30 November 2011

making faces :: little red book, part 8

bold eyes, red lips. normally a bad idea
the problem with wearing red lips all the time- if there is a problem- is that it tends to limit how imaginative you can get in other areas. for some, that's a good thing. a lot of people i've met over the years prefer to establish one look and return to that, possibly with very minor variations, every day. the reasons that i get for this are usually that it's quicker [although not wearing makeup at all would really be the fastest way out of the house] or that their face is always the same and so they get used to seeing it a certain way. i have to say that when i hear that, i picture those people as children in art class, drawing the same picture over and over again, because the paper always looked the same.

but i get it. when you find a particular arrangement of colours, light and shadow that hides what needs to be hidden and calls attention to your assets, there are a lot of reasons to keep right on riding that wave. and the fact is that various shades of red, even more subdued ones, look really nice with understated, neutral eye makeup. but for those of us who like to play with all our crayons, we're usually forced to relinquish the reds when we start getting too wild with the other colours.

usually.

can you feel the dynamism?

my work here is done
recently, blogger launched a bunch of "dynamic views" as options and, since i've been thinking of making some visual changes to the blog anyway [partly because several readers, including my mother say the white-on black type makes their eyeballs scream and partly because i just like to redecorate every now and again and this is easier and cheaper than buying new furniture and repainting], i've decided to try out a few of them.

i'll be going through some different looks in the next few days and i'd appreciate any feedback you have, such as:

- is the layout appropriate to the content?
- is it easy to read?
- is it easy to find posts [compared to other templates]?
- does it load quickly?

"this sux" is not a particularly helpful comment [nor is it correctly spelled], but if that's all you have to say, then i suppose you might as well post that, assuming it's what you truly feel. 

i may just end up going back to the original template and be satisfied going to sleep at night with all those screaming eyeballs on my conscience, but in the meantime, i'm in the mood to play.

let the great experiment begin!

29 November 2011

i am better than newt gingrich

a while back, i asserted that, in the field of writing, i was better than dick cheney. a surprising number of people read that post [surprising, at least, compared to how many people usually read my posts reserved for whining] and i am encouraged to note that no one contradicted me.

of course, it doesn't help that i believe i'm a better writer than dick cheney, even though it helps my ego greatly to believe that some of the wonderful folks who read this blog might agree, because his book sold telephone numbers and i'd be lucky to reach area codes with what i do. so apparently "better" doesn't make me more interesting than dick cheney. but it doesn't stop me from asserting my state of better-ness here on my own whiny blog.

so i'll do so again.

i am better than newt gingrich.

who would you choose to hang out with?
sure, we all know that newt's soaring high in republican polls and, despite having been declared legally dead a few months ago, now seems poised to capture the republican nomination from under the upturned nose of mitt romney, but did you know he's also an author of fiction? well, to be fair, this is where the link on his own web site goes when you try to access his list author's page. so you could be forgiven for having missed that little detail. and seriously, newt, all of us writers worry about the content of our writing, but simply saying "content could not be found" seems awfully hard on yourself.

here, let's let the readers be the judge:

“Oh God! God!” Allen gasped, trying to back up, jerking his sword back and out of the guts of the man he had just impaled.
He was a veteran of half a dozen skirmishes and two major battles, but until this moment he had never really known if he had killed a man. This time the evidence was before him, so close that the convulsive screams of his victim, and the vomited blood splashed into Allen’s face.
He had stormed into the rebel camp at the front of the charge, trying to keep pace with André. And then this man, this man he was killing, came bolting out of a wigwam and all but thrust himself straight onto Allen’s sword in his blind panic.
The man’s eyes shone in the moonlight, wide, terrified, his open mouth a black hole contorted by his screams.
With one hand he clutched Allen’s jacket, with the other he feebly waved a knife about; with one slash reopened a wound on Allen’s left arm. While still clutching the hilt of his sword with his right hand, Allen used his left to grasp the arm that (or) which was holding the blade. It was like trying to restrain a child, there was no strength in his enemy now, just a terrifying gasping as he started to sag, but the blade was still lodged in the man’s stomach, and, try as he could, he could not extract it.
He was screaming as well, cursing, crying, oblivious to all that was around him until he saw André striding toward him, pistol raised and cocked.
The dying rebel saw him as well, and now tried to push back from Allen, whimpering, his cries like that of a girl, which filled Allen with even more horror, till he wondered if indeed his victim was a woman caught up in this madness.

