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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 09.11.02

RICKY BLUE

Quebec National Library deserves a better name

A few weeks ago, Quebec officials unveiled plans for a spectacular Bibliotheque Nationale in Montreal," a friend informed me at a cocktail party.

"Your tax dollars at work," I mused, biting into a shrimp canapé.

"And Bill 101 turned twenty-five the other day," he continued, ominously.

"How did I miss that?" I wondered.

"Didn't you notice the joyous celebrations all over the West Island?" he asked, ironically.

"No. And excuse me if I don't get up and dance on the table or break into a spontaneous rendition of Mon pays right now."

"So there are those who think that the new library should be named after Camille Laurin, because he was the psychiatrist-politician who was Bill 101's father."

"Who was its mother?" I asked. "No one ever tells us that. I hope he wasn't molesting a patient."

"That's rather tasteless," he admonished.

"I know. I'm sorry. But I'm not a complete redneck. I'm not the kind of guy who thinks that Dr. Pepper refers to Camille Laurin."

"Anyway," he continued, trying to keep the tenuous thread of conversation going. "That would be like putting a statue of a politician in a public square. It would show a poverty of spirit."

"Isn't that what governments usually do?"

"Show a poverty of spirit?"

"Right. But also think everything should be named after politicians. Because they are politicians."

"Yes, but when I was in Vienna I noticed that everything was named after artists and philosophers, musicians and poets. It was beautiful. There is a city with a soul. And since we are naming a library here, it should definitely not be named after a politician. It should be named after a writer."

"I certainly agree with that," I replied, grabbing the last of the smoked oysters. "But which writer?"

"Well," he smiled broadly as he came to his conclusion. "To anyone in North America, or the world for that matter, who is the most famous novelist to ever come out of Quebec?"

"Mordecai Richler," I answered unhesitatingly.

"Bingo!"

I noisily gulped down the rest of my white wine in a desperate attempt to dislodge the cracker that was now choking me.

"Exactly," he beamed. "That reaction is precisely what makes this idea so brilliant. Although most of Richler's writings were about his community in Montreal, he is only known to francophones for satirizing Bill 101, implying that it is discriminatory and unjust. And showing that it is an odious and absurd law based on ignorance and fear."

"Something like that," I managed.

"Well this is a golden opportunity for them to prove him wrong."

"Yeah, but it can never happen."

"Why not?"

"Because he was right!"

"This could be big for them," he insisted. "They are down in the polls. They are on the ropes. They could turn it around with a magnanimous gesture like this. The best criticism of separatism is that it is exclusionary, bordering on fascist. This would defuse that -- and people would talk about it for the whole year!"

"But he wrote in English," I protested. "And he was (shudder) an ethnic. And the worldwide impression of Quebec nationalism being tribal is due in a large part to his writings. So if they name it after him, won't they be validating his critique?"

"Maybe so. But if they name it after Camille Laurin, they'll be proving it."
 

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