55 Rue Guilbault Ouest

That’s my door on the right. I was 19, back in Montreal after several loops around the continent. I rented this place for forty bucks a month and lived there about a year before moving on to Toronto, Detroit, Vancouver, San Francisco, and back again. Seems like it was a year-long bacchanal involving non-stop jazz, dirt-cheap wine, marijuana, hashish, half the night-dwellers of Montreal, English and French, meals of Greek bread and cheese, exotic beauties, homeless poets, bums, juvenile delinquents, scholars and professors of science and art, folksingers, drug dealers, runaway girls from Ste Hyacinthe and Cote des Neiges, secretaries, Lebanese strippers, fugitives from mental asylums brainwashed by CIA-funded crackpots, swingers, homosexuals, separatists, anarchists, eggheads, meatheads, geniuses of art and philosophy and a thousand other types to numerous to recall at a single sitting, all engaged day or night in endless debates on endless topics, spontaneous eruptions, stupors, jokes, dancing, eating, drinking, smoking, fucking, and talking talking talking. Medical students screening pornographic movies on beatup old projectors, art students drawing and painting on walls and sheets of stolen plywood, lighting fires, screwing on the floor to Ray Charles, and people showing up any time, night or day, three in the morning, dawn, noon, midnight. By the end, the phone was out, the power was out, no heat, no food for days on end and one day I had Serena cut my hair, took a bus to the highway, stuck out my thumb and was gone.

This is a more recent shot of the same location pictured above. It was posted today by David Saxe in his photoblog.

A reader writes:
I was trying to remember the address of the house you had near the McGill campus and it on your website, 55 Guilbault. I remember walking into the kitchen one day and seeing a gigantic rat dive off a chair through a big hole in the floor, into the basement. The furniture was sparse (I recall a couple of large mattresses leaning against the walls), there was an expensive-looking stereo system on a buffet and on one wall there was a pencil sketch of a young woman giving buccal blandishment to somebody’s footlong. That was cutting edge interior design in the Sixties.

It was actually an etching, by the legendary Vittorio Fiorucci

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One Response to “55 Rue Guilbault Ouest”

  1. george ferenci/ ferenczi

    I’d like to know more, a lot more about the “fugitives from mental asylums brainwashed by CIA-funded crackpots”, “separatists, anarchists,” and the “geniuses of art and philosophy”. What year was this? I lived on Drolet off Carre St Louis in the 80s.
    I used to be a regular at Claude Chamberland’s Cafe Melies, Cinema Parallele, Also lived on the 6th floor of the Cooper Building, next toi Marie Chouinard, for a while. A lot of dancers used to go there: Louise Bedard, Edward Lach and his O l;a la Human Steps, including Louyise Cavalier… What could you tell me about the Hungarian butcher’s Corvin’s, Hoffner’s on St Larence and Prince Arthur, the Delbab Sport and Book store, the Gul Baba, Sunshine Garments were there along with the social clubs the Hungariam the Szeky, the St Istvan, the Takacs Dining-Room and the Romanian Bucharest opposite Moishe’s. Very interested in Hungarian Montreal stories. Best to you and thanks. George

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