-- My Beat --
18 July 2001. Montreal, Canada.

Found on:

Anything Anytime Anywhere, Singles 1979-2002 (2002) [compilation album]

Rumours of Glory - box set Disc 7 (2014) [compilation album]

Past the derelict mattress
and the overgrown pavement
over the tracks
and through the hole in the fence
Past graffiti-bright buildings
and the junkyard alarm bell
and the screaming police cars
and it's all present tense
It's my beat
In my new town
Past the drunk woman reeling
with her bag of provisions
Down through the tunnel
with the stink-fuming bus
On to the bike path
where it's something like freedom
and the wind in my earring whispers
Trust what you must
It's my beat
In my new town
Ancient and always
The wheel's ever whirling
Today I'm riding
Tomorrow I walk
Step through forever
into this very moment
The heart is pumping
and the heart rocks
It's my beat
In my new town

Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

  • 3 December 2001

    He introduced 'My Beat' as a new song about his new hometown, Montreal, and how it would appear on his new album of "secret hits" as record companies demand a few new songs as a measure of "future good faith". He spoke of it being written from a bicyclist-around-town point of view.
    -- from comments made at the Landmine Benefit Concert in Detroit, Michigan. Submitted to the project by David Komjathy.

  • 3 December 2001

    Dave Einstein: Tell us about the new single "My Beat."

    Bruce Cockburn: For the most part itís pretty literal. I moved to Montreal last March and itís about me riding around Montreal on my bike. On another level itís about being in the moment, appreciating the here and now.
    - from "Ready For "Anything" From Bruce Cockburn", Gavin, 11 December 2001.

  • 2 March 2002 - Commenting on his recent (at the time of publication) move to Montreal from his long-time home in Toronto

    "It's six hours closer to Vermont than Toronto is, and Vermont is where my girlfriend lives. But I also needed a change. I wanted something different."

    On biking around Montreal

    "It's how I get around it is a little hairier here than it is in Toronto, but I've ridden my bike in Manhattan and nothing can beat that."

    "Everything is different in Montreal because of the French-English cultural division. In ways that are hard to pin down, it affects everything that happens here."

    "It affects the way everyone looks. There's no place I've been where everyone looks like they do in Montreal. Also, the fact that the immigrant population, so much of it has come from former French colonies, which is different from anywhere else. In France, it's probably the same, but they don't have the English presence. That's one of the things that makes Montreal unique."

    Commenting on conversing in French

    "'s not what I had hoped it would be by now. I can survive in French and I can read it reasonably well. I have a big collection of bandes dessin?es that I practice my French with."

    "But I'd hoped by moving here that I'd be using it all the time and be able to go beyond the survival stage and be able to carry on an intelligent conversation. But so far that hasn't happened."
    -- from "Cockburn fits right in: songsmith finds himself at home living in Plateau", Montreal Gazette, 2 March 2002, by Brendan Kelly.

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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.