Photo: Shoot Studios Martin Girard
Photo: Shoot Studios Martin Girard

Matt Zimbel: A Medium Rock Star Writes...

I was shocked to learn the Quebec government does not consider conga playing an essential service, so I am on lockdown in Montreal.

I’m sheltering in place, in a hand sanitizer scented, suspended animation. Like many of you, I’m CERBing it, yes, spellcheck, that is a word now, though I’m not sure for how long.

As I reflect on my pre-pandemic problems I realize, well, they weren’t problems at all. They were petty annoyances, they were mere distractions.

I think of the solitude of my single friends in lockdown. I am fortunate to be sheltered in place with the singer Lyne Tremblay whom I love dearly.  She was to release her second CD on April 24, now on hold till…um, yeah – any ideas on that? 


Since my partner is also an artist, we have gone from being a DINKS household– Double Income, No Kids. To a NINKS household – no income, no kids. Oh man, I hope my bank doesn’t read FYI before the line of credit is locked.

I look at my family to assess the covid-19 impact on careers: One brother runs an event rental company. Another brother is a wireless audio specialist in the entertainment field who has toured with Shania, Taylor etc., one son is a restauranteur with three highly respected and closed restaurants. One stepdaughter is a make-up artist for film and television and the other an event producer. One niece is a chef. That sounds more like a collateralized debt obligation bundle in 2007 than a family.

My youngest son is a full-time musician. His approach to lockdown is unfolding with the discipline of an Olympic athlete.  He is a multi-instrumentalist and practices five to six hours a day. He is currently working on a series of Bluegrass tunes. They are fast and he wants to play them faster, so he sets the metronome a notch higher every day, so he can scientifically measure his progress. I no longer ask him how he’s doing – I simply ask; “dude, what’s your BPM?”

Everyone is wondering how the government is ever going to repay the aid they are forwarding us to get through this crisis.  Well, I’m no economist, but I do have my grade nine and it is very easy to see their fiscal strategy; sales at government-run liquor stores and cannabis dispensaries across the country are up more than 100% over this time last year.

Canada, we’re locked and loaded.

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