Screw Project Noise

I just wanted to express how strongly I agree with and support last week’s editorial piece on “Project Noise” [Vol. 31, Iss. 4, Pg. 23].

As a resident of the Plateau, I have spent the summer plagued by construction noise in my neighborhood from the early hours of the morning.

Personally, I would almost rather live next door to a music venue if that meant I wouldn’t have to listen to the nails-on-a-chalkboard-like noise and excessively loud Quebecois back-and-forth yelling from the crack of dawn until dinner.

More importantly, I am very concerned, as one who loves and frequents the music venues in the Plateau and Mile-End, that this extortionist practice of excessively penalizing the venues that help make our city’s music scene so unique and dynamic could potentially suck the life out of the scene.

I’ve seen it happen.

The city where I was born, Portland, Me., used to have a decent music scene, up until around the time I was a young child.

My father was a very active musician and the house sound engineer at Zoots, one of the hottest music venues, where bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and The Melvins played during their early tours.

Some of my youngest memories are of Zoots, but one day, it closed down because of the excessive noise ordinances and encroaching fines.

Some of the other smaller venues, like the one where my parents met, ended up shutting down as well. What decent smaller venues that remained are unable to sell tickets to anybody under 21 because of restrictive alcohol laws.

The majority of the “music scene” was killed along with those venues. Throughout my teenage years, it was very rare to be able to see a good concert unless you were either going to see a massive, corporate-sponsored tour at the Civic Center or if you could get a ride to Boston.

If this so-called “Project Noise” pushes the envelope much further, I fear that Montreal could go down the same route, alienating its artist population and staunching the creative force that gives this city so much of its appeal.

There must be a way for us to speak out against it and save our music scene from this intrusive movement. If we don’t organize against it in some way, we may be facing the same artistic death.

—Natasha Young,
B.A. Creative Writing

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 05, published September 14, 2010.