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Noise complaints cost bar owner thousands of dollars

The District Video Lounge keeps receiving noise complaints and the owner is tired of fighting it.

Danny Jobin, owner of the District Video Lounge in the Village, had just returned from vacation when he had to write to the city. The entire time he was gone, a man had been calling the bar and complaining to the city about the noise.

This has been going on for six years. Jobin is getting sick of it.

“I’m tired. I’m losing my money. I’m working for nothing for now because I’m just paying, paying, paying,” he said. “That’s not the way we used to work, you know, we work for money, so now I’m throwing it in the garbage.”

Stock Bar, another establishment in the Village owned by Jobin, began getting complaints a few months ago. Before he became the owner, Jobin was the manager at Stock Bar for over 20 years.

During those two decades, he said that the bar never had trouble with noise complaints.

Though the man lodging complaints against Stock Bar is not the same as the one reporting the District Video Lounge, they have both caused major issues for Jobin and his employees. Kim Chanis is a bartender at the District Video Lounge and has had direct experience with the man.

“He was calling a lot, like maybe two to three times a day sometimes,” Chanis said.

The bar has received numerous fines from the city because of the complaints. They even had to shut down for four days in January and February.

The requirements around noise management creates a dilemma for the workers. At the moment, the law has zero tolerance for noise. A citizen may make a noise complaint at any time if they feel the noise is excessive. If someone files a report, the police must give the offending party a ticket. District Video Lounge needs the music to be loud enough to maintain the atmosphere of the bar, but not so loud that they are given another fine for the noise.

This problem has caused friction between the employees.

“Sometimes we get upset with each other because of that,” Chanis said.

Jérémie Boivin, another bartender at the District Video Lounge, mentioned that the man would take videos of the employees serving on the patio in the summer. This bothered him, as he did not want to be filmed.

“Our owners are really, really great and it’s really a great bar and now they have spent, like, thousands of dollars because of the situation,” Boivin said.

Jobin estimates that this ordeal has caused him around $200,000, from sound system replacements to lawyer fees. In the past year, he has had to go to court three times and each one he was able to make a deal with the crown prosecutor, who was aware of his situation.

Jobin has had positive experiences with the officials he has encountered. They’ve all been very nice, he said. Even so, while the law is unchanged, they must continue to give out fines. 

“The problem is the law. ” Jobin said. “It’s an old law that they have to change because everything’s changed.”

The law is in the process of being changed, but it’s not fast enough. Despite this, Jobin has had positive experiences with the officials he has encountered, who have been understanding of his situation.

“I’m lucky in my bad luck,” he said.

The atmosphere in the workplace has become increasingly tense as employees stress about their jobs. Boivin can’t help but wonder about future shutdowns. He’s afraid that he will lose more work.

“It’s something that I think about sometimes,” he said. “Like is the bar going to stay closed or not, stay open or not, you know?”

This has been a long battle for the bar, and everyone is growing weary.

“After a while I decided to call the city and say: ‘Look, do you want me to close the bar or are you going to do something about this?’ Because I’m tired,” Jobin said.

The appeal of Sainte-Catherine is its lively nightlife, its performers and bars. Boivin would walk past other bars with the music turned up loud and think of his workplace, where workers are constantly monitoring the noise level.

He and his coworkers must deal with endless phone calls, being filmed and photographed without their consent and the possibility of losing more work.

“It’s impossible in a city to have zero tolerance for the noise,” said Jobin.


Student interns gather to protest unpaid labour

With increasing rent and tuition, students cannot afford to work for free.

On March 29, students from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Concordia and other universities gathered to protest against unpaid internships at Parc Émilie-Gamelin. The Coalition de résistance pour l’unité étudiante syndicale (CRUES) planned a three-day strike along with the protests.

Attendees weren’t only students. Alice Lefevre, who graduated from UQAM, came to show solidarity as a former student intern.

“At UQAM, there were people from social sciences, education and political sciences that were striking,” Lefevre said. 

The jobs these students are being assigned is stressful, especially in emotionally difficult fields such as social work. Lefevre did 800 hours of internship in this field.. 

She chose not to pursue the field. Lefevre now works with the student union at UQAM. 

“Maybe if I’d had a pay and a salary… I felt during my studies that if I was being treated fairly as any other male workers, maybe I would be a social worker today,” Lefevre said.

There were feminist and pro-transgender chants as well. One of the chants referenced the comité des sages, a committee started by the CAQ to discuss gender issues which has been protested by advocates, showing the interconnected nature of these issues.