- excerpt from "valley forge" by newt gingrich and william r. forstchen

or try this, an excerpt from "1945" about a nazi invasion of the united states.


    "But darling, Germany and the United States are not at war. What harm is there if we share the occasional bit of . . . gossip? Surely you don't think that I, a loyal Swede . . ." The question trailed off in a lethal pout as his beautiful and so very exotic mistress stretched languidly, mock-innocent appeal in her eyes.
    Even though it had been only minutes since their last lovemaking John Mayhew was as ever overwhelmed by the sight of her, the shameless pleasure she took in her own body and its affect on him. Still, he mustn't let her see just how much she moved him. A relationship had to have some balance. He stretched in turn, reached over for his cigarettes and gold-plated Ronson on the art deco nightstand with its Tiffany lamp. Since he wasn't sure what to say he made a production out of lighting up and enjoying that first luxurious after-bout inhalation.
    His continued silence earned him a small punishment.
    "Darling . . . isn't it time for you to leave?"
    Playfully, to drive home the potential loss, she bit his shoulder, then kissed it better.
    "Aw, hell, I don't want to . . . I wish I could just divorce Mrs. Little Goodie Two-Shoes!"
    "I like this arrangement." She laughed softly. "Mistress to the Chief of Staff of the President of the United States. Nice title, don't you think? Such a book I could write."
    Mayhew shuddered at the thought. "Don't even joke about it." But he could trust her to be discreet. . . . He was sure he could trust her.
    More to cover his moment of doubt than for any other reason, he harked back to her initial gambit. "One thing we really don't have to worry about is a war between Germany and the United States. It just isn't in the cards. There's no way it could happen within the next six months, and after that - well, just take it from me, nobody is going to dream of messing with the United States, not even Adolf Hitler."
    "I don't think there is going to be a war either, but you seem so sure. What is your big secret? You were so excited about it when you came in here, and now you won't tell me." Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress. She rolled onto him and somehow was sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. "Tell me, or I will make you do terrible things," she hissed
.
    Mayhew looked up, and up, and up at his delicious interrogator. For a moment her intensity almost frightened him. Then he was overcome by it, by her. His had been a strict and starchy upbringing, and his marriage had not been born of love but of political opportunity, though his wife didn't know that. But he was not yet ready for "terrible things," so he capitulated. Besides, he wanted to tell. What good were secrets if you couldn't share?
    "Okay. I surrender."
    "Lucky for you," she purred, poised for a moment like delicious doom above him before rolling off with a laugh. "Such games we have," she whispered in his ear. "You play wonderfully. Now tell!"
    Having given in, characteristically he stalled. "Sure you're not looking for a story for your Swedish newspaper?"
    She just looked at him. He could tell she was tiring of the delay.
    "Our interests are different," he announced as if he were the first to have that particular insight. "Germany won its war in Europe and will be busy consolidating its gains for years. Our situation in the Pacific is much the same: We've won; now it's time to consolidate. There just isn't any significant conflict of interest between us, and there won't be for a long time.
    "Hell, by the time they've consolidated Western Russia and the Ukraine and practically all of Europe, we'll be looking at the next century. Same for us, especially now that we have this China mess to worry about. We have no reason to interact with each other. Our paths don't cross. It's that simple."
    "What about the death camps we're hearing about?"
    "What about them? It's a shame what's happening there, but it's not something to start a war over." Personally he couldn't care less about the camps, but he wasn't about to admit that aloud to anybody - not when his president felt about it the way he did. Continuing with that line of thought he added, "Even my boss isn't about to throw away millions of American lives over it, and even if he wanted to Congress would never allow it. Victory in a war with Germany would not be a sure thing. Remember 1918? Germans are tough. Right now the only thing that could move us would be an invasion of England. That might do it."
    "Really?"
    "I know it for a fact. I heard my boss talking about it with the House Minority leader and the Speaker. They agreed. We don't dare lose England."
    "This is so exciting. You really do hear about everything, don't you?" Her fingers twined the fur on his chest.
    John maintained a smug silence.
    "But there's something more. I know there is. Something that nobody else knows. Now you must tell. Or . . . " she began to roll onto him again.
    "Okay! Okay! there is something more," he said hurriedly, laughing with just a hint of nervousness. He stirred at the movement of her fingers, which were no longer on his chest.
    "Can't it wait just a little while?" he panted, suddenly wanting her very much.
    "If you promise faithfully . . . "
    "I promise. Everything!" She was truly an artist. . . .



