Sometimes, It Blows
It’s finally time for some objectivity around here. I have been told that I speak too kindly of this town, and it is enough of gratuitous praise. There are things that are wrong with this city. There are wrongs all over the damn place, and these wrongs, too, deserve to see the light of day. I have spent the past two weeks wracking my brains trying to come up with all the wrongs, and here they are – all ten of them - in order of importance: 1. There are not enough Portuguese chicken rotisseries in town. All the good ones are concentrated in the vicinity of metro Mont-Royal and the rest of us have to go hungry or travel great distances for a drumstick or a breast. They say that Verdun is the new Plateau. Yeah, well, show me the chicken. St-Hubert doesn’t count.
2. The metro is too infrequent. Have you ever found yourself standing on one of the Berri-UQAM platforms at 9 pm on a Saturday night having to wait SEVEN MINUTES for the next train? What on earth?! It’s Saturday night, for God’s sake! The city’s bustling and hustling and people have got to get moving. And if you’re stuck at Lionel-Groulx after 10 pm on any night of the week, then you might as well just forget it and walk to your destination. The metro’s not the bus, man. It’s the metro. You know that entrance into the Square Victoria metro whose sign imitates a metro sign in Paris? Well, the metro in Paris runs every three minutes. I made that up, but I’m sure it’s true.
3. More metro mayhem: what is wrong with people crowding around the sliding doors at rush hour? I’m talking about the people already inside the train. There is plenty of space in the middle of the train car and if they would just step back a little, then the people who’ve been waiting seven minutes for their train could also get in. But no, you have to stand at the platform watching train after train pass you by, empty in the middle, yet packed at the entrance. Plus, because it’s Canada, the people on the outside are too polite to tell the people on the inside to shove it – or to shove them and thus make some space.
4. The condo market is absolute shite if you’re a member of the middle class. It’s either cookie cutter cardboard or antiquity breathing its last breath.
5. Bruce Springsteen hasn’t played in Montreal since 2008. That is a full ten years! Ok, maybe that is not necessarily Montreal’s fault, but, then again, the Boss would have come if he’d had an audience, wouldn’t you think? At this rate, he’ll probably drop dead before he shows up here again. Get it together, Montreal: we need to bring the Boss back.
6. The Musée d’art contemporain is not worthy of its pretentious acronym. The MAC is no MOMA, let me tell you. And it’s not the Tate, either. It’s more like that mec standing on a street corner, tucking his shirt in while waiting for the bus – or the metro, for that matter. And don’t get me started on the CCA. But the McCord’s all right. Go McCord!
7. People dress just terribly in Montreal. Please refer to Pajama Party for details of the daily freak parade.
8. The city has missed every recent significant opportunity to make a contribution to contemporary architecture. Have you noticed the lego castle that is the new McGill University Health Center? Or the blue glass monolith that is the CHUM? Imagination has not touched them.
9. We have the absolute worst Ritz hotel in the world. Their bar's like an airport in Dubai in the 1980s. But something's better than nothing.
10. It’s slippery when wet.
(Tune back in in two weeks for more gratuitous praise of the customary variety.)