AngryFrenchGuy

Phoque Paul McCartney

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Paul McCartney eating meat

Paul McCartney eating meat

Québec City is know for being old, boring and white. A pretty place with a glorious past but whose recent contributions to art, history and culture are far and few between. It’s a wonder anybody is surprised Québec City would ask for (and obtain) a special show by Paul McCartney, the world’s most famous has-been and the idol of old white people worldwide, as it’s special treat for it’s 400th birthday.

Hey, it’s their birthday…

The controversy over Paul McCartney’s show on the Plains of Abraham as part of Québec City’s 400th anniversary celebrations has been erroneously portrayed in the media – this includes Québec’s French-language press – as another fight between bitter Québec separatists who object to an Englishman signing in English in Québec and open-minded federalists who have moved on.

That’s not at all what it’s about.

To understand the controversy properly you need to know two things about Québec City; the first is that Québec City is Québec’s most pro-Canadian town outside Montreal’s English-speaking enclaves and the Outaouais. The second is that it is one of the worlds biggest markets for very very bad music.

Legend has it that the young Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins were about to give up on their pretentious nerd rock band Genesis until they started selling tickets in, of all places, Québec City. The loyal public they found there allowed them to live off their music a little bit longer, until other college students who don’t date started buying their albums.

Québec City is and has always been a place where retired Quebecers and tired music went to wait for death. To this day it is common to hear Rush’s Tom Sawyer and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon between Usher and Avril Lavigne on Québec’s commercial radio stations. Genesis cover band The Musical Box is another one of the summers headliners who will play the Battlefields Park and Elvis Story, a musical revue of the King’s life and music had a near 10 year run at the Capitole, Québec’s historic theater in the heart of the old city!

Just take a look at the headliners of the Festival d’été de Québec this summer: Van Halen, Stone Temple Pilots, Primus, Wyclef Jean… Wasn’t that the lineup at Lollapalooza 98?

That’s Québec city for you…

Nor is it surprising that the people of Québec City did not anticipate that the symbolism of the leader of the so-called “British Invasion” playing on the Plains of Abraham where Britain conquered New France just maybe might offend some people in Québec.

You see, contrary to widespread belief in Canada, Québec City is a conservative and federalist bastion, with even the local chapter of the ultra-nationalist Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste still on the fence about national unity. In the 1995 referendum on sovereignty, Québec City’s francophones (that is to say everybody) were among the least favorable to independence in all the province.

Hey, when the Parti québécois offically designated Québec City as Québec’s “National Capital”, the only opposition came from Québec City itself!

Now imagine if the the big finale of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in Ottawa in 2017 was Bruce Springsteen singing Born in the USA! Canadian nationalists would be setting themselves on fire on Parliament Hill! The issue would not be the talent of The Boss or the “open-mindedness” of Canadians. It would just be the wrong event at the wrong time.

It is, however, a little more surprising that organizers did not anticipate that the victims of Paul McCartney’s very visible and dishonest campaign against seal hunting, the only livelyhood of many native and remote communities in Québec, would not seize the occasion to take a shot back at him.

But hey, contrary to what Stephen Harper, Pauline Marois and Paris Match have tried to tell you, this summer’s celebration is not about Canada, the Québec Nation or New France. It’s about Québec City.

And Québec City and Paul McCartney deserve each other.

Written by angryfrenchguy

July 19, 2008 at 2:55 pm

82 Responses

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  1. Obviously, your week off did not do anything positive for your spirit our outlook…How many records have you sold???…I guess the people from Quebec City can respond regarding their bad taste in music as you claim.

    I guess you wont be attending the concert. Too bad,sounds like it would be a good time.

    ABP

    ABP

    July 19, 2008 at 5:58 pm

  2. “How many records have you sold???”

    Probably as many as Paul McCarney sold of his solo records in the last 20 years…

    angryfrenchguy

    July 19, 2008 at 6:27 pm

  3. “Probably as many as Paul McCarney sold of his solo records in the last 20 years…”

    Bonne chance avec ca.

