Ricky Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Ricky Blue
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.

Ricky 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.

His columns are archived here

Posted 05.23.03


City of Dreams coming to a suburb near you

I wouldn't be able to get used to writing "Montreal" as a return address. For now, I still get to write "Beaconsfield." But perhaps one day soon I will be writing "The Free City of the West Island."

Could it happen? We are excluded from the city of Montreal by two barriers; the Decarie circle and the Turcott interchange. These bottlenecks will never be opened up for us because Montrealers do not see each of us as one of them.

We are "Les Autres."

Some even resent our automobiles intruding on their turf. And if they expect us to use the train, I challenge them to check out the schedule sometime. The only people served by it are nine-to-five commuters and students. And they never even considered giving us a subway line.

Perhaps we are not like them. Perhaps it is a question of identity. Comparing us to downtowners is like comparing Westerners to Easterners. We are the Westerners. We crave the open spaces. The big sky. We are healthy and freewheeling. We are like the Albertans of Montreal, or the Californians of Quebec. They are the Easterners. Decadent. Neurotic. Urban.

And so we create our own independent world here. Discouraged by the barriers to downtown, we live our lives on this side of them. Long gone is the time we were solely a commuting community.

And apparently that is not so unusual. Many suburbs are becoming cities in their own right. Last year I was surprised to hear a resident of the City of Mississauga proudly announce that more people commute into Mississauga to work each day than leave it. Could this not soon be the fate of our West Island?

The growth of suburbs is indeed a North American trend. The University at Albany's Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research in a new analysis of the 2000 census says that suburbs throughout the United States continue to outperform cities economically.

So, the question we have to ask ourselves is this: are we going to allow ourselves to be gobbled up by the old city of Montreal, and forever be treated with disdain, or shall we declare our independence now?

To help influence you I have taken some liberties with a Woody Guthrie classic:

1) This land is your land, this land is my land
This brand new City called the West Island
From the Decarie Circle to the St. Anne waters
The West Island was made for you and me

2) As I was driving the TransCanada Highway:
I saw above me the Dorval skyway
I saw beside me a golden head office
The West Island was made for you and me

3) In my minivan you will see me
Shopping where I can park it freely
And all around me a voice was sounding
The West Island was made for you and me

4) The sun came shining as I was strolling
With neighbors waving and barbecue clouds rolling
When the smoke was lifting I saw a green fire truck
The West Island was made for you and me

5) I am amazed at our resources
Like the fresh bagels I get up on Sources
And fresh-made croissants in Beaurepaire village
The West Island is made for you and me

6) I love the wild life like raccoons and rabbits
And the party animals from John Abbott
I hear them singing late at night off key
The West Island is made for you and me