Montreal Mob
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Today, the second Montreal Flash Mob. It was absolutely great fun, a break from the every-day, an opportunity to live life differently. Transcendent? No. Silly? Surely! Arty? I guess. Elitist? Perhaps. But probably the most fun twenty-five minutes I've had this week.

Julian, Neale and I arrived at Else's early, in time to sip upon $3.50 cranberry juices and speculate about the other mobbers lurking in the shadows. At five, Julian noticed the appropriate party wearing "two hats" (as our emailed instructions had indicated), and we obtained our orders. Make our way to Prince Arthur and De Buillon, drawing chalk arrows to point towards the destination. Arrive at 5:25. Spend three minutes drawing twisty crazy point arrows like madmen. Then disperse. Ta-da!

The mobleader handed us each a stick of sidewalk chalk, and we were on our way. Loop-the-loop arrows, straightforward ones, dashed arrows on the sides of buildings. It looked like we were going to arrive too early, so we rounded a couple of extra blocks. We noticed others drawing their arrows, and soon there were swarms of brightly-coloured markers traced all over the pavement, all pointing to a single (still-empty) spot.

And then at 5:25 an explosion of activity as suddenly there were 30? 50? 80? people dashing about on their hands-and-knees, making a madchaotic mess of lines and arrows and circles and smiley faces. Prince Arthur is full of patio-sitters on Sunday afternoons, so we pointed arrows at them, we pointed arrows at their feet, we pointed arrows at other arrows, at pot-holes, at nothingness. When asked questions ("WHAT ARE YOU DOING AND WHY?" was the popular one), people either ignored the questions or acted ambiguous. Onlookers were bemused. Waiters wondered what to do. We simply drew.

At 5:28, poof, we dispersed. Sauntered non-chalante back home, leaving backward-pointing arrows in our wake, till our chalk ran out. Hopefully it'll not rain over night, and I'll go back tomorrow to see what we wrought (and how well it survived). A glorious bit of insanity.

The best part, of course, is that there will inevitably have been men who went to get another drink, women who visited the bathroom, and who were absent during those three minutes when 75 chalkers went crazy on the sidewalk. I imagine them emerging from the greek cafes and upscale ice-cream joints, unable to conceptualize what they see before them, the changes that the street has undergone in merely a few minutes. [photo, not mine.]

There are some things that could be improved upon: we were asked to each bring a dime (presumably to help pay the organizers back for the chalk), but no one collected ours; it also would have been handy to have some lines of scripted dialogue to use if asked about what we were doing - all of the answers I came up with were either awkward, contrived, cruel or stupid. Finally: no one was smiling! Everyone was so committed to drawing their feverish arrows that there was very little giggling, grinning, or collectivity. It was solo work. And I would have loved to feel more laughter. Next time I'll smile enough for ten: I promise.

Posted by Sean at September 15, 2003 1:13 AM

I just happened to see that this page is the #2 result of a google search for 'montreal mob', as you can see here. Congrats.

I think that google puts a lot of significance in the title of pages, which is good to know for optimizing 'n stuff.

Posted by dustin at September 19, 2003 4:31 AM


I just did a search on Montreal Flashmob and found the official site as well as yours. I wanted to join the next one, but I can't seem to email the admins on the site to get info on the next one.. Do you have any ideas on how i can join??


Posted by Jason at November 24, 2003 11:59 PM

I seem to remember your lukewarm attitude toward flash mobs this summer@ PCH, my long-lost cube mate. Or perhaps that was my lukewarm attitude.

Scratch that, it was me. Cranky as usual.


Posted by Greg Smith at December 5, 2003 10:34 PM

grrat text!!!!!

Posted by online equipment auctions at April 29, 2005 2:24 PM

It's so sad that those events disapeared of montreal comunity.

Posted by SplituL at February 17, 2006 6:29 AM

Post a comment

(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny