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This post can be useful for you if you’re learning French, if your French is already at an intermediate level. In this post, I’ll offer you a summary of what the subjects of our last two posts spoke about; Patrice Roy and Charles Lafortune.
You can also listen to the conversation yourself. For learners of French: Without translating the entire show, I’m providing you with summaries of various parts of the show. The summary below is in chronological order. You can use the summary as a “crutch” to try to stay on track. It might be able to help with your language learning, and can fill in the holes as you move through the diaglogue.
The radio show “L’Autre midi à la table d’à côté” is the brainchild of François Legault. Regardless of where you are in Canada, you can listen to a new episode, with new people, during weekdays from 11:00am to 12:00. It airs nationwide on Radio Première (you’ll have to check the internet to see where Radio Première falls on your radio dial in your part of the Canada).
The web-link for the Patrice Roy – Charles Lafortune audio episode can be heard by clicking HERE.
- Charles Lafortune is introduced as having been the host of many shows; La voix, impro, comedy, variety. In his 20’s, he appeared on various youth programs (Watatatow, Tam-tam, etc.).
- Patrice Roy = the chief anchor of the Téléjournal de Montréal. (Montréal’s nightly RC TV newscast).
- Roy – Is a father with twins. Both Roy & Lafortune speak about how children tend to view the world, and how to relate the world to their children so children can understand the world.
- They speak about how growing up in working families affected their personalities.
- Lafortune said he can live with the idea of not having a job in front of the camera precisely because he’s able to take pleasure in other aspects of work. Roy agrees because he says he too loves the behind-the-scenes aspect of preparing for the work day. However Roy said he still loves being in front of the camera and presenting.
- Both agree they are under tremendous public pressure owing to the information age provides them with immediate public feedback, both good and bad. They speak about how they attempt to adjust themselves to deal with such pressures. Lafortune comically says that if someone tweets him a criticism, his way of “dealing” with it and with that person is to re-tweet it to 90,000 of his followers – which usually takes care of the problem 😉
- Roy says that when he was a news bureau chief in Ottawa, he felt the need to “shake things up”. He chose to take a flight to Afghanistan, and pursue his national reporting from there. He spoke about the fear he felt, in a very human sense, when bombs fell around him and his crew, injuring many people (including his cameraman who had to have his leg amputated). Roy had to step up to the plate to help. He also spoke about post-traumatic stress and how his thoughts have changed on numerous topics.
- Roy speaks about how his upbringing in a journalist family influenced his own work style and work values, as well as his values towards journalism.
- Lafortune speaks about challenges he has in raising an autistic child in a family environment (he has to pay attention to many small things, such as having to remain standing when watching hockey games on TV at home so as to keep an eye on what his child is doing). He talks about his biggest anxiety in life, which isn’t his television career, but rather what will happen to his child once Lafortune passes away (he’s worried it could happen sooner than later, as an early heart attack, etc.). He speaks very much from the heart about quite intimate subjects in this respect.
- They both speak about Roy watching his father’s health deteriorate and eventually pass away (his father was Canada’s ambassador in Tunisia).
- They speak of their thoughts regarding how they physically appear on television and what value they give (or don’t give) to it, and why. Lafortune’s first faced public criticism in his 20’s when he say an article about his entitled “Good Looking, but Insignificant).
- Patrice Roy admits that all television managers he knows in Radio-Canada consider viewership numbers important, and this has a bearing on individual’s behaviour and decisions within the organization, just it does in a private company such as TVA (which Lafortune discusses).
- Lafortune admits that most of the successful TV productions he is involved in are often most often modeled after those in the Netherlands and Israel (rather than being home-grown ideas. Nor are they modeled after American productions, contrary to what the public may believe).
- Lafortune speaks about the delicate situation he ran into earlier in 2014 when presenting La Voix the night before the last provincial elections. The show that night was watched by over 2,700,000 people, it was produced by Julie Snyder (the wife of Pierre Karl Péladeau, PKP), who himself was running for election. He talked of having to be very conscious on stage about how he said things (so as not to be perceived as taking political sides). (Note for reader… this whole issue regarding PKP, and the influence his role as Québecor’s owner has on the media, is currently a very serious debate in Québec. Here we hear an on-the-ground 3rd party account which shows it is a consideration which is making some pretty big celebrities feel uneasy or feeling they’re walking on egg shells).
