(On gèle dans le Mile-End mais on gèle en beauté… with Yberê B)

One of the joys of making Elska Magazine, at least in its early stages, is the freedom to choose any destination imaginable for the setting of each issue. Perhaps later, if we’re lucky (in a financial sense), there will be sponsorship opportunities that constrain locations. Of course, at the same time, being in the early stages of making Elska Magazine means that there isn’t the sort of budget to go too far from base. But when the budget is there, Montréal is probably the top of my list.

I’m a real lover of winter, the kind of guy that will assert that -20C isn’t all that cold, and who will complain that +25C is practically oppressive. Perhaps it’s cos I live in a place, London, that almost never gets snow (or certainly not real snow). Perhaps it’s because despite spending most of my life in London, I was born in a particularly frigid place, Chicago.

I spent a summer in Montréal back when I was at university. It was required for the French part of my degree to live and work in a French speaking place. Rather than choosing France, however, which was just a few hours away by train, I chose Canada. France seemed too ordinary to me. Québec was more unknown, more cool and definitely more cold.

A few months ago I got into a cycle of listing to the back catalogue of Ariane Moffatt, the most indie of Québec’s pop daughters (she is neither Céline Dion nor Mylène Farmer). One of the tracks is “Hiver Mile-End”, which I adapted into a shoot with the Brazilian-Dutch dancer Yberê B. On his fingers in the photo above you’ll see some little rings, made of plasticine. It’s inspired by the lyric from that song which goes “un coeur en plasticine qui bat comme un vrai” [a plasticine heart that beats like a real one].

If I do make it to Montréal for an issue, expect lots of inspiration from Ariane Moffatt. Check out her song “Hiver Mile-End” here:

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