Sunday, May 29, 2016


Awful weather yesterday, but only because I was caught in it!

Too many days and nights indoors to not do anything about it.

Attended the Capilano Review AGM in the afternoon and an exhibition by Derya Akay and Anne Low at Lucien Durey's Haunt that evening.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


A nice line -- and image -- from a post by "Here every child knows white ptarmigan hides spring feathers."

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Ptarmigan Vase

The Ptarmigan Vase was made in New York City by Tiffany & Co. head jewellery designer George Paulding Farnham in 1906. The vase, which was reported on here and here, is made of metals (copper, silver and gold) from a Selkirk, BC mine that Farnham had a share in. Five years ago the National Gallery of Canada saw enough narrative suet on this bit of kitsch to pay Sotheby's over five times its asking price.

For those interested, you can visit the vase at the Audain Art Museum, where it is on loan for the next three years. Whoever thought to place it next to a Bill Reid, well, the unruly side of me gets the joke (if it was intended as such, which it wasn't, I'm sure), while the compliant part takes issue.

Question: Now that the importance of mining, forestry and fishing have receded somewhat in our provincial and municipal economies, why is no one making art with or about our current engine -- real estate? Where is the real estate stage-play? Where is the real estate feature film? The novel? The song cycle? The visual art exhibition? Are commissioning agents so far up the ass of this current "freak show" housing market as to put a kibosh anything that might draw further attention to it?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

from Nathalie Sarraute's "Tropism V"

Underneath this heat there was a great void, silence, everything seemed in suspense: the only thing to be heard, aggressive, strident, was the creaking of a chair being dragged across the tiles, the slamming of a door. In this heat, in this silence, it was a sudden coldness, a rending.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I wish I could remember when it happened, though the date is unimportant. What is important is that it happened, and that I was with my friends, who were only just contracting their illnesses -- politics, economics, drugs, AIDS...

We had heard about the satellite, though it was no big deal. A broken Soviet (Russian?) satellite would be re-entering the Earth's atmosphere and, in doing so, burning up.

I am not sure if we had piled into R's car, or if we arrived in two cars. Again, it doesn't matter. Point is we were at the beach -- the one between Spanish Banks and Foreshores -- but not Tower Beach. We had made a fire, smoked some pot, and had allowed things to settle in, get dark.

O, who had a long lean body and who worked as a lifeguard at one of the downtown beaches, kept talking about the VPD's new hovercraft, how "incredibly quiet" it was, how they would be using it soon, while B, his life-long tormentor, kept doubting him, goading him.

P left the circle of our fire to rinse something out. On his way back I saw it. Over his shoulder. A long orange line in the sky. It was moving quickly.

"Look!" I pointed.

P looked over his shoulder. Then he said it, "The satellite!" and everybody looked.

Coming towards us -- the satellite behind them -- were four VPD cops. P was now facing them. He implored the cops to look, but there was no way these cops were going to turn their backs on us when it was their job to give us a hard time, put out our fire and sprinkle out our dope.

Later, in Bino's over coffee, I overheard O remind B for the twenty-second time how "incredibly quiet" that hovercraft was, and B just sitting there, looking sicker for the silence that engulfed him.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Main Street

When sitting before the computer is useless, for whatever reason, I go for a walk. And so it was that I set out yesterday for Main Street, where I walked up one side of it and down the other.

This pop-up was popular. Lots inside for the gentleman camper. Of course many of this shop's items will come in handy when most of Vancouver is living outdoors.

Book Warehouse got its start selling books that nobody wanted -- at least not for the 40% mark-up other bookstores were tacking onto them.

This unfortunately titled book is selling for less than the cost its publisher had sought for it.

A few weeks ago I saw in the book bin outside the bookstore across the street from this light post (just left of the green awning)

this book.

Further up the block, at the YWCA Thrift Store, someone with an eye for art, design, fashion and humour is dressing the windows.

At the most southernly point of my walk (Refind was closed) I passed Cottage Bistro, where a couple years ago I stopped late one Tuesday night in search of something to eat, only to find the sixty-something house band struggling to play a song based on a few bars hummed by a tipsy sixty-something patron while the rest of the mostly sixty-something crowd was trying to pick each other up. It was beautiful, man.

For a brief moment in 1981, most of Vancouver looked like this. It, too, was beautiful.

Here is a new statue outside a building whose upstairs advocates on behalf of burn survivors, and whose downstairs is still for lease.

Apart from its dedication, there is no text to accompany this statue. But if there was, it might read like this:

"I'm hungry."

"I'm sorry, Mr Firefighter, but my job is not to feed you but to appear thankful that you have saved me from someone's insurance scam."

And now back to work -- writing a text on, of all things, the Mainstreeters. Below is one of them -- Annastacia -- who, if I am lucky, will be at my local the next time I don't feel like cooking.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Filthy Cloth At Liberty Bakery

Does melancholy have a palliative stage?