Monday Morning Musings

Posted on June 19, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments

Leon Langois: Arts Crtic

Au revoir, Montreal.

Yes, I have been to Montreal many, many times over the years but these visits always seem rushed. I experienced the city as a teenager in 1967 spending several days at Expo. That was quite a spectacle which I will remember forever. I came to Montreal to watch the hockey  Canadiens in their prime and saw a number of ball games at the “ Big O” when the Expos were all the rage. And traveling back and forth across the country on numerous occasions, Montreal would be a normal “ pit stop” as my mom grew up here and several relatives still live in the area.

But coming for ten days is a totally different experience. One of the greatest joys of being retired is having the time and taking time to do things. And very often, the simplest of things which don’t cost a nickel, are the most enjoyable.

Last year, I did a month long dog sitting stint in Victoria. The dog is a Golden Retriever and those of you who know the breed well know that a walk is a workout. You have to hold on to the leash for dear life. On this trip, one of my duties was to walk my daughter’s new Chihuahua. On more than one occasion, I had to look down and make sure the dog was still on the leash, such is the breed’s small stature.

I did a lot of walking. The suburb of Verdun is about a 9 kilometer walk to the heart of the city. I walked it more than once which is not a big deal as I do this kind of length routinely at home. But walking through a major city is slightly different than The Landing! You see a lot of things and you pass by thousands of people that you’ll never see again. I am fascinated with people watching and with all of the festivals going on right now, it seems like the entire city is on the move. Every restaurant and sidewalk bar is busy and many major streets are shut down creating a festive atmosphere. And the weather has been spectacular.

I hiked Mont Royal twice, once with my daughter. I strolled St. Laurent and St. Urbaine Streets dozens of times during the Fringe Festival. I caught three Fringe shows ( not free but not expensive ). I went to mass at Notre Dame Basilica. Even if you are a non believer, it is still worth the effort to see this magnificent church. I strolled through the neighborhood of Point St. Charles where my mom spent her childhood and saw the grocery store that my grandfather owned.

I walked through numerous parks, rode the subways frequently and marvelled at this wonderful city.

There are many highlights but the memory that will last the longest is the chiming swings at Place Des Arts. Some genius discovered that the motion of a swing could be programmed to emit the sound of a chime. When you install 50 or so of these swings and they are all occupied simultaneously,  it creates an amazing sensory spectacle. Of yes, the seats of the swing light up when darkness falls.

On Saturday evening, my granddaughter and I spent some time at Place Des Arts to see a performance at FrancoFolies, a celebration of French music. There must have been ten thousand or more people in the square. It was a warm evening and the atmosphere was electric as the crowd anticipated a legendary hip hop group. I am part of that group of old farts who don’t quite “ get” rap but watching the crowd get whipped into a frenzy, is worth watching. Rap doesn’t make sense in either of Canada’s official languages, BTW! We treated ourselves to a Haagen- Dazs ice cream and headed to the musical swings a few hundred meters away.

Swings naturally attract children but these swings attract people of all ages. The lineups to get on the swing aren’t long because there are so many of them but on a Saturday evening, every swing is in demand. It is heartwarming to watch older people relive part of their youth when they hop on the swings and start pushing themselves. Everybody smiles when they’re swinging and I’m sure for some, that these fleeting few minutes might easily be the happiest part of their day. It reminds us to enjoy the simple things in life.

Permit me a short cell phone rant. The subways used to be a place where people talked to each other, even complete strangers. Now, even close friends rarely look up from their cellphones nor can they hear a thing as they wear earphones or earbuds. There is more chatter in a funeral home.

Almost done.

Many of you faithful readers are not Facebook people. Congratulations! Seriously, Facebook is an amazing forum and is an effective way to stay in touch with people… and find out what they had for lunch. I decided to attend one of Ellie’s performances of “ Crazy Bitch.” Despite what I said in last Thursday’s post, I really wanted to see it. But I didn’t want her to know that I was coming. That’s when I invented “ Leon Langois: Arts Critic.” I went to a costume shop for the wig and moustache and “The Frippe” for a second hand shirt and $3.00 Richard Petty hat.

I won’t bore you with all the details but I went to the show ( which I thoroughly enjoyed ) and came up to the stage to congratulate Ellie at the conclusion of her performance. She had no idea it was me and when I did “ the reveal,” she laughed hysterically.

My love affair with Montreal continues.

A tout a l’heure.

Have a great week.

 

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Comments

2 Responses to Monday Morning Musings

  1. Richard Burelle says:

    Sounds like your had a good time. Fir a large city there is no other place like it.

  2. Sharon MacEachern says:

    A great read! Thank you, Len for sharing your experiences..how I’d love to see the swings at night. Makes for a great memory..

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