Meet Montreal’s speaker’s corner

Quelque Show revives a local TV concept from the 1970’s, asking average Montrealers for their opinions and creating an oral history of the city in the process.

Quelque Show downtown (640x360)
Quelque Show‘s Rosalynn Nguyen (right) on the job
Montreal has a new speaker’s corner, inspired by a classic local concept.

Quelque Show was an anglo TV show on CBC in 1975, hosted by Nick Auf der Maur and Les Nirenberg,” explains Paul Shore, creator and co-host of the new Quelque Show. “It was basically these two guys going up to random Montrealers around the city and conversing with them, interviewing them about a whole series of issues. It was sort of an unfiltered platform for people to talk about everything from pornography to religion.”

Shore, a documentary filmmaker and broadcast journalist (he was the Canada bureau chief for the Guerrilla News Network for five years), came across footage from the original Quelque Show while producing a video montage for the centennial celebration of St-Laurent Blvd a decade ago. He was immediately impressed by the idea, and though it took a little time, he moved forward with the new, bilingual Quelque Show a year and a half ago, alongside engineer/media producer Rosalynn Nguyen. Together they’ve conducted hundreds of interviews and, since the beginning of December, uploaded 23 videos to their YouTube channel, which is where Quelque Show lives for now — the project will expand to new platforms online, and maybe one day to TV.

Shore describes what he and Nguyen have produced to date as a “spontaneous public therapy sessions with average people talking about sex, immigration, love, death, all the things we’re not comfortable talking about in public, in French and English.”

Quelque Show mountain (640x360)“People feel a little bit voiceless,” he explains, noting that he and Nguyen polled 100 people, asking whether they’d ever been asked for their opinion by a politician or journalist, and only three said yes. “There’s a lot of political apathy, too, so this is an attempt to try and bridge the divide, in some capacity, between everyday Montrealers and our political leaders. It’s a soapbox, but it’s also morphed into an oral history because we get into personal stories. We speak to people all ages, races and genders, and everyone has a story — there’s always something that we can identify with no matter how different their life experiences have been.”

And even though people are consuming this content from screens, one of Quelque Show‘s goals is to foster a sense of community that’s being eroded by technology.

“We’re increasingly isolated, even within our community, and Montreal has a real rich community, but as technology slowly overtakes our lives and we spend more and more time behind monitors, we become disconnected.”

Watch the latest episode of Quelque Show, edited specifically for Cult MTL readers, here:

New episodes of Quelque Show are uploaded every Tuesday, here