taking it slow...

Today was "down time" in my wandering and writing visite de Montréal. Truth is, I was
worn out. Could be that walking another 6 miles was partly to blame after a few rainy days off. It might have something to do with going to bed after 1 pm most nights and then getting up
by 7 am to fix Di's breakfast and lunch. But, if I were a betting man, I would put money on my sluggishness being directly related to listening to truly inspired, wild-ass bop and free jazz last night till after 2 am. Plus walking my butt off and the whole domestic support drill, of course.

I had some excellent conversations with the wait staff who helped me practice French by speaking très lentement and encouraging me to continue d'essayer (keep trying.) And then two women sat with me at the bar who were friends of the band. They, too, were Francophones who were only too willing to help me get a little better with their mother tongue. We talked jazz, culture, politics and life in Montréal in French/English for a few hours. Two parts of this conversation are worth sharing:

+ First, there appears to be an increased number of Parisian immigrants flooding Montréal and breeding resentment among the Quebecois. One of my new artists friends spoke of it as the "second wave of colonization." More on this after a bit of study and research.

 + Second, there is a clear dividing line still active among the French and Anglo jazz fans (and in other areas, too.) "The scene when you cross over the Main (St. Laurent) is très Anglais - and you can feel the different groove." I've thought about that all day: taking in a set at the Anglophone Upstairs Lounge over near McGill University feels different than the scene at Dièse Onze.  To my way of being, the Francophone jazz realm cuts deeper and feels more soulful. My colleagues were pleased and quickly agreed. Both Di and I have discerned this, too when it comes to the neighborhoods we like to stay in. When we first started to visit Montréal our French was so bad that we always stayed West. Then we discovered Little Italy and
Marché Jean-Talon and grew more into the Francophone world. Then, for sabbatical, it was le Plateau and the East side of town in spades - and has been on the 8 trips we've made since back since that time.

As the music intensified, it came out that I played contre-basse (upright bass) and so did one of my bar mates (the woman friend of the killer bass man leading the jam.) So, once my bona fides were established I was invited to an "off the grid" jam session on Sunday night. Apparently, for the past 26 years a group of mostly Francophone artists from various genres have been running a small, under the radar club that has nothing to do with the market place. It started out with film makers and over the years has morphed into a much more musical event - and some of last night's young bop players are carrying the day. It was my hunch that if I hung out long enough, listened carefully, spoke enough earnest albeit bad French, kept my earrings in and made the acquaintances of enough jazz players such and invitation might happen - and now it has. I let all of this soak in today - and did a bit of house cleaning and grocery shopping, too.

Di has two more days before her practicum is done -  and then it is our anniversary.  We'll do something fun and give her another week in town so that she can rest and join me in some wandering as well as at least two jazz gigs. (More Leonard Cohen soon.)


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