Faces of Montreal |  Write, smoke, drink.  Smoking, drinking, writing.

Faces of Montreal | Write, smoke, drink. Smoking, drinking, writing.

A universe trash. A lovely author. A Montreal character from Granby. The author Akim Gagnon leaves no one indifferent. Inspired by excerpts from his book. The cigar on the edge of the lips., published last winter, our photojournalist Martin Tremblay accompanied the writer on a night trip, full of alcohol and laughter. Because the border between the tumultuous life of the character in his book and his own life can sometimes seem enigmatic.

Posted at 7:00 am

Martin Tremblay

Martin Tremblay
Press

As the wound of my separation from Charlotte turns into a scab that reinfects itself with nothingness, I gradually become a character: the survivor. Or the walking dead. A thin, coked, alcoholic and totally lost Akim.

Extract from Cigar on the edge of the lips.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

Akim Gagnon is finishing his new novel, which will be published in 2023 by La Mèche editions. His balcony in the Villeray neighborhood is one of his favorite places to write.

It is always the provocation that guides all my ideas. I walk the water with my feelings and I don’t delve into anything. Basically, what am I trying to say in my first few pages? that I am an alcoholic? That I’m slipping and losing control of my life?

Extract from Cigar on the edge of the lips.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

The cigar has become a favorite accessory of his character. Akim likes to smoke it while he listens to Leonard Cohen’s music and drinks beers from Quebec’s microbreweries.

I want to smoke to clear my mind. I look at my cigars. Although I now know that karma does not exist, I still smoke a $40 Cuban cigar for fear of setting my house on fire with a $9 Don Tomas cigar. I light a Hoyo de Monterrey. I look at myself in the mirror. The smoke distorts my face. I feel like I’m suddenly three hundred years old.

Extract from Cigar on the edge of the lips.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

Not wanting to sober up, Akim mixes himself a “7 and 7”, a cocktail that Paul McCartney drinks during the filming of the documentary. Return. The recipe is simple: several ounces of Seagram’s 7, an inexpensive whiskey, poured into a can of 7 Up.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

He and his brother Karl (VioleTT Pi) love to play pool together. They love the darkest taverns in Montreal. Karl and billiards occupy an important place in Akim’s novel. Karl is more than a brother to Akim. He is his best friend. A fusional relationship that is priceless for the author.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

The brothers finish their beer stocks before leaving for the Au Pied de Cochon restaurant. The evening is well watered for the two accomplices. Karl and Akim discuss where their artistic creations come from. They don’t have an answer. One day, Akim wanted to write. He writes. Karl composes music and writes lyrics. It will be his third album next year.

Au Pied de Cochon restaurant. As soon as I walked in, I felt good there. Rare are the places where I have the impression of leaving my heavy coat of anguish in the locker room. […] I will remember all my life the first time I passed through the restaurant to get to our table.

Extract from Cigar on the edge of the lips.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

The Au Pied de Cochon restaurant became Akim’s headquarters. A place where she found a touching friendship with chef Michael “Mike” Picard Labelle. Akim is in the personality of the place. She always had a lot of admiration for owner Martin Picard. A place where excesses are welcome.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

Who is the real Akim? Is the character the author? Is everything true in his book? A question that remains unanswered. But that’s what everyone asks the author, without ever getting an answer.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

The night is off to a good start. Akim is drunk. He and his brother will tour the bars of rue Saint-Denis to end this trip.

I go out and take a deep breath. Montreal is a bit hectic the way I like it. I feel like an adult for once in my life. I see the buses go by on the white light and the cars stop at the red one. I cross the street My first steps as an adult. I walk without the help of my psychiatrist, Clémentine, my parents, my brother, my friends and my shell. I’m taming my new balance.

Extract from Cigar on the edge of the lips.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

The night ends in an alley on the Plateau Mont-Royal. Both brothers will have a busy 2023. A new novel for Akim Gagnon and a new music album for VioleTT Pi.


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