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For the next series of several posts, I’ll provide an interesting way to introduce you to a number of well-known personalities in Québec, as well the topics they find themselves about when alone in an intimate one-on-one setting.
Radio-Canada airs a long-running radio program, “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” (translation : “The other day, at the table beside me…”). It airs nationally, once a week, across the country. The program brings two well-known people (or people of various spheres of society) together, over a meal in a restaurant, and then records their conversations. You, the listener, are listening from the vantage point as if you were eavesdropping from the next table.
- Note if you’re learning French: There are several ways you can say “eavesdropping” in French. There is no one single translation for the word. You could use a metaphor and say “Écouter aux portes” (“listening at the door”). You could also say “Écouter de manière indiscrète” (“tactlessly listening”. In this case “indiscrète” has two meanings in French. In English, it only has one meaning: “indiscreet”. But in French, it can mean both “indiscreet” as well as “tactlessly”. In this context, it has the latter meaning). Many people may also just say “Écouter” (listen) – which is what I tend to say. People will know the “eavesdropping” context if you say you are “listening” to the table beside you.
The personalities chosen were generally not friends prior to meeting for the pre-arranged one-on-one meal. It’s quite interesting to listen to them discover each other – their similarities, interests, and differences. They really make an effort to “click”. What gives the program its authentic feel is that the microphones capture the conversations in an “eavesdropping” context, rather than an “interview” context (this format facilitates randomness and spontaneity).
What I especially like about the program is that it makes an effort to match two people who would naturally hit-it-off over a meal, and thus not hold back in the topics they discuss. Because they match each other so well on the personality or life-experience front, conversations can become quite intimate, revealing, and surprising. More often than not, the conversations are captivating, to say the least.
Here is how we’ll approach the next few posts: For the next few posts, I’ll present to you some of the more notable personalities who appeared on the radio program in the past year. I’ll present each personality as their own individual post (example two personalities = two posts, with each post providing a short biography of sorts). I’ll then offer a third post, giving a brief summary of the on-air conversation the two personalities had, as well as an official link for that particular shows’ recording so you can take in the entire conversation (the official online recording may particularly be of interest to Anglophone Canadians who are learning or trying to improve their French).
What you’ll likely get out of the next several posts: Québec, like other regions across the country, has extremely interesting, generous and very personable people. “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” is a wonderful program which allows us to experience this kindness, friendliness, and passion of Québec’s people from all walks of life. What I hope to do through the next few posts is allow Anglophones across Canada to also partake in this experience – to allow Anglophone Canadians across the country to meet various people from Québec and share in the intimacy of their thoughts and conversations in a way which Anglophones may have not otherwise have (especially if there is a language or distance barrier). I’m sure that you’ll agree, after a few posts, that Québec’s people are what makes Québec’s society so rich, warm and authentic. You’ll also see that you share much in common. Like Anglophones across Canada, Québécois, rely on the goodness of their own personal character, upbringing, values and best efforts to get through life – and to make the lives of their families, those they care about, and other around them as best as possible.
So with that, lets get right into it and meet our first personality 🙂 .
Patrice Roy :
A few months back, we briefly ran into Patrice Roy in the post “Political interview series of major Federal party leaders”. I mentioned in the post that Roy is a well-respected journalist. He has an interesting career and personal background. He also has an array of intriguing life-experiences — some of which have caught the public’s attention on numerous occasions.
He is the main anchor for Radio-Canada’s Montréal supper-hour evening news program (you can probably tell I’m from the Prairies because I use the word “supper”. Hahaha. I stubbornly refuse to use the word “dinner”… which often garners me a number of strange looks here in Ontario 😉 ). Prior to this, Roy was Radio-Canada’s Ottawa Political Bureau Chief. He has held other positions as a television presenter for Radio-Canada programs over the years, and you’ll regularly see him on television across Canada on the 24-hour news channel RDI.
One notable life event which brought him a good deal of public attention (including an appearance on Tout le monde en parle) was an attack on his convoy in Afghanistan. He was doing foreign correspondent work for Radio-Canada in Afghanistan, reporting on events related to the war and Canadian soldiers. His broadcasts were seen in French across the country. In 2007, his convoy was attacked by the Taliban. Two Canadian soldiers, who Roy was accompanying, were both killed. Roy’s Radio-Canada cameraman, Charles Dubois, lost his leg in the attack, and Roy had to heroically step up and try to help save the lives of his compatriots. It was one of those rare moments in the history of Canadian journalism where journalism meets real life, and the journalists become the stories themselves – sometimes under the most unfortunate and trying of circumstances. Charles Dubois continues to work for Radio-Canada today in Ottawa.
Patrice Roy is also associated with his very famous late father, Michel Roy. His father was a well-known journalist in Québec. He was later a political counsellor for the former Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney. Michel Roy also served as Canada’s ambassador to Tunisia.
In the earlier post “Political interview series of major Federal party leaders”, I stated that Patrice Roy does an amazing job of maintaining journalistic neutrality in his reporting. I have no idea what his own political colours may be, and nor do I care – simply for the fact that he maintains complete objectivity and neutral rigour througout his journalism.
In the next (second) post we’ll meet Charles Lafortune; the person who will share a meal and conversation with Patrice Roy. The (third) post, after that, will give a brief synopsis of the conversation between Lafortune and Roy, as well as providing official links for “L’Autre midi, à la table d’à côté” for you to listen to the conversation yourself.
MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES