Music in the News – April 8, 2014

Jack White to break a world record on Record Store Day

A few days after announcing the release of his new EP entitled Lazaretto, Jack White says he plans on breaking a world record for “fastest released record” for the albums’ title track. Rolling Stone magazine reports that White will perform on Record Store Day, April 19, in the Blue Room at his Third Man Records storefront in Nashville. He will cut and produce a 45, including the sleeve which will show a photo of him performing the song.  It will be sold at the store, exclusively on April 19, until demand ceases. A few select fans who are Platinum Members at Third Man Records will be able to purchase an “Ultra Ticket” to see White perform. The Lazaretto EP will be in stores on June 10. Jack White will be performing at Osheaga in August.

Cure frontman not happy with upcoming album

The Cure’s frontman Robert Smith has admitted he’s less-than-excited about his band’s upcoming album, Pitchfork reports. The new album entitled 4:14 Scream was recorded simultaneously with 4:13 Dream in 2008, and is set for release later this year. In an interview with XFM Radio, Smith says he wants to focus on recording with the band’s current lineup, as it has changed since the album was made. Veteran member Porl Thompson left the band in 2010, and two new members have joined after 4:14 Scream was recorded. Smith, who has been with the Cure since they were founded in 1976, says the band will likely never play songs from 4:14 Scream live in concert.

Michael Jackson to release new album

It’s good to know dying doesn’t play a factor in being able to release new music, at least not for Michael Jackson who will release an eight-song album, executively produced by L.A. Reid, CEO of Epic Records. Timbaland, Stargate, and Rodney Jenkins also helped in the collaboration. The album XSCAPE will be out May 13. A deluxe edition will also be available with the songs in their original form.


Reunion in the works for Love and Hole

Courtney Love and Hole will be reuniting, reports online magazine The Quietus. Love previously hinted at a reunion when she posted a photo on Instagram of her and old bandmate Eric Erlandson with the caption “2014 going to be a very interesting year.” Love and Erlandson will join Montreal native Melissa Auf Der Maur and Patty Schemel who recorded their last album Celebrity Skin in 1998 before disbanding in 2002. The four have “set aside differences” and plan on releasing new music together in the upcoming months. Love will embark on a solo UK tour in May.


Pretty on the inside and for all to see

Art and science come together in Illustrating Medicine

If you’ve taken classes in biology or medicine, you have undoubtedly come across hundreds of illustrations showing different parts of the human body. What probably did not cross your mind is the fact that someone drew these illustrations by hand, maybe a half-century ago. One of the illustrators could have been Dorothy Foster Chubb or Nancy Joy, who are having their work celebrated in Illustrating Medicine, an exhibit showcasing original artwork created for Grant’s An Atlas Of Anatomy, published in 1943.

The Atlas is a textbook for medical students and professionals worldwide, known for its detailed anatomy illustrations. Since 1943, it has been republished a dozen times and remains one of the most used textbooks in the field. Unlike other anatomy books including Gray’s Anatomy, which organizes the anatomy by system, Grant’s Atlas was one of the first to show the body by region. Readers looking for information about a particular area of the body, such as the skull, would be able to see all the details of the skeletal, muscular and circulatory systems in one chapter or diagram.

Illustrating Medicine showcases the beauty contained not on the outside, but the inside, literally. Photo by Natasha Taggart

The exhibit is displayed in the same order as the first editions of the atlas, starting with the upper limbs and abdomen, to the pelvis and lower limbs, ending with the vertebrae, head and cranial nerves.

Illustrating Medicine shows a few dozen of Chubb’s and Joy’s original artworks, and a ‘behind-the-scenes’ into their process and collaboration with Dr. Grant.

In order to cut costs in production and make the book affordable, Grant’s Atlas did not publish their illustrations with the same amount of detail as the originals. The exhibit is an opportunity to see the works in full detail as they were created, with expert precision and accuracy. Most of the sketches were based on photographs of dissections, which were then traced and consequently made into drawings.

The illustrations were made using different techniques including carbon dust, line drawing and black and white watercolour painting, with each artist sticking to their prefered method. Line drawings often depict bones and venous systems while carbon dust is especially effective for demonstrating muscles and fatty tissues.

