity. Foreign grocers are next door to old style banks which neighbour guitar shops and army/navy stores. Frenchies and Anglos seem to meet here and forget about langauge bullshit and just seem to live in a state of relaxation. It's a good neighbourhood.

It's a good city, Montreal. I never thought I'd spend time here as a resident. It's a good twist of fate. There's also opportunity for a man like me here to do something with the talent I've garnered over the years. This city, this island in the middle of a giant river, is helping me to become less if an island. I hope to continue to grow like and be like the mountain that sits in the heart of this place. A place to view all that sits below with awe and pride. Can't wait to scale my personal Mont-Royal.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Most I Can Write In Fifteen Minutes

Ahhh.....rolling in on good spirits in Montreal. I MC one of the clubs here tonight. It's also Jessica's birthday. Somehow she ended up cooking for me today, and somehow I didn't mind. As it stands at this very moment, I have to jet to the club for my show and I'm sitting here listening to Queens Of The Stone Age, rocking out, ready to do my job very well.

I guess I live in Montreal now. My Cat also died. So much has happened and I have had not much time to have it all sink in. So much to write, I have issues figuring out where to start.

My days now are a tad diffirent. I have my guitar back in hand and love it there. I have more of an ear for music that I thought I did. Today, while strumming and listening to the radio, some Neil Young came on and I played it. Hell yeah - things happening here. You can also catch me painting or writing waht may or may not be poetry. Comedy is happening, too, but in a diffirent way. It now literally keeps me alive and fed. It feeds me to live the rest of my life, which will soon pay into the same pile.

Castro went to Mexico City before he headed back to Cuba. I'm not sure if this is my uba, but I do suspect it to be my Mexico City. The calm before it all... This city is cool. An island. With a mountain in the middle. You understand why people settled here. Isolation. Natutral moat. View of the land. It's a good place. I like it. My French is dodgy at best, but fuck 'em. That's the way I roll....

My Cat I miss. Much. I can never see her again and I am dumbfounded by that. Nomatter what, she is a memory now. A treasured one. One that won't be forgotten. I remember years and years ago a kitten I met for two days in England. I was a child, I remembered I loved it, and I vowed I would always remember it's name. Saffron was the cat. I remember 15 or so years later. My cat was with me for 19 years. Should give you a clue how ingrained she will be on my psyche.

Now I look ahead and see a future for me. Something for me to do. Things for me to accomplish. Things I need to say, people I need to say them for. Ears who need to hear me and obstacles to overcome. It took so much work to get to this starting line but I am happy I am here. A sense of well-being has overcome. A piece of happiness has set in; Melancholic at times, but still it is. The thing that has not chnaged is my furious drive to where I am going. Feel I'm getting there. This should be fun.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Was Told To Write

What is it, Tuesday? Yeah, Tuesday. A Tuesday in November in Montreal. I dropped off my guitar for repairs. I have to clean up the place. I don't have any shows tonight, but I do have 7 this weekend. My mind is blurry and foggy and I'm not always sure where I am, but I do know I am here.

Started drawing an painting yesterday. Felt good to exert my artisitic drive in a diffirent way. Funny how the mind works as I look at my painting. One part of me thinks 'pure genius'. The other, 'Child's play'. I'm sure it's, as always, somewhere in the middle, but it's nice to do and I'll probably do more tonight.

Jessica has been a positive influnece on me. That's her name. I have found myself far from the trouble I frequently found myself in. Now, the trouble was often-times a little fun, but it wore on me after awhile, and this new way is an adjustment but nice. Takes some time to get used to. What I need is some friends here. I just have one - a really good one, but I think I need more.

I've started to look at my calender and a funny feeling is coming over me. I recall in my waning days in Toronto, living in my communial poverty, declaring never again like this. Well, as I look at my calender of gigs for the rest of the year, the same feeling over-came me. Never again like this. Not sure how or what to change. The basics are still true. I love stand-up. I'm pretty good at it, too. But this mish-mash of shows that take me anywhere for nothing near a kings ransom to perform for the un-converted as a complete unknown has got to end. To accomplish that, I must find an entire new level from within. Fret not, the quest has already begun. I get my guitar back on Monday.

It's weird here, too, because you don't get much for Calgary Flames high-lights. Last night, Jess happend to turn it to one of the three english channels and found the Flames on TV. I raised my arms in celebration at both the fact that they won AND I saw it on Montreal TV. It's the little things in life sometimes....

All in all, I am figuring out things here and enjoying myself, too. My days and nights are filled with things I have never spent my time doing and it's good for me - I like it. My senses, however, tell me that I am not finished. I have not walked away, only in a new direction. In fact, I feel I have so, so, so much more to go, and this time here will likely serve to prepare me that much more.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

You Heard It Here First....

...or seemed to have forgot if I am wrong. Various sports and other predictions:

1) Toronto Raptor Rookie Forward Charlie Villanueva wins NBA rookie-of-the-year. Raptors in contention for play-off spot until waning games of season. Question of belief in self determining factor in regards to play-off action. Team can win.

2) Calgary Flames Defensemen Jordan Leopold and (maybe) Forward Shean Dononvan are traded for a slick skating, accuarate passing, goal scorer. Think Sergei Samsononov but not Russian. Or Sergei Samsonov. Odds increased by combined struggles by Donovan and Leopold, and increased play by Steve Montador.

3) I will make it into the Just For Laughs Festival. It is a goal and I shall reach it. Odds this year increased by robust performances and positive attititude. Rock and Roll music will help cause, too.

4) I will not buy a toque or gloves this winter until I have frost-bitten myself rather badly, leaving myself unscarred, but pissed off. After new gloves and toque are applied, I will be warmer and dumb-founded that I didn't go buy a set after I wrote this very post in which I foresaw it.

5) This Christmas, many boys and girls will find out there is no Santa Claus and begin a life in disillusionment and pain. Expect for the Jewish children, who knew all along - gifts come from Hannukah Hank.

6) This blog will surpass 1,000,000 readers when, for the millionth time, someones punches in "Paris Hilton" and the last part of "talking" and stumbles, again, on to my site.

7) I will read back to this entry and think, "Why did I go on for so long when I ran out of steam at the number 3 mark? It would have been quaint and nice and served doubly to honor the first prophecies. Fool."