A Farewell to the Mirror
Sometimes, the name of a publication is relevant.
Words like “Post” and “Gazette” and so on don’t mean much to us anymore, but, like The Link, which was so named because it was created from a merger of papers from each of Concordia’s two campuses, the Montreal Mirror was just that—a mirror for us to see ourselves in, a reflection of the city.
However muddied and dirty it could sometimes be, it was a way to see the city, to take the pulse of the people living around you.
One of the first thoughts I had upon hearing the news of the death of the Montreal Mirror, effective last week, was—as I tweeted it—“who will tell us what’s best in Montreal next year, you guys.”
The Mirror’s annual Best of Montreal poll was great for that, as was the Rant Line. We got to see angels and insects, movies, bands, and ads for all manner of sex workers. Whatever it was, it felt real. And now it’s gone.
What do we have left? We have the one remaining French-language alt weekly, Voir , obviously, and I imagine Montreal’s bilingual anglos will (and should) start picking that up when their Thursdays feel a little undercooked.
We’ve got Craigslist, which is sort of like the Mirror without any actual articles.
Montreal’s universities have got a bunch of great student papers. Their mandates are to focus primarily on campus-centric affairs, but in the absence of the Mirror, it’s hard not to imagine they’ll be covering the other stuff that the Mirror would have in yesteryear.
And hey, who knows—maybe The Gazette will even start to pick up some more alternative stuff.
It’s possible—it wouldn’t surprise me—that a new publication, online more likely than in print, will crop up in the next year or two to take the Mirror’s place a little bit.
Theoretically, there should remain some advertising revenue; Montreal’s anglo community may be a small percentage of the city as a whole, but it still numbers close to half a million. If Halifax can support an alt-weekly…
There aren’t many numbers to crunch, unfortunately; the hole the Mirror left behind is still a little mysterious. After flipping the kill-switch with a press release, publisher Quebecor replaced the paper’s website with an Editor’s statement that none of the Mirror’s higher-ups had written.
It’s a move that feels calculated to cut down on backlash; a one-last-issue from the team behind the Mirror, whose job often involved cutting sacred cows down to size, doubtless would have involved some degree of snark, whether open or not.
In any case, the city is poorer this week with no free anglo alt-weekly on the stands. I know we here at The Link will try our best to make up for its absence in ways that we can, but I know that it’ll be a loss we’ll all feel in different ways.
Not having a Mirror doesn’t mean you’re not there anymore, but damn if it wasn’t a good indicator of what concerts you wanted to go to, what movies you ought to check out, and what all the other crazies were ranting and raving about. We’ll miss you, Mirror.
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