March 4, 2019

 Photo credit: Quartier des Spectacles

Do you find something both appealing and appalling about surviving an apocalypse?

How many movies are there on the topic? Even more books, I bet. Have you ever dreamed (or nightmared) about the day you wake up and all of the stuff that seemed to matter so much is just gone. Eviscerated, vaporized, because in the reality of the (future) now, bills, work politics, career aspirations and family dramas no longer matter.

Unlike Eliott in the show Mr. Robot, you probably realize it's not going to be easy to weed out these problems at the root. Removing them, especially when they are...

December 31, 2018

I stepped into 2018 hopeful. But, no matter how grand it seemed that first morning - each new year inevitably promises better things to come for each of its three-hundred-and sixty-five days - when it’s all said and done, years disappear like the eternal winter nights dissolving into the eternal summer days. 

2018 made its mark, regardless. Here. Everywhere. Like the rest of the world, Montreal (all of Quebec, too) was swept up in a conflicting, paradoxical ball of conservatism and liberalism wrapped up so tightly that if you split it in two, you might find that it reacts like a divided nucleus, exploding with the force of an atomic...

July 4, 2018

We're all immigrants on this land. First, second, third, fourth, maybe fifth generation. Not absolutely all of us, but many, most. July 1st, Canada Day, comes and goes with little reflection on that point but the reality is there. It's undeniable. In Montreal, Canada Day is celebrated by moving house; it's officially the unofficial moving day. I'm sure a metaphor is buried in the tradition which has been taking place for I don't know how long, but I haven't heard anyone  properly articulate why Canada Day became moving day. For now, we accept it as a convenience. 

The real "Fête nationale du Québec" is the weekend before C...

June 15, 2018

Montreal based writer Su J. Sokol writes about a not-to-distant future where Montreal designates itself as an official 'Sanctuary City.' In it she presents the possibility of Montreal being a place where the political underclass (refugees, undocumented people, etc.,) can live free. Since I haven't finished her novel, "Cycling to Asylum", this post isn't about that. It is about what it would look like if it were really true, if Montreal really were such a city. 

In a way it is true. At least compared to places like Myanmar, I'm informed by the ads Save the Children target me with while I scroll through my Yah...

May 25, 2018

Tommy is located close to where I labor and spend my precious time, in the Old Port on rue Notre Dame. Tommy is a cool place to be. It has a giant ivy hanging from the centre of the ceiling, plays a mishmash of hip hop and new wave music, and most importantly of all, has an impeccable interior design. Even more most importantly - no doubt because of this grand design - Tommy is a very, very photographed coffee shop. Seth Godin says: no matter what we're doing, we're in the fashion business; Tommy is no exception to that rule.

I stopped going a few months after it opened. At first, I too was taken in by the beauty, its veneer of cl...

April 27, 2018

Much like "no means no" was the understated slogan for consent consciousness in the nineties, the simplicity of "me too" beguiles its complexity.  These two words have simultaneously brought down careers while  giving many women (& men) a little spike of oxygen in an otherwise suffocating environment, like a tank of air for scuba divers. Will the acknowledgment of systemic sexism in the workplace - and beyond - take us further than the well-intentioned but seemingly ineffectual 'no means no' movement?

One might think that Quebec has already achieved too much gender enlightenment to be susceptible to such s...

April 13, 2018

Depression is a thing. A real thing, everywhere. Here too. Apparently it's so bad that the World Health Organization (WHO, for those of you in the know) has adopted a motto this year that hopes to provide verbal tools to combat it: "Talk to your neighbour." Why?

Because neighbours - and nobody, really - seems to talk much anymore. Let me rephrase that, people definitely talk too much. In the naval gazing self - aggrandizing world we've managed to build for ourselves, there's no shortage of verbiage (like mine, right now...ahem), but what they, we, don't do enough is talk to each other. It would seem t...

March 30, 2018

Napoleon Hill says free advice is worth what it costs. Well Mr. Hill was no doubt a brilliant entrepreneuralist (my word) but he did not live in the modern ("modern": current. It seems modern still refers to between 1500 and 1815; somebody please explain that to me) era. Mr. Hill lived and died before the sharing economy became formal, such as it is today. In today's world, one might argue that free advice forms the economic base.

Last weekend I was headed home after a satisfying evening of doing what modern ("modern": March 16, 2018) Montreal women do: writing at a friend's house. It was the nicest Uber I've ever b...

March 16, 2018

Why should I lie? This week there is nothing to write about, but you must already know that - you've been around the block this last week too. A friend from Nairobi told me once about a poll result that showed Kenyans like to complain the most of any other nationality. In Montreal, it seems all we have to complain about these days are, you know, rich people's problems (leaving the allo/bonjour debate aside, of course). 

Last weekend I rented a four-wheel drive beamer, gliding, practically, into the snowy Laurentian hill-mountains. Just me and a friend. The ride was so smooth we didn't even need music to transport us into a better, cooler world. I did...

February 26, 2018

Last week, when the dead of winter was still upon us (it will be again, have no fear), hunger forced me out of the stale comfort of my office.  As I often do, I walked to my lunchtime destination with my head thoroughly immersed somewhere else completely. Somewhere I had just been reading about in the news, and not in one of the cute places the free daily tabloid Métro, likes to write about; somewhere dark. Somewhere with Ebrahim Toure - somewhere -  but not the Old Port which always, snow or sun, brims with beauty.

I crossed the semi-deserted parking lot in front of the semi- abandoned/semi-renovated condo that's semi-built...

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