    ABP

    July 19, 2008 at 6:43 pm

  4. These quebec separatists are in hate to everything what are not white and blue. Even the Beatles. The lone people hating everybody.

    ethnic and money

    July 19, 2008 at 9:23 pm

  5. I can’t believe how petty and xenophobic you sound. You are a real cultural dinosaur. You have dismissed the sentiments and views of a city of 500,000 people and a member of one of the greatest bands of the the last 100 years . I may actually agree that Mr. McCartney’s songs of the last 30 years are not my cup of tea, but I still recognize that along with Lennon his song writing reached the heights. I understand that people are lined up already to see the performance. This is clerar evidence that the people of Quebec City, unlike you, are confident in their culture and language, and at the same time are able to appreciate those artists who eclipse the concerns of individual nations and address all people.

    JFG

    July 19, 2008 at 9:34 pm

  6. The greatest band of the last 100 years was Public Enemy and you can bet I’m confident enough in my culture and language to have been in the front row had anybody invited them to perform “It takes a nation of millions to hold us back” on the Plain of Abraham.

    As to the songwriting ability of the writer of Obladi Oblada, Yellow Submarine, Michelle ma Belle and The long and winding road…

    200,000 people will attend the show? Big deal. Bran Van 3000, a local pop group with 3 moderately succesful albums attracted way over 100,000 people to downtown Montreal two weeks ago. Do you have any idea how many artists attract over 100,000 people in free outdoor summer shows in Québec any given summer? Les Cowboys Fringants have attracted over 200 000 people many times. They were never in the Beatles.

    And can people who call me xenophobic please have the balls to justify their accusations, please.

    Don’t believe the hype!

    angryfrenchguy

    July 19, 2008 at 10:35 pm

  7. Xenophobic, how about ..something a bit more common and less verbose. “vous etes pleine de merde.”

    ABP

    ABP

    July 19, 2008 at 11:04 pm

  8. By definition one word cannot be verbose. As to who is “full of shit” let history decide.

    JFG

    July 19, 2008 at 11:28 pm

  9. I am very sure that AFG could be the PQ minister of culture. Who can now argue to me that AFG and the other separatists do not dream to transfer Quebec to the North Korea model? Isolation, interculturism, nationalism, only Quebec culture (and a little bit of French culture) plus renaming of the last Montreal streets after the Names of Quebec Great Leaders.
    Mr. AFG, at the end of the long and winding road you show us who you are. In this case people used to say: Small dog barking at the elephant.

    ethnic and money

    July 20, 2008 at 4:10 am

  10. How many records have you sold?

    Is it possible to retire this silly retort? It is not now and has never been necessary to be a professional musician in order to express criticism of music.

    Chet Scoville

    July 20, 2008 at 8:36 am

  11. Come on, ABP, you have a better sense of humor than that! I laughed out loud at AFG’s post (“Lollapalooza ’98”!) and I am a huge Beatles fan.

    Really, though, it’s quite appropriate to have Macca playing Quebec’s anniversaire. I mean, he must be around 400 years old too, right? And the fact that the band Stone Temple Pilots still plays concerts speaks directly to North American Francophone cultural survival and persistence despite near-total irrelevance. Kidding, kidding!

    In all seriousness, I gave up any thought of visiting the festivities this summer when I saw the lineup. I mean, ok, you can’t avoid having Celine Dion there. (Though Quebec should thank their lucky stars that the rest of the world sees her as a *Canadian*…) But Van Halen?

    And now that I know that Quebec City is to blame for Phil Collins, I may never visit again!

    [Even farther off topic: AFG, I have to disagree on the Public Enemy part. I too was a big admirer of Chuck D until he came out with “By the Time I Get to Arizona”, in which he threatens the governor of that state with violence (“what he need / is a nosebleed”) for… not observing Martin Luther King Jr Day. MLK, who was all about, erm, NONviolence…]

    well-wisher

    July 20, 2008 at 2:20 pm

  12. @ Ethnic and Money:

    Why are you here?

