Flame-haired American songstress Tori Amos turned 50 this month. Fifty years old! Above is her video from her first solo album, 1992’s Little Earthquakes, for the single Silent All These Years. The simple piano accompaniment throughout most of the song is very characteristic of Amos’ early works, and I actually really enjoy the vintage feel of the music video. When I think about Tori Amos entering her fifth decade, I think about the talented female musicians today, and the debates about feminism in pop culture. And there sure are a lot of talk about the feminism label amongst female musicians these days.
It was bound to happen. I knew that I would eventually become a victim of theft while living here in Montréal because just about everyone in the city gets robbed at one point. But what does this say about Montréal’s crime trends, culture, and urban living?
Virtually everyone I have known that have, or are, living in this beautiful city has been robbed. That includes stolen cars, stolen electronics, stolen wallets, and home invasions. This is in contrast to the life I lived growing up and working in the Toronto suburbs and downtown neighbourhoods. I actually don’t know anyone who has been a victim of personal (non-business) theft in Toronto. But as soon as I moved here to Montréal a few years back, I knew right away that the crime trends in this city were different.
Beaudry metro station in The Village
Montréal Pride week, or the LGBT festival, is in full force this week. Recently, I took a mid-week and mid-day walk through The Village in downtown Montréal along rue Ste-Catherine. During the summer the portion of this main street is closed for pedestrian use only, which becomes lively during the evenings and weekends. As expected, Montréal’s LGBT community is brightly decorated with equally vivid storefronts. The Montréal LGBTA Parade took place on Sunday August 18, 2013. Click here for more information.
As promised in the previous post, here are the balloon photos from the Festival de Montgolfières (Festival of Balloons), the annual summer festival at Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. The small city is just 40 minutes southeast of Montréal, and is a celebration of air sports, family time and Québecois culture. Balloons take off at 6 pm every evening during the festival off the airport grounds of the National Defence training centre.
My favourite balloons were the fire hydrant, the blue smiling character, and the Canadian and Québec ones, of course. Which ones were yours?
International de Montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
5 Chemin de l’Aéroport
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec J3B 7B5
Québec is a province that loves air sports. It’s very common to see paragliders, hand gliders, and other air vehicles in the sky when you drive around outside the island of Montréal, something I never saw when I was growing up in the Toronto suburbs. So it only makes sense that this province would host a balloon festival every summer in the form of Festival de Montgolfières (Festival of Balloons) in the city of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, 40 minutes south-east of Montréal. I have a friend who is a big fan of balloons and blimps, and since we didn’t make it to the festival last year we made sure to catch the event on the last day of the 2013 festival.
Montréal does food well. There is a reason Anthony Bourdain has a love affair with this city and its chefs, and poutine is the fast food darling du jour. My American relatives wax on about flying in to eat foie gras, nevermind dropping by Toronto to see my dad. And yes, I agree that the gourmet experience is excellent here despite my common complaints that Asian food in Montréal generally sucks and how difficult it can be to find vegetarian food.
But of course, I get to eat the best baguettes my heart desires, and am spoiled with various boulangeries (bakeries) and patisseries (pastry shops) in my francophone neighbourhood. All I have to do is walk around the corner to get to the neighbourhood fromagerie (cheese shop), and a charcuterie (preserved meat shop) is just on the other side of the street. Not to mention a poutine spot at my disposal that features the aptly named poutine, Le Vladmir (after the Russian President Vladimi Putin — get it?).
I have just over one month to go until my second half-marathon, and I feel the fire lighting from underneath. Black toe nails? Yep. Sore legs? Definitely. Unsightly tan marks? That, and my summer freckles have crashed my diligent skin care regimen once again. But I still have a lot mileage to cover meaning I have time to turn another shade deeper by the end of September no matter how much sunscreen I’m using.
Aside from great running shoes, a GPS watch, and lots of Gatorade G2, I rely on good music to keep me going. And when I run, it’s really the only socially acceptable time that I can kinda bop to the music in public, which I understand is a no-no during my study sessions at the library. I bring along my ultra small and ultra light iPod Shuffle that I use solely for my workouts, and I blast music of the thumping kind that usually don’t make it to my study music playlists. Of course, I have a separate playlist for my running sessions and though I update my iTunes library every few months or so, lately I have been adding a lot of new and different artists to my running soundtrack.
