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Rick Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Rick Blue
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is a Montreal-based humorist, singer, and writer. He and partner George Bowser are the famous Bowser and Blue comedy act. Here's his bio from their Bowser and Blue website.

Rick Blue was born in Liverpool, England, but raised in Maine, New Jersey, and Toronto. He has an MA in English from Concordia University. He has been involved in bands and media music in Montreal for over twenty years. In 1981 he won an international 'Clio' award for excellence in advertising.

He once appeared on television naked.

His life had no real meaning, however, until he began to play with Bowser and Blue. Rick plays guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, and sings in a rather pleasant baritone when George will let him.

He is also a columnist for Montreal's outstanding West Island Gazette..

His LCC columns are archived here

Posted 03.26.15

RICK BLUE

Opportunities missed can define your life

MONTREAL | Interesting how a life can take turns. How opportunities can be missed -- and how that can define the rest of your life.

In the mid-'60s, my best friend and I decided to hitchhike across Canada. Yes, I know, those were innocent times.

I had worked at the Banff Springs Hotel the summer before, so I knew that many of the students who were originally hired for the summer began to leave after a month, by mid-June.

So we left Montreal in mid-June with $12.50 in our pockets and headed for western skies. We planned to eat only breakfasts. At that time, they were the best value for the dollar.

Getting across Ontario was the most difficult part. It goes on forever. And many of the rides were short. I'll never forget one night just outside Sudbury, within sight of an enormous lit-up and humming nickel refinery, we slept in our sleeping bags in a ditch by the side of the road.

Once we got to the Prairies the rides got longer, and we made it to Banff in about five days. And sure enough, jobs had become available. I became a greenskeeper on the golf course. My friend became a lifeguard at the pool.

We too left those jobs in the middle of August to continue our adventures. Our plan was that the money we made at the Banff Springs Hotel would take us the rest of the way to the West Coast.

We hitched to Vancouver and stayed with my friend's aunt. It was my first time in that beautiful city. Then, we hitched down to San Francisco and stayed with an uncle.

Once again it was my first time there. We walked around Haight-Ashbury and experienced the buzz in the air. Although we didn't recognize it then, we could feel that something big was happening. It was the hippy movement in its larvae stage.

But our final destination was to be Hollywood. My friend's sister had an ex-boyfriend from the radio business in Montreal who had moved to L.A.

As you can gather by now, our itinerary consisted of "places to crash."

At the time my friend and I played music as a duo. We had done a few gigs in Montreal at the Café André near McGill. I played guitar and he played bass. We sang pleasant Simon and Garfunkle, Peter and Gordon style songs. We had longish hair and the girls thought we were "cute."

One night as we were practising in our Hollywood friend's home, a business acquaintance of his looked upon us with great interest.

"I know someone who is looking for guys like you," he said. "Let me get you an audition. You guys look perfect!"

But I was planning to leave the next morning because my friend's sister had phoned us that very day to tell me that my acceptance letter into college had finally arrived. It was a very good piece of news for me. I knew I wanted to go to university. And I had been given a place at Sir George Williams -- a trial year -- but I had to be back for registration that week.

When I explained my dilemma to the business associate he looked at me as if I was crazy.

But we hit the road the next day and bused to the outskirts of the L.A. sprawl. Our first ride took us well into the desert. We slept on the floor of a cabin behind a gas station in the middle of nowhere. After we had our breakfast we stuck out our thumbs and the first car stopped. It was a 1951 Dodge with a gear shift on the steering wheel being driven by a Hell's Angel who was going back to his woman, non-stop all the way to Indianapolis. He wanted us all to take turns driving and sleeping.

We drove continually through the day and the night. And all the way he continually took a gulp of vodka and then chased it with a gulp of root beer.

Needless to say, because of this ride I made it back to Montreal just in time to register at Sir George Williams. I was now a university student! It would be the beginning of many enjoyable years of intellectual discovery.

But not long after that we heard from our friend in Hollywood that what his acquaintance had wanted to set up for us was an audition for a new TV show about a rock band. Guys that looked and sounded just like us.

They were going to be called The Monkees.

To read Rick Blue's complete column on the West Island Gazette, click here Rick Blue in the West Island Gazette
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