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 06.25.03


Learning about strip malls

It was Father's Day in the suburbs. The night before, I had nodded off to sleep at ten because I had been up since six a.m. driving my son to a baseball tournament. That's what a father does, isn't it? And that's why I moved out here to the suburbs. To be a dad.

I once wondered why people lived in the suburbs, where there are so few bookstores or fashionable clothing stores, where there are so few fine restaurants or outdoor cafes to sit and discuss modes of alienation over espressos and cognac for hours and hours, where there is so little of the downtown cosmopolitan life I took for granted when I lived on Le Plateau.

It was only after I had kids that I realized why.

Who needs a bookstore when you never have time to read?

Who needs exotic travel agents when there are only two destinations open to you: a theme park or a beach?

And who needs fine restaurants when your kids look at haute cuisine and go: "Ewww! I'm not eating that!"

Kids teach us things. Like how long it takes for a human being to learn how to eat. Even college-agers who can quote Heisenberg's principle of uncertainty will flock to places that only serve pizzas, burgers, and wings. There is a reason why they call it "finger food."

I once passed a fried chicken emporium that had a sign out front that said: "Bucket, feeds five $6.95." Do people actually eat out of a bucket? What's next? "Trough, feeds 50 $19.95." It is humbling to know that the palate is the last organ to develop, long after the brain.

Also who needs a fine clothing store? All you really need are overalls and sweat suits. Anything you wear will get smudged and sticky anyway. And who cares what you look like when you are chasing a five-year-old? Its not like you can stop and make conversation.

"Sorry, gotta go, my kid is about to run out into the path of that speeding truck!"

Friends-without-kids who visit are confused by this. They knew me when I was one of them. They think I have become nervous, bossy, and overprotective. They knew me before the massive responsibility of protecting a suicidal rug rat was placed upon my shoulders.

"Rick, what have you turned into?"

"My father."

And even if you are not with them, chances are you have to be somewhere in an hour to pick one up or drop the other off. This is nature's ways of preventing parents from having affairs. There's no time! That, and the child's seat in your car. Oh yes, there's nothing that turns a girl on more than a child seat in the back of a guy's car. It's a real babe magnet. You might as well be walking around with open sores on your face.

All the major advances of civilization go out the window when you have kids. You're back to square one. Knee-deep in Fruit Loops and diapers. You might as well exist on nothing but cereal and spaghetti for five years.

That's why suburbs look the way they do. Kids.

What style of architecture do you need? Houses.

Then, strip mall after strip mall of fast food restaurants, video stores, sports stores, toy stores, supermarkets, hardware stores, and gas stations. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.