Archive for June, 2010

Pay to Play

by Matt

I’m broke.  I’m also a musician and so to make ends meet I was going to try busking in the Metro for spare change.  When I contacted the STM to see what procedure needed to be followed I was given the number of the the “Regroupement des Musiciens de Montréal,” Montreal’s buskers “union.”  Apparently formed to weed out non-musicians (which seems absolutely ludicrous as most people I’ve seen play in the Metro were truly awful shills) this organisation collects money from prospective Metro musicians, $20 for one month, $30 for two and $50 for three, and forces them to audition.  I’m all for organized labour but in this case there is nothing to organize to protect against.  The STM doesn’t charge people fees to play so where is this money going?  Well, I guess to pay the secretary, and other employees who I’m assuming since they have real jobs now are no longer busking.  Nice racket but I won’t be paying Dino’s salary to make $3.45 in change.  They’d also like to play down the fact that they’re begging.  I’m sorry, but providing an unwanted service and asking for money is begging, guys!  According to the McGill Tribune:

“The current situation spreads the misconception that all buskers are beggars. After one of Dunlevy’s performances, a man came up to him and offered him the remaining $1.80 on his Subway gift card, and came back a few minutes later with a couple shirts.

“I said ‘Look, I really don’t need charity. I’ve got clothes! This is just a way to make ends meet and to practice my art,'” he said.

Listen, buddy, if you don’t need the money practice at home.  And do you really think that your made-for-smooth-jazz-radio rendition of “Unchained Melody” is gonna’ get you anything but beggar’s pity change?  I understand that you need to pretend that you’re not begging so you can look your kid in the eye when you tuck him into bed at night without breaking down into a slobbering ball of  shame and tears.  I get it, it’s embarrassing, it really is.  So, I understand why you’ve formed the  “Regroupement des Musiciens de Montréal.”  Now when you tuck little Tyler in instead of saying “Daddy needs to go sing and dance like a circus monkey so that strangers will fling pocket change indiscriminately at him so that we can have Kraft Dinner for supper tomorrow” you can say “Daddy needs to do some paperwork.”  I get it. I’m pissed but I get it.  And you won’t be getting my money, of which I have little.  If only I could get a cushy secretary position at some nice non-profit organisation.


Read Full Post »

From here:


Read Full Post »

In about two weeks, Matt and I are moving from Pointe-Saint-Charles to Parc-Extension. I’m totally thrilled that we’ll be a fifteen minute walk from Jean-Talon Market, pho-adjacent, and close to Café Italia and other great Italian espresso joints. Not to mention a load of Indian restaurants and groceries. It’s an eater’s paradise. But now that it’s mid-June, and we’re thick in the yearly Pointe-Sainte-Charles-cottonwood-fluff invasion (last year kids entertained themselves by setting fluff on fire in the gutters), the roses under our balcony are in full bloom, and I’m riding my bike again, I’m feeling more than a little nostalgic and regretful about leaving the Southwest borough.

For one thing, I’ll miss this guy:

That’s the Centre Street Cat. I’m pretty sure he’s the mayor of the Pointe. I’ve never seen such a fearless urban feline – he can usually be found lounging right in the middle of the sidewalk, making pedestrians walk around him and deigning to flick his ear just slightly if you pet him.

I’ll also miss the funny little house on Soulange Street:

It’s such a mysterious little place. The rowhouses on either side seem much more recent – is it an old farmhouse? I love its red trim, and the fanciful little gable. It’s grown a bit dilapidated, and I hope someone sees how special it is and fixes it up.

There are lots other things I’ll miss about the Pointe, to many to list in this post. The important thing is, though, that these guys will be coming with me to Parc-Ex:

Two more weeks and we’re off!

Read Full Post »

by Matt

“It is not acceptable to send this message, that it is possible to have free choice,” (seperatist Parti Quebecois leader) Pauline Marois said.

It is not acceptable.   Not acceptable for people to choose which school they want to send their children to.  No free choice.


Read the article here:


Read Full Post »