pain is the staff of life

Joyeux St-Jean-Baptiste ✄☺ June 24 2008

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on June 21, 2008

June 21, 2008

This 1907 pic taken by Donovan of Alexandria On. is from ‘City Work at Country Prices’ a collection of Donovan portraits reproduced from his glass negatives by Montreal photographer Jennifer Harper for Oxford University Press, Toronto, 1977.

St-Jean-Baptiste, coz to Jesus, ranks high-up in the pantheon of French Canada’s Saints. Not only does his feast day on June 24 coincide with the Solstice, for some reason he was co-opted early on by French-Canadian Nationalists (La Société St-Jean-Batiste has always been a quasi-religious/nationalist outfit and sheep magnet) and during Québec’s political unrest in the 60s, Montréal’s annual parade in the Saint’s honour became a flashpoint for young separatists. In the old days the affair was more of a beauty pageant when an appealing boychild with curly hair (mothers were known to cheat and perm their kid’s hair) was chosen from among the faithful (casting couch at the Bishoppric?) to play the Saint and with a little sheep in tow the lucky kid rode around on a float to the unbearable delight of nuns and grannies. In mid-60s Montréal, this benign symbol was replaced by a rigid towering statue of St J-B in cast steel (a hollow idol?) and there were no sheep. Sometime during a parade in the late 60s the Saint’s float was boarded by a group of unruly youths and in a violent public exhibition of anti-clericism the statue was toppled while a bunch of us partied and watched the proceedings from what had once been the rooftop garden of Fawzia Amir’s belly-dancing club on Sherbrooke W. near Bleury. This may have been the same year that the new P-M, Pierre E. Trudeau (a federalist and much-loathed by the separatists) was hit with an empty beer bottle (I’d guess a ‘cinquante’ for that was the nationalists’ broue of choice, Y’a rien qui La batte, curious as Labatts was on Ontario company) as he sat in the reviewing stand in Parc Lafontaine waiting for St J-B to show up. The seething Trudeau who relished confrontation leapt to his feet and began to taunt his assailant, no doubt giving the miscreant his now-famous middle finger, before security could haul him off the stand. The October crisis followed in 1970. By 1976 Québec had elected the Parti Québécois, the provincial separatist party founded by Réné Lévesque. Now, 30 years later, the feast is marked by a glitzy Cirque du Soleil-style parade up Avenue du Parc ending at the statue of Winged Victory (somebody won?) which faces Parc Jeanne-Mance (formerly Fletcher’s Field) followed predictably by endless live performances of artists who were once committed to the ’cause.’ It all seems pretty tame and ho-hum, like that little sheep.
Naan

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11 Responses

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  1. spruce top p. said, on June 21, 2008 at 7:45 am

    evver sins the eiffelQ sstarted ewezing mmaleboxes as bbomb ddrops
    ya ccan’t gget a ffrench lletter into tthose skinny ssslots. i ffind mmyself using tthe hemail morse & moors.
    S.T.P.
    Koranwall asylum

  2. ruthanzo said, on June 21, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Spruce Top has been too long in the Dark Tower he’s got
    turret’s syndrome

  3. zz dans le meteo said, on June 21, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Spruce! My nurse not norse friend in Sheatle just phoned in from the NUDE parade !!! surrounded by solstice sisters ! Now that’s a way to idle away a longest day
    … I thought you said french leathers which is just plain quir

  4. ruthanzo said, on June 22, 2008 at 11:14 am

    the solace sisters? is that a nude order of nursing nuns? fascinating concept

  5. zz dans le meteo said, on June 22, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    seems less questionable or presumptuous than mercy

  6. zbignose said, on June 23, 2008 at 1:55 am

    it IS fascinating how the “significance” of the holiday ev/dev olved over time, just like all those other non bank holidays (although , who knows about them?)
    Each era/area has its own myths and missions re. where the earth is in relation to the sun.
    Disregarding the latest co-opting of these days, I hope they are wonderful and lead to other wonders as well.

  7. spruce top p. said, on June 23, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    tthe ssheep’s a blur, not ddistinct enuff. naan’s ggot itt ronge aegean. kkoncert’s in rrosemont knott’s mont rroyal bury ffarm. naann nneeds el-dopa. temarzipan.

  8. spruce top p. said, on June 24, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    ‘zzat rrobert lepage?? amaze zing reezemblance. eye miens tthe kkid.

  9. zz dans le meteo said, on June 24, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Someone Lepaged Charest’s hair onto him? & what are those bondage things on the kid’s legs? ribbon?

  10. Chabitant said, on June 24, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    Da naan she blog da internet
    Batees’ he tap da You Are Elle
    “By Gar” cry he “mondoo hélas”
    Dis stuff she straight from Hell
    An wan de party she is done
    Da curé bless da flock
    Batees he drive home yankee car
    It be a Plymouth Rock.

  11. tissage said, on June 27, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks be for takin’ us down to the ovine side of town. Lost last night, Sainte-Marie did a far better job carrying the iron cross than the prodigal son, leading us back, circus victorious.


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