Op-ed Montreal

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Fresh tracks and timely insight.

Lonny, “Comme la fin du monde,” Ex-voto (Let Artists Be)

Unless otherwise stated, I am of the opinion that the songs and things included in this column are very good and worthy of your time. You might enjoy them — that’s my opinion. The opinions expressed implicitly by inclusion in this column, I hope, are also in harmony with this publication’s opinion, since the last page of a publication is traditionally reserved for the editorial. 

The opinions on things contained herein are “expert” opinions — I have a doctorate in… something culture-related. Whatever. It doesn’t matter anymore, it’s on my wall. But I’m more than a master. My honorific title is Dr., and that title entitles me to my expert opinion on music and culture, at the very least.

Having said that, I’m not an expert in healthcare, specifically mental healthcare, although my mom is a psychiatric nurse of 52 years, and my late step dad was an ophthalmologist. I’m not an expert in COVID, although my aunt died of it in April 2021. 

I’m not a politics expert, either, although I vote. And I have this column that people still read in the pub, when pubs are open. If you can reach just one, you’ve done your job. I have opinions on these things. They’re armchair opinions at best, and perhaps best left in the armchair.

I’m also of the opinion that it’s the end of the world and time to act accordingly, but that’s just an opinion.

Brainwaltzera, “Fwd: Re: late (Ref.: karoshi),” ITSAME (Film)

If I previously followed you on Twitter, apologies, I’ve unfollowed you. I’ve unfollowed everybody. The reason: in a nutshell: too many opinions. 

Opinions are like assholes: everybody has one. I have no desire to look at everybody’s asshole. There are very, very few assholes that I’d purposely seek out (only one, for the record) much less want to stumble upon, much less want to hear anything out of, or from. (I’ve got all kinds of prepositions to end sentences with.) Most people’s assholes stink, just like most people’s opinions. Screw your opinions.

Robbie Lee & Lea Bertucci, “Division Music,” Winds Bells Falls (Telegraph Harp)

Opinions are good things to have, though. I am an opinions connoisseur, not necessarily an expert. In addition to having some expert opinions on things, I’m an amateur opinionologist. 

Most folks’ opinions I can do without. But in my amateur opinion on opinions, you’ll always get the best quality opinions from drivers. Today, it’s Uber drivers, but ever since Taxi Driver, it’s been a cliché that drivers are opinion receptacles, and it’s true. I’d rather talk to expert drivers than any other expert.

On a recent trip to the U.S., we had some characters. One, before being prompted, told us in a hushed and urgent tone that the truth was about to be revealed. Truth, I asked? What truth is that? “Joe Biden is a body double. That’s right. The CIA killed him in September. Your president, Justin Trood’oh is a body double, too.” 

Before we could get the whole story, though, we arrived at our destination, and I couldn’t inform him that we have a Prime Minister, not a President, and even if he were a body double, it wouldn’t change that much. It would be like, “Oh that too, now — Justin Trudeau is a body double. Chicken tonight, hon?”

Croatian Amor, “Remember Rainbow Bridge,” Remember Rainbow Bridge (Posh Isolation)

Shop owners also know. Talk to someone who runs a dépanneur in this town, and they’ll give you some opinions, boy. The man who owns the dep chez moi told me about the $4K tax bill he just paid, with another due in six months: “I have 600 square feet, what is my business?” he asked in exasperation, holding his hands high in the air. “When I came to Canada, they told me the best thing is to work hard. I am here from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. every day.” (And he is.) “There are shops next door closed down, how are they paying their taxes?” (I don’t know.) “If this doesn’t change, I’m going to drive an Amazon truck!”

I hope he doesn’t. To deploy a David Lettermanism, it would be a long trip to find out the store’s closed.

Softmax, “Last Two Dancing,” But What If There Isn’t? (Psychotic Reaction)

I love the Seinfeld routine about the Chalk Outline Guy. The premise goes: it must be a really easy job to be the Police Chalk Outline artist. If you’re not good enough to be the court sketch artist, you can always grab a piece of chalk and draw a big circle around the dead person. 

The other half of this classic joke asks, how in the world a detective might be able to tell who killed the victim based solely upon the chalk outline? Seinfeld’s line is something like, “Oh, his arm was up that way, so it must have been… Jim!” He does a little 180-degree turn, too, to punctuate the punch line. Seinfeld’s opinions I do enjoy.

There’s no Chalk Outline Guy for human heartbreak, unfortunately. No failed sketch artist for love lost. There’s no way to circumscribe that mess — the debris of a broken heart. First of all, just like the Seinfeld routine, you’d never be able to tell from the outline who the perpetrator was. And more crucially, there’d never be enough chalk. ■

This column originally appeared in the March issue of Cult MTL. 

To see previous editions of Play Recent, please click here.