Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Recent Reading

I was sad to read of the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev (1931-2022). He always seemed like a decent chap, despite the words of those who blamed him for the turmoil that resulted from the dissolution of the Soviet Onion, that enforced, Russian-led Union also known as Empire.

Had the world's most powerful black market been more humanist, Russia might not have emerged as the shit show we know it for today. But markets don't have consciences; they have BIAs. Important to remember that Russian grudges run deep, and the sins of German (Nazi) grandfathers (see Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem) are alive and well in Russians my age -- the very people who hold political and economic power in Russia today. 

In an earlier post I mentioned Amor Towles's A Gentleman in Moscow (2016). Readers will recall 1921 as the year the book's protagonist, The Count, was placed under house arrest at Moscow's Metropole Hotel. Earlier than that (a couple years ago), I posted a couple pieces on Isadora Duncan's autobiography My Life (1928), where the year 1921 figures prominently.

Here's a passage from the last page of My Life:

"In the spring of the year 1921 I received the following telegram from the Soviet Government: 

'The Russian Government alone can understand you. Come to us; we will make your school.'

"From whence did this message come? From Hell? No -- but the nearest place to it. What stood for Hell in Europe -- from the Soviet Government of Moscow. And looking round my empty house, void of my Archangel, of Hope, and of Love, I answered:

'Yes, I will come to Russia, and I will teach your children, on one condition -- that you give me a studio and the wherewithal to work.'"

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Driving Men Mad (1995)

Project Reading Widely is now in its fifth year. The results have been conclusive. Now more than ever has my focus never been sharper. Two passive sentences in a row (the last one idiotic) and I remain ... unconvinced ... of the urgency ... of anything.

Elise Levine is a writer a few years older than me, but we started out together in the '90s, when no one knew what that decade was -- and no, we'd never met. But there (Finally, I thought to myself) at the Sally Anne at East 12th was a copy of Driving Men Mad (1995), and I inhaled it in a couple days.

Everything moves quickly in the stories of Driving Men Mad. There is no lingering, no sustained rumination, for Levine's is an amphetamine tendency that was (or wasn't?) popular among younger writers back then (she was not yet "a Canadian Lorrie Moore," as her current publisher claims her to be).

Of all the stories, "Retiring" might be my favourite, a choice that would be impossible if I'd read it when it first came out. The story is set in that modern 9-5 village known as the department store, on the eve of a Cosmetics clerk's retirement.

My advice to younger prose writers today is to write prose, not fiction. And if speculative fiction is not your bag, write about life as you imagine it might be when you're on the verge of retirement from a job and a national pension plan that will, by then, no longer exist.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Debussy (1936; revised edition, 1951)

Any biography on a classical composer will include mention of a patron (or patroness, if the patron is a she and the biographer is Edward Lockspeiser). Tchaikovsky's patroness was Nadezhda von Meck, the widow of the founder of the Russian Empire Railway and a competent musician (pianist) in her own right. In 1880 she took up the eighteen-year-old Claude Debussy, whom she introduces to the archived world in a letter from Interlaken:

"Two days ago a young pianist arrived from Paris, where he just graduated at the Conservatoire with the first prize [in score-reading] in the class of M. Marmontel. I engaged him for the summer to give lessons to the children, accompany Julia's singing and play four hands with myself. This young man plays well, his technique is brilliant, but he lacks any personal expression. He is yet too young, says he's twenty, but looks sixteen." (24)

Sunday, August 28, 2022

The Last Sunday in August

The last Sunday in August is one of those days of which there are a handful spread out over the year. These are my Je Ne Sais Quoi Days, so capitalized because they are occasions, like Christmas or Hanukkah or Eid Al-Fitr.

What is it about this day? Returning to school was a big part of it. Did I like school? For the most part, yes. But the feelings I had upon returning -- they were complicated in ways that took me years to appreciate.