Illustrations of anatomy have proved to be more useful than photographs as it allows the reader to see through the different systems. Unlike in a photo, drawings allow you to see the bones, muscles and circulatory system. The artists can play up important elements by using different techniques with highlights and shading. The highlights are key when a specialist is referring to them while performing a dissection.

Looking closely at the drawings, it is difficult to process that someone was able to sketch out intricate details of the human body with such precision. Several illustrations are so realistic that it’s hard not to feel squeamish, but overall they are presented in a way that simply makes you feel in awe of the artists’ talent. Whether or not you are familiar with illustrating, you quickly develop an immense appreciation for the work that went into the drawings and the time it takes to illustrate medicine.

Illustrating Medicine is displayed at the Loyola Campus CJ building Media Gallery until May 1. For more information, visit

Photos by Natasha Taggart

An example of a drawing based off a photograph of an arm

Darkness lives in the basement

 Lemony Snicket’s latest children’s graphic novel, The Dark, carries a universal message

Each morning, Laszlo opens the basement door to greet the dark, in the hopes it will never visit him in his room at night.

“Hi,” Laszlo would say. “Hi, dark.”

Until one night, the dark visits him — and answers back.

The chances are, you were afraid of the dark as a child. The Dark is a graphic novel about a scared child who represents any one of us — a young boy named Laszlo who spends his days trying to avoid the dark.

Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events) and Jon Klassen (This Is Not My Hat) team together to create The Dark. Still from YouTube.

As Laszlo walks around his big, empty house, equipped with a flashlight, he acknowledges the dark’s presence in the closet, behind the shower curtain and especially in the basement, where the dark lives.

“Hi, dark,” he says, peeking at the top of the stairs into darkness. Laszlo has never been inside the dark’s room at night, and he hopes the dark will never visit him in his. One night, however, when Laszlo’s night light burns out, the dark has the chance to visit him. Laszlo has to face the dark head on, and learns to overcome his fear with the help of an unlikely ally.

Leave it to Lemony Snicket, known for his A Series of Unfortunate Events to come up with the most special way to tell a simple plot. The personification of the dark is creepy and unsettling, enough to make the reader feel nervous and intrigued, as if they themselves are facing the dark in Laszlo’s shoes.

Those familiar with Snicket’s writing style will recognize his voice briefly throughout the book. However, readers expecting A Series of Unfortunate Events-type of written-magic, might end up slightly disappointed. Unlike Events, the text isn’t necessarily witty, it is more simple and direct, but nonetheless beautifully written. He uses poetry-like short sentences, which keep the mood suspenseful.

Jon Klassen’s illustrations evoke the feelings of mystery and fear. His minimalistic style, in terms of both colour and detail, complement the tone of the book: dark, mysterious and foreboding. Sepia tones, mostly neutral colours and a lot of black are combined with the contrast of light and shadow to create an abandoned-looking setting. Klassen frames little Laszlo in relation to dark shadow, often with his flashlight providing the only source of light — the reader is able to get a sense of being succombed to darkness. The cover alone is enough to provoke a sense of dread.

The drawings that show the small Laszlo is his giant house allow the reader to see things from Laszlo’s perspective, and you can’t help but picture yourself as a child laying in bed, waiting anxiously for the morning light to appear again. But, as often is the case, after the dark comes the light. As Laszlo learns to overcome his fear, the tones become lighter and less gloomy.

In 40 pages, the writer and illustrator duo is able to provoke countless emotions from being unnerved to cheery; you can feel yourself smiling by the end of it.

The Dark is marketed as a picture book for children aged 4-8, but the message of the book can stick with anyone and might resonate more with adults — the dark is simply a metaphor for many of the fears we have in life. The biggest fear of all is the unknown. Snicket’s message: you can’t know good without knowing bad and you can’t enjoy the light without the dark.

The Dark, a Governor General’s Literary Award nominee, is available for sale at Chapters Indigo stores and online at


Sustainable Concordia wants to get you thinking about a sustainable lifestyle

The Concordian: Tell our readers about the Sustainability Community Quiz 2.0.  How is the quiz interactive?

