Hour Community

Once upon a time in Montreal

Once upon a time in Montreal

After reading the farewell columns of my esteemed predecessors Jamie O’Meara and Richard Burnett in last week’s issue, in which they both looked back at the glory days of alt-weeklies and lamented the current situation of print media in general, I must say that, for a moment, I wished I could have started work at Hour in a different context.

Then I remembered the words a wise man once said: "So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." Yeah, that’s right, I just quoted Gandalf the Grey in my first column; that’s the kind of film geek I am. Then again, I’m many other things as well: a huge music fan, an avid reader and an enthusiast for pretty much every kind of art, not to mention a diehard hockey fan (who isn’t in Quebec, especially during playoff season?).

I was born in Montreal and I’ve called it home for the better part of the last 12 years or so, but like nearly all Montrealers I’ve also lived in a few other places, notably Trois-Rivières, where I spent my childhood, and Saint-Jean, where I spent my teen years. Never been to Haiti though, despite the fact that my biological father was from there. In any case, I feel that, most of all, I’m a product of Montreal, a city where, political differences aside, the English- and French-speaking populations live, work, play, love and even procreate together, along with all shades of black, Asian, Latino, native, European, Jewish and Arab folks.

On its best days, Montreal is one big happy bilingual and multicultural family, and this is what will be reflected in Hour Community. From Old Montreal to Montreal North, NDG to Ahuntsic, Parc Ex to Chinatown, Griffintown to the Plateau, Verdun to Mile End, Little Italy to Greektown, West Island to Hochelaga, and so on and so on, fascinating stories are happening every day, and we aim to tell you about as many of them as we can.

Of course, this being a Montreal paper doesn’t mean it will only cover local artists, so we’ll be sure to let you know about great shows, movies and other events coming to town, wherever their creators are from. Hence our cover story about Nigerian musician Femi Kuti, son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and a musical legend in his own right, who’ll be burning up L’Astral in a few days.

Let me also take the time to welcome our new columnist, Anne Lagacé Dowson, whom you probably know already for her work with the CBC and CJAD. It’s a true honour to be able to publish her column, Bloke Nation, in our pages, and I’m looking forward to the political, social and cultural conversations it will inspire amongst Montreal’s diverse communities.


In the age of iTunes, Bandcamp and other online services where music fans can get their fix, there’s no doubt it’s challenging owning a bricks-and-mortar record store, as the habit of physically going to a store to buy music becomes less prevalent. Which makes it all the more important to support initiatives like Record Store Day, a day in which special vinyl and CD releases are offered exclusively in independent record stores worldwide. So on Saturday, April 16, be sure to pay a visit to participating local establishments such as the recently reopened Phonopolis, Atom Heart, Cheap Thrills, Sound Central, Beatnick, Le Pick-Up, Aux 33 Tours and L’Oblique. For the occasion, L’Oblique will present live performances by a lineup of bands that includes Antoine Corriveau (1 p.m.), Will Driving West (3 p.m.), Philémon Chante (4 p.m.), Panache (5:30 p.m.) and Pat Jordache (6 p.m.). www.recordstoreday.com

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  • by Eric Bertrand - April 14, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Welcome aboard, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I wish you and the new direction for this newspaper. I’m digging this new layout but I’m confused by one thing–why has the contest entry section changed when all of the other Voir sister publications stayed the same? I don’t think it’ll change things obviously but I still find it weird. Anyways, so far I’m loving this new vibe.

  • by Mark St Pierre - April 17, 2011, 10:12 am

    Yeah, I’m also liking the new sleeker look and vibe. And while I do bemoan the loss of some of the Hour’s old columnists, it’s nice to see that there’s still some old-school staffers (like Steve Guimond and Maeve Haldane) to bridge the gap between the two eras. Also a wee bit confused by the new posting and contest format but I’m optimistic that the logic behind it will soon become apparent. My only remaining query is in relation to all of the community posted stuff that predated the change – will it be added to the new site or is it forever lost?

  • This page was mentionned - April 18, 2011

    [...] Hour is out, with its new website, new Facebook page and new columnists Anne Lagacé Dowson and Kevin Laforest. The announcement is [...]

    Read more on The end of Hour – Fagstein

  • by Lisa Lefebvre - April 18, 2011, 6:12 pm

    Wow, the new look really does represent a complete overhaul and, while there’s no doubt that it’s aesthetically more appealing to the eye, it’ll still take me a little while to become acclimated to the new look and direction of the paper. As for the contest and member contribution aspect of the website, I’m a little befuddled. I haven’t yet been able to peruse any of the old comments and hope that they will eventually find their rightful place alongside some of the newer insights being afforded by both old and new readers (if not “members” – guessing this aspect has been completely dispensed with). As with any change, it’ll take a while for everything to settle and for the paper/website to find it’s new level. Having said that I’m excited by what the future holds for this new era in the Hour – best of luck to everyone involved in channeling a new voice for the paper.

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