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2006 01 21
Dribbler™ 3.5 - 3.6 [Product Of Neglect Art Collective Ltd.]

Dribbler™ 3.5

by Product Of Neglect Art Collective Ltd.

Days grow sour, though visitors sweeten the mix with candied company and compassionate conversation. Rocktober is a month when this city's skies weep on everything, moistening the pavement to deepen the cracks and wash the curbside trash further downhill. The fashions change to prudent presentations as temperature gets a grip, and my employer takes a turn for the stupid.

Still, visitors need showing around. They gander at the tall buildings and gape from local citizenry, making note of coloquialist colonials. Two such outings brought opportunity to compare and contrast corners of Montréal's dimly lit subcultural microzoo™. Our first Case Study was held in a St. Laurent two-room swillporium, Friday freak night in full force. Downstairs the guitar ruled the playlist, though the songs spun the recent and retro. It pulled a mixed crowd, the mean age starting to mold nicely, like cheese. Upstairs the music stagnated in archetype while the charmurderess bartender lit kerosene down the length of the bar. Her symbolically rebellious gesture smelled something fierce and seemed like it should have been done with whiskey instead of something _meant_ for burning. Everyone moving through each other were replacements for themselves and read like journals.

The comparison point™ was a following Sunday, longtime International Freak Nigh™ so time was on their side. Our away team entered through the wrong passage, leading us into shirts-off gay electro under blacklight, and while the music was getting somewhere, the environment didn't suit the flyer. Downstairs made more sense, with the front cab of an 18 wheeler sticking out the wall, back ends of cars for seating, chain link, and electro rock™ or whatever the youth of yesterday's tomorrow's are calling it now. The rhizomes danced and proteans pranced, the music felt like its plastic wrap had just come off. There were some crossover faces from Count Freaktacula's Friday Rockout, but they were limelights of that evenings' sortie who brought good elements to a room. The malnurished host pantomime'd the past in a live presentation, and I wished him well on his trip to obscurity. Drag queens and drunkards, chemists and queers, all seemed to be having way more fun than the rest of us, and I liked that. Made me want to move around some.

Lesson learned; never put a fresh pretzel in a plastic bag.
***

The duration of my lease in Montréal comes to a total price of $6660, further proof that in these parts, landlords work for the devil. In other purely financial news, Quebec is the highest taxed province in the land, though I'm hard pressed to see why considering the dilapidated states of their road works, sidewalks, health care, and the infrequency of the busses. Rumors of the cost of living being cheaper here is also bunko. I have triangulated from two other sources; it's on par with vancouver. Rent is on par unless you're here for a long time and make friends with someone who lives in a rent controlled place which you take over when they leave to go elsewhere looking for work. Food is a bit more expensive, but then at times it's cheaper, but rarely inbetween. you either pay $14+ for an entree or $7, and I am finding $7 meals have a high average in terms of quality. The only thing this place has over vancouver on cheap is clothing, which might say something about the locals, though I am not sure i should get into that just yet. Ghetto pizza is more expensive by a couple quarters or more, and is worse than out west, partly because of a seeming lack of laws/standards to keep the food hot, so even the stacked up elephant leg chicken shawarma spindle can languish at room temperature for a stretch before someone orders a shish taouk and the owner turns on the irons for a token show of heat, prior to pressing everything into a sandwich grill or microwave. The only exception to this room temperature pizza rule is Euro Deli, which as you heard in a previous dribbler, is a few stratospheres above everyone else in terms of Satisfaction®.

***

The job's gone wonky, if nothing else, facilitating a "why would i want to be doing this for over a third of my day?" reevaluation of The Situation. Prepared with a 5 page Awfully Big List, my three month probationary evaluation moved from a seemingly informal affair to a point where lawyer's are sharpening their tongues. The end of Product Of Neglect Art Collective Ltd.'s residency in Montréal is being haggled and held up to examination through representation, we continue to study and participate, but an end has been framed.

***

The seasonal spooktickular went by with little notice. I suspected more given so much set dressing to work with, but the candy outweighed the creeps. I spent much of the halloween weekend wandering the roadways through the derelicts and dialects. The summertime sunday quadrophonic hootenanny in the park zombiefied into an 8 hour beaterror tech house hoedown, though costuming was minimal due to weather requirements, immune to which were a set of 4 solid gold dancers/superheros (actual raison d'etre is unknown). I steered clear of Organized Fun, their doorways were far from inviting.