Press photo

Priyanka Pandy, Sustainable Concordia Education & Engagement Coordinator:The quiz is more of an information session about sustainable initiatives and opportunities at Concordia and in Montreal in general. In about 10 minutes we ask (also educate) and score our participants on questions related to their lifestyle choices and practices pertaining to water use, transport options, food choices, energy use, involvement in social justice, learning about sustainability, and waste management.  At the end of the quiz, we distribute a Sustainable Community guide and the scores of the participant through email. During the event, we talk about the composting and electronic recycling facilities, sustainable food options, sustainable transport options, sustainable water options, social justice issues and clubs, sustainability related education and research at and around Concordia University.


The Concordian: How can students participate?

P.P: Both students and staff can participate by showing up and registering at the event in the LB building atrium on Thursday Jan. 30 from 11:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m..


The Concordian: Many students might not have “sustainability” as a main priority.  What are some simple habits students can incorporate into their routines to have a more sustainable lifestyle?

P.P: Here are simple choices: Composting on and off campus, sorting their waste for recycling purposes; buying fair trade and energy efficient products, biking or using public transport, eating less meat and more local food.


The Concordian: Were there any interesting findings from the first pilot project?

The turnout was quite more than we expected. The event was well received and people enjoyed the information session.  Most of participants didn’t know about the sustainable options at Concordia, for example, composting.


The Concordian: Lastly, what is the goal of the Sustainability Community Quiz?

The goal is to promote education and awareness about environmental, social and economic issues related to sustainability  and motivate people to make sustainable choices and reduce their ecological footprint.

Both students and staff can participate by showing up and registering at the event in the LB building atrium on Thursday Jan. 30 from 11:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m.  Snacks and drinks will be served.

Visit the event on Facebook:

Sustainable Concordia online:



Music in the news – Nov. 12, 2013

Lady Gaga is literally out of this world

It would seem singing on Earth is too mainstream for Lady Gaga, as she’s planning on boarding a spaceship to New Mexico’s Spaceport America as part of the Zero-G Music Tech Festival in 2015. Us Weekly is reporting Lady Gaga will play one song while orbiting the Earth. The whole festival is set to last three days. In order to make history as the first artist to perform live in space, Gaga will need to go through rigorous vocal training a month prior to prepare for the difference in atmosphere. This is Lady Gaga’s next scheduled performance, as no tour dates supporting her latest record ARTPOP have yet been announced.

Eminem tops the Billboard charts, ties record

Given the number of hits Eminem has had, it almost comes as a surprise that he’s only now reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs chart for the first time.  Even more impressive, he’s the first lead artist to have at least four songs on the Hot 100 Top 20 since the Beatles in 1964. New releases from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 “The Monster” featuring Rihanna reached number three, “Berzerk,” “Survival” and “Rap God” placed at the 15, 16 and 17 spots respectively.

Sia to donate proceeds of Eminem collaboration to LGBT youth

Openly homosexual pop singer Sia came under fire last week as many fans questioned her decision to collaborate with Eminem on his new album in a song called “Beautiful Pain,”  as it turns out Eminem’s lyrics in another song called “Rap God” are supposedly homophobic. One of the phrases in question, “Break a motherfucker’s table over the back of a couple faggots and crack it in half,” are part of a song meant to be from Eminem’s alter-ego Slim Shady. Sia took to Twitter defending Eminem, saying a lot of his music is meant to be a performance where he takes the role of a character, in this case Slim Shady who represents the “worst and darkest bile of America.”  Sia announced she would donate the proceeds she receives to the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center to make it up to her fans.


Alanis Morissette’s best-selling album is heading to Broadway

Alanis Morissette’s Grammy-award winning album Jagged Little Pill is being made into a broadway musical.  Rolling Stone is reporting the album, which was the highest-selling album of the ‘90s with more than 33 million copies sold, will feature all the songs on the album in addition to new original tracks that Morissette will compose for the production. Tony award winner Tom Kitt, who worked on Green Day’s musical American Idiot, will orchestrate and arrange the Jagged Little Pill musical. For the story line, Morissette plans on expanding and developing the music to “ever deeper layers of emotionality, specificity, humanity, power, physicality, spirit and fabulism.” It is expected to debut in 2014.


Music in the News – Oct. 15, 2013

Justin Timberlake Montreal concert postponed

Justin Timberlake’s Montreal fans will have to wait until next summer to see the superstar, as his concerts scheduled for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 at the Bell Centre have been postponed. The “20/20 Experience World Tour” was set to debut in Montreal, but a rehearsal extension is said to be the cause for the delay. The tour’s third show scheduled for Nov. 4 in Boston has also been pushed back. The “20/20 Experience World Tour” will now debut in New York on Nov. 6. The new dates are July 25 and 26 for the Montreal shows, which might give enough time to save up for the $197 red-zone tickets. If you’ve already bought your tickets but can’t make the new dates, refunds are available at point of purchase.


Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP 2 tracklist revealed

Eminem’s much anticipated eighth studio album will be comprised of 15 songs and a skit, including the already released “Berzerk.” Fans can expect collaborations from Skylar Grey and Kendrick Lamar, while Rihanna will lend vocals on a song called “The Monster.” Also, the band fun.’s lead vocalist, Nate Ruess, will appear on a song called “Headlights.” The album is being released on Nov. 5.

Track list:

“Bad Guy”
“Parking Lot (Skit)”
“Rhyme or Reason”
“So Much Better”
“Asshole” featuring Skylar Grey
“Rap God”
“Stronger Than I Was”
“Monster” featuring Rihanna
“So Far . . .”
“Love Game” featuring Kendrick Lamar
“Headlights” featuring Nate Ruess
“Evil Twin”


Lorde’s single “Royals” racist?

By now, you’ve probably heard the breakthrough song called “Royals” by New Zealand native, Lorde. The song’s lyrics discuss consumerism and wealth, and describe Lorde’s view of music today. In addition to that, according to feminist blogger Veronica Bayetti Flores, the lyrics are also racist. “We all know who she’s thinking when we’re talking gold teeth, Cristal and Maybachs. So why shit on black folks?” the blogger wrote in a commentary about the song.   Her comments have received a lot of backlash on social media, though Flores sticks by her words, telling CNN she took offense to “a critique of excessive consumption to a genre both created and currently dominated by Black Americans.” Lorde’s reps have not yet released a statement.


Do Americans prefer Nickelback or Congress?

The results are in for a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, and it’s not looking good for Congress. It turns out that Americans actually like Canadian rock band Nickelback more, which is great news as the band, usually considered to be the “worst band ever,” is releasing a greatest hits album titled The Best of Nickelback Volume 1 on Nov. 19.




Music in the News – Sept. 24, 2013

Kanye West the “number one rock star on the planet”?

Ever so humble Kanye West told BBC Radio 1 in an interview that he thinks of himself as the
“number one rock star on the planet.” The 50-second teaser video for the interview, released on Friday, shows Kanye complimenting himself, saying things such as “I know how to make perfect, but that’s not what I’m here to do.” The first part of the interview aired on Monday but if you missed it, there are still three more parts to be aired Tuesday through Thursday on BBC Radio 1 at 2 p.m. EST.


Daft Punk to release an action figure line

While most artists may eventually launch a fragrance or clothing line, Daft Punk is taking another route with the release of a line of action figures. Created by Bandai and Japan’s S.H. Figuarts, Daft Punk themselves helped design the six-inch figures, which appear to be wearing the same futuristic outfits that the duo wore for their latest release Random Access Memories. These action figures aren’t the kind meant to be preserved in a box, though. If you’re looking to do some action figure fighting, they luckily come with seven sets of interchangeable hand parts for different karate chop moves. The action figures will hit shelves Dec. 27, and are available for pre-order now. Prices have not yet been released.

Tupac is heading to the big screen

After years of  talk about a Tupac Shakur biopic, it’s been confirmed that the film will head into production early next year. This comes as a surprise since no one has yet been cast in the lead role. When talks of the movie first came up in 2010, Training Day director Antoine Fuqua was set to direct. In March of this year he mentioned to reporters that he was still interested in doing the movie, but was just waiting on a file script. However, as Deadline reports, there’s a new script with new writers, and it’s unclear if Fuqua will be directing. The film will focus on Tupac’s life and legacy, from the start of his career, his rise to success, up to the last years of his life.

