the Vee Gates archive


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acoustic guitar

At the end of a balmy August in 1985, the Vee Gates singer Pete Forrest crazily quit his dream job as a cleaner at London, Ontario's Holiday Inn (where he saw Buddy Rich standing against a wall just before his death) and then unexpectedly moved to Quebec City with only his acoustic guitar.  He still blames his move on reading too many Jules Verne stories late one evening and needing adventure à la francais.  After a long bus ride from London to Quebec City,  Pete showed up, totally bewildered at a youth hostel in the old city.  He could not speak a word of French and had abandoned the idea of learning it since Grade 8.  However, a guy from France found him a room in a basement for rent with other students from Laval University.  Pete then struggled to learn French in the historical neighbourhood of Sillery where the Quebec monk, St-Ambroise brewed the first beer in la Nouvelle France.

Still, the beer facts about the renown monk did not help inspire Pete and he became depressed in that basement in Sillery. 

 Daniel Dumais, Ghislain Fréchette drinking in Quebec City... (circa 1985)         
Happy Laval University Students:                          Jean Beaudoin, ex-army, drinker, French 
Daniel Dumais, Ghislain Fréchette                         Embassy staff who taught Pete how to drink
drinking in a basement in Quebec City                  quality French wine and be a Canadians fan!!

Lounging in pajama mode with Marilyn Munroe looking on and surrounded by the favourite sons of Thetford Mines and Amqui... oh là là!   Notice the Marilyn Monroe poster  - a motif that eventually ends up on the Vee Gates guitars in Montreal!

Jean Beaudoin boit son vin rouge français à Sillery

Jean Beaudoin, ex-army, and a man who took his drinking seriously taught Pete the etiquette of red wine-drinking in the basement in Sillery.  What Anglo from Ontario could be in better hands than from this happy man?  ;-)   hehe

However one dreary afternoon, one of the other students from Thetford Mines (Ghislain Fréchette) decided to help Pete translate the Vee Gates song "Among the Ruins" into French.  Pete had played him the English version on guitar and Ghislain decided to cheer him up and translate the song he could sing it in French.   Though, it is not the type of song to actually cheer anyone up in any language!  

Dans les ruines

Une nuit d'hiver
J'ai marché dans la rue
J'ai vu un ciel de feu et rouge de lumière
Une femme perdue se tenait devant moi
Toute tachée de rouge sur sa robe de soie
J'ai mis une bague à son doigt et je l'ai embrassé
Plus personne pour nous voir marier
La mort venait de passer

Que pouvons-nous plus voir?
Que reste-t-il à voir
Une femme marche toute seule dans les ruines
Aucune place pour la nuit

New York était détruit et Moscou était en feu
J'ai vu des russes aller se baigner dans une mer d'eau glacée
Un éclair de lumière j'aperçois quelque chose
À la femme que j'ai mariée qu'est-il donc arrivé?
Je l'ai regardé entrer dans le feu
L'image d'un ange perdu dans la nuit tombée

Qu-est-ce que j'ai vu le ciel rempli de feu
Qu-est-ce que j'ai la vision d'une femme

Aucune place pour la nuit
Aucune place pour la nuit

English mp3 recording done in Montreal

(translated by Ghislain Fréchette from Thetford Mines September 1985)


Au revoir à la ville de Québec!