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Ricky Blue's Other Life
Ricky Blue
Ricky 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.

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 02.07.06

RICKY BLUE

Grass is definitely greener in Alberta

Recently, when I was in Calgary, a man came up to me and said: "You guys are from Montreal, right?" I answered in the affirmative. "What part?" I told him the West Island. "Oh, I used to live in Pointe Claire," he said. "How are things going back there?"

I took a deep breath.

"We are being gouged by the city of Montreal, trying to find more revenue to pay for their decades of mismanagement and incompetence. The mayor of Montreal is acting like a dictator, by renaming Park Avenue after Robert Bourassa, over the protests of the citizens.

"The whole island is governed by a new bureaucracy called the Agglomeration Council which is undemocratic, allowing our little West Island suburbs little say in their own affairs, a new kind of 'taxation without representation.'

"We can't vote for the PQ because all they want to do is separate Quebec from Canada and the Liberals continually betray us and take us for granted. Some people are even thinking of supporting the ADQ."

"Who are they?"

"Exactly. The language police continue to harass small businesses in their quest to erase English from sight. English schools are being closed thanks to an apartheid system that forbids any but state-recognized anglophones to attend them. Oh yeah, and now a new cell of the FLQ is threatening to attack us because we're not French enough."

He smiled and said: "Thank you."

I asked why.

"I moved out here about twenty years ago, when I woke up to the fact that nothing was going to change, that it was only going to get worse. Even though my family had lived in Montreal for generations and I felt a lot of resentment for being pushed out. But it's been great.

"The economy is booming and everyone is optimistic. I go up to Banff and the Lake Louise area to ski - it's one of the best in the world - only an hour and a bit from the city. My family loves it. My son is studying the history of the Plains Indians in college. My teenage daughter is fascinated by dinosaurs - we go up to Drumheller every month or so.

"We never talk politics out here. Politicians don't matter. No one cares. Taxes are low. Last year, the Alberta government sent everyone a cheque for $400."

Then his face darkened. "But sometimes I miss the life I had back there. I miss the food, the fun, and the friends. Sometimes I even think about moving back."

"But why did you thank me?" I asked.

"You made me realize how right I had been to leave and how foolish I would be to return."

"You made the right decision," I admitted. "Many times I wish I had done it myself."

"You must see it, coming out here," he said. "The whole power base of the country is shifting. The population is shifting out here too."

For many years I used to defend Montreal as I traveled across Canada. I don't do much of that any more. Montreal is not what it once was. Cities rise and fall. Athens is still there, though the golden age is long gone. Rome is no longer the centre of any empire.

This might come as a shock to some, but facts are facts: Montreal is no longer the best or most important city in Canada.

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