- Roy speaks of some of his thoughts when covering political matters… and how he approaches certain issues. He also speaks of his thoughts regarding individuals he has interviewed. (It’s quite interesting to hear his personal thoughts in this sense, since he has to play a completely neutral role on air). Lafortune then jumps in with some of his own thoughts regarding how political parties and politicians tend to behave. He speaks about what gets on his nerves.
If your French is at a basic or elementary level, do not get discouraged if you find Roy and Lafortune are speaking too fast. I’ve studied a few languages, and I know that it can be frustrating when you can’t understand everything, or you feel the dialogue has left you behind as you’re still trying to figure things out. But you’ll find that, with time, the more & more you listen, the more words will take anchor in your brain, and you won’t have to always stop and try to figure out what’s being said. Stick with it and give yourself a pat on the back… after all, you’re further along than where you were 1, 3 or 5 months ago 🙂 .
MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES
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
The snow finally let up, and you know the sun is out when the sidewalks of Montréal are invaded by… well… holiday elves and raindeer (you know, just the usual same old, same old…) 🙂 (and no… the pic is not of Marina Orsini, unless you think I look like her… which I don’t! lol 🙂 )
This post is about one of those actresses who has filled some of the best known roles in Montréwood television drama series.
Marina Orsini is currently a radio host of one of Montréal’s more popular easy-listening radio stations, Rouge FM. But she’s better known for her roles in some of the hottest, and highest rated TV drama series of the past 20 years.
One such series was Lance et compte, about a fictitious hockey team and the lives of those associated with the team. The series was aired over the course of two eras… an initial block of seasons on TQS (now Télé-Québec) in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and then as a come-back series on the TVA network from 2006 to 2012. Its TV viewership rarely dipped below 1,000,000 viewers, and on occasion it would surpass 3,000,000 viewers.
Marina Orsini was also one of the main stars in the TV drama Les filles de caleb which aired on Radio-Canada in the early 1990s (as well as in France). It was about a fictional family’s rural hardships in early 20th century Québec. This program is said to have attracted one of the highest television viewer audiences of all time in Québec, surpassing 3,600,000 viewers (with only La Petite Vie, and Star Académie having garnered more viewers). In France, an average of more than 4,000,000 people followed the series.
I personally was a big fan of her other series; the Radio-Canada drama series Urgence which ran from 1995 to 1997. These were my first couple of years in university and there was a small group of us who would occasionally get together in our university dorm to watch the weekly episodes back in Edmonton. It was set in a Montréal hospital, and featured the dramatic lives of hospital staff.
Orsini also starred in many other television series of varying degrees of success.
In the “Qui êtes-vous?” family history program, she traced her family roots to Italy, the US, Ontario and Scotland. This was one of the episodes of the program which, again, debunked the false belief that Québécois and France geneology are synonymous with each other. You can’t get much more Québécois than Marina Orsini, despite her having no French roots. The episode of the program featuring Orsini was particularly touching – her mother was suffering from cancer, and just before her mother passed away, both Orsini and her mother made the on-camera trip to Italy to find their roots – one of the last major mother-daughter moments they spent together.
When Orsini was speaking to Scottish genealogists in the episode, I was surprised to notice that she didn’t have a French accent when she spoke English (she spoke with a Standard English Canadian accent). Only later did I find out that she attended high school in English in Montréal – I found that quite interesting. I’m always impressed when I see people who can effortlessly transcend the linguistic divide in this manner.
You may recall I previously mentioned Les 2 minutes du peuple in an earlier post, “Montréwood Radio”.
Considering the last two posts were regarding human-created animation using computer technology, I thought it might be appropriate to speak a bit more about Les 2 minutes du peuple, which uses digital audio enhancements to make the series.
