Everyday Cyrille Esteve sets up his workplace on the corner of two streets right smack in the middle of downtown Montreal. Better known as the Spoonman, Esteve sits all day long play the spoons. Actually they are not your run of the mill dinner spoons, but wooden crafted spoons made by Esteve. He also sells his creations. At best the Spoonman is a tourist attraction, at worst an annoyance given the repetitive nature of his music.
But at some point Esteve must have done something very wrong to somebody because he has faced numerous attempts to shut down his livelihood. Some years ago the powers that be at Ogilvy’s, originally a department store with deep Scottish roots, now a series of high-end boutiques and shops, tried to have him moved. They claimed the sound was intruding upon their meetings.
When the city of Montreal organized buskers they told Esteve that spoons were not considered to be instruments. And now they are telling him that he cannot park himself in the same place all day, but must move at least 60 meters every hour. The Spoonman says that is impossible given his age – he is in his mid-sixties – and the nature of his rig.
“They said they would seize my stuff,” Esteve said. “That’s the first time something like that happened.”
I’m not sure why this guy irks some people, but I hope not too much police attention is wasted on bringing him to justice. Last evening there was a shooting – a fairly rare occurrence in downtown Montreal – about a block away from the Spoonman. I would like to think police resources are being focused on that incident rather than a busker.
Could it be that the Louis Vuitton folks, who have a boutique in the Ogilvy’s building, feel he is encroaching on their business with his handcrafted spoons? I suspect not!