Gender plays a role in inequalities of internships. According to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, women are more likely to be unpaid interns than men. 

“The audacity of these major corporations or government institutions to tell them: ‘Give us your labour, give us your time, your passion, for free.’ I find it very disrespectful,” said Angelica Antonakopoulos, academic coordinator for the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA).

Antonakopoulos was lucky enough to get a paid internship, but wanted to show solidarity with her fellow students. With rent and tuition rising, and the ending of lease transfers, students can’t afford to do unpaid labour.

“You can’t tell people to work for free anymore,” Antonakopoulos said.

She was one of two speakers who got the crowd energized. They spoke to the frustration of the students, saying that they’re sick of being exploited and used by the government. 

As such, students are asked to pay even more to work for free, according to Lefevre.

The demonstrators marched to the ministry of education building on Fullum Street, where they stood outside chanting and singing.

Alicia Aubin is in her third year of a degree to teach English as a second language at UQAM. She pointed out that teachers and nurses are commonly unpaid interns. This ties into the gendered aspect, as women are more likely to be in these fields

“Sometimes it lasts up to eight to ten weeks of us doing 100 per cent of the teacher’s workload,” Aubin said. “That’s really draining.”

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Justin Timberlake—Everything I Thought It Was

Justin Timberlake releases a new album for the first time since 2018.

Justin Timberlake is an American singer/songwriter who rose to fame in the 90s with pop hits. In his solo career, he has moved towards R&B. His newest album features collaborations with artists Fireboy DML, Tobe Nwigwe, and *NSYNC. With 18 songs, the album is about 1h20min long.

“Memphis” is the first song on the album. It is a moody, reflective piece in honour of his hometown. He discusses his ambivalent feelings towards fame. The looping, dreamy beat is abruptly followed by “F**kin’ Up The Disco,” a much more cheerful song. The album mostly contains these more upbeat numbers, as well as a few love ballads.

In recent years he has collaborated with his former bandmates of NSYNC on songs, including on his most recent album. Everything I Thought It Was explores Timberlake’s feelings about fame, from the past to the present. He calls back directly to his past in some songs, and more vaguely in others.

There is a religious theme in a few of the songs. “No Angels,” “Sanctified” featuring Tobe Nwigwe, and, arguably, “Paradise” featuring *NSYNC. This serves as an interesting connector throughout the album and also ties back to his past. His father was a church choir director, which has had a clear impact in his sound and the religious themes he chooses to explore. The religious throughline may also be a reference to his hometown once again, as Memphis is the home of a Baptist megachurch. 

In the song “Play,” he references his very early career, when he was on Star Search, singing: “I’ve been makin’ first impressions since I was barely eleven.” This ties into the larger theme of him looking at his past, and perhaps wishing to reinvent himself. From “Memphis,” we can see that he feels pressured in his current role. With new music, artists are constantly reinventing themselves. This album embraces that.

His distinctive use of harmonies is evident throughout the album. Timberlake mixes his unique voice and harmonies with R&B and pop beats. Each song fits within his pop persona whilst exploring very personal themes. 

Nowhere is this more evident than in his collaboration piece with *NSYNC. “Paradise” is the emotional core of this album. In this collaboration with his former bandmates, Timberlake reminisces about his past and about everything that brought him to this moment. It is a very sweet song about believing in yourself and appreciating your past. Even if he may want to reimagine himself, he is still grateful for his experiences.

This album is a fun listening experience. Even if you’re not familiar with Timberlake’s work, I think his approach to music brings out his unique talents and his understanding of what the public wants.

Each song is distinctive but cohesive. The album has a strong identity. Timberlake acknowledges who he used to be whilst continuing to build a new persona for himself. One that is, most likely, more true to who he is.


Trial Track: Sanctified featuring Tobe Nwigwe


Protests in NDG: CDN in defense of Palestinian Solidarity

The Revolutionary Communist Party came together in defense of Palestinian solidarity and the right to protest peacefully.

During the week of March 10, the Revolutionary Communist Party held two demonstrations in support of Palestine in Montreal. The first was on Tuesday, March 12 in front of Premier Justin Trudeau’s constituency office to protest the federal government’s decisions regarding Palestine and the selling of land on the West Bank.

“These capitalist regimes have decided to bet everything on genocide on the Palestinian people,” said Fehr Marouf, a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

According to Marouf, this was the first time the party had organized a demonstration directly in their name. The protest was small, with around 50 attendees, but Marouf believes it is the start of something, even if it’s just the party and their supporters for now.