    Cancerous

    July 20, 2008 at 6:03 pm

  13. From what I can gather from his prolific carreer on this forum, Ethnic and Money (aka Sergei) is here because 16 years after immigrating Montreal from Russia he just realized that his job as a slumlord on the South Shore was as good as the American Dream was going to get for him.

    Unable to accept his own mediocrity he decided to blame all his troubles on everybody’s favourite scapegoat: French-canadians.

    Had he gone to Europe, he would blame muslims. If he’d been to the US, he’d blame Mexicans. Had he stayed in Russia, he would be hating Jews right about now. It’s a sad yet very common story…

    angryfrenchguy

    July 20, 2008 at 6:31 pm

  14. It truly amazes me how low some people will stoop to, without coming to the realization that they are infinitely and endlessly ill-bred, vulgar, uncouth, uncultivated, unrefined, and lacking in the most basic manners and behaviour.

    Furthermore, he has the nerve to talk about isolation, after failing to learn to speak French despite having lived in Quebec for 16 years!

    This is coming from someone whose home country is host to serious ethnic discrimination practiced by racist Russian skinheads against minorities from Central Asia and the Caucasus, who had and have the misfortune to be under Russia’s sphere of influence.

    He deserves to be so bitter and resentful, and I sure hope he’d feel that way for eternity. Hopefully, this will end up causing some serious psychological and emotional scarring for life.

    Cancerous

    July 20, 2008 at 8:14 pm

  15. The comparison with Springsteen singing Born in the USA on Canada’s celebration day doesn’t hold any water. It’s not like PM sang about being British. There is no grand political statement about him playing Band on the run (or other such nonsense). The fact that you would associate the so-called “British invasion” with Britain’s historical victory over New France only goes to show how skewed nationalist “logic” is.
    I mean sure PM sucks now (but then so does Flava Flav), but it just seems dishonest to make his appearance in QC seem like merciless cultural imperialism, although it doesn’t surprise me that you would do that.

    dishonest campaign against seal hunting?
    what is dishonest about believing that all sentient beings should have the right to life? And don’t tell me that he’s just doing it for publicity, that’s not the point. Killing seals for export and for luxury items (which has nothing to do with the few isolated communities you were talking about) is not ok, and if you think it is, then fuck you, my friend. You and Paul McCartney, just to be fair.

    VM

    July 20, 2008 at 9:34 pm

  16. Um, AFG, are you by any chance from Montreal?

    SD Champlain

    July 21, 2008 at 12:26 am

  17. Childish venomous post, childish venomous replies, so AGF doesn’t like Quebec City or “Quebeckians” too bad. Neither does he like Paul McCartney nor Phil Collins. Too bad again. Hardly the stuff of great blogging.

    As for the childish replies à la How many records have you sold ? or Bruce Springstein opening Canada Day celebs, pluuuuuuuuuuuhhhlease. If you haven’t anything pertinent to say,…you know..

    Dave

    July 21, 2008 at 1:03 pm

  18. Bonjour AngryFrenchGuy j’AIME lire ton blog!!

    Je suis toujours étonnée qu’un sujet comme le nationalisme au Québec attire autant de passion, qu’elle soit exprimée positivement ou négativement! Que ceux qui disent que l’indépendance du Québec n’est plus un enjeux actuel lisent ce blog!!

    Je trouve aussi incroyable que tu prennes de ton (précieux) temps pour répondre à certains commentaires insensés, voire purement méchants laissés voire crachés ici… Moi je les laisserais, ces abrutis, gangrèner de toute leur haine en silence.

    Malgré l’amour que je voue à ton blog, je trouve que tu y as été un peu fort envers les gens de Québec (et je suis de Montréal, oui,oui!!). Dire qu’ils ont si peu de goût en matière de musique… Ok, j’ai bien ri en lisant ça, mais c’est un peu radical, non? Même si le Festival d’été regroupe des ancêtres de la musique (non, pas tous Wyclef, il sait s’adapter à la modernité, lui), ça ne veut pas dire que les citoyens de Québec n’ont pas de goût en général! Après tout, je suis certaine que de nombreux Montréalais et autres se déplacent pour aller voir ces spectacles!

