good morning ~
(slick the border town / link to listen)
today's track is a big stacked collage of cassette tape recordings I made last week played back at different speeds
thanks to all of y'all who enjoyed, downloaded, or otherwise vibed to the new compilation of MBB tracks - - you can grab it for pay-what-you-want here (and tomorrow is Bandcamp Friday, btw)
playing a bunch in feb, made this helpful graphic, next one's at Avalon on Monday :)
Our friend was late to meet us. Our rendezvous point was some postage stamp city five minutes from the border and we parked in such a way that approximated the possibility of a parking lot beneath the chunky snow, shrugging. It had already been a long afternoon of driving and the sun was setting so we stretched our legs and peed in public and then we took off on foot toward what seemed like the center of town. What was there to see? Houses, driveways, nondescript. Not much else except for our own breath condensing in the cold before us, antique looking streetlamps, and whatever was happening at the Elks Lodge - that was where the real action was. We turned back, noticing that the black cat shivering in the driveway had disappeared - all of us agreed that we hoped it went inside and all of us agreed that we were fucking freezing. Whose bright idea was it to drive even further north in the deepest headlock grapple of winter?
But then our friend pulled up, bumper rattling, and soon enough we were handing our passports to the man in the booth. In the new dark our Subaru hurtled over the sprawling preamble of La Prairie, eagerly gunning it toward the emerald city of Montreal. Of the four of us now in journey, singing together, I wondered, which would I be? I couldn't imagine clicking my heels together. More than likely I'm the straw man - well, I'd come off the pole and out of the field this weekend. As we crossed the bridge into the city we cranked a particularly hot Celine Dion remix at maximum volume and screamed along - Quebecois excellence.
We've spent a lot of time in Montreal in the last few years, both because Gracelee shows there often and because we keep having the time of our lives there. I'm not saying it's necessarily a better city overall than New York, but its pleasures do seem to rise more readily to the surface. Plus it's much easier to drive to and wildly cheaper in almost every way.
Happy and arrived, we chat amid the tastefully appointed Ikea furniture sipping hot beverages and trying to get warm again. Starved, we stomp through the snow to crowd at a table at a bustling Portugese restaurant that does piri piri chicken poutine. It's warm, it's soaked in gravy, and I am made insatiable by the cold, so I take down an impressive portion and feel that I could die happy. Then a bar with a loud DJ, beautiful marble tabletops, and a waiter that showed impressive attention to filling our water glasses. My companions ordered a funky pet nat from a local winery and gleefully glugged. I was tired, travelled, full, and expansive, so I drank a delicious espresso martini, this time wondering which of us corresponded to which character from Sex and the City. Back at our place off the park, I was wired and couldn't sleep but I enjoyed listening to the different mechanical sounds of this particular building - the heat vents hummed.
In the morning we're down one - our friend's knocked temporarily out of commission by some chronic pain and so the rest of us walked two miles in the well below freezing bluster to score the world's greatest vegan croissants as well as ginger ale, crackers, and heat patches from a French Canadian pharmacy. My snot hung freezing in my mustache and my eyelashes glittered with drops of snow. Then the most serene of corporeal pleasures imaginable: three hours aboard a boat-turned-spa that floats in the Saint Lawrence river, I promptly took a profound nap in a hammock.
Once again the rendezvous is a revelation - restored to full health we linked up at a gallery not fully realizing that Gracelee's sculptures would also be on view, how delightful. Some really premium chatting and schmoozing. On the way to dinner we enjoy another bottle of a funky pet nat (and I a virgin espresso) while scarfing down a mandatory order of bread and butter which brings the color back to our cheeks. Then more food from one of my favorite places on planet earth. Over one of each dessert we told our friends some good news, everyone cries. The DJs in the booth next to us keep taking about "seven beautiful lines of ketamine" on a silver platter. Later, back at the apartment, I recognized our neighbors from dinner on a flier for a party happening not too far from our apartment. We should go, I said, and then immediately fell asleep during a youtube video, iPad kids.
On Sunday everyone felt kind of off and I had to remind my companions of the number of local funky pet nats they had consumed the night before. Still insatiably hungry from walking in the cold we all annihilated a robust dim sum meal and then made our way to the Marisol exhibition we ostensibly came to Montreal to see. It was super good, the deepest feast yet, and wandering the rest of the beautiful museum felt not dissimilar from being at the spa: it steamed my brain, much like the shumai.
We split up - I went to a record store where I purchased a single by the DJ we sat next to but failed to see play, others bought yarn, others still enjoyed two meals right in a row at legendary Quebecois eateries. Too cold to walk any further we shuffled into a single screen cinema and charmed our way into the sold out screening.
In the morning we dutifully tidied up the surprisingly nice apartment and made our way to plateau for a final stroll and fancy coffees. Despite nearly a dozen previous visits I had yet to try smoked meat and I'm so glad we finally did, plus we learned that Celine Dion is a co-owner of Schwartz's, what an angel. From a scenic overlook on Mount Royal we took an adorable group photo, thumbs up all aglow, then we shuffled our muddy boots home.
But what about you? Have you tried the smoked meat? Where are you taking naps these days? Are there crystals of ice frozen in the hairs on your face?