October 2, 2017

There are movements in town. I am not talking about political movements or environmental movements or social justice or feminist movements. I am talking about movements plain and simple, actual, physical, bodily movements: arms moving up and down and all around, legs skipping and hopping, heads bobbing, hair flowing, bodies rolling, people shouting and bawling, strangers touching, people letting go and letting be. I’m not talking about salsa or tango or swing or any such thing. I’m not talking about the club. I’m talking about movements taking place in spaces all over town. I am not talking about public spaces or private spaces or beautiful or abandon...

September 19, 2017

For those of you who don’t know it, the sporting brand Adidas is opening a new store on St-Catherine's and announcing it with a poster that says “Essence de Montréal.” Don’t you just hate it when some corporation making trifles attempts to appropriate the greater things in Life and purports to sell them to you in the form of a tennis shoe or a pair of sweat pants? Well, I’m telling you right now that shopping at that store will bring you no closer to the essence of this town.

First of all, this is not Vancouver. People here don’t make a lifestyle out of breaking out a sweat. There are runners on the Mountain, yes, and cyclists buzzing...

September 4, 2017

Montreal is known in Canada for its smoked meat and poutine, but in fact, the city feeds on chicken.

The demand for chicken is so enormous in this city that it creates the kind of line-ups that the Soviet Union was once known for. All over the Plateau Mont-Royal, the Portuguese chicken rotisseries are overwhelmed with chicken-hungry queues that wrap around the block, interfering with sidewalk traffic and generating hungry noise late into the night.

Time is money and I’ve heard it passes faster as one gets older, but it must stand still at Ma Poule Mouillée ("wet chicken" = coward) on the corner of Rachel and Rue Boyer because its patrons young and o...

August 22, 2017

Every now and then, a mild (but vociferous, by Canadian standards) debate erupts about some crucifix adorning some public space somewhere in the province. The most controversial crucifix hangs above the Speaker's chair in the Quebec National Assembly, but other, lesser crucifixes have also had their share of glory such as, most recently, the one hanging in the lobby of a public hospital in Quebec City. That particular crucifix was abruptly removed by hospital officials as they did not wish to make the patients - a captive audience of sorts - feel under spiritual duress. This was at the Saint-Sacrement Hospital, so un...

August 8, 2017

There is enormous pressure nowadays to be present: present in the present moment, that is. This ancient Eastern wisdom was popularized by Eckhart Tolle in the Power of Now and now terrorizes the absent-minded western world. If you only pay attention – which, also, requires you to be present – you will notice that this insidious message rears its head at every turn, especially if you’re seeking some sort of wellbeing. Everyone’s all over it, from Tich Naht Hanh to Deepak Chopra to every other Ted Talk speaker and your local radio show host. To my horror, I recently pulled out a teabag from its box only to find the following wisdom m...

July 24, 2017

People in this town wear n'importe quoi. Winter is the worst, what with jeans tucked into wool socks, soggy Uggs stained with salt, and sweatpants bulging out of boots, but summer is about the same, only with less fabric. Having travelled far and wide, I can say with some conviction that Montreal is among the worst dressed cities in the world, barring west coast outposts where socks are still worn with sandals to achieve a look about as bland as the American highway. Eight years in, and I find myself making trips to the Depanneur in the aforementioned Montreal attire and I like it - because where I come from, people must get dressed up to th...

July 11, 2017

There is a great deal of passion all over town, and all over the place, especially in the upper middle class where passion is at such an all-time high that it threatens to overwhelm what indifference there is left in the world. People are passionate about the food that they eat (organic). They are passionate about their beer (artisanal) - or their Kombucha (GT’s, Pur, Rise). People are passionate about their fitness routine (Lululemon, Löle, cross-fit) and people are passionate about their moustache (twirled and waxed). Some are passionate about dogs (doggy jackets in the winter) and some are passionate about cats (it begins with one, then you acquire...

June 13, 2017

The best time of year is unofficially upon us: those last three weeks of spring when the city is suddenly inundated with copious quantities of poplar seed fluff. Drifting through the air like particles of dreams, collecting in snowy little heaps at the base of trees, the fluff lends everything an ethereal and gossamer air, especially the annual sidewalk sale on Avenue Mont-Royal, of which it is the harbinger. Sausage and strappy sandals, second-hand shirts and trinkets, dog-eared paperbacks and smeared vats of lemonade await to be touched by summer-starved passers-by beneath a haze of poplar butterflies. At this time of year, all meats and tawdry thin...

May 30, 2017

Never mind the Neon Bible, the neon cone has come alight! Never mind the rain and temperature: by Meu Meu time, it's summertime!

Come all ye faithful for gigantic scoops of custard! Through chilly autumns, harrowing winters and drizzly springs, the city lies in wait for summer: those three explosive months of music and dance and theater festivals, park picnics and backyard parties, fireworks and flip-flops, tawdry fairs hawking sausage, shoes and paperbacks on Avenue Mont-Royal and Boulevard St-Laurent. Summer can be demanding in Montreal because, conceivably, you *could* do it all.  

Last summer, I went on a mission: to taste each o...

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© 2017 Éli Bloom & Leslie Morgan 

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