    Quand à la présence de Sir Paul pour le 400e… Bof!

    Keep up the good work!! :-)

    ricaneuse

    July 21, 2008 at 1:38 pm

  19. Imagine a case where the Anglophone minority in Montreal has its own festival, marking and celebrating the presence and accomplishements of the English language and culture in Montreal, since 1760.
    Imagine that, two years from now in 2010, the Anglophone community of Montreal will commemorate 250 years of vulnerable and contineous English existence and survival, despite being in the middle of a sea of French speakers and influence, as well as being attacked by “racist” linguistic laws threatning its very existence.

    Now, imagine that for the 250th anniversary of celebrating that monumental achievement, it was decided that Johnny Halliday would perform (in French) at the grand finale concert.

    How do you think would Montreal’s Anglophone community feel about and react towards that… ?

    If you actually believe that they would think that Halliday was the right choice for the event, and have a positive reaction to his concert, and welcome the idea with open arms, and flock to the concert to see him perform…

    … then you are simply not an honest person.

    Cancerous

    July 21, 2008 at 7:46 pm

  20. @Cancerous

    That’s an interesting hypothetical. I’ll pretend that such an event would ever be held. English-speaking Montrealers don’t see themselves as a single homogenous group that can trace its history back to a single origin. I’ll also ignore the fact that if such an event ever took place, that there wouldn’t be so much hostility directed at it that details such as choice of performers would actually get any attention.

    In such a case, I’d probably wonder why a performer that few anglos are all that familiar with would be chosen. I wouldn’t be hostile to the choice though.

    The thing is, your comparison doesn’t work, because a great number of Quebec’s residents are not just familiar with McCartney, but have been life-long fans. If a non-english speaking artist had that kind of a connection with the english-speaking population of Montreal, I don’t think there would be an issue at all.

    Anonymous

    July 21, 2008 at 8:49 pm

  21. Now, imagine that for the 250th anniversary of celebrating that monumental achievement, it was decided that Johnny Halliday would perform (in French) at the grand finale concert.

    “How do you think would Montreal’s Anglophone community feel about and react towards that… ?

    If you actually believe that they would think that Halliday was the right choice for the event, and have a positive reaction to his concert, and welcome the idea with open arms, and flock to the concert to see him perform…”

    Seems to from reports that 270K were in attendance..From what you say they must have all been anglos with no francos in attendance??…Probably no problem with the anglos of Montreal, on your conjecture , if Halliday would have the status of M.McCartney.. at the time….Perhaps someday!

    ABP

    ABP

    July 21, 2008 at 10:37 pm

  22. “As for the childish replies à la How many records have you sold ? or Bruce Springstein opening Canada Day celebs, pluuuuuuuuuuuhhhlease. If you haven’t anything pertinent to say,…you know..”

    How do you measure success in an avenue of life, Dave….?

    ABP

    ABP

    July 21, 2008 at 10:47 pm

  23. @ricaneuse –

    “Je trouve aussi incroyable que tu prennes de ton (précieux) temps pour répondre à certains commentaires insensés, voire purement méchants laissés voire crachés ici… Moi je les laisserais, ces abrutis, gangrèner de toute leur haine en silence.”

    Voilà exactement comment je décrirais AFG et sa troupe d’indépendentistes — purement méchants, crachés, gangrénés . . . Mais tu sais, c’est tellement rigolo épater les maudits anglais chaque semaine; quand à l’égotisme, le temps n’est jamais trop précieux.