It's important to sit with what we find complicated. We are lucky to be aware of our feelings. Not lined up beside each other, but marbled. For me, the last Sunday in August is a mixture of dread (for what's coming) and relief (for what's about to end). A Baudelairian condition. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil (1963) 2


A few months ago, while on a break between events held at the North Shore's Cap 5 Reserve, I stopped into Edgemont Village's 32 Books & Gallery to poke around, see what's new. Rachel Cusk's Second Place was newish, and I bought it, though not before flipping through the Globe & Mail Western Arts Correspondent Marsha Lederman's brand new Kiss the Red Stairs: the Holocaust, Once Removed, a memoir that tells of her parents' stories of the Holocaust and the intergenerational trauma that resulted from it.

When the name Fred Herzog (1930-2019) flashed by, I stopped and flipped back to where it might begin and read forward from there, to the turn of phrase that set off Lederman ten years before when, during her 2011 Globe & Mail interview with the photographer who chronicled Vancouver street life over the last half of the 20th century (in colour, no less), Herzog spoke the words "so-called Holocaust," a comment that "stayed with" Lederman ("I struggled with its meaning for many months"), the implication being that Herzog was an anti-Semite, a Holocaust denier. (For the full story on Lederman's reflection on this interview, click here.) 

Is it fair to say that the use of "so-called" before any noun is to cast doubt on the truth of that noun? Maybe today it is, given that the truth is often more an impediment than an asset to those in pain (from the SJWs to DJT and his supporters). Hard to remember there was a time when "so-called" acknowledged a noun that was understood by those other than oneself. One of the greatest chroniclers of the Holocaust -- an event that took the lives of upwards of six million Jews at the hands of the Nazis -- was the Jewish scholar Hannah Arendt, whose Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil (1963) is essential reading to anyone attempting to anything write on the subject. Had Lederman read Arendt's book she would have seen this, on Page 39 of the Penguin edition:

"Nothing's as hot when you eat it as when its being cooked" -- a proverb that was then on the lips of many Jews as well. They lived in a fool's paradise, in which, for a few years, even Streicher spoke of a "legal solution" of the Jewish Problem. It took the organized pogroms of November, 1938, the so-called Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass, when seventy-five hundred Jewish shop windows were broken, all synagogues went up in flames, and twenty thousand Jewish men were taken off to concentration camps, to expel them from it."

Friday, August 26, 2022

Rapacious Capitalist Listening to a Buffalo's Ass (2016)

The CBC has reported that a 2012 City of Edmonton commissioned public art work will be crated and stored because city officials are concerned it could be "misinterpreted" as a "celebration of colonialism." The work, entitled Rapacious Capitalist Listening to a Buffalo's Ass, was made by artist Rodney Graham and designed to stand outside the Stantec Tower.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil (1963)

I've been searching for a book that might speak to some of the anxieties attending our current moment. I am speaking of the movements of -- and towards -- social justice in all spheres of life and the platforms upon which these movements rest and wrestle. So far the book that comes closest is Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil, a book I knew of but had never looked at until recently.

Among the revelations: a proposition that has the need for justice greater than the laws that are said to deliver it. The staging ground is the Western court, and the lead character (Adolph Eichmann) has been positioned in such a way that "his" trial is not simply about the determination of his guilt but the attempt by the new-born state of Israel (led by David Ben-Gurion) to extinguish the anti-semiticism that helped to bring that state into being.

A crude reduction, but that also seems to be what Arendt is taking aim at: not the means by which things happen, but the ends. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Iona Island

It happens once a year -- to all of us. Some love it, others loathe it. Many, like me, are indifferent, though I wish it were otherwise, because the day is not so much about me but a remembrance of what my mother went through. A day that began exactly nine months earlier, hopefully ecstatically, because we all want our moms to be happy.

The picture up top was taken at Iona Island yesterday morning as I was setting out on a solo walk, finding space and minimal distraction in the landscape, in celebration of what I believe to be an interesting life, but also of what lies ahead, or what's left, the mountains being home to the Valkyries, who will take me to Valhalla.

The tide was so far out I decided to follow it, only to find myself standing in the middle of Burred Inlet. The walk back took me down the centre of the island, which was flanked by blackberries. I must have eaten a couple pints of them.