This is humouristic series, running 2 minutes per episode on the radio (Radio NRJ), which has become a cultural mainstay in Québec (it’s difficult to think of a day when Les 2 minutes du peuple may not exist). It’s not unusual for people to ask their colleagues first thing in the morning at work if they happened to catch the latest episode of Les 2 minutes du peuple. It’s also hilarious to look out your car window at other drivers on the road when an episode is on air, and to see that everyone around you also laughing at the same time. This show really is Québec.
It’s creator, François Pérusse has become as famous as the series. In each episode, Pérusse acts as the voice for all the characters in the sketches, who are interacting with each other in hilarious scenarios. To add to the humouristic dimension, the series integrates no small amount of joual (Canadian French slang), and digital audio technology is used to speed up the voices and alter their tones. You might get the impression two chipmunks are going hard at it from all angles (arguing, conniving, having fun together, or worse! – whatever Pérusse dreams up), and you can’t help but laugh.
At 25 years, this series is truly one of the unmatched masterpieces in Québec and Canadian comedy history. It is now broadcast in three other countries in Europe (Switzerland, France and Belgium). For the sake of safety, you may actually want to turn the radio down if you have to choose between driving your car straight and safe, or risk laughing hysterically and weaving like a drunkard.
The latest episodes can be heard by linking to NRJ’s official website HERE.
Apart from the free episodes on NRJ’s above website, François Pérusse has several comedy albums for sale on iTunes and through other platforms. Please do not pirate and stick to official sites (Pérusse works his butt of to make the world laugh – so repay in kind and compensate him for his work). Our artists form part of our cultural fabric.
In the broad sense, pop-culture can come to mean anything that is, well, “popular”. One thing that has been popular since the beginning of time has been the expressing of one’s opinions, and debating the opinions of others.
Talk-Radio has become the premier medium for populist debate, ranging from topics of local, provincial, and national interest. Because many Québec-specific hot-button issues can often bring out the strongest of positions, talk-radio in Québec attracts a very large audience and a wide range of topics.
Canada’s English airwaves have some very well-known talk-radio stations (some of the more popular ones are Edmonton’s 630 CHED, Toronto’s Newstalk 1010, Saskatchewan’s News Talk 650, Halifax’s 95.7, and of course CBC Radio One).
Québec also has several very popular French talk-radio stations… perhaps even more popular with Francophones than what English radio is to Anglophones in other regions of Canada. When hot-button topics are debated over the airwaves in Québec, people off air seem to continue to talk about what was discussed on air (television talk and news will sometimes carry on a discussion which was started on the radio). Thus, Francophone radio hosts tend to hold sway. If they’re not also career journalists for the written press, they’re often former politicians or well known columnists. Some have become cultural institutions unto themselves, having been on air for decades of live talk and debate (the Peter Gzowskis and Dave Rutherfords of Francophone radio, if you will).
What’s also interesting about Québec talk-radio is how specific stations and shows tend to have a place on the political spectrum. Some feature middle-of-the-road information and inquisitive talk (ICI Radio Canada Première for example, with more focus on politically-neutral current events, arts and informative programming than private broadcasters). Others stations have hosts who may be more left-wing, more right-wing, more sovereignist, or more federalist – and they sometimes transmit their views through their selection of invitees or how they direct debate.
Another interesting feature of the more popular Québec talk-radio stations is that tend to be networked between several cities, much like television networks are (versus a tendency towards syndicated programming in Anglophone Canada)
Whereas local talk-radio in other parts of Canada will often feature topics of importance to Canada at large in addition to local interests, Québec radio has a much higher focus on Québec-specific topics, Québec politics, and much less focus on issues of national concern shared with Canadians outside Québec (unless those issues are weighed against Québec-specific topics as part of a debate or expression of opinion). Language is an obvious barrier which gives rise to the Québec-centric nature of its talk-radio – an unfortunate byproduct of the vestiges of the Two Solitudes. But I’ve noticed over the years that Radio-Canada has made some efforts to balance-out its own lop-sided coverage of issues (particularly in the last couple of years after some pointed criticism from various sources such as the CRTC, Guy Fournier, etc. that Radio-Canada has not been fulfilling its “national” mandate, which can play a role in causing the public to feel detached in both heart and mind from what’s important in Canada). Unlike Radio-Canada, private networks, which carry the bulk of listening audiences across Québec, are under no pressure to balance things out — but I’ve noticed that a small number of popular radio show hosts have taken the initiative unto themselves to play devil’s advocate from a Canadian national perspective when Canada, as a topic of debate itself, is in the hot seat.
