I’m sitting in an uncomfortable Stalin-esque chair at Montreal’s Royal Victoria hospital having just witnessed the birth of my second daughter. Every parent says the same thing, but in my case it’s true: she is perfect and the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen since her big sister. The chaos has subsided, and the screaming and crying – tears of pain and of joy – is gone. I’m on my 5th coffee watching the sun go down on my beautiful city, next to my beautiful wife and beautiful daughter.

I’m calm. This is very much unlike me. My first child’s birth required me to receive oxygen as well, taking precious molecules away from my wife, even if for an instance, as though I were Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall gasping for air on a futuristic 1980’s Martian landscape. Maybe it’s because I’ve been through this before. Maybe it’s because the staff here are very polite, helpful and have done their best to make our stay as pleasant as possible. Or maybe it’s because I don’t have a gig tonight.

Scheduling has never been my forte (‘Goddammit!! I thought that was next week!’ is a classic at my house), but adding a child to the mix ups the ante quite considerably. Now, I’m supposed to honour my engagements, shows, rehearsals, studio gigs with two kids!? I’m so fucked. I down another frat-boy sized mug of coffee and try to calm myself down. I have a great support system: large ethnic family; everyone will want dibs on the kids, especially the shiny new one. Then, there is my wife who is on mat leave until next year! Ok, not so bad….I’ll be fine….shit! When did this 2016 date get on there!? Nunavut!? Are you fucking kidding me!? Ok, relax…breathe.

NUNAVUT "Iceberg resolute" by Arctichistorian01

“Iceberg resolute” by Arctichistorian01

My friends with real jobs don’t know how good they have it. Normal hours, regular pay, knowing what the going rate on a T-Bone steak is. But me, I’m a free bird, like the song says: “I must be traveling on now, ‘cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see”. I fly where the wind takes me — mostly to northern Quebec — but I fly nonetheless. I can feel my heart rate go up. Will I be able to make every show? Will I be able to make the mortgage? Will the bands and singers I’ve been accompanying replace me with a young stud? A hipster guitar slinger with skinny jeans and a hot girlfriend who takes black and white pictures of other hipsters in skinny jeans with hot girlfriends?

I gotta get the hell out of here. I gotta make some calls. I’m available this weekend! I’ll figure something out, my wife will understand. I’ll post something cute on Facebook like “just had a baby, anxious to get back on stage” Yeah, that should get the word out. I need to remember to tag my friends and link it to twitter and Instagram. Am I on Tumblr? Better not take a chance and sign up. I grab another coffee and plan my marketing campaign. By the end of the night, all of Montreal will know that I’m still in the game and I’m available to tour, record, whatever. Heart rate is really racing now; must be the passion I have for my job…



I’m about to get up and get some air when I glance at my new daughter. My wife is resting with our baby in her arms. My eldest is with my mom having the time of her life and playing with her cousins. The Royal Vic floors, normally a perfect fit for a Walking Dead episode insert, are magnificent. A perfect off-white linoleum. The walls are battle-scarred; each black rubber stain tells a beautiful story of a new life, of a mother whisked to the maternity ward to breastfeed her newly arrived bundle of joy. And then I remember I have the best job in the world. One I’ll never be late for. One that will never replace me, because there is only her, only them. The others can wait. I’ll just need a few more coffees first.

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About The Author

Collaborator - RREVERB

Andre Papanicolaou is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter, producer, touring and session guitarist. Over several years of recording and touring with other artists (Vincent Vallières, Daran, Pascale Picard Band, Patrice Michaud), Papanicolaou began to carry around a notebook and write down a series of essays. He brings to RREVERB a unique point of view: the one of a professional musician.