Rick Blue

Blue Notes – July 8, 2013 – West Island Gazette

A week ago Bowser and Blue performed at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park in Cote St. Luc for Canada Day. We were worried about the rain, but it held off until we were finished. The crowd was large and supportive. We brought out our best Canadian and Quebec material for them.

It’s always great to play for an audience that understands our jokes.

Cote St. Luc is an interesting city. It is completely surrounded by railroad tracks. And because there are only a couple ways in, it is like an island in the midst of the Montreal sprawl.

Indeed it is a unique community. And these days a rebellious one. They are none too happy about the current regime in Quebec City. Both the mayor and the local MP were vocal in their criticism of Bill 14 and the PQ’s never-ending political civil war.

Yes, the mayor and the entire city council were there. We even sang a song with them at the end of our set. They all wore red. Because they are proud Canadians.

We share the feeling. I don’t think there are any Canadians more conscious of our identity than Canadians living in Quebec. We are constantly under threat. It is a truly unique situation. Canadians across our country might be proud of our land and feel the surge of patriotism that we unleash every July 1st but there is no Canadian as desperately attached to it as we are.

Because it is our only hope to survive.

The PQ’s latest campaign of open hostility toward Canada is also open hostility toward us. It is a government that acts hostile toward its own citizens. And we pay our taxes for the privilege.

We try to lessen the burden with humour. Because if you can laugh at something, it makes it much less oppressive. And if you can laugh at your enemies, you have escaped their control.

And because laughter is the best revenge.

But we are musicians first and comedians second. We are very serious about our songs. Even if they are funny. Songs have power. And they have many functions. They can make people dance or fall in love. I always like it when our songs make people laugh. And I like it when our songs say something that you just won’t get from any other songwriters.

Like folk singers anywhere we write about our people. And it is their support that keeps us going. We sing about the shared experiences of the people we sing for. It has to be entertaining, of course. But it is also a little subversive.

And in Cote St. Luc, they understood the subtext.