As I said earlier, Québec talk-radio attracts very large numbers of listeners (you’ll even often witness people listening while at work). It therefore shouldn’t come as much surprise that the “populist” side of it reflects the views of society, as much as it influences the views of society. Having a microphone is having power – and those with the mic can have an influence over the way people vote. I personally have noticed that voting tendencies (federally, provincially and locally) seem to align quite well with what’s being discussed over the air waves, and how it is being discussed.
If you want to get a snapshot of what’s on the collective mind of society in Québec, I’d highly recommend you take in bits and pieces of Québec talk-radio. Often, certain topics which are important issues both in Québec and elsewhere in Canada are approached from a very different angle in French. Hearing these different views might make you think about a topic in a new light which never occurred to you before. It could possibly even change your views. Or it might entrench your views even more, and you may be enticed to call into one of the radio shows yourself (in French of course) to express to listeners that there might be another angle from which to view the issue.
I personally believe it’s very unfortunate that a long-standing two-way language barrier has prevented dialogue between Francophones and Anglophones on issues of mutual importance. From listening to Québec talk-radio, it’s often more-than-obvious the core values between the two groups are the same or extremely similar (in many ways even more so than shared values between Anglophone Canadians and Americans), but the way in which those values are translated into actions and laws can be quite different – and the language barrier doesn’t help in narrowing those differences. For this reason, it’s important for both language groups to participate in, and learn about the topics being discussed within each language group.
30 years ago… even 15 years ago, it would have been impossible for someone in Kelowna or Gander to be able to hear the views of the common person living in Drummondville, or le Plateau in Montréal. But those days are behind us. Talk-radio is now live-streamed over the internet, can often be played back at a later time and date, and can be downloaded as MP3s. Anglophones anywhere in Canada can now listen to, and understand what’s important to Francophones (and vice versa); what is different for both sides, and what is the same.
I’m going to offer you a selected few, but wide-ranging French-Québec talk-radio recommendations, covering a good range of the spectrum of views. I won’t say where I necessarily feel any of these stations or their respective shows fall on the political spectrum… that’s not important. What’s important is that you listen with an open mind and open heart. People’s views are based on their own experiences, exposure and reasons … that’s why every individual’s views have validity — regardless how different they may be from your own. Like I said earlier, who knows, your views may change because you may find you had certain misconceptions regarding Francophone Canada, or you may want to play a part in changing the views of others by calling in yourself, if you believe others have misconceptions about you (talk-radio wants to let you have a voice – that’s why they broadcast their phone numbers and email address).
- ICI Radio-Canada Première, Federal Public Broadcaster based in Montréal (the French equivalent of CBC — Radio-Canada is carried over the air in most parts of Canada, but its internet site is a great source to listen to past broadcasts). Click HERE for a link to their page with shows that can be streamed (click on émissions at the top of the page).
- Radio 9, Montréal (private station belonging to the RNC Media network). Click HERE for a link to their website. You can listen live, or you can listen to playbacks.
- 98,5 FM, Montréal (private station belonging to the COGECO network). Click HERE for a link to their website. You can listen live, or you can listen to playbacks.
- CHOI 98,1 Radio X, Québec City (private station belonging to the RNC Media Network). Click HERE for a link to their website. You can listen live, or you can listen to playbacks. I must say, they have also done an EXCELLENT job of creating a super-easy-to-use APP for your iPad, allowing you to choose previously broadcast shows and topics dating back a few weeks. This station, and its sister station in Saguenay, have some of the largest radio audiences in all of Québec. It has been referred to many times as being one of the more politically influential stations in the regions where it broadcasts (ie: the Eastern half of Québec with the largest Francophone demographics). If you’re learning French or trying to approve your French, of all the stations, this is the one where you will encounter the most Joual.
I think you’ll find it an interesting experience browsing through the content these stations offer. Have fun with it, and Bonne Écoute !!