Monday, April 30, 2012

Hit and Run Taxi Victim's Got Gingham

30th April, 2012 (Montreal) Seeing as I was the one who shot the first video of the man who got run over by a cab on Saturday night, I want to send my wishes of compassion to everybody involved.

First off, of all the media interviews I've done, only the Radio outlets and French TVA ran everything I had to say. A lot of context has been missed, and much more is still to develop.

So here is my account (I have not edited it as more information on the incident is gathered. I have left comments on the letters section regarding any further developments.)

It began with the slamming of a door, and ended with somebody fighting for his life. The video has over 230,000 hits at time of writing, proving it has compelling power over the viewer.

This was one of the most odd sights I've ever recorded as a journalist, activist and football fan. I've seen riots, frays and all sorts of mob situations and this one had an air about it that seemed all too familiar.

The incident hits home to me for special reasons. First off, the man who got ran down is my neighbour. Secondly, I saw the event from the beginning, where each party was still innocent of so much, still not aware of how much violence they were about to incite.

My first empathy went to the cab driver. The front seat passenger got out, and slammed the door so hard I thought a car had crashed behind me. I had been on my way home from painting a mural with THE STADIUM ART MOVEMENT [see here] and was about to enter my apartment building when the cab driver jumped out of the cab with a furious look on his face. Certainly the door had been slammed extraordinarily hard, and certainly the driver had a right to be upset about this.

The passenger, my neighbour (although I was not aware of it at the time) was possibly at the end of a long night of partying and in what I would describe as a belligerent mood and was in no way intimidated by the cab driver who had now ramped up his consternation into a flat-out yelling match. The passengers friends remained in the back of the car so it would not appear the argument was over payment of fare, just an immediate reaction to how hard the door was slammed.

Perhaps they were being kicked out of the car? But I've since learned the victim is a local in the neighbourhood so my guess is this is where they had intended to get out. Who knows what the atmosphere had been like inside the cab until the door got slammed, perhaps they had said things that the driver had taken offense to? Perhaps they were being utterly innocuous. Only the driver and passengers can say.

There were plenty of people on the street at this time, a popular corner for people coming back from bars and clubs and most of them would have certainly remarked on the increasingly vehement shouting match that was underway, but like me, they would have assumed it was just another late night yell-off that would play itself out. Looking at the passenger and his carefree attitude (he was certainly not going to sit down and negotiate a peace treaty with the cabbie) and looking at the fury on the face of the cabbie, I saw a stalemate, felt a bit guilty for gawking, and went inside my apartment building.

It was 3:48 when I got in. I remember the time, thinking it was much later than I had realized. I puttered around and readied for bed and did enough  (maybe even checked a few emails and texts, turns out my girlfriend doesn't miss me that much) to take at least 8 minutes of time.

The mural at Montréalité [see here] eighteen minutes before the incident
I had my camera in my hand as I was looking at shots of the mural I've been painting.

Then I heard noises of crowd consternation and hoopla from outside. I opened the window and could see the intersection of St-Laurent and Rachel filled with several people chasing the cab. Some of whom were obviously his earlier passengers. My memory is blurry at this point except to say it was obvious that the argument had now escalated so far that a crucial eight minutes of my story is totally missing: the passengers were now being chased by the cab in the wrong direction down St Laurent. Among them were innocent passers-by. The driver gunned the gas south and crashed into the lamppost.
By now the crowd was inflamed and I turned on my camera. Making no moral judgement, it just seemed very likely something even stranger was about to happen. At the very least I felt for the cabbie's safety because at this point the pedestrians were all on the defense and ready to attack. Even random passersby below me who hadn't seen anything yet were assuming the worst in the cab driver, one yelling at me to 'put it on youtube.'
Once the cab driver had crashed his cab into the lamppost my assumption was that was going to be the end of the story--enormous damage had been done so far and whatever grief he'd had with his car door was surely eclipsed by the state of his car now.
Who knows what actions from his former passengers drove him to this state. There was an eight minute gap between my initial witnessing of the door slam and the driver hitting the pole.
Just know that my video represents only 20% of the entire fracas and if you were to simply stumble upon it without context, then it is reasonable to assume it is a group of enraged hooligans trying to catch a maniacal driver. A toxic combination you don't want to have at your wedding.
The eight minutes that happened contain the most potent version of events.
I'm interested to know what the friends of the original passenger did once they exited the cab.
I'm interested to know what the cab driver was requesting from the passenger.
After all, non-violent communication has as one of it's tenets: a request.
There is no use yelling at somebody for doing something wrong. If somebody does something that upsets you, it must end with a request, like "Will you please compensate me for the damage" or "Please, for the sake of my other friends who drive cabs, don't slam the door like that."
In this case, the cabbie felt there was going to be some resolution possible by confronting the door-slammer.