So as street festivals drop like leaves, the PON collective begin to focus on making stuff and updating the archival records. Mixes get made, stories told, and pictures presented, old projects begin to show life in a calm following all the relocation upheival. We update the website and sort the photos, peel new music and prepare the pens for the immanent cold.

***

Dribbler™ 3.6

Nov. 15th, Winter got under way. The snowy glove was cast down in distemperate regularity, a sense of "...ok, here we go..." entered the public's mindset, and 21st century pelts went on sale. The burning of the wicked began just as people made appointments with mechanics to get the planetary interfaces on their vehicles swapped for something more substantial. Plastic wrap spread across windows while store owners began an a salt on liability and everyone else's footwear. Walking took on the wobbly gait of flaccid celery, and snow harvesters began to make the rounds while their minions made bike paths disappear overnight. I prepared for the season by emotionally investing in low gravity toothpaste, though I suspect the fiveness of twice two will get me in the end. However, just because i'm a loner, it doesn't mean I am a shut in, so I get out to see what the city drips on me while bitorrent replaces the poorly formatted 80's of my "youth".

***
I spent a saturday walking a good chunk of St. Catherines in search of pens. I am particular about pens; they keep consistency, and the kind i use are a friend of frugality, so it's worth an afternoon of searching when you buy in bulk for the winter larder. That saturday I came home without pens, but the flowing freakscene i got to swim through was well worth the efforts. Bottlenecking the sidewalk was Spidey, longtime feature of the street, akin to Granville's MaracaTambourine Man. However on this encounter with Spiderman, his dancing was joined by a sidekick; an early 50's well kept gay male in a black top, jeans, mirrored glasses, and a black cat burglars' toque, dancing to make Modonna proud atop a black travel case. I do not know what gear is shipped in and out of the area in that briefcase, certainly not a good sound system, as Spidey dances to an unintelligibly distorted portable stereo intended for little more than radio in the kitchen, half tuned to a local radio station, half tuned to Tao-Ceti Outpost 5 in the Freakazoid Galaxy. They managed to get a third person from the crowd up dancing, and I moved on before a soda commercial busted out.

Further down the street a man rollerbladed past me, also in his early 50's, wearing a green leprechaun "outfit". it wasn't campy, or SCA, but his garb certainly wasn't tasteful. The age thing is something I have been noticing since arriving here; many of the interesting and easily interactive people in Montréal are not fortified with the ignorance of youth, but rather ballasted by the wisdom of experience, and have nothing left to lose. I appreciate that. vancouver could use some senior freaks who brave the scorn of it's youthful folly.

Beyond the leprechaos i encountered a palsy'd pretty done up in steel who whistled while waiting for her feedbag, and i offered what was left. The panhandling down St. Catherine was out of control, spread across all levels of organization and presentation. From crusty punks to uniformed Street Teams™ of fundraisers, there was literature to take away or good karma to buy. I guess this is one thing that happens when the state no longer manages poverty, outsourcing it to nowheresville; public spaces become not-for-profit shopping malls of morality.

A flotilla of females in field hockey uniforms swam around me, making me consider what it is like to travel as a uniformed pack, and how the same experience would have gone down if they were hospital staff, clowns, or businesspeople®. Then the antithesis of giddy schoolgirls; the best dressed nun i have ever had the pleasure to witness. Solitarily solemn in her browned black layers of straight hanging cottons, the furthest from the cliche you can get, in terms of spirituality, she meant business. I held the door, she gracefully thanked me, and i wanted to kiss her for all the wrong reasons.

Another thing i noticed on the streets enough to take note; sunglasses in the dark. It happens here, which may explain Corey Hart's lingering popularity in an absence of product™.

***
A brief sidenote about the mac os; you can be totally hooped with your Finder nonfunctional, spinning colourwheels-a-plenty, but the music still streams. _That's_ a robust program that knows the importance of continuous playback, and I thank the software engineers who understand that.

