Sit Down and Shut Up
By: Eric Amber
It was early March, sometime before St-Patricks day. I remember it was a Saturday because we had a matinee that afternoon. Aytahn Ross was in town doing his winter circus cabaret show called Circo D’Hiverno with Mookie Cornish and a few others.
Aytahn had spent months promoting the event and Theatre Ste-Catherine was a full house of adults and children. We were running behind for trying to seat everyone, getting food and drinks sorted and listening to Aytahn’s mother tell stories about when she knew Leonard Cohen.
On this particular day a man and his two kids kept trying to sneak upstairs to the balcony but as we were using it as a kind of back stage area it was off limits. However, this fellow would NOT take no for an answer and on the third time, I had had it. We were about to begin the show and this guy starts complaining about his seats?
I should point out that Theatre Ste-Catherine is a small venue with a capacity of only 108. In other words, every seat is a good seat. So when this guy starts raising his voice demanding to go upstairs and see the manager, I went into a state of mind I sometimes refer to as ‘autopilot’.
Everyone hates a complainer. Complaining is for bitches. Whether its a restaurant, a retail store or a marriage, if you don’t like something just fucking leave. Don’t complain, because your not going to get what you want and you might just piss someone off.
Well, this guy pissed me off and I let him have it, right in front of his kids. It wasn’t so much what I said, but how I said it. (My mother is a French-Canadian catholic psychopath, so I learned from the best). ‘Listen you’ I shouted, ‘I AM the Manager and the show is starting right now, so you’re going to sit down, shut up and have a good time, got it?’ and I left him there trembling as the clowns arrived to start the show.
The thing about yelling is, that it always leaves you a little worked up, so I stepped outside to take a breather and smoke a cigarette to calm myself. It was a cool crisp winter day but the streets were clear of snow. A moment passed and then I heard it. Off in the distance; a noise. It was a crowd of protesters marching down the middle of Ste-Catherine street with banners and signs. Some were dressed all in black with masks and balaclavas. Others were dressed in full punk uniform with Doc Martin knee highs, studded denim and mohawks. More fucking complainers I thought to myself.
Suddenly two of these kids rushed passed me with a steel drum garbage can and used it to smash the plate glass window of the cafe next door. Glass rained down onto the side walk. Then the protesters ran on to the next block smashing the Subway, McDonalds and the Starbucks. I suppose they had something against coffee and sandwiches.
That’s when the cops turned up. They were in full riot gear complete with body armor, shields, batons and helmets. The police cornered the punks about 2 blocks down then swooped in and beat the living shit out of those kids. I mean they really boot fucked them. In the 10 years I lived there, I think its the only time, I ever saw the Montreal cops do anything resembling work and this they appeared to enjoy.
The whole thing lasted less than an hour and by the time the show inside the theatre let out the sideshow outside was over. The cops and protesters were gone, like nothing had happened. I wondered if I had imagined the whole thing. Even the broken glass next door had been swept up and cleared. The next day I read in the news that the punks had been protesting against Police Brutality and Excessive Use of Force. How very ironic, but hey, that’s Quebec. Fucking complainers.