I am no expert in human relations, and I try not to sum up somebody's character by judging them by the way they look, however, looking at these guys, none of them appeared as if  they were ready for a friendly lesson on how to be nice to people.
And that's another thing when it comes to confrontation: teaching somebody a lesson. Nobody wants to be taught a lesson. People want to hear requests. And this is why I posted the video and why it hits home to me. I hate being taught a lesson. I would much rather you ask me to do something specific, like stop behaving in the way that I do because when you see it happens certain feelings stir in your humanity, and as a compassionate fellow human, can I please possibly empathize and relate to this feeling and there for change my behaviour? I don't want to find a booby-trap and hear the claim "Gotcha!"

That'll teach you, yeah?

So back to Saturday: when I saw the fury in the eyes of the cabbie, and the response of the pedestrians after being hit, I felt compassion for each side, based on my knowledge of them in more innocent times, just babes in the woods, only eight minutes away from changing their lives forever.
Again, I re-iterate my prayers and thoughts for both the driver and the victim. I wish each side had known when to blow it off and release the catch.

Why is this posted on Got Gingham?

Well, I am an artist and a story teller, and this did happen. At first I was reluctant to run the footage, thinking it might be exploitative, or slant the story, and certainly by many of the comments many people have been jumping to ridiculous conclusions worthy of the toilet wall.
That's not for me to stop. As a former journalist, I believe in the law of the commons and the love of humanity.
Only a few hours prior to this incident, 15,000 student protesters marched across the same intersection. I watched the hundreds of policemen and riot cops, feeling their tension, ever-alert, waiting for something to kick off. All about us was one giant form of social control, twitching and ready for a flare-up (all the recent student protests gripping Montreal right now have been calm).

Then not four hours later, here at the corner of St-Laurent and Rachel, left unsupervised, our citizens are totally free to act as they choose with total credit for the consequence of their actions. This is our freedom we have in not living in a police state. Yes, we can police ourselves, and in this case, many of the witnesses did act as bona fide Justices of the Peace. And once the victim was hit all hearts and minds went to thoughts of his safety and preserving his life.

What's more, we might complain about the cops and the State and talk about repression, along with the brutality, violence and division in modern "civil" society. But when we mess around by ourselves and break things, we still have to call Nanny to fix it. We certainly weren't going to call a bunch of hippies like me. The citizen response was immediate.

I don't judge anybody here.

I wish the judge would see that the cabbie was panicking and reacting to something that happened in that 'crucial eight mintues' between door-slam and lamppost smash.

Certainly he didn't drop off a bunch of cub-scouts, and certainly the passengers and others who joined in ganging up on the cabbie were acting violent and out-of-touch with civilized behaviour, but in this case, because I saw them before it all happened, I just wish they could turn it back to the point where they just let it go.

The cabbie could have held his tongue when the door got slammed, then shouted "Glass Bowl" at them as he drove off, while the passengers might have given them the jolly middle finger and yelled something abusive back... and that would have been it. The passengers would have got to their next meet thinking what a great night it's been so far, and the driver would have got home to his wife later, and asked how his night had been  and would have said something along the lines of "Oh, you know, ma petite cherie... un samedi soir comme d'habitude."

I stick up for the cabbie, and I stick up for the passengers. I picked up the camera AFTER many people had been seen and heard calling 9-11.

What we are really needing here is a change of consciousness.

Jonathan Himsworth,

of Got Gingham and the Stadium Art Movement.

Latest from:
CBC[see here]
CTV [see here]
G & M [see here]
Gazette [see here]
La Presse [see here]
Huffington Post (CP) [see here]
GlobalTV [see here] and  [here]

Further commentary by Nathalie Collard (La Presse) [see here]

Friday, April 27, 2012

En Masse and CUL-DE-SAC lead the way in Gingham Street Styles

It is not the end of the's a reservoir of Gingham.

27th April, Twenty-twelve (Montreal) Got Gingham has been taking time out to get you more street action. How about this shot on Boulevard St-Laurent in the Friperie District? Cul-de-Sac is one of four shops in a row that sell vintage threads to the discerning masses on The Main [see here]. Vintage this, vintage that... all very good as long as you Got Gingham.