It had been a while since my last visit to Iona. The City of Richmond keeps ridding it of its old structures and historic junk. There is also a plan to create three passages through the breakwater that will allow salmon to spawn in the creeks to the east, at Wreck Beach. I like the sounds of that. But these rocks below, are these rocks parted from the breakwater? Tell me they are not a sign of the rocky road ahead.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022


Each August I produce between 25-30 pounds of Perlette grapes from my 30 feet of grape vine. This year's crop (above) amounts to 28 grapes. Apples are down as well. As for raspberries, while last year's heat dome turned them white, this year's crop was a bumper -- over 30 dry pints!

Monday, August 22, 2022

Walls and Bridges

"'Views of Vancouver is us, I started it,' he told me."

So says developer Peter Wall to reporter Dan Fumano in a Vancouver Sun article yesterday concerning a series of until-recently anonymous ads that alternately praise the city and attack current mayor Kennedy Stewart for his failure to deal with issues (crime, homelessness) that market-oriented developers such as Wall have a hand in creating.

A remarkable run of pronouns -- from "us" as "I" to "he" to "me". Much of what ails this city can be traced to lines like this.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

A Gentleman in Moscow (2016) 2

I finished A Gentleman in Moscow yesterday afternoon. What was threatening to be the story of an insufferable aristocrat under house arrest in a grand hotel turned out to be a calming take on aging. From his sentence in 1922 to his escape in the mid-1950s, we see a man go from all-knowing to all-wondering, with many of his lessons coming from those younger. 

Given the popularity of the book, I can imagine it as a movie, which might make a case for it not being made. But I can hear the pitch:

"Dr Zhivago meets The Shawshank Redemption, with Daniel Day-Lewis or Ralph Fiennes as the Count. Only someone younger, unless we can do that facial cloning thing, like they did with the pre-slap Will Smith in Gemini Man."

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Documental 15

Drinks with the art world last night. Topics included the current Documenta, whose collective leadership, ruangrupa (rough translation: "a space for art"), opted for the Indonesian lumbung (rough translation: "rice barn") metaphor as its inclusion/organization/activation principal, and from there the segmentarianist disorganization that can only result from inviting artistic collectives whose art includes the invitation of other collectives to work "with them".

With that kind of speed and volume it is invariable that certain presentations (objects, gestures, didactics, etc.) would be included that might otherwise be excluded based on the perception, real or otherwise, of sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism, and that of course was the case. For my part, I wondered aloud why the folks at ruangrupa would not have anticipated such conflicts and have in place a methodology that could be deployed to discuss them in a public forum, but of course everyone is too busy, and besides, it's too late, Hito has pulled her work, etc. 

As with all discussions of Documenta, the final question is, What is its future? and it occurred to me that, despite the temptation of those whose work includes the tearing down and erasure of monolithic institutions, Documenta is simply too big and too German to go anywhere other than where it can only go after its previous iteration. Based on this current Documenta, that place might involve a director from Israel, maybe a forensic architect. But would someone like Eyal Weizman want the gig? And if it was offered to him, would he be crazy enough to accept it?

Friday, August 19, 2022

Night Music

A balmy night last night. Over 20C at 8:00pm when I set out for my evening walk, the skies noticeably darker. 

Such sweet music coming out of the short, north-south lane around the corner from my place. Sandra's downstairs neighbours recording a song in her garden.

A young woman's voice and electric guitar. A song so simple it could only belong to its singer. Or if not her song, then one she has made of it.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Jim Pattison's net worth has risen dramatically in recent years. But there's only so much you can give to hospitals, short of paying the salaries of doctors and nurses, something philanthropists don't seem to go in for, the biggest obstacle being, Where to put the plaque?

The Jim Pattison Group is a highly diverse outfit, yet Pattison's pattern of giving is narrow. Unlike many philanthropist, he has no interest in visual art and its museums. But he is a religious man, and it is his church -- Glad Tidings on Fraser near Kingsway -- that he has been spiffying itself up of late.

Among the more recent tidyings the building's staff might be glad for is a filling-in of the gap between the upper parking ramp and grade. Now the lepers that once sheltered there are gone. But where to? And did anyone at Glad Tidings thank them for their patronage?  

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Three Alexandrines

Red skies at dawn are supposed to warn sailors.

Yesterday's red sky was a bomb in that respect.

Aislinn took me to lunch, Corinne paid for dinner.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Alley Babble

A rear-view taken at 6:01 pm yesterday of two businesses on the south side of the 1300 block Kingsway: to the left, Phoung Uyen Video & Coin Laundry, and to the right, Cheo Leo, which specializes in Cafe, Banh Mi and Sinh To (a fruit shake).

Years ago, when Kim Chau was mysteriously closed for the day, I went across the street to Cheo Leo for my banh mi ga, which the counterperson tried to give me for free and, because I refused to be taken for a cop, left on the counter.

"How do you know they're not just being nice?" said a regular at the old Cedar Cottage Cafe (now a hole in the ground next to Kim Chau), where I complained about my treatment. 

"That's just it -- they're not just being nice; they're scared, too. They're scared of me, and I find that upsetting; being seen as an agent of fear, people behaving nicely because they're afraid of what they think I represent. I find that a kind of living hell."

"Well, you know what Baudelaire has to say about fear disguised as friendliness."

"No, what?"

"I'm asking you! You're always going on about the guy. I thought he'd having something to say about it."

Monday, August 15, 2022

Ghosts of the Machine

There is a spectre haunting contemporary art -- the spectre of Media Art. That's what came to mind when I entered the Polygon's Ghosts of the Machine exhibition on Saturday, two days before its closing. Only it wasn't the potentially restorative power of Media Art that led me to Marx's opening line of The Communist Manifesto, but Media Art's ongoing discomfort with three-dimensional gallery display. Indeed, much of what lies behind our new technologies -- like the objective flow of capital that Marx and Marxists talk about -- goes unseen. And in its place it is often only the plastic casings of these technologies that are shown, a technology whose currents invariably assist in the accumulation of capital at the expense of those who consume it -- those distracted enough to believe that a smart phone will free them (to spend more time fighting that which ails them?). Somewhere in there is the spectre that haunts contemporary art. Nowhere in Ghosts of the Machine's cineplex lobby layout was there anything resembling that particular form of complication I crave when entering the art of our time. Or was I missing something? I'll be the first to admit that maybe it's me, that it is the ghost I can't see that frightens.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

A Gentleman in Moscow (2016)

Suzanne is a voracious reader who keeps up with recent fiction. Our conversations often revolve around what's on our nightstands. A book she recommends is the novel A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, which she lent me last week. Because Suzanne once worked in a bookstore, I lent her my review copy of Marius Kociejowski's A Factotum in the Book Trade (2022).

I am only on Page 25 of this 462 page book, but have already read beyond its premise: that of a charming aristocrat, poet and 1905 protester named Count Rostov who, four years after returning to a more settled and demonstratively post-Tsarist Moscow, is sentenced to life imprisonment at the Hotel Metropol. Not the palatial Second Floor apartments he was living in prior to his June 1922 hearing by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, but a 100 square foot former servant's quarters on the Fifth Floor. 

From his many furnishings, Rostov chooses a bed, a night stand, two high-back chairs, a desk and all his (father's) books to take upstairs with him. The first chapter ends with Rostov checking to see if the gold coins hidden in the legs of his desk are still there, and they are, so we know he will not have to do as other Russian aristocrats did and bend over for party officials.

And while we're enjoying Rostov's dignity, we're also enjoying his love of books and the time he now has to read them -- the first of which is a collection of essays by Montaigne (1533-1592). Fittingly, I thought, for it was Montaigne who wrote that with every constraint there is a liberty, which was hardly true of those wealthy enough to know how to read back then -- and an apparent luxury for those who could not.