yup. that's the work of the man who could be president of the united states. you know, a lot of authors work by viewing their central character as an avatar for themselves, picturing themselves going through the same things, in the same situations...

ok, this line of thought is way more disturbing and considerably less funny than i'd imagined, so we're just going to move on. [i would, however, like to add that all of us outside america would prefer that this man not be inflicted on the rest of us for many reasons. but we have no power over that. america, only you can stop newt gingrich.]

now, let's get back to my assertion.

i am better than newt gingrich.

sure, he's been on the new york times bestseller list numerous times, but popular does not equal good. i will happily put my fictional writing up against his and let the reader decide if i'm right or wrong.

you can check out short stories i've posted by clicking the links on this page.

or you can read the continuing serial "a definable moment in time" located on this page.

you could also be a sweetie and buy a copy of my non-bestselling book "interference" by going here.

the montreal metro project, part 4

in today's post, we're switching lines and looking at some stops on the orange line of montreal's metro system. the orange line covers a vast swath from the northwestern suburb of ville-st-laurent through multi-cultural n.d.g., the newly refurbished st-henri [formerly one of montreal's roughest neighbourhoods], on through the old city, the trendy plateau and increasingly trendy rosemont all the way up to laval, on a separate island. and the stations are as diverse as the neighbourhoods covered.

being a newer line, i do find that the stations are, on average, in better shape than the green line stations, especially those that are most used.

i'll start with some images of the abstract stained glass mural at station champs-de-mars, which is nestled inconspicuously at the entry to the old city. bustling during the summer, the station is ghostly silent once the tourists have left and so i had lots of time to take pictures. i love the panorama of the city you get through the windows.


if you've been to paris, this might look familiar. yes, that is an actual parisian metro entrance, shipped to montreal [the world's second-largest french-speaking city] as a gift. it's one of the many, many entrances to square victoria station, which is a hub located underneath the city's financial district. never go here between 4h30 and 5h30 if you can avoid it, lest you be trampled. 



here are some images of berri-uqam, the only three-line station on the system. it's a bit of a maze if you're not familiar with it, although it becomes easier once you get the hang of the criss-crossed platform design. speaking of design, the motifs in this one are kind of all over the place. it isn't ugly, by any stretch, but you can kind of tell that it was amassed in stages. needless to say, this is one of the busiest stations at all times, what with all the connecting passengers.


 



station sherbrooke is located at the south end of the plateau montreal. although i like the view of the platform, it's actually a bit on the dull side. ironically, most of the stations located in artistic, bohemian or fashion-conscious neighbourhoods tend to be a bit boring. the best stations are often in places you'd never visit...


another example of less than thrilling design, mont-royal station, the heart of the plateau, is a nondescript assemblage of brick, with a couple of minor design flourishes [like the one below]. it also happens to be one of the most frustrating stations. its kiosk has one entry point and the wind tunnel created by the doors makes them very difficult to open. when you get them open, you can feel the massive wind gusts pressing you back all the way downstairs. the kiosk underwent massive renovations and it hasn't helped anything.


rosemont metro, located just north of the plateau, is actually quite lovely. it's not really convenient to much, which is a drag, because more people should see it. i love the cream-black-orange colour scheme and the giant vaulted interior. the area is so large that even a fairly loud conversation sounds like little echoing phantom whispers from any distance. 



more to come...