The new Joy Division video game will “tear you apart”

Forget GTA5, there’s a new online game based on Joy Division’s hit song “Will Love Tear us Apart?” Mighty Box Games designed the game to demonstrate parts of the “darker side of love” such as miscommunication, emotional impasse and separation anxiety. Creator/writer Gordon Calleja says the intent is to “frustrate, upset, and sting the player into remembering dark days preceding the death of a relationship.” Each level in the game is represented by a verse in the song. If you want to experience the love and joy of this game you can play at


Music in the News – September 3, 2013

Oh, Canada… New fees implemented for bringing international musicians to the Great White North

Booking agents and promoters are now looking at increased fees for bringing non-Canadian musicians to venues across Canada, where music is not the primary focus, such as bars and coffee shops. As the Calgary Herald reported, Canada’s Ministry of Employment, Social Development & Multiculturalism have come up with a legislation that will force owners or promoters to submit a $275 application fee, per band and crew member. In addition, there will be a $150 charge for each approved musician and crew member’s work permit. Should the application be rejected, the fees are non-refundable and will be charged with another application.  Having taken effect on July 31, the new rules are supposed to “ensure that owners and managers of those types of establishments look to hire Canadians first before hiring temporary foreign workers,” according to the government agencies involved in the changes.

Timbaland and Michael Jackson to collaborate

Timbaland isn’t about to let death be a factor in his music production. In an interview with Revolt TV, the super-producer mentioned a project in the works to blend his music with Michael Jackson’s vocals. The project was reportedly initiated by Epic Records CEO, L.A. Reid.

Previously this summer, the LA Times reported Timbaland also spoke about producing music featuring the late Aaliyah’s vocals, while saying that he wasn’t a fan of the work made by other musicians. “Chris Brown got a record, it won’t work. Drake can go do a record with Aaliyah, it ain’t gonna work. ’Cause Aaliyah music only work with its soulmate, which is me,” he said.


Sean Kingston on trial for rape

The “Beautiful Girls” singer has been accused of raping an inebriated teenager in his Seattle hotel room in July 2010, following a Justin Bieber concert. TMZ is reporting the now 22-year-old woman says she was forced into sex with Kingston, a member of his band and his bodyguard.  The girl was allegedly under the influence of drugs and alcohol before she was invited back to the hotel room for a meet-and-greet, where she says Kingston was lying naked on his bed as she entered the room. The woman is said to have been rescued by a friend and then taken to the hospital where she was treated for injuries “consistent with rape.” Kingston has denied the allegations of rape but has said that the sex was consensual. The woman is asking for $5 million.

Justin Timberlake is seeing green

Superstar Justin Timberlake might soon be adding super-villain to his resumé. In a radio interview with New York station Fresh 102.7, the singer/actor said he has no interest in playing a superhero, but wants to play a villain in Batman vs. Superman, with Ben Affleck in the lead role. Timberlake has ruled out playing Robin, but says he would love to play his childhood favourite villain, the Riddler. “The Riddler is my favorite villain. The Riddler was like a sociopath. He was proper crazy. So if I’m gonna play crazy, I wanna play proper crazy,” he said in the interview.  The Riddler was last played by Jim Carrey in Batman Forever.



Opinions: Montrealers have a case of upset pockets

The big buzz of the summer seems to have sizzled out prematurely. When news of the 66-year ban on food trucks being lifted broke, people were utterly overjoyed. Now, months after the project has begun, the buzz is gone. Customers are criticizing prices, selection and intent of the project. Some might be looking too far into it and are forgetting that we are only talking about food. How can more food be bad?

Gourmand Vagabond food truck in downtown Montreal. Photo by Keith Race.

For foodies, the diversity of options is fantastic. You can get anything from butter chicken at Guru to lobster rolls at Lucille’s Seafood Company. Since the trucks rotate stops, you don’t have to travel to different locations to try them all.

The project also gives fine dining a fast-food element. When you just want to grab a delicious, unprocessed meal and go, the options are slim. With the food trucks, you’re able to eat fast but not in the traditional fast food way. Instead of going to the Au Pied du Cochon restaurant, people can visit the food truck on their breaks and eat foie gras poutine while walking to their next class.

Gourmand Vagabond food truck prices. Photo by Keith Race.

Those saying the prices are higher than expected seem to have missed the memo; the intent is to provide Montrealers with high-quality food, so a higher price tag should be expected.  According to a report by The Gazette, the city requires the food trucks to have “creative and original [food], present an added value to city’s gastronomic landscape, stand out from the fast-food already on offer downtown, and use local products.”

