That’s Quebec, for those who aren’t fluent in my personal version of Franglais. There’s something about that province that turns me into a complete animal. Without fail, as soon as I cross that imaginary line on the map and the 401 becomes Auto route 20, I become a madman. First, it’s straight to Schwartz’s for a smoked meat sandwich, cause I’m usually hungry. Then, I immediately stop at the first Couche Tard I see, grab a tomato pizza, a sugar pie, and 24 Molson Dry’s (for the low low price of 23.98) and proceed to weird on a level that only my best friends, and Phuong, could understand. When I’m there, I rarely remember going to bed. I wake up in strange positions, surrounded by those thin grease covered cardboard plates that pizza comes on, and I’m not exactly proud of that.
Montreal is about 6 hours by car, 1 hour by plane or 5-ish hours by train, according to the VIA Rail Customer Success specialist of the train I’m currently writing this on. I’ve only got 2 hours to go until I arrive at that bunker/train station for a weekend of Pouzza VII. What follows are a bunch of loose short stories, vignettes, bullshittery, and other anecdotes about my various adventures in La Belle Province, in no particular order. OK, There’s actually only 10…I stole the title from a Simpson’s episode.
The first hungover morning (there have been several since then) that I ever spent in Montreal, I fell off the bed, shoes on of course, and immediately went to a pizza parlor down the street from the hotel. The floor in that pizzeria was fucking plywood, but I didn’t really care. I was hungover and wearing a bandanna as a head band, which was the style at the time. I ordered a Boreal Blanche with my 9am breakfast pizza slice, because it’s Montreal and I can do that. At the young age of 23, and being from Ontario, this was so new and mind blowing to me at the time. Sadly, that pizza place is and it’s sassy Franco-Italian owner is no longer there. My Electrician and I (who was my travel companion on that first trip) almost cried over that fact recently. But now there’s a new Chipotle-esque burrito place kiddie-corner to that long abandoned commercial space, where none of the staff speak any English. So there’s that. Incidentally, that day/night I continued to drink so much Boreal Blanche that the bottoms of my feet got incredibly itchy, and I had to take of my shoes and scratch the shit out of my calloused feet. Then I got lost in some weird student housing complex and walked back to the hotel barefoot.
Haven’t touched the stuff since. Luckily, that’s not the best story I have.
I Don’t Believe In God, I Believe In God-ess
I’ve seen and done a bunch of much weirder shit since, so in hindsight, this was a pretty tame, but I once watched a suspension performance in one of the upper rooms at Foufounes Electriques. It was some sort of tour loosely related to the Suicide Girls, and was totally different from their burlesque tour I had seen at Salt Lounge a few days prior (that website was still very much underground at the time). I was kinda turned on, but the whole suspension part (bleeding and all) wasn’t really my thing. Still, that was probably my first real-life exposure to any type of alternative sexual lifestyle. Now I march in parades for that shit. I met a couple girls that night, and our conversations indirectly changed my outlook on sex and relationships. I got a quick primer in the BDSM lifestyle, and the whole domme and submissive relationship. I learned things over $2 squishy cups of Molson Dry that stick with me to this very day.
So, if you ever make a ‘daddy issues’ joke about a Suicide Girl to me, I’ll probably slap you silly.
You, Were Everything I Wanted
I once saw New Found Glory play Stick and Stones front to back, and it was everything I wanted. Not like sexually though. I waited around at Underworld at 3 am during a Pouzza fest, for American Steel to play a secret show. American Steel had some great songs and why they’re not at least in the same Income bracket as Hot Water Music, is totally beyond me. Though, I choose to pretend that they didn’t exist during their venture into synth-rock (as Communique). I’ve learned that the best Pouzza sets, and the best times in Montreal in general, happen between midnight and 4am. Bad Cop/Bad Cop and The Bombpops, together. The Almighty Trigger Happy and Wasted Potential, together. Scorpios. Enough said there. The best fucking times. I’ve bitched about the new Saves The Day songs to a half-full Club Soda. I’ve reminded complete strangers about what soundtrack they originally heard May 16th on. I’ve sang along to Broadway Calls songs with my best friends.
Unrelated but somewhat related, in 2008, I ran into and talked to Zombie Boy in an alley off Rue St. Catherine, right before he blew up and became Lady GaGa’s muse. The name dropping continues.
Do You Get Gags?
If you’ve ever read/stalked me on on this garbage website, you’ll know I had/still have a maniacal fear of ending up on Just For Laughs Gags, or anything similar. Before it actually happened, there was the time I thought it was about to happen. When it did happen, It was a nightmare, and I didn’t leave my apartment for weeks as a result. That show really is Quebec’s worst contribution to Canadian culture.
Get me outta here…
Grandfather Poutine, RIP
When I describe my diet to a stranger ‘It’s all about contrast‘ is the sentence I choose to go with. I love Sneaky Dee’s, but I also love Grand Electric. I can appreciate a croissant made with real butter, but I can also appreciate the buttermilk fried chicken at Popeye’s. I love Lil’ Baci, but I also love Domino’s. Sometimes I drop $100 on myself at La Carnita, and sometimes I go 649 on the value menu at the KFC/Taco Bell at Queen and Augusta. Basically, I like good food, but I also like hot garbage. YOLO.
I’ve ate some of the most delicious food in Montreal proper, and the surrounding townships. I once drunk bought an whole Peking duck from Chinatown, then proceeding to eat it, sans utensils, off the counter back at the hotel room. I’ve been berated by a waiter at Schwartz’s for only ordering fries when I was hungover, as opposed to an entire Smoked Meat Sandwich, with a pickle. I eventually had the full deal a few years later so no hard feelings, salty Schwartz’s waiter. I’ve had many delicious/fattening meals, but the culinary experience that’s stuck with me the most…during my first, and many subsequent 3:30 am visits to La Belle Province (Quebec’s finest 2 star fast food restaurant) at St. Catherine’s and St. Laurent, I was served/berated by the most delightful/cranky old man behind the counter…
Grandfather Poutine: “Smoked meat poutine!”
*throws down my order of poutine and 2 steamed hot dogs onto the counter*
Grandfather Poutine: “No English, Next!”
Me: “But you just spoke….”
Grandfather Poutine: “No, No English, Next!”
That man was always a highlight of my trips. He felt like family, even though I only saw him for a total of 45 minutes each year. Last time I was in town, I didn’t see him there the entire weekend. I even stopped by more than usual (You’re welcome arteries).
He’s probably gone, and that makes Jay tres, tres triste.