28 November 2011

the coolest of yule

i normally give myself until the first of december before i get so sick of tacky interpretations of holiday songs and phony seasonal cheer before i start to worry about the dangers of an aneurysm, but every few years i seem to get a reprieve and find some way not to have the season spoiled by crass consumerism and treacly imitations of sentiment.

the fact is, i actually really enjoy some seasonal traditions. i wish that the telling of ghost stories at this time of year was something that was more popular. and i love the idea of gathering those close to you for a great feast. in fact, i love being the feast cook and it's something i look forward to every year. i even like the tradition of decorating the house with lights- although some make it overwhelmingly tacky- a sign of resilience in the face of the darkest part of the year. the scent of evergreen boughs and of a fire in the hearth- these are all things that i like. it's the more modernised aspects of the holiday, as well as the disproportionate emphasis on family obligation [as opposed to spending time with those we care about, which can be quite different] that i find depressing and infuriating in equal measure.

however, it's nice to know that there are still things to look forward to. like the holiday season window display at ogilvy's department store in downtown montreal. the store has a long heritage, mostly as the destination of choice among montreal's patrician anglophones, and certainly continues to attract a well-heeled clientele [as well as some of us who sneak in when no one's looking]. every year, they have an elaborate window display with a variety of adorable animal models- many of which move- in a rustic setting that never fails to remind me of the sort of images the holidays conjured up in my mind before i became jaded.

i snapped a few shots of this year's display [they're always somewhat similar but subtly different] the other day. unfortunately, it doesn't capture the movement and ogilvy's keeps their damn windows so clean that there's reflections all over the place, but i think that it does give an idea of the panorama.

these guys kind of rotate and dance...


fox and hare, playing a game of peek-a-boo






bunny rides this like a ferris wheel. which kind of rocks as a job, as far as i'm concerned.  




industrious monkey and recalcitrant donkey are a popular annual feature. spolier: recalcitrant donkey wins- they never go anywhere.



ok, it kind of looks like the fantastic mr. fox is taking a leak, but that's not the case...


don't miss the "wraparound"! this shot is taken from the side of the building,  where there are some different critters.


there are rumblings in montreal that ogilvys' future may be uncertain. holt renfrew, the national luxury department store chain, operates a similar store a few blocks to the north and both retailers are owned by selfridge's, a british retail company who are likely smart enough to realise that they're doubling their expenses by operating the two principle competitors in montreal's high-end retail landscape. there are rumours bubbling that holt's may be interested in moving into the larger and better-located ogilvy's location at some point in the near future.

as a consumer, i'm a little uncomfortable with this. ogilvy's has certain brands that holt's doesn't and i'm unclear what would happen to those. [i'm mostly thinking of serge lutens and l'artisan parfumeur, both of whom operate divine-smelling counters at ogilvy's and nowhere else. and yes, that is completely selfish on my part.]

on the other hand, the holt's space is still impressive- located between the ritz-carlton hotel [and, in the near future, condos] and the museum of fine art and it's about the only retail space i can think of that would finally allow sephora [whose canadian head office is only a few blocks away] to open a long-overdue flagship store in downtown montreal.

as a montrealer, though, i do find something venerable about ogilvy's. yes, it is a clear testament to the old westmount guard, a playground of the wealthy who took advantage of the francophone majority in the province up until the 1960s. but when i look at their holiday window display, it's difficult for me to see anything but whimsy and charm, enough to convert even a bitter old humbug like me.

whatever happens, and i suspect that business will dictate that the holt's-ogilvy's merger move forward- i do hope that whoever occupies that space on the corner of ste-catherine and de la montagne has enough respect for tradition to keep the holiday window alive, or else i really will lose any remaining vestige of seasonal spirit.

27 November 2011

making faces :: little red book, part 7

i'm actually at the point where i'm realising how long i could potentially continue this series and i'm wondering a couple of things:

1. could it actually be possible for one person to own too many red lipsticks?