Maybe critics are also unaware of how much a typical lunch meal costs these days. A tandoori chicken pita can put you back $9 at Phoenix 1 but a Big Mac trio is roughly the same price, if not more. If you want a $2 regular hot dog, La Belle Province restaurants are accessible on every third street corner.

Well-known restaurants and food businesses, such as St-Viateur Bagel, have a name for themselves and therefore already have a clientele. Which is perhaps why the Quebec government did not issue permits to any non-established restaurants. Some people see the established-business requirement as a slap in the face to citizens who want to make a living in the food business, but don’t have the means to open a restaurant.  However, in reality, food trucks are not a viable way to make a living. The Gazette reported that even successful restaurant owners rarely have success with their food truck version. For example, owner of Grumman 78, Marc-André Leclerc, says he has not yet made a profit off his food truck, while his restaurant of the same name made more than $1 million last year.

The project is supposed to be something different and fun. It’s great to be able to order waffles and gourmet grilled cheese on a street corner. This is just the start so there’s bound to be a few kinks. Why is having more food choice making some people so mad? It’s simple – if people don’t like the idea of food trucks, then they shouldn’t order from them.

Student Life

You are what you eat, and then some

The season of early morning commutes and late night studying is around the corner and once it gets started, personal health and well-being are pushed further down the list of priorities. How can we think about eating right when there are three essays and an oral presentation due before we make it to week two? Enter Concordia’s Health Services, here to make your life a tad easier when it comes to all things health-related.

“[Students] can come into health services where we have a lot of reliable, evidence-based information [to] find out more about what is healthy eating,” said Concordia Health Services health promotion specialist Gabriella Szabo. “That’s a great place to start.”

Instead of starting mid-semester or waiting until New Year’s to get healthy, make a pledge to start right now. Easier said than done, probably, but you might be surprised how easy it is to stay on track once you have the right amount of commitment.

“We don’t have to only want it, we have to want to want it,” said Szabo. “If the person wants to eat healthier, they need to build that commitment to that goal of eating healthier and it needs to be really important [to them].”

The Health Services website has tools and guides including booklets on living well, customizable plans and lists of food resources in Montreal. In addition to that, Szabo recommends taking a look at Canada’s Food Guide for more information. Throughout the year Concordia students can also participate in workshops discussing eating well, working out, stress management and other health-related topics.

To live a healthy lifestyle you won’t have to start stuffing your face with kale smoothies or start substituting an apple for a burger. There’s room for all kinds of food, including junk food,it all depends on portion control and balance.

“There’s no such thing as good food or bad food, there are just foods you should choose more of and some you should choose less of,” said Szabo.

Plant foods such as fruits and vegetables are at the top of the list of what we should choose most of. It just happens to be that these foods are easily portable for an on-the-go snack and are usually mess-free and perfect for class.

“If you already eat lots of fruits and vegetables then that’s great keep doing that and if you don’t, then one goal to set for yourself might be ‘I might introduce one new fruit or vegetable into my diet every week,’” said Szabo.

If you’re one to run out the door without bringing a lunch and find yourself exposed to the temptations of fast-food utopia, we’ve got you covered. Concordia has healthy eating options right on campus: the People’s Potato on the seventh floor of the Hall building, and the Loyola Luncheon which has free vegetarian lunches every day in the Hive. If you want to stock up on discount-priced fruits and veggies you can check out the Good Food Box.

We’ve all had to fight the desire to face-plant on our desk and take a nap, but if you avoid skipping meals this will help with alertness. However it’s about more than just food intake, there are several other factors that play a part in our performance in or outside of school.

“Getting enough sleep and enough physical activity regularly is so important because it gets the blood flowing and it gets the oxygen going to the brain which helps us stay awake,” said Szabo.

There’s no doubt it’s hard getting started, but with the right mindset to complete goals, nothing is unattainable.

“We need to build our commitment, make a plan and track it,” said Szabo. “So if we ever get off track we can get right back on.”

For more information about what is offered at Concordia’s Health Services, visit


The world’s ‘underground’ sport continues to gain popularity

Most wouldn’t consider roller derby to be a popular sport in Montreal but the few hundred people who showed up to watch MTL Roller Derby kick off their seventh season might beg to differ.

People from all over the city packed the TAZ Arena on Saturday to watch the round robin between the three Montreal home teams La Racaille, Les Contrabanditas and Les Filles du Roi.

