(This post may not make much sense to readers unfamiliar with the culture and politics of Montreal, but it’s not worth the effort to summarize them. Trust me.)
Last night, the wife and I caught the final show of “Four Anglos of the Apocalypse” at the Centaur. The show is less a play than a revue of political commentary. It stars the musical duo Bowser and Blue, editorial cartoonist Terry Mosher (Aislin), and writer Josh Freed.
(Josh is my cousin, and there’s a cute family story about how he used to nap in mother’s drawer. Well, it’s cute the first time you hear it.)
My mother was in town last week. She saw the show and loved it. She practically begged us to go see it, but I was leery. Bowser and Blue write and sing songs about Canada ad oppressed anglophones (that means English mother-tonguers in Quebec). Josh has some brilliant moments – above all, as co-writer of “The Anglo Guide to Survival in Quebec“, published in 1983.
I wasn’t keen on going. I could write pages on this, but my short explanation is that there’s nothing new to say about Anglophone life in Montreal. We’re here, we’re discriminated against, and we live with it. The only people who keep laughing at this stuff are the older generations. Us young folk are either so integrated or so disgusted that we don’t laugh at it anymore. Not much has changed in the last 30 years.
And, as I explained to my mom, you see one Bowser and Blue gig, you’ve seen them all – and I’ve seen one. You read “The Anglo Guide to Survival in Quebec” and you know what Josh is going to say. Terry Mosher is genius, but what can a cartoonist do on stage?
Nevertheless, my mother bought us tickets. So we went.
We sat in the very last row of seats. As I’d expected, a sea of gray and bald filled the room ahead of us. I doubt there were more than two dozen people younger than us in the audience, and my best friend just turned 40.
The show slightly exceeded my expectations. Bowser and Blue were Bowser and Blue, with some good impersonations of Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard. Josh was Josh, mostly. He managed to crack me up with the suggestion that there ought to be a road sign that warns drivers to get out a French dictionary because an incomprehensible sign awaits up ahead.
I appreciated Terry Mosher most. He touched on some of the behind-the-scenes communications between him and some politicians, which was new.
Other than that, it was whining, an explanation of how the whining came to be, and an ending of rapprochement, survival, and jubilation. Pretty much what I expected. All the old people loved it.