    SD Champlain

    July 21, 2008 at 11:11 pm

  24. Johnny Haliday is a decrepit talentless hack (who was never anything else, unlike Paul McFartey). If that’s the only thing that springs to mind when you think about French music, then you shouldn’t be ranting against the people who wanted, and consequently got, the ex-Beatle to play for the oh, so very special occasion, because you know music just about as well as they do.
    That said, having a great French singer (if only Serge Gainsbourg were alive today) or band (Les Tetes Raides for ex.) play a free concert would be something I would want to see happening any day, Quebec Day, Canada Day, Montreal Anglo Day, Talk like a pirate day, or whatever, and I am quite honest about that, because I really do care about music.
    Were all French acts unavailable to play for this particular occasion? Definitely not. Is it QC’s supposed pro-federal French-loathing segments who are to blame for staging this? No, that’s just a rubbish argument. So why did Paul McCartney play the grand concert? Well first of all, because he’s Paul McCartney (and he apparently sold a lot of records) and secondly because these type of events are always going to go for the “big stars”, household names that everyone, regardless of whether they’re into music or not, has heard of.
    To bring back Bruce Springsteen into the whole issue, he’s the kind of guy who plays on the 4th of July celebrations and at Democratic conventions. You’re not gonna see some obscure indie-band headline that shit.
    So basically the people who organized the bloody thing could have gotten a decent, albeit not super-duper famous, French act to play the grand concert, but then it wouldn’t be a grand concert, so they chose to go with the biggest “star” desperate enough to do something like this. Enter Sir Paul.
    This has nothing to do with language politics, but of course explaining that to a nationalist is like explaining Darwinism to a Southern evangelist; it’s a lost cause.

    VM

    July 22, 2008 at 2:59 am

  25. Some people here are talking as if Sir Paul’s concert was the only event of the 400th anniversary celebrations. In fact, it’s only one of a whole series of large concerts, including Céline Dion’s (alongside a bunch of well-known Quebec artists) one month from today.

    People got worked up about Macca’s performance because he is one of the only headliners in Quebec City who is a household name west of the Ottawa River. But the truth is that there are many shows taking place in Quebec this summer featuring artists who are household names in Quebec (and, to a lesser degree, in France).

    Acajack

    July 22, 2008 at 8:25 am

  26. “Now, imagine that for the 250th anniversary of celebrating that monumental achievement, it was decided that Johnny Halliday would perform (in French) at the grand finale concert.” cancerous

    Shit, Johnny Halliday coulnd’t fill a church basement in the suburbs of Paris. Comparing him to McCartney is a little rich. For argument’s sake, I could see Charles Aznavour performing at your concert without putting anybody’s nose out of jount.

    “This has nothing to do with language politics, but of course explaining that to a nationalist is like explaining Darwinism to a Southern evangelist; it’s a lost cause.” VM

    Truer words have not been said yet on this blog! Example, when Bernie’s PQ went down to ignomenious defeat to Charest, he managed to pluck victory (moral that is, as it always is with the PQ) from the jaws of defeat by declaring that 62% of Quebeckers had voted against the only real federalist party! Evolution you say…

    Dave

    July 22, 2008 at 12:29 pm

  27. “For argument’s sake, I could see Charles Aznavour performing at your concert without putting anybody’s nose out of joint.”

    Aznavour was already there. He performed on July 6 in front of about 100,000 people.

    Acajack

    July 22, 2008 at 12:32 pm

  28. “Aznavour was already there. He performed on July 6 in front of about 100,000 people.”

    Yes, people here like him so much they inducted him into the Order of Canada.

    ABP

    ABP

    July 22, 2008 at 3:06 pm

  29. “Aznavour was already there. He performed on July 6 in front of about 100,000 people.”

    Not at the English Montrealers’ 250th he wasn’t. Seems a better pick than Johnny Halliday.

    Dave

    July 22, 2008 at 5:24 pm

  30. please people stop paying attention to this guy, thats all he wants!!! he got no love from daddy so he screams for attention!!!
    really??? Les Cowboys Fringants gathered over 200,000 people? wow that sounds probable, specially since theyre a band NOONE has ever heard of in any other country besides canada and maybe france; even iron maiden one of the most famous bands ever had trouble gathering 250,000 people in Brazil, at a free concert, so i REALLY doubt that any of the bands you said gathered so many, and even if the did, who cares????!!!! I doubt paul mccartney is trying to beat the world record of attendance, he wants to play music not show other bands how popular he is, and BTW i would really love to see you play in quebec and gather over 100,000 people, that will shut us all up, but since you have no actual talent to display, well never see that happen, too bad…

    haha

    July 22, 2008 at 6:56 pm


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