Robby's Got Gingham at Salon En Masse:
Robby is told to move in front of certain pics to make them look better.
 Meet Robby. He was at galerie Pangée for the Salon En Masse [see more] where he was supporting peers and colleagues by sporting his best Gingham. Thanks Robby, you've made an incredible contribution to the world of art.

More from Salon En Masse:

If you're going to stand behind Chris Dyer, sneak up in Gingham
Michel always wears his Gingham to En Masse events.

If you're going to check out a Frédéric Chabot, do it in Gingham.

Woman-about-town Talibah is there just for the Gingham. Looks like she's found what she came for.

Control Experiment: here's what it all looks like without Gingham, or "Chris Dyer Naked", what ever gets us more hits.

Tyler's GOT GINGHAM for Montréalité Mural pose!
Tyler sports his Gingham in front of the new mural going up at Montréalité [see here] by the Stadium Art Movement.

Today's caption "Now Elevated to Art Gallery Status" was brought to you by En Masse, the city of Montreal's urban arts collective.

Got Gingham? Send it to

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

IT'S A GINGHAM THING! Special Transport and Romantic Relationships Edition...

NYC-style Gingham Scarf in a VW181 means no roll bar required on this THING.

Classic in a classic.
17th April, Twenty-Twelve (Montreal) Spring has arrived with a gust of fresh air and what better way is there to soak it up and put the wind in your hair than taking to the road in your top-down convertible? But not just any convertible, you don't want to look like some mid-life crisis hoax trying to compensate for something lacking. No, you want to go forth in style, panache and grace. Take our man here, in the Foodie District of Montreal heading off for dinner somewhere... He understands that Gingham is a thing. And since riding around with Gingham is a thing, might as well make the convertible you ride around in a Thing [see more here].

More spring time Gingham Getters on the move in Montreal with places to go:

Long Strides mean one thing: he's getting more Gingham.


"Hey, I'm on Got Gingham again... yeah, they're desperate."
"Got my Trucker Cap  but I'm walkin' all the time."

Gingham puts springs in your steps
No skating around the fact he's got Gingham.

With Gingham, there's no walking backwards.

Philly-style drop shadow Gingham Shorts--the first spot of the season.

Some people drive...
Some people wait for the bus...

And others head down to the Metro and ride the rubber rails.

She's just parallel parked...

While she's paying for more parking...

Yet this guy is one step ahead and relying on foot power to save fuel.

Gingham Travelling On Bikes:

Coolest cat in town, hands down. Already has five girlfriends after wearing this shirt.

So this guy tries to copy him, and gets the same result!

Meanwhile, some riders just don't want a girlfriend...

Here the Gingham protects against attacks from rampant females.

Coolest chick in the neighbourhood makes herself even more out-of-reach with this Scooter Pie [see here].

Today's caption "It's a Thing" is brought to us by the Oxford Student Dictionary and a collection of street-dialect researchers at the University of Wisconsin.

Got Gingham? Send it to

Don't forget to vote best blog for Best of Montreal [see here].

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Got Gingham's on board with Board of Ed.'s Gingham

When the Dean of the Engineering faculty gives you that look, your only response is to put on some Gingham.

10th April, Twenty-Twelve (Montreal) University conferences can be pretty jam-packed affairs, with whole bunches of academics scurrying around making all these feature presentations and networking so they can each put the other in their next set of footnotes in some prestigious journal out there. That was the case last month at McGill when yet another conference rolled through town, this time for the EGSS [see here]. This time delegates were treated to a good ol' knees-up at Thomson House where the up-and-coming band Board of Ed. gave it to them large. With a pun like that for a name no way were we going to let go of using the same pun in our headline. Talking about puns, take a look at their guitarist--Rodney. Yes, he's got a Ph.D or something like that just like the rest of the band, but it's NBD, as they say in the marble halls of Academe. Ok, yes he punches higher than his weight when it comes to playing guitar, and sure... he has to kick groupies out of his office while he's trying to mark some more papers... but the real reason everybody is here today is because the Board of Ed.'s got some of the most severely under-rated singers in the country, and it's musicians' Got Gingham.

Nelson's Got Gingham!

With this kind of Gingham she's just put us in a half-Nelson.
Meet Nelson. She only wanted us to use her last name, and because she is a celebrated person in these parts, we could only show a portion of her lovely face. Oh, yeah. The only reason she let us take this pic was because we told her it was an art project and that we aren't raking in tons of cash exploiting her image. So in essence, my message to all you Gingham Getters, please stop sending me all your cash, this is an art project.

