It’s Saturday night. I’m feeling blue and antsy. And bored. And still sick from Wednesday night’s mass absorption of alcohol.
But hey, it was all for a good cause. After all, the Habs, aka the Canadien, aka the CH, aka Montreal’s hockey team have won yet another round in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and that, in game 7 for the second time in a row.
Such a shame they’re not playing tonight. Because you know what I think would cheer me up and give me a nice little morale boost?
Seriously, what better way to cheer for a winning team, to demonstrate one’s joy and excitement than by smashing a few store windows, looting a bunch of shops and attacking a couple of cops with broken beer bottles?
Of course, these kind of practices are a bit on the expensive side, but who cares about a few grand when what we get for them is a celebratory riot on Montreal’s main commercial street?
Plus, as an added bonus, once the cops have cleared the streets off all the euphoric revellers, we get the alas too rare chance of walking on broken glass for several hundreds of meters, something we all know is awesome (as long as you’re not wearing flip-flops.)
Personally, I enjoy a riot as much as the next guy, even though I’m not a guy. And to hell with taxpayers’ money. We can always make more taxpayers. I bet that after Wednesday night’s riot, quite a few of the celebrants who didn’t get arrested promptly made their way to the nearest park for a quickie after throwing one last bottle of Molson Ex at the riot police, thus getting to work in creating a new generation of taxpayers whom will hopefully pay for our current fuck-ups.
After all, what’s better than really bad outdoors sex with a drunken hooligan?
Other than a riot, of course?
Well, I don’t know what is. As I mentioned earlier on, all I did to celebrate Wednesday night’s victory was drink too much. Disappointingly unoriginal, I know. And extremely painful the following day.
In fact, on Thursday morning, as I was hugging my toilet bowl, I was thinking: “Damn, look at your pathetic self. You wouldn’t be in this state right now, had you gone to the riot instead of spending the night in a bar high-fiving who may or may not have been complete strangers between two shots of Jameson. And had you been at the right place at the right time, you might even have been able to get your hands on a shiny new pair of Reeboks, or whatever the hell brand of shoes the sports store which got looted sells. Or sold, rather.”
But no. Like the gutless conformist that I am, I opted for getting shitfaced in the bar where I work with people whom I know. Can you get anymore depressingly unimaginative than that? Didn’t think so either.
And meanwhile, tens of thousands of blissful hockey fans were having the time of their life joyfully destroying other people’s property.
And I, for the second time in two years I missed all of it.
And now, I find myself wondering if I’m gonna get another chance this year to throw a brick through the store window of Le Château and score myself a nice dress for free.
Because ya see, the problem is that for every group of people who are having innocent fun, albeit a tad on the destructive side, you have a group of buzzkills who are trying to rain, or in the the present case, pepper-spray on their parade.
For instance, don’t think I haven’t noticed that pesky helicopter circling above my hood before, during and after every home game. I know perfectly well that it’s not there to track down and silence the annoying students from the nearby university, even though I wish it was.
After inquiring about said helicopter on Twitter, I was told that its sole purpose was to snitch to police on the Habs fans’ post-game whereabouts and whatabouts in the case of a win for Montreal. I personally find it to be a little over-the-top invasive, as far as chaperons go, but of course, it’s only my opinion.
Plus, I’d like to remind those who call Montreal hockey fans “rioters”, “hooligans”, “crazy assholes” and such that we don’t just riot for no reason. And first, we don’t call it it “rioting” over here, we call it “celebrating.”
But really, other than the somewhat illegal St Jean-Baptiste bonfire on the mountain every summer and the yearly protest against police brutality, both of which always seems to attract the riot police, hockey really is our only other motive to “celebrate” when you think about it. And then, with hockey, it’s only during the playoffs and in case of win at home.
Sorry, what’s that you say?
That Wednesday’s riot happened in spite of the Habs not even playing in Montreal?
Well, it is true indeed, but there may be a good reason for that. Let me venture a theory…
Call me crazy, but maybe, just maybe, Wednesday’s riot wouldn’t have occurred hadn’t some greedy bastard in a suit decided to rent out a couple of giant screen TVs, plop them in the middle of the Bell Centre and charge $7.50 to fans interested in watching the game in an arena and paying $10 for a beer, instead of cramming themselves in an admission-free boring old bar with moderate booze prices.
Let’s go on a whim here and assume for a minute that I’m opposed to riots and determined to avoid them at all costs. Well, if that was the case, the last thing I would have done was to broadcast the game at the Bell Centre.
