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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.

He is also a columnist for Montreal's outstanding weekly The Suburban.

His LCC columns are archived here

Posted 05.16.06

RICKY BLUE

Canada's Summer of Love a forgotten ideal

Forty years ago this month, Expo '67 opened here in Montreal. I worked as a ticket taker at the Habitat gate under Place d'Accueil.

It was a heady time. Change was in the air. We all thought that a new and better world was just around the corner, one in which all humankind would share.

As I look back, it seems so far away now in more than just number of years.

The dream of that famous Summer of Love, as I understood it, was one of self-realization and freedom.

That was what I saw in the future, a time when every individual person could make his or her own choices in life, because, after all, we define our own individual life with the choices we make.

And race, ethnicity, language, or gender should not alter this freedom to choose. This to me was the true promise of our liberal democracy.

Since that innocent time, all sorts of "isms" have sprung up, cultivated in the refined environment of the universities and then unleashed on the populace.

These ideologies may have provided employment for many lawyers, civil servants, and activists (and I do believe in full employment) but they have altered the landscape of our liberal democracy forever. Canada is now no longer a country of individuals, living equally under one set of laws and regulations.

It is rather a patchwork of groups, each claiming the redress of historical grievances, special privileges for themselves, the repression of those who "threaten" them, and ultimately, greater access to the irresistible growing reservoir of tax dollars. And with them a new generation of laws and regulations has come about, each restricting and manipulating individual freedoms.

I understand that social groups have to declare their existence and validity, but it is not necessary that they do it at the expense of the rights of the individual. And I find it both tragic and ironic that the very people who are responsible for eliminating so many freedoms in the name of their group claim that they are themselves motivated by the idea of freedom.

Four years ago, I co-wrote a musical with George Bowser about the Expo summer called The Paris of America. We climaxed our story with the famous De Gaulle "Qu&eacutge;bec Libre" speech. Our joke about the De Gaulle speech was that he had been drinking rum and cokes, called "Cuba Libres," which were popular at the very hip Cuban Pavilion. But because the waiters had run out of Coke and had to use Pepsi, a new drink was created and christened a "Québec Libre" by one of our comedic characters.

Consequently, a slightly inebriated De Gaulle stepped out onto the balcony, raised a glass and said: "Vive Le Québec Libre," thinking that he was toasting this newly invented drink.

It got a laugh, or what passes for a laugh, from the Centaur theatre audience; but more important than that, it proposed that the end of the Summer of Love was due to two things: politics and the misunderstanding of the word "freedom."

In The Summer of Love when you met a person, you judged them only by their humanity alone, not by the pigmentation of their skin, the language they spoke, or the chromosomes that made up their sex.

That naiveté seems so far away now. And although the intentions of many who became involved in group politics might have been good, I think their efforts have backfired.

Identifying with a group makes it all too easy to dehumanize others who are outside the group. Indeed, one stops seeing individuals at all, only members of groups.

And that is the opposite of what we hoped for in 1967.

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