Category Archives: On the Net

Francofolies: Missing the point a bit?

Maybe I’m being a bit too sensitive. Maybe I’m nit-picking and missing the big picture here. But it’s a bit odd to listen to anglo music during a sound check for Les Francofolies. Surely there’s an Isabelle Boulay or Marie-Mai CD they could stick in instead?

UPDATE (July 20): From an actual performance at the FrancoFolies, Seven Nation Army (or “Seven Army Nation,” as it’s introduced):

White guys rap about Bixi

This song has been making the rounds on local CBC radio in the past day. The song itself has been out for a little over a month, but the video for it is new.

I don’t know about their “it’s a free ride” line, though, considering the number of dollar signs I see on this page. In an interview Wednesday with CBC radio’s Jeanette Kelly, two members of the band – called Da Gryptions – say that’s actually a “metaphor” for something. Like, free as in freedom, or like … uhh … something like that.

Still, considering the success of the system, it certainly seems worthy of a song or two.

The band tells CBC they’re planning other Montreal-themed songs, including one about the Expos.

The Bixi Anthem is available on iTunes, in case you want to listen to it more than once.

It’s gonna feel like 93 forever

Remember how I said the number of Habs songs was disappointing this season, particularly since the massive roster overhaul over the past year has made those old ones obsolete?

Well Annakin Slayd, who produced music videos in both languages over the past two years, has updated its anglo one for 2010, replacing references to Kovalev and Komisarek with Cammalleri.

UPDATE (July 25): The inevitable parody version went up a few weeks later:

Hail Mary, full of ice

Concordia’s journalism program, which has been making a habit of posting its class TV productions onto YouTube, has produced this 45-minute documentary about Canadiens fandom – one of the few things we can claim to have an advantage over all the other teams in the NHL.

It features interviews with everyone from Brian Gionta and Maxim Lapierre to Mike Boone, Pierre Houde, Jacques Demers, Réjean Houle and J.T. Utah.

Spoiler alert: The Canadiens aren’t a religion, but they do have a lot of enthusiastic fans.

Fosse aux liones

Il n’y aurait plus de fautes de français dans les tableaux et dans les réponses.

Douglas Honegger, of Call-TV, to La Presse’s Hugo Dumas last month, in response to concerns that this awful, ethically questionable pay-to-play lottery show that aired during late nights on TQS might return to making awful gaffes when it returned to the network now called V.

And this week, they forget how to spell “Lionne”.

(via Capitaine D)

You know how they say it’s so bad it’s good? This is worse than that. No wait, it’s even worse than that. It’s so bad, it’s not even the bad that’s worse than bad, it’s so bad people watch it and live-tweet about it to talk about how bad it is.

Your 2010 Habs playlist

I don’t know if it’s because of the recession, because nobody expected the Canadiens to even make the playoffs – much less be able to compete against the Washington Capitals – or just because the Justiciers Masqués aren’t on the air anymore, but the number of Habs songs and Habs-related song parodies produced in preparation for this year’s playoffs is pretty sad compared to previous years.

And if there was ever a year we needed more songs, it’s this one. We can’t just take the songs from last year and replay them – it’s hard to get excited about Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, Mike Komisarek and Christopher Higgins since they all play for other teams now.

Still, a few amateur songsters have stepped up to the challenge:

Les Canadiens

by Clermont (featuring Kra-Z-Noize)

Montreal Canadiens 2010 playoff song

by Vince Colletti/Tanya Kassabian

Go Canadiens!

by Alex G.

Make it 25!

by Alex G. (also available in French)

Go Habs Go! (Séries 2010)

by Martin Scully

CH en série

(also translated – badly – into English)

Habs Romance

by Patrick Charles, Cat Spencer and Mark Bergman for CJFM. Sung by Lissa Vescio


Feels like ’93 (2010 version)

by Annakin Slayd

Habs Fight (woo-hoo!)


The Cheese of Philadelphia

by Daniel Iorio

Je déteste les Flyers

by Justiciers Masqués

Bye Bye Flyers

by Virgin Radio


by Porn Flakes

Stand By Your Habs

by Christopher Pennington and Felicity Hamer

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Independent dependents

From the Association des journalistes indépendants du Québec, this video uses some fancy graphics to show how much it sucks financially to be a freelancer here, and how that suckitude has only gotten worse as rates have been frozen or even dropped while inflation goes up.

The AJIQ has made some progress for freelancers, particularly with signing a deal with Gesca, though some are upset that with a fixed freelance budget, this will mean fewer opportunities for work with Gesca papers.

There’s an argument that a union representing freelancers is a contradiction in terms. But to suggest that most freelancers are truly free is to ignore the reality of the situation.

That which we call 65_RedRoses

Eva Markvoort at her laptop in 65_RedRoses

I don’t remember why I originally saw the documentary. Maybe I stumbled across it on Newsworld while looking for something to watch. Maybe someone recommended it on Facebook or Twitter and I watched it online.

It’s called 65_RedRoses, and it’s a documentary about a young Vancouverite named Eva Markvoort. She has cystic fibrosis, a disease that affects the lungs and can stop people from being able to breathe. The documentary, shot by a friend and his film-school partner, chronicles her life as she waits for – and eventually gets – a lung transplant.

Markvoort is an ideal candidate, not only because she’s young, pretty and well-spoken, but because she’s very open. She keeps a blog where she posts thoughts and pictures, and the documentary references and quotes from a bunch of blog posts. Maybe that’s part of the reason it appealed to me.

