Thursday, November 18, 2004

L'Autre Solitude

Greetings. I write these words on an Ikea-oak desk in my new apartment, overlooking what's left of the Montreal Forum. The Velvet Lounge, the very blog you are reading, has gone multi-provincial. Dick holds it down in the staid, old-money mecca called Toronto, and I've chosen a path down the 401 in the hedonistic climes in the other of the Two Solitudes. That's right, I've moved to La Belle Province, and I'm not looking back.

Going from the biggest city to the country to the second biggest may not seem like a change, but I am agog with culture shock. My formative years in Ottawa contained surprisingly few trips to Quebec, except for the Ottawa adolescent rite that is the Hull strip, and trips to the appallingly beautiful Gatineau/Meech Lake region (though I hear they are the same thing, nowaways). But could you imagine depanneurs and Bring Your Own restaurants in Toronto? What would Ontarians get self-righteous about? I hear Calgary's keen on the concept of the BYOV party, but the $15+ corking fees sort of defeat the purpose, do they not?

Montreal lacks a notable cityscape, and seems cloaked in a pall of grey. I do not much mind, but at times it's hard to tell where you are. When I moved here I thought it was the newest resident of Canada's largest toilet, but the city exposes itself in layers, its charm unfolding discreetly over time. Once you've accepted the city a certain way, it shows you something else, and you are forced to reconcile your views. This gradual, almost sensuous unfurling differs from what I was used to in Toronto, a city that tries its hardest to jiggle its goodies in your face from the get-go, like a skin-district dancer.

Anyway, I am here now, and we'll just have to start talking about separtism and asymetrical federalism and the fate of Mirabel and the Expos and all of this sort of shit. I hope you like salade de chou on your hotdog all-dresse. Paix dehors.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back my son. While Montreal may be a toilet, Toronto is a trough. I prefer to piss in private. Amen.

1:45 AM  

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