Montréal, cold and decrepit, with highways laid out by a thirteen-year-old as he watched Mad Max: I am a fuel-injected suicide machine. Everything here is falling apart and we drive with corresponding disregard. “Arrêt,” so I’m told, translates to “slow down and roll on through.”
Montréal, home of the once-greatest franchise in professional sport, once the financial centre of Canada, once the seat of the powerful, once many things, is now a city in decay.
It is not a city I like to visit.
But today’s visit is in-and-out, a surgical strike, an episode from the upcoming Call of Duty 10: Modern Business Traveller. You get off the airplane and drive to the customer site and then drive back to the airport and hurry to the gate and have done with it, all in one continuous rush.
Another day wasted from my lifetime allotment.
Which words, at this time of year, are normally uttered in irony. But it is sunny in Vancouver today, probably because the Weather Gods noticed that I had left my sunglasses on my desk in London.
Slickety Jim’s is, indeed, in a decidedly dilapidated state; that is to say, it consists of a pile of charred timber surrounded by a fence. But on the opposite corner of Main & Broadway, Pulp Fiction Books has a first edition of Hunter Thompson’s The Curse of Lono. I was forced to vacate the premises; that smell of burning plastic was, in fact, my credit card, and a fire in a bookstore is never a good thing. (On reading about the fire that destroyed Slickety Jim’s a few weeks back, my first thought was actually something like, “Broadway & Main! But that’s Pulp Fiction!”)
I did snag McGuane’s Nothing But Blue Skies and Richard Ford’s Women With Men on my way out. Neither of those is really collectible, but I have that completist urge with a few writers, and those are two of them.
Work takes me up to the Big Smoke for two days; the upside is that this will take me to Wednesday’s Biblioasis Poetry Hoohah (although I believe they have some other name for it), where I hope one Zachariah Wells will scribble in my copy of his book, Track & Trace, which I have been thoroughly enjoying.