***
Publicly picking at nasal passages and ass cracks seems much more widespread in this province, perhaps it is the reality of an open factory floor work environment which i endure for 9+ hours of my day right now; momentarily guards drop and the naked ape in my coworkers shines through. I certainly never saw this level of digging in the darkest of Albertan oil fields or the gully's of BC's coastline. I have not tried to "go native" and reach into my own nooks and crannies in plain view of peers, this is something i still reserve for lavatories, and the inner sanctums of The Ashram. Meanwhile, residential rodents chew and do their own digging at the walls of The Ashram, trying to find respite from the sheets of freezing rain and inconsiderate driving. I am well tuned to the sound of mouse munching after the Ashram's last locale, and the current chewing taking place behind my head as I try and sleep is something larger. I fear it.

***
Legal battles rage, i am represented by a flounder among sharks. To say more might pour blood into the legal waters, so I work long and feel slighted. Aside from the chillier corporate climates, parka people have emerged into the streets, a city of South ParKenny's with optional fur-ring. Not quite cold enough for mittens yet, but light gloves are your friend when carrying groceries. This will soon change, indeed by the time this Dribbler finds its way to your retinal receptors the weather has taken out a poncy rock star who didn't take heed of the icy walkways, forcing cancellation of tonight's tour date as well as a potential array of others. You too can suffer the wrath of Montréal sidewalks!

***
In the wake of PakIndia's tectonic shrug-off, two locals had a benefit for the Relief Effort™ (I wonder who will come to the rescue when vancouver finally fills in the platonic gap being left by all the other seismic gruntles going on). Amon Tobin threw his hat in amongst the performers, a one-man Bhangra production number also took place and convinced me the next superpower will not be China, but India, based solely on their dancing skills. A tabla master tricked out his fingers for us, some hippies brought lazy white-person hip hop to the stage, an unfortunately enthusiastic local piano man shined on himself for a while, and an unfortunately sensitive guitar player sang at us for too long, but bracketing the banal was beatboxing beyond anything i'd heard. The trans-galactic beatsamurai Quadraceptor plied his trade, this time accompanied by a second rhythm organizer, himself also a mindbending beatboxer. The two battled back and forth and layered frantic patterns across each other. It made me wonder what a drum circle of beat boxers would sound like. In addition, a Senegalese of local ignorance but Homeland Musical Respect (like the Tragically Hip playing in Laos) got very energetic, and people shook it when they could find their groove in the variety of vaudevillians. The crowd was meagre but not to the point of starvation, and we all tried to get the funk for The Cause.

The night after saw a reversal of experience. LCD Soundsystem played live for-profit, in a packed DFA record label showcase which also featured a band containing a thereminerd who knew just where to flail for the frequencies. Two or three DJ's mixed music, someone plundered Flashdance footage and programmed the ample and affluent crowd with questionably suggestive words, while the denizens smoked a bunch and danced now and then. A Belle of the Ball pranced her neck and hair in front of me and i appreciated the attention despite an inability to respond in kind. I strategised my trip to the coat check for maximum crossover with the flirting lady, but in the end my coat check girl ran circles around hers, and I was out of there before the cute coquette had even given up her ticket. Such is life; too late to make use of it all, and too soon to leave. And yet it offers opportunity to watch my ass by watching the asses i watch, so ultimately I am grateful for these lessons, even if no one hears me humming as I walk home.

***
The departure date of Product Of Neglect Art Collective Ltd.'s Montréal residency has been set, and provided the legalese settles down in the next few days, all things look westwards for March. Start growing your beards now!

Keep well, travel safe, until Then:

--
Product Of Neglect Art Collective Ltd.
[[ PONACL Dribbler™ ]]

"Product Of Neglect Art Collective Ltd. is an umbrella organization allowing its members to operate creatively with relative anonymity and obscurity. It began unofficially in 1988 and officially began archiving output online in 1994. Based out of vancouver, the collective has been enjoying a residency in Montréal for the past half year, during which the Dribbler™ was repurposed for archiving things to write home about. Besides the Dribbler™, PONACL produces music, radio programs, visual art, and public events, all through the gracious ignorance of the Canada Council For The Arts."

editor: tobias c. van Veen
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