Escaped grey-ceilinged Vancouver for two nights in Victoria, where this afternoon I will visit my former Film and Literary Theory prof Stephen Scobie to look at his bpNichols for possible inclusion in an exhibition I am curating at the Belkin Gallery this January on concrete poetry.
Not much has changed since I left Victoria in '86, after completing a Bachelor of Arts degree. Southern Cook Street, where I once had my morning coffee and washed my clothes, has fattened, and now goes by the name of Cook Street Village. The area just east of the Empress Hotel, a narrow shelf dotted with large houses where nuns once lived when not working at the hospital, is now condos. As for the people on the streets, fewer old folks, and more young ones, sunny ones, but also tough upcountry kids bursting out of alleys, beers in hand. Somehow these kids have more in common now than they did then.
I am sure where I am staying has bearing on my perspective. Usually when I come to Victoria I stay at the bucolic James Bay Inn, only this time the Inn was full, and I am at another Inn, this one at the grittier north end of the city, Paul’s Motor Inn, where, as a student, I spent more than a few late nights at her diner, drinking coffee, eating French fries, arguing with long haul truckers over the examined life, how it is worth living.