Monday, February 14, 2005

Photo: Foufounes Electriques- regulars, Montreal, 1983

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When the Foufounes opened its doors in 1983, it was a tiny upstairs hole in the wall on St.Catherine St. near de Bullion. A pretty rough neighbourhood, full of street people, junkies and hookers. I always felt safe- figuring that no-one would bother me if I looked determined enough and wore big black boots. If you go to the Foufounes today, the original bar’s entry is now an emergency exit, stage right of the dance floor. The East wall bar on the second floor was the entire Foufounes! I actually preferred it then, as it was essentially our little clubhouse. My friend Beaudoin took me there for the first time, the day before it opened as the Foufounes Electriques, or, Electric Ass. It replaced a short lived club called the Zoobar, and before that, Les Clochards Celestes -- The Heavenly Hobos. There was a slippery gay guy called Renaissance who was around from the start and according to
John Sobol’s personal account
, must have been one of the Fouf’s originators. I’m sorry to say I never photographed him or his constant companion, who were quite memorable and true characters. His influence meant that the club attracted punks of a wide range of sexual orientation, which made it a very interesting place to hang out. I will always remember Renaissance dancing in the most prominent spotlight on the dance floor, arms stretched towards the light like the aging diva in Sunset Strip, his rhythm completely self-absorbed and oblivious to any changes in tempo around him. Renaissance eventually left Fouf to start a health food cafeteria, and became the first person in my acquaintance to die of Aids. It’s hard to imagine now, to have lived in a world before Aids. The sexual revolution of the 60s would never have happened if Aids had reared its ugly head a couple of decades earlier. It has left us forced to contemplate Death as we fuck. Which changes everything. It comes as no surprise that needle-play, body modifications and S&M dominated the punk/ underground scene in the years following this revelation. It is sad to think that all of the generations which followed mine will never know the kind of sexual abandon we experienced- some of us, anyway!


My hallway- note the rare Crash n’Burn poster… the first underground punk club in Toronto, which was the practice space for the Diodes (and possibly the Dishes too.) At any rate, I saw both bands play there in ‘78. Some idiot eventually slashed to death my precious poster from the wall for no apparent reason.
Beaudoin became the person who finally convinced me to cut off my hair- and then gave me a terrible hack job which inspired strangers to spit on the ground in front of me. I had literally holes in my head, which I filled in with red dye for effect and because there was really nothing else I could do to improve upon it! The worse part was, he left me the following day for Berlin and his other love, leaving me ragged on all counts.

Across the street from the Foufounes, where there used to be a fence- 2 Foufounes punk girls on St.Catherine St. Montreal (Linda & Linda by Linda)


Below are the ever eccentric Fouf coat check girls (!), Olivier and ? These are my earliest foufounes photos. (Not surprising as it opened that year!)

manteaux foufilles
manteaux foufilles

Hennessey eventually moved back to Montreal from Toronto, where he'd been a fixture at Pages bookstore. He died shortly thereafter and is buried in the Mont Royal graveyard under his real name, which I have forgotten. Hennessey was discovered dead of an overdose under a tree in Parc LaFontaine by his friends. It was during a performance of "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". As a result, I can't bear to hear the (newer) Green Day song on the radio, as it reminds me of the futility of his death and horrendous irony of it where it occurred. I attended Hennessey's funeral, where I learned to my surprise of his other "real" name. It felt as if I was attending the funeral of a complete stranger. The priest took the opportunity to berate us all for contributing to his demise and suggested we were also heading there ourselves. Damnation and such swirled over us. He'd never met Hennessey in life, or us prior to this, and I resented his assumptions immensely. I thought it disrespectful towards the true qualities of a very sweet man who had died an unfortunate, untimely and ultimately tragic death. I knew Hennessey only as a casual friend, but will remember him always as a charming, beautiful and unique individual. The photos are the only ones I took of him and the setting, the bathroom doors at the Rivoli in Toronto, reminded me of coffins, His costume that of an undertaker. Or disconcertingly, a corpse...


About Me

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Linda Dawn Hammond,MFA, AKA Dawn One, is a photographer and journalist. As a teenager in 1976, she began covering music events for various magazines. During the late 70s she became involved in punk, documenting an insider's perspective of the music, political and social scenes in Montreal, Toronto, NYC, the UK and Europe, included in this blog as photographs and commentary. Linda Dawn Hammond continues to work as a photojournalist, specializing in music, cinema, art and politics. As a fine arts photographer, she has exhibited in galleries in North America and the UK, and published widely.