I’m a Montreal writer.
And I’ve never been to Casa Del Popolo.
I don’t really hang out in Mile-End
In fact, I did not know what Mile-End was until I was 27.
I’ve set foot in la Sala Rossa only once.
And I that other room those guys are/were running.
Can’t remember the name.
I saw Terror there a few years ago.
I don’t know (or care) if they’ve had hardcore shows since.
I can’t FUCKING stand Arcade Fire.
I never set foot in Drawn and Quarterly
Or le Biftèque
Or Café Olympico
I’ve never done those things most « Montreal writers » do
But I can tell you this.
I was born at Santa-Cabrini.
Parents were from Tétreaultville
My grand-parents lived in the projects
Over at Frontenac Metro.
My family ain’t rich.
But damned if they worked hard.
I had jobs in Montreal-East
Though, unfortunately, not in the gas industry.
Dad was a welder.
Mother an office clerk.
Managed to buy something nice and decent
In the suburbs, no less.
I’ve gone fishing at Parc Bellerive
Threw rocks at the water with my friends
for hours on end.
Chilled on the tracks
And played arcade games
When they still had them at
I use to go to Cinema Paradis
And still wait for the day it re-opens.
I Chilled under Pont-Charles-de-Gaule
As I sat next to a camp fire.
While friends did graffiti
Same with the Sherbrooke underpass
Or Rouen Street.
I’ve been to more shows at l’X than you could count.
I’ve had a jam space at Cité 2000
and at some sketchy place in the basement of a front-bar
I know that for some reason, straight edge kids like me
Tend to find work at foufs.
And I still can’t explain that one.
The reason I am saying this is simple
I have never really found why Mile-End
Was deemed the center of the fucking universe.
For all things creative and cultural.
I’m from the East-End of Montreal. The REAL East-End.
Not even Hochelaga.
Further than that.
And maybe when I was a kid,
I never realized How cool that place actually was.
The jobs we get,
The lives we live
The people we meet.
THOSE are fucking stories worth writing.
The East End’s where people live, grow old and die in Montreal.
That’s why it’s hard for me to realate to ANYTHING
That comes out of mile-end in 2014
(The years of Richler and Layton are long gone)
Mile-End is just somewhere wanabees visit
Where has-beens linger
Where outsiders crash for a year or two
And call themselves “Montreal Writers.”