Why? Because the Bell Centre, which is conveniently situated only a few blocks away from the corners of “24/7 Party” Street and “Trashcans Ablaze” Avenue, can house over 21 000 people. That’s the equivalent of a small – and slightly sloshed and over-excited – town suddenly let loose in the streets of Montreal, already crowded by all the cheap losers who opted to watch the game in a downtown bar.
Before you know it, the olde Ste Catherine Street is invaded by tens of thousands of happy merrymakers whose arrival is cheered by a friendly welcome committee made of riot cops. I mean, can you think of anything that says “Party time!!!” better than a group of men in black equipped with sticks, helmets, and shields?
Well, believe it or not, it seems that a fair few people find the presence of the riot police somewhat hostile. And even crazier, apparently, some of those people aren’t even rioters themselves! How fucked up is that?!
Yet, I’ve heard several anti-riot crazies claim that the ever-so-slightly stark appearance of the riot cops may be perceived as antagonistic by some and that perhaps, posting more innocuous and cheerful looking police officers on Ste-Catherine that night might have been a preferable choice.
Personally, I don’t really know what to answer to that, although I have noticed in several occasions that where there is a riot police squad, there is also almost always trouble. Coincidence? Who knows.
In fact, I’m blathering on and on, but when I think about it, I’m probably the least qualified person to talk about riots since the last one I was in was after the Habs won the Stanley Cup in 1993, and my presence there was purely accidental; at the time, I lived only a few blocks away from the Forum, old home of the Habs, and I just happened to get stuck in the post-game parade on my way back home after work.
I was also fresh off a plane coming from France and didn’t have the slightest clue what exactly it was that everyone was so fervently celebrating. All I remember was getting a little paranoid when, after marching down the street for about ten minutes with all the happy campers, I saw a guy smashing a store window with a beer bottle.
I’m plenty aware that there is more than one method to do things, but personally, I find that the best way to enter a store is by walking through a good old-fashioned door. Simpler, quieter, cheaper and just as efficient. But hey, that’s just me.
So after I saw the store window collapse, I had an impulse to get out of the crowd and make my way home through an alternate route, which is exactly what I did. Once there, I parked my ass in a comfortable armchair in front of the television and watched a show called “Breaking News” which just happened to be broadcasting part of the festivities. And it sure did look like everyone was having one hell of a blast.
A blast with a price tag of $10.000.000.
Far from me the idea of wanting to spoil the fun of a swarm of frenzied hockey fans, but I must admit that all things considered, 10 million bucks is an awful lot of money for a party. Hell, even a single million is quite onerous for what is essentially a BYOB kind of event.
Also, while I was doing research on Montreal’s hockey riots past and present, I came upon a few discussions regarding Wednesday night’s post-game bash, and to my surprise, a lot of people weren’t overly impressed by our turbulent, if enthusiastic behaviour.
Of course, the majority of these whiny folks just happened to be disgruntled fans of loser teams with a chip on their shoulder and a stick up their ass, but among them were a few unexpectedly embarrassed Montrealers, who were writing comments such as: “It’s giving Habs fans a bad name” and “It projects a negative image of Montreal” and so on.
Seeing that I’ve spent a sizable chunk of my life in Montreal, I guess I have become somewhat immune to riots. Just off the top of my head, I can recall no less than two
three five in the past two years. But I’m including the yearlies (the police brutality and St-Jean-Baptiste riots).
So yeah, I’ll give it to you that maybe, we are a teeny weeny bit prone to violence when we’re either happy or pissed off about something.
And that maybe, it was indeed a little silly to destroy a chunk of our city over a hockey game which took place in Pittsburgh.
And that maybe, we should stop indulging in these rather useless quarter-finals and semi-finals riots, which kinda do make us come across as thuggish morons instead of passionate fans.
And that maybe, “Riot City” isn’t the best nickname Montreal could wish for.
However, I will stand by my theory that having an extra 21.000 hockey fans downtown Montreal when the team is playing game 7 on the road was a really. Fucking. Stupid. Idea. Whoever came up with that stroke of genius deserves to be thrown at the hooligans during our next riot.
Speaking of which, when will be our next riot? If/when the Habs get to the finals? Win the Stanley Cup? Make it the the finals but don’t win the Cup? Bets are open.
Maybe there’ll even be one after tomorrow evening’s game, who knows.
Speaking of which GO HABS GO!
And on these wise words, I’m out of here. See you at a riot near you!