The key moment in the film comes just after the 20-minute mark, during what seems to be a very boring segment with bad audio in which Eva and her friends head out to the car. Suddenly, there’s a beeping sound, barely discernible on the documentary’s audio track, and Eva goes into shock. Her pager, whose sole function is to alert her when a donor has been found for transplant, is going off. After nine months of keeping this little brick attached to her, nine months of waiting, suddenly she’s getting the call. (It’s interesting to me to go through this blog and see the individual posts referenced – it makes it seem more real somehow.)

What follows is an emotional few minutes in which she’s so nervous she can’t properly dial a phone. Even the filmmakers are nervous. This event wasn’t staged, there was no advance notice. They’d just been following her for so long, capturing so much footage, and suddenly, in October 2007, they hit the jackpot.

I can only admire this from a strictly journalistic perspective. It’s like being at the scene of a car crash with a camera rolling. They didn’t call her after the fact and ask her what it was like. They didn’t re-enact the scene with actors. They were there, and we saw her face while it happened.

It was this shaky, low-audio footage that got the CBC on board to produce this documentary, according to an article in Eye Weekly. It’s easy to understand why. You don’t see such sudden, raw, real emotion very often. The funding led to better production values, including some computer-generated title sequences that unfortunately are a bit lame.

The documentary is a roller-coaster for Eva, her parents and friends – and, naturally, the viewer. She gets better, she gets worse, she gets a transplant, she gets better, she gets worse, she gets better again.

The documentary ends on a happy note. After surviving an early post-transplant scare, Eva recovers and is discharged from the hospital. Slowly, her breathing improves and she’s healthy again.

Another poignant moment happens when Eva participates in a dragon boat race, something she couldn’t do before the transplant. It’s at that point she meets one of her best friends, Kina, who lives in Pennsylvania and also has CF. People with CF aren’t allowed to interact with each other because of the risk of spreading superbugs, as we learn in the documentary. But with the transplant, that’s no longer a worry. Eva loses her composure as she runs to her friend, and before long everyone’s in tears.

It’s 2009, and Eva’s doing great. This 2008 year-in-review post on her blog gives a good idea of what her new life is like (ironically, her posting frequency dropped noticeably as she went out and enjoyed herself). The documentary ends with a happy Eva smiling, optimistic and excited about her future.

Except, not. After the fade to black, text comes on the screen explaining that a few weeks before the documentary aired in November 2009, Eva was back in hospital, suffering from chronic rejection. She was still posting, still doing her best to promote this documentary that stars her, particularly now that it’s gotten this exposure.

Eva Markvoort died last weekend. She was 25. The news came via a brief posting on her blog, a post that now has more than 1,600 comments.

CBC decided to re-air the documentary yesterday on CBC News Network. Kina, Eva’s friend, is trying to get it to air in the United States.

Canadians can watch 65_RedRoses free on the CBC website.

RoKo loves CoCo

Conan O’Brien, who isn’t allowed to “be funny on television” until the fall as a condition of his $45-million buyout from NBC, has launched a North American comedy tour to pass the summer until he’s inevitably picked up by Fox.

The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour has three stops in Canada: Vancouver (two shows April 13-14), Enoch, Alta.(just west of Edmonton, April 17), and Toronto (May 22).

Sadly, Montreal isn’t on this list (though neither is Calgary, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Halifax and a bunch of other cities). People have been pleading on Twitter for him to come, hoping that the eight-day hole after his Toronto stop could be easily taken up with something at a Montreal venue.

Rob Kemp, the afternoon host at CHOM, has taken it a bit further, starring in a video in which he dons a wig and does Conan’s “string dance” in front of some local attractions.

(He even helpfully translates “Bell Centre” into the Americanese “Bell Center”)

Journal de Montréal, I wish I could quit you

Recognizing, I guess, that despite not having most of its journalists the Journal de Montréal is still putting out a paper every day and people are still reading it, the union representing the 253 locked-out employees has released a new ad comparing the evil newspaper to some sort of drug, and Rue Frontenac to the nicotine patch.

It’s cute, but it just reminds me that people are still reading the Journal. And I don’t think most of them are trying to stop.

Meanwhile, the union has also put up a 13-question FAQ for those who want to learn more about their position and what’s at stake in this conflict.

More video of me (with bonus Midnight Poutine)

I got a visit at the end of January from two Concordia students putting together a package for their TV class about blogging. The result is the video above, which is very brief and probably doesn’t give you any insight you didn’t already have into me (except the fact that there’s an embarrassingly large pile of unread newspapers in my sparsely-decorated living room).

A bit more interesting is that they also visited Midnight Poutine’s Jeremy Morris, shadowing him and his new partner as they recorded a podcast (you can listen to that particular podcast here).

If you haven’t heard it, Midnight Poutine’s Weekend Playlist Podcast is a weekly podcast, about an hour long, that features music from bands performing locally over the coming week (almost always independent bands performing at smaller venues). Not only is it useful in that sense (if you like the music, you can go see the band that week), but it gives people a chance to discover new music they can’t hear on commercial radio because they’re too busy replaying that Black Eyed Peas song for the 10,000th time.

UPDATE: The team that brought us the video above also had this shortish video interview with The Gazette’s Sue Montgomery about her trip to Haiti.