The standards are the same: Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, MSTRKRFT, Robyn, and Underworld. But I have been loving tracks from Disclosure’s new album, Settle, since they released the garage-pop track Latch last year which reminds me a lot of the electronic music I first started listening to over a decade ago. Can you believe that the British brothers are only 18 and 20 years old? Well, when I blast favourites like White Noise I think about the Disclosure kids kicking my butt and it makes me run. (I also think about RuPaul telling me, Girl You Better Work!. Anyways.) Other new music additions include the new single by Annie, a remix of Young Galaxy by Peaking Lights, Toro y Moi, and Stockholm’s Kate Boy. So here is a list of a few of my new and standard running music favourites to get you motivated, running, or both. Click on the tracks to open streaming links.
Disclosure’s White Noise featuring AlunaGeorge
THE HALF-MARATHON TRAINING PLAYLIST
The Chemical Brothers, Hoops
Daft Punk, Rollin’ and Scratchin’
Disclosure, When a Fire Starts to Burn
Disclosure, White Noise featuring AlunaGeorge
John Hopkins, Open Eye Signal
Kate Boy, Northern Lights
The Knife, We Share Our Mother’s Health
Lupe Fiasco, Kick Push
Lupe Fiasco, I Gotcha
Method Man, Release Yo’ Delf
MSTRKRFT, Bounce featuring Nore and Isis
Robyn, Cobrastyle (Bloody Beetroots Remix)
Robyn, Because of Boys (Yelle cover)
Slava, Girl Like Me
Thunderheist, Jerk It (Nasty Nav & JFK Remix)
Toro y Moi, Say That
Underworld, Pearl’s Girl
Young Galaxy, Pretty Boy (Peaking Lights Remix)
Long before I moved to Montréal, one of my earliest memories of visiting the city was when my family I rode on one of the horse-drawn carriages in the Old Port (Vieux-Port or Vieux-Montréal in French). I was about seven years, had my hair fashioned up in pigtails, and clutched my favourite stuffed animals along the cobblestone streets, making for a bumpy and rugged carriage ride. I also remember thinking the buildings looked funny because they were unlike anything I had seen in Toronto with their grey stones and lofty windows that lined the narrow roads. And after my first encounter with baguettes, I fell in love with the assortment of these heavenly carbs at my disposal in this strange French-speaking land.
Two decades later, I relocated from Anglophone Canada to the French Canadian province of Québec, and I found myself feel a natural pull to the Old Port from my downtown apartment. I rediscovered this historic neighbourhood and became hooked on the bakery and café called Olive+Gourmando (“Olive et Gourmando”), a sister business to the very successful restaurant Toqué! I had done some online sleuthing and figured out that Olive+Gourmando was a place to visit for breakfast fare, sandwiches, and baked goods. Well I love breakfast, sandwiches, and baked goods so I made a beeline to this café, only to be met with long lineups at all hours of operation.
We love the Swedish duo, Icona Pop, here at flashbracket but what we love even more is a remix by the Cookie Monster. The Sesame Street character has already covered Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe last year as Share It Maybe (again about cookies, natch), and now he is back covering Icona Pop’s 2012 hit, I Love It as Me Want It (But Me Wait). Cookie Monster is starting to catch up with The xx as one of my favourite remix masters! Click to watch my favourite Sesame Street character do his thing.
Montréal brought us various temperatures and weather activity this weekend, but it did not deter us from going out and about in the city. On Saturday, we walked around the Old Port, which I usually avoid doing during the summer weekends since the beautiful neighbourhood can be awkwardly packed with visitors during the tourist season. However, our goal was to drop by L’Affichiste, a vintage poster gallery with collections mostly derived from European and North American sources.
Though I had not heard of this gallery until recently, a friend of mine was looking for a particular type of print poster that would complement one that she bought in Paris during the spring. Her research brought us to L’Affichiste whose walls are decorated with beautiful and bright illustrations, many from France. We were focused on the posters from the Loterie Nationale that were commissioned from the French National Lottery established in 1933. These posters held by L’Affichiste are sized around 16 x 24 to 32 x 47 inches, and priced around $240 to $1,675 CDN. Many of these art works are illustrated according to the Art Deco style of the period.