Montréal, May 2017

After a tour of the Northeastern states, where I was able to complete that pointy corner of the United States Map, Seth and I continued our Flogging Molly tour road trip to their Sunday night show in Montréal where I decided to acquire a Montréal tattoo. Canada has ten provinces and three territories, and I have now been tattooed in two of them. I doubt I will attempt to acquire all thirteen, but I know I want a Vancouver tattoo as well, so I could already be well on my way to doing so. The drive to Montréal from Portland was just over five hours and would take us back through New Hampshire and Vermont.

It was quite a display of New Hampshire’s “live free or die” motto when crossing into Vermont we were reminded to put on our seat-belts, a law that every state but New Hampshire has. We also saw a sign at a convenience store that May was M&M month, so we spent some time trying to think of candies for every other month. Some months, like Junior Mint June and Jelly Belly July, were easier than others, but we got them all. It was a gorgeous day and we were able to see some beautiful scenery along the way, but it was quite hot outside and after about four hours, Seth and I had just about enough of driving. We passed through the border without incident and entered into the land to the north in a predominantly French-speaking region. I learned for the first time that Montréal was actually an island surrounded by the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, which widen into lakes at various points around the island.

I had been to Montréal as a child when my father had a chemistry symposium there. Because he was in meetings all day, my mother and I would spend the time wandering around the city. We would inevitably find a park and sit on a bench to people watch while my mom would knit. Therefore, for Montréal, I wanted to get a tattoo of a park bench, and integrated into its decorative wrought iron back, the Montréal logo, which is comprised of four red hearts.

I had made an appointment with a traveling tattoo artist at Anger Ink, who does a lot of geometric linework, but he decided to not show up that day, so instead I was handed over to the owner, Yan Del, who incidentally was the artist I had wanted to work with in the first place. Seth and I arrived at the shop and I met Yan, who did not seem to know what he was going to be tattooing on me. Considering he was assigned to me three hours before, I was a little disappointed that he did not have the drawing ready. We had dinner reservations with Flogging Molly Cruise shipmates before the show and I still wanted to check into my hotel. We had arrived at the shop early so that we did not have to rush around the city and yet of all of our plans, which went so smoothly with every other appointment, encountered a speed bump.

Yan asked me to show him the design I wanted, which I had sketched out previously, and we sat at his computer and designed the tattoo together. This was a very unique experience and I would have enjoyed it much more had I not been in a hurry. We chose a bench, which he then manipulated to include the logo and add some grass around the feet. It took quite a long time, which was annoying to me, and I think frustrating to Yan because I was not giving him precise enough instructions. But even with the slight language barrier, his ego, and my negativity, we finally came up with a tattoo design.

Yan placed it on my ankle and got to work on a rather tough spot. Seth said this was the first time he saw me show any sign of pain, but for me, the ankle has always been the worst. I asked Yan how long he had been tattooing and he said two months, which I did not believe, and it ended up not being true, but the way he was praising himself along the way, I nervously thought it might be. In the end, I thought the tattoo looked a little flat and the ironwork on the back of the bench looked a little thin to me. He also missed one of the arms on the bench because the vertical piece of it is not actually connected to the back. Yan does really good work generally, and it was quite surprising that this tattoo came out a little off.

In the end, the tattoo looks fine, but I know I was rushing the appointment and that is not a good attitude to have going into a tattoo, whether giving or getting. After the last tattoo of the trip, it was time for me and Seth to go to the last show of our trip. We met some shipmates out for pizza before the show and as good as the pizza was, I was disappointed not to have some proper French food, especially as I was coming from a pizza-centric city. Luckily, I managed to have some excellent poutine after the show, so that made up for it. The show itself was packed and it was unbearably hot inside. There was no room to dance, yet we all looked like we had been in the pit because of how sweaty everyone was. It was a spectacular show regardless as the audience went all out. I was standing upstairs watching from above and it looked like the entire ground floor was one gigantic pit, instead of the usual circle up front.

After the show, we went to a really cool bar, called Les Foufounes Électriques, or “Foufs,” with an incredible selfie bathroom. It was one of those spots where I wanted to go back as soon as I left, but the poutine and my bed were calling my name as I had an early flight home. My Montréal tattoo is not my favorite, but seeing all the shipmates made up for it. All in all, my road trip with Seth was a really successful Tats on Tour trip. It was full of great friends, fantastic shows, and new tattoos filling some difficult spots on my body with souvenirs and filling my head with memories. Thank you, Seth, for an amazing adventure!

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