2. is it time that i started throwing out my older red lipsticks, even if they still smell fine [i.e., no "red crayolas" with that distinct eau-de-crayon stench], since they've long passed their best before date?

with regard to point #2, i have to admit that i only found out in the last couple of years or so that lipsticks have a best before date. previously, i stopped using them generally only when they developed crayola-stink or when they became too dry to deposit colour without being melted a bit first. turns out, you're actually supposed to throw out cream-based products, including lipsticks, after about six months, whether or not they've "turned". but seriously, no one actually does that, right? i have a gorgeous red lipstick from mac that dates from their holiday 2000 collection and i have no intention of giving it up as long as it works. does this mean my lips will fall off?

the thing is, despite the fact that i have collected a red army that could conquer a small country, i still keep adding more of them, because i always find ones with elements that are distinct from ones i already possess. witness my latest red acquisition, chanel's holiday red, "famous". it's a rouge allure, meaning it's softer and a little less opaque [although in this case, it's pretty close to opaque, even with a single pass] and for once, i didn't find that it made my lips feel tight. [some rouge allures do, despite the fact that every other person who's ever tried one insists that they're moisturising.]

this particular red is very pink-toned and it has lots of fine fuchsia shimmer throughout, which emphasises the pink-ness. although i generally don't put a lot of stock in warm vs. cool debates, i do think that this one cuts particularly cool and wouldn't be as well suited to those with golden or olive undertones. sorry ladies, more for the rest of us.


26 November 2011

"friday" favourites 26.11.11

this week's friday favourites was inspired by a post by the lovely elven eyes [and, yes, i did almost type that as "eleven eyes", which wouldn't be nearly so lovely... although it would be memorable]. she did a post earlier this week inviting other beauty bloggers among her followers to talk about some of their other favourite things.

since i'm a follower [and, if you're interested in things beauty-related, you should be too], i wanted to give it a go, but i realised as i started that this was really something that was meant for other bloggers, who are able to write blogs on a single subject, because they have a sense of focus, which i obviously do not. after all, i blog about anything that happens to creep into my brainspace- makeup, politics, writing, stuff that annoys me, my cats... heck, i'll blog about blogging if nothing else occurs to me. and once a week, i dedicate one post solely to talking about things that have made me happy, so it's not like i generally keep any big secrets [that you know of].

nonetheless, i kind of felt like sharing, so i've decided to make this week's "friday favourites" a little different- for instance, it's actually saturday, which already makes it different- by sharing some odd and formative information about myself. i don't know that i could call any of these things "favourite" parts of my past or personality, but they all contribute to who i am today. and of all the people i've been, this person is my favourite.

in completely random order...

to me, this is like waterboarding
1. i have a paralysing fear of balloons. this wasn't always the case, although i never loved them, but a slight aversion as a child has grown into a bizarre phobia as an adult. i detest the scent of rubber to start with, but the fear really comes from the knowledge that balloons can pop and make a loud noise. i have always been high strung and startle easily and sharp, loud noises are almost unbearable for me. [sustained loud noises, on the other hand, are quite welcome.] every balloon i see is a potential heart attack in waiting and i get so stressed that i can't concentrate on anything else.

2. like a lot of artistic types, i struggled in phys ed class as a child. it wasn't that i didn't enjoy some activity, but i had virtually no stamina. my body would just stop at some point and i didn't know why. as an adult, my one experience with a personal trainer was with someone who didn't believe that and who insisted i try running up and down the stairs to get my blood pumping. i passed out and fell down the stairs, injuring both myself and the personal trainer. when i was thirty-five, it was discovered that i have a mild form of asthma, triggered chiefly when i exercise or get sick [i cannot shake coughs]. the reason my body would give out is because, under exertion, i was no longer able to get air into my lungs.

CAN YOU HANDLE KNOWING MORE ABOUT ME? IF YOU KEEP READING, THERE'S A KITTEH AT THE END...

24 November 2011

linked out

i was admittedly late to the whole social networking revolution. i never did friendster or live journal, because i was concerned about letting other people view my "journal". like it never occurred to me that i had control over the content and what was publicly visible. like a lot of things in my life, i took the plunge on a whim. a friend sent me a my space invite in early 2007 and i figured "what the hell". i was resistant to make the great migration to facebook, particularly because i didn't like the idea that every time i did something, it got announced like a news extra on the walls of everyone i'd become friends with. but i've made my peace with it. and i started on twitter, which i now use as a repository for the smart-ass comments i would normally only get to make to dom. and not wanting to be caught off-guard again, i established a beach head on the shores of google+ back when there were only about ten people there. now that there are fourteen, it feels like the neighbourhood is getting all overcrowded.

but one thing i haven't been able to bring myself to use is linked in. i have an account there, which i probably can't access because i'm sure i don't remember the password. i've heard it's remarkable for professional connections, which is great if you've been responsible and pursued one main goal for your entire adult life. i haven't. what i do professionally is nothing like what i do creatively and, for different reasons, both are kind of important to me. and i continue to get network requests from people in each of the separate camps sent to my single linked in profile.

truth is, i kind of like the church and state thing i have going with workaday kate and artistic kate each having their separate spheres. and sure, there are people who enjoy both [also known as "friends"], but i know them already, and if there are more of them, i'm better off meeting them in person, rather than through a network profile that makes me look like an amorphous, schizoid blob of confusion. although i'd kind of like to have that as my professional description.

so do i complete the separation and have two completely separate profiles? do i claim to be twins? [when i first went from blonde to black hair, one person asked me if i was kate's sister and, just for an instant, i had a vision of pursuing a double life as both me and my twin, but i worked out that the constant dyeing and bleaching would exact a great toll.] most importantly, who gets custody of all my pending linked in requests, which come from friends and contacts in both worlds?

this is all very stressful for me, partly because i think about these things too much and partly because i'm looking for opportunities in both fields, which means i'm supposed to have a linked in profile. even my headhunter tells me that it would do more for me than he could, which isn't setting the bar that high, but it still seems like it might be responsible. and since it's stressful, i spend time thinking about it, not doing anything out of fear of doing it wrong and making no progress.

in 2006 i was in toronto, feeling lonely and isolated. now, i have anxiety over the challenges of categorising my imaginary friends.

on a completely unrelated note, i've had this stuck in my head all morning, so if you don't see anything from me for a while, please assume i've lobotomised myself with a melon-baller.


23 November 2011

making faces :: pugh pugh pugh

something for everybody [else]
every year in late november, mac cosmetics puts out a "couture" collection, with special packaging, limited items and higher prices. and every year, there's a debate among mac fans as to whether or not the items are worth the extra coin. there's never a consensus, of course, and enough people seem to like the idea that mac keeps doing it, no matter what people think of the pricing.

i've personally always had mixed feelings about these collections and skipped all of them until last year's collaboration with furniture designer marcel wanders, where a combination of the attractive packaging and eye-pleasing colours drew me in. [i've already featured "gesina", from the collection in my "little red book" series.]

yes, this is exactly what i think of when i hear "gareth pugh"
this year, mac has teamed with fashion designer gareth pugh, known for edgy, alien looks on the runway, to create a "modern goth" sort of collection to tempt their fans. the palette is made up of silver, purple and cool neutrals, something which just seems made for me, even though it seems like the sort of thing that could only be worn by an androgynous six-foot model with a twenty inch waist and cheekbones jutting out as far as his/ her shoulders.

prices for the collection are high by mac standards, but roughly equivalent to brands like chanel and yves st. laurent. i'm willing to grant mac some leeway because the packaging is special and the products [in some cases] have different formulations than regular mac products, but on average, i'd expect them to compare favourably to items in the same price range. i mention this because everyone is going to have their own system for evaluation.

there are a couple of new cream shadows that were supposed to launch with the collection, but as far as i can tell, no one's received them. since cream shadows and i don't get along as a rule, it's unlikely i would have tried them anyway, but it's worth noting that these are apparently a new formulation of mac's old "metal x" shadows and that there will be a whole collection of them launching in the new year. this was to be a little "teaser" for those.

it's packaging... but it's special!
other than those, for eyes, there are two pigments- deceit and guise- a shimmery blackened purple and a very sparkly silver. in canada, these retail for $38.50, as opposed to $24.00 for a regular pigment. and they're half the size. now, to be honest. i've never finished a pigment in my life and i don't even think i've gone through half, so it's not like you'll go through these in record time, but it's a lot more to pay for a lot less. in terms of the shades, "deceit" is almost identical to the permanent pigment "deep purple". it's a lovely shade, but it does beg the question of why you'd want to get the limited version. "guise" is quite similar to the giorgio armani limited eyes to kill shadow in silver that's been released for the holidays, which retails for $42 in canada, but gives you more product than you get in "guise". in all honesty, i think there are likely a lot of silver shades like this for less, although no exact dupes are springing to mind. to me, because they're easily duplicated and because they're such a bad deal compared to regular mac pigments [and because i already have "deep purple" and several silver shades], these were no temptation.

ANYTHING ELSE WORTH DISHING OUT FOR? more after the break...

the montreal metro project, part 3

here we go again! some more metro photos. today's shots are all from the green line of the metro, which is the oldest of montreal's four lines and the one that travels through the heart of downtown. sadly, it's also home to the system's greatest eyesores, stations conceived in haste, or desperately in need of repair. of course, some of its stations are exceptional [unfortunately, the most striking ones are outside of the downtown core]. today's shots have a look at those stations that most visitors have probably seen- those along the section of the line that runs right along ste-catherine/ de maisonneuve. there's good, there's bad and, yes, there's ugly...

this is atwater station. i could show you twenty photos of it and they'd all look a lot like this one. about the only thing that breaks up the great beige monotony is the advertising, which often includes very colourful entries from apple. on its own, well, this is it.




and now we move on to guy-concordia. stationed under and named after one of montreal's english-language universities, this stop truly shows the montreal system at its worst. the whole thing appears to have been constructed out of spare parts or leftovers from other stations. [that's not me being sarcastic- you can see many of the elements used to "decorate" guy-concordia in other places, used more tastefully.] worse yet, the dingy walls reveal cracks and leaks that make it look like the whole thing is about to come crashing down around your ears. on second thought, that might not be such a bad thing in the long run.





peel station is at the heart of the heart of downtown. connected via underground walkway to virtually everything [including other metro stops on both the green and orange lines], it's distinctly unimpressive. dirty and strangely claustrophobic, it's chief selling point is that there are exits everywhere, so it's easy to get out.



for those of you who thought i was being unfair to peel station by characterising it as filthy- because who wouldn't expect a station in the middle of downtown to be filthy?- i draw your attention to its next door neighbour, mcgill station. named after a man who gave his name to both a downtown street and the city's other [more traditionally reputable] university, this is the busiest station on the network, which means it should look like a garbage heap. except it never does.

bright, spacious, conveniently connected to absolutely everything [i swear you can walk to the airport from here], it has displays telling you the news and the air quality and it's one of the few stations that lets you know when the next train is due.




metro place des arts is, as you might imagine, situated under the city's largest complex of visual and performing arts. housing several theatres, the modern art gallery and the outdoor space where all of the city's summer festivals [jazz, comedy, francofolies, parts of mutek, etc.] take place, it's an appropriately elegant-looking space with modern-looking shades of grey stonework, stained glass murals [i've taken a few shots of my favourite one, to give you closer views] and a long vista between the entrances at the far ends of the station.

unfortunately, the area outside the stop has been under construction for about seven years, meaning that the spot to which the city directs the bulk of its high-season tourism appears about as hospitable as a lot of areas of afghanistan, depending on what's being imploded that week. it's a real embarrassment for those of us who live here that every summer, when the folks arrive to appreciate montreal's famed old-meets-new-world beauty, that they're treated to a spectacle of bulldozers and giant holes in the ground. we hope that they mistake it for modern art.
 





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