Roller derby is by no means a new sport; it was popular back in the 1960’s and 70’s and has since had a bit of a revival.

La Racaille waits for the MTL Roller Derby round robin to start at the TAZ arena. (Photo Natasha Taggart)

Unlike many other sports, it doesn’t involve a ball or a net but has players from two five-person teams skating around a track. Each team chooses a scoring player, known as the jammer, who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams try to help their own jammer get around the track while trying to stop the other teams’ player from getting through.  The winning team must have the most points at the end of the 30-minute halves.

Despite the sport’s relatively recent growth in popularity, it still remains a somewhat secret to those who aren’t involved in the community.

“It’s not known in the public and in the mainstream,” said Smack Daddy, a player on the New Skids on the Block all-star team. “So these kinds of communities end up really close, since it’s an underground thing.”

In addition to playing on the all-star team, Smack Daddy is involved in the boot camp session that takes place after the season ends in August.

The girls are put through a series of tests where wannabe players learn different aspects of the sport, including how to skate.

“We start off with about 80 girls, and then about 40 girls who have passed the levels and are ready to be on a smash squad or join one of the home teams,” explained Smack Daddy.

She says while many girls who go through boot camp have previous experience playing contact sports, it isn’t a requirement to try out.

“People come into it with never having played a sport before, and there’s room in the league for them, too,” she said.

Gunmoll Mindy, captain of Les Contrabanditas, has been playing derby for six years and says the sport has come a long way since she first started playing.

“At first they would strap skates to you, throw you out there and tell you ‘try not to hurt yourself’,” she said. “Now, it’s an organized sport that draws huge crowds and is highly professional.”

For the players and organizers of MTL Roller Derby, the sport is something much more than just a game.

“There is a serious sisterhood in terms of derby,” said Smack Daddy. “The whole community is such a hodgepodge of diversity of different [sexual orientations], interests, body shapes and sizes, regardless we’re all together with this love of roller derby which makes a really intense bond.”

Gunmoll Mindy agrees, and likens the derby community to a family.

“To be able to walk into this and have 80 people who are your family is amazing. These guys will do anything for you,” she said. “We really have a tight-knit group.”

Though the rules have changed slightly since the ‘60s – now, there’s no punching allowed – derby is still a physically demanding contact sport.

When it comes to playing against friends in such a physical sport, once the whistle blows it’s important to remember that you’re all there for fun, says Smack Daddy.

“At the end of every jam you’ve got to give them a hug or high five because it’s so intense.”

“It’s hard here, we all skate together in practice and then we all have to hit each other in the games,” said Gunmoll Mindy. “You just have to turn it off and say ‘this person is my enemy and I will knock them down’.”

The Montreal Sexpos will play the Lumbersmacks on April 6 at the TAZ arena located at 8931 Papineau. Tickets can be purchased at


Photos by Natasha Taggart


90’s Rockers The Offspring still “Pretty Fly” decades later

Pop-punk veterans The Offspring filled the Metropolis to capacity on Sept. 4, playing the first of a pair of concerts in Montreal. After openers The BCASA’S and Dead Sara got the crowd fired up, the California Quad opened with “Hurting as One,” the first of 21 songs in their set. Playing for just under an hour-and-a-half, the band downplayed interaction with the crowd and focused on the music, playing a mix of old and new, including six songs of their latest album Days Go By.

Photo by writer.

23 years after their initial release, the band showed that their popularity transcends age, with fans of all generations flocking to the mosh pit. With the booze flowing and every sense of the term “personal space” gone, the crowd got rowdy at times with beer and sweat flying left, right and center.
While most of the show was a fast-paced burst of energy, the band also took it down a notch playing “Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?,” a song that frontman Dexter Holland wrote as an apology to a girl from his childhood.
Notable hits such as “Come out and Play” and “Dividing by Zero” were definite crowd-pleasers while newer songs, surprisingly, seemed to garner equal enthusiasm.
Ending the main set with “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” and “The Kids Aren’t Alright” from 1998’s Americana, the band came back on stage for a three-song encore finishing the night off with the ever-popular “Self Esteem.”


Edit: The Offspring had originally scheduled their second show at the Metropolis but due to unforeseen events, it was moved to The Olympia.

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