The Trudeau government has been placed under scrutiny for sending military aid to Israel, something that may go against Canadian export law stating that Canada may not supply weapons if they may be used to break international law. In light of this, new export permits to Israel have been frozen indefinitely, according to CTV news.

The Trudeau administration also significantly changed a motion put forth by the New Democratic Party (NDP) to recognize Palestine as a state. What the Liberal party offered was a conditional acceptance based on the goal of the two-state solution, which would allow Israel to keep existing alongside Palestine as opposed to the landback goal that the RCP is calling for.

The second demonstration held on Friday, March 15 was called to protest the Quebec government injunction against pro-Palestinian protests outside Jewish institutions in Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. It took place in Girouard park. Less than 10 people attended, but passers-by would stop and ask questions.

A member of the party giving a speech to protest the war in Gaza and show their unwavering support for the Palestinian people. Photo by Semira Kosciuk / The Concordian

The Revolutionary Communist Party came together in defense of Palestinian solidarity and the right to protest peacefully.

“There’s been a process of many years of land being taken up by settlers in this area. Where it looks like—if you look on a map—it looks like a big chunk of land, but over time, bits and pieces have been eaten up,” said Calvin Brett, a member of the party.

Criticism of the pro-Palestine movement arose. Trudeau has denounced violence from both sides, something that has frustrated certain activists, as they feel this doesn’t acknowledge the issue.

“No one should in this movement—the Palestine movement—be against someone going to pray or engaging in their culture in any way they see fit,” Brett said. “The actual continuation of this genocidal onslaught in Palestine was continuing here in our neighbourhood.”

Friday’s rally was proposed by fellow party member Tony Miller-Smith after the injunction was announced. He believes he should be able to protest in the neighbourhood he lives and works in. Miller-Smith also stressed the importance of collective action in the fight to free Palestine.

“If you want to fight to free Palestine, you should help us build a Revolutionary Communist Party that can help to overthrow the Quebec capitalists and the Canadian capitalists,” he said.

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: 21 Savage — american dream

21 Savage’s newest project follows his path to fame, with more intense tracks alongside chill beats.

american dream by 21 Savage starts and ends with his mother’s voice. The first monologue features his mother, Heather Carmillia Joseph, as she talks about her hopes and desires for her son. The album concludes with her acknowledging his success. The American dream, if such a thing exists, is his, and he constantly expresses surprise at how he has survived his life thus far, such as in the final song off the album, “dark days.”

Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, known as 21 Savage, is a British-American rapper based in Atlanta, Georgia. His stage name refers to a shooting on his 21st birthday that took his friend Johnny’s life. His most recent album american dream marks his first solo effort since i am > i was in 2018, and first release since the Metro Boomin-assisted SAVAGE MODE II in 2020. It runs just under 50 minutes long with 15 tracks, featuring collaborations with Doja Cat, Young Thug, Metro Boomin and Travis Scott, among others. 

The album has a liberal structure, using two monologues as a framing device. It leaves breathing room for the songs to speak for themselves while tying into the general themes of the album which include loss,  loyalty, violence and love, all of which Savage has been exploring throughout his career. Tracks like “redrum” highlight his recurring use of violent imagery, which dates back to his earliest projects like The Slaughter Tape (2015). His lyrics pull heavily from his own life. In the song “letter to my brudda” he outlines his loyalty to Young Thug and empathizes with his plight. It is an expression of love and friendship that recalls “letter 2 my momma” off the album i am > i was

The tracks on this album come together to create a complex picture of his life and thoughts at the time of recording, like with his previous releases. 21 Savage explores loss not only through death but also through incarceration. He condemns other rappers for snitching and talks about the injustice of the system that stripped his loved ones from his life—including Johnny. Abraham-Joseph carries this loss with him not only through his stage name, but also through an emotional current, almost as if to say “this is for you.” His success and career are all in memory of Johnny. 

There is a lot of variety in the sound on american dream, achieved through sampling and catchy soul and R&B beats. There are darker instrumentals, such as on “redrum.” Yet, he samples Mary J. Blige’s “I Don’t Want to Do Anything” on “should’ve wore a bonnet,” which has a chill, ballad vibe. 21 Savage’s talent is obvious from his lyricism to his composition. He uses metaphors and wordplay to elevate his lyrics.

The end of american dream is hopeful. 21 Savage talks about how he never thought he’d make it, and encourages his listeners to keep going. Heather Carmillia Joseph wishes her son even greater success now that he has this foundation of fame. She hopes for more for him, as every mother does.

Score: 7/10

Trial Track: dangerous

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