Boulevard St-Laurent is awash in springtime Gingham:

Who walks her bike for her? The Urban Super Hero in Gingham.

Big Gingham for Big Thing'em.

Outside Just for Laughs this one just for Gingham.

Multi-hatch Gingham proves he's an expert.

Gingham keeps the walls from falling down.


Cupcake culture is going back to it's roots.
Violet Gingham is the hallmark of the Eighth Wave.

Scandale on St-Laurent needs help selling its classic Gingham:

Vendeuse demandée? [see here]
More like Gingham demandée if you were to ask us.

Yossi on St-Laurent is also getting busy:

The pride of Montreal's Little Italy.

Ten minutes later they'd drawn down the blinds: Yossi take care of their wares.

Making a case for Gingham [see here].


"Yuri, table seven wants to take a look at you again. Just go out there and say hi, could you?"
"Ok, forget about the food, just stand near the counter and attract customers."
 Here's Yuri. He works down at Cafe Neve, keeping this country running by giving the patrons what they want: a warm smile, a decent cup of cawfee and some prime Eighth Wave Gingham with which to soak it all down. He'd even let you mop it up with it.


"Once I leave NYC, I'm heading to  Café Névé in Montreal" [see here].


Gingham Suits and "Who are you's-so pleased to meet you..."
With the MLS all the rage right now and the Mile-End Crucial Crew fan group in Montreal having adopted Gingham as their uniform it's great to see a new member of their gang: Posh Spice is seen here at the Airport ready to christen her son a fan of the mighty Montreal Impact. It seems Harper left his curiosity in New York.

Today's caption "Pun intended" is brought to you by all those lazy writers who have no right to say "Please forgive the pun" otherwise they would have edited out the pun in the first place.

Got Gingham? Send it to

Monday, April 2, 2012

Salvatore Rules Rue Ste-Catherine In His Gingham

Salvatore is trying to quit smoking, but his job is just too easy. As for quitting Gingham? Not that simple.

"Hey, check out Salvatore over there!"
2nd April, Twenty-twelve (Montreal) Rue Ste-Catherine in Montreal is one of the more famous streets in the world [see more]. That's where we met our friend here Salvatore, which means he is one of the more famous Salvatore's in the world. Taking a break from his job of simply having to duck watching the Gingham fly off the racks at Zara [see more], Salvatore wanted to say hello to all you springtime Gingham Getters getting ready for the sunshine. Very few can carry off this look of Gingham shirt and tie, but on St-Catherine Street, anything goes. We soon spotted a crowd of guys heading after Salvatore and trying to adopt his 'look.' Can't blame them. Want to, but can't. They've Got Gingham.

Another Amazing Source of Gingham:

Justice Pirate is one Gingham Dreamscape after another [see more].

Baby, You Can Drive My Car:

Thank our man "Ray:)" over at Pbase for this sweetie pie. No wonder this Beetle is smilin' --it's Got Gingham.

More Gingham in the Springtime:

Sometimes staring down at a spot on the pavement requires a bit of stylish embellishment.

Shouldering the blame for the Gingham proliferation.

Gingham is on the hood.

Chilenita's in Montreal is packed with Gingham and empanadas.

Students on St-Laurent back when there was snow... and Gingham

Gingham outside Patati Patata in the Rachel Foodie District.

More Gingham with Talibah in the Foodie District, this time at Romados.

Further down Rue Rachel: Cafe Neve is a hotbed of Gingham.
Trade Secret #46...How do we get these shots? Talibah pretends to strike a pose...

Another Hoodie in the Gingham Hood. This time it's the Mile-End Crucial Crew.

Another meeting of the Crucial Crew at the Nouveau Palais around the corner.
Jenny Kang shown at All The Pretty Birds, a source of an enormous amount of Gingham [see more].


This just in:

Old Believer's Brendan Birkett [see more] warming up for his April 9th show at Casa del Popolo [see more].
Old Believer? When it comes to Gingham we're called Brainwashed Cult-members.
Skeptics disperse when a close-up view reveals the REAL THING. Now they believe in Gingham.

Got any Gingham? Going to the show on April 9th? Send it to

Today's caption: "Who said that?" is brought to you by all of those people who make us paranoid.

* Asterisk's have no meaning at Got Gingham.