I admit thus far to not feeling very attracted to this witty and unflappable gentlemen, not like I was to Boris Pasternak's humble and pathologically observant poet/doctor Yuri Zhivago, an aristocrat himself who, like Rostov, was sympathetic to the 1905 protesters. The question for me now is, how will Towles convince me his Rostov is someone I should be interested in? Or for those already convinced, how will he make him unlikable, but worthy of understanding? As with all things, something has to give. Because as things stand, this book is to literature what Sokurov's Russian Ark (2002) is to film: a restructuring of a past that is not so much critical but indifferent to the modern world.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Laneway House


I took this picture on June 29th. Officially summer but not yet summer weather. I was walking down the lane just west of Main near King Ed and there it was, right on the edge.

Funny how the absence of a surrounding lawn or garden can put a house into focus.

How many houses has this house been? I see three distinct additions. And that door cut into the corner? What support is there to keep that corner from collapsing?

Friday, August 12, 2022

Attack on Literature (2022)

I wouldn't say this is one of Jeff Wall's "better" pictures, mostly because it doesn't venture far enough from the one Joshua Goodman made onsite and in the moment. But as "history" pictures go, it is effective. I particularly like the lighting, or the lack of it. Also, the diagonal slope (see Joe Rosenthal's iconic Iwo Jima photo) created by the four men assisting the fallen author, one of whom is holding up his legs (to keep the blood down). That and the grieving figure to the far right of us, the tension between him and the edge of the picture. As for the title, Ian Wallace made two works called An Attack on Literature in 1975. Is Wall's Attack on Literature in any way related to the fatwa the Ayatollah Khomeini issued in 1989, when he referred to the author's novel, The Satanic Verses, as "blasphemous"?  

Thursday, August 11, 2022

William Shatnerspeare

Yesterday's replay of Tom Power's CBC interview with William Shatner, on the eve of Shatner's 90th birthday, is a fascinating document worthy of transcription, perhaps as an illustrated gift book for anyone considering turning that age themselves. Kudos to Power for laying back, allowing the actor to speak his mind.

There are many highlights ("Slime seeks life!"), but for me the moment of transcendent surrealism came at 18:16, after Power asked Shatner about his earlier cancer diagnosis (subsequently reversed) and Shatner began an allegorical story about how he had his cat spayed, "and I can't bring Espresso's organs back."

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

House of Dosas

Since the mid 1990s, the House of Dosas has been at the northwest corner of Kingsway and Knight (prior to that, the restaurant was a 50s-era greasy spoon). There are now two dosa restaurants on the 1300 block of Kingsway, and a third in the next block west. I recommend the dosas to those I take to these restaurants, though my favourite meal at the Sri Lankan-run House of Dosas is the curry (medium-hot), which I have with lamb, raita, naan and papadam.

House of Dosas is another Kingsway space whose shape is determined by the street's angular relationship to the grid, which was imposed after contact (prior to that, Kingsway was as it lay: a narrow path pounded out by deer and those who stalked them). House of Dosas has seven windows, five of which can be seen in the picture above. The fourth window from the left faces east and provides a view of the (diagonal) rise to Dumfries. That's the movie I watch when dining alone: cars and their departure.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Acer palmatum

An Acer palmatum near the house Dominick purchased a couple years ago, formerly the home of Lucien who, with partners, made a gallery of its garage, back in the days when that Acer was more commonly referred to as a maple. A Japanese maple.

The way it floats there, its trunk and limbs as inconsequential to its tree as the power lines are to the house. A picture captured on May 25, 2022, when the sun was still on the rise and the garden beds green with the promise of summer.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Creeping Shadows Signs of Autumn

The increasing height of the sun in April and May are joyous to me. As its daily path rises, I rise too. All seems fine until August 1st, when the sun is suddenly lower, a measure I noticed first with its inability to clear certain trees, but I notice now from the shadows, the way they gather, and sometimes lunge. These shadows, though warm inside, belong more to winter than to summer. These shadows are the very definition of dread.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Heinz Laffin Pottery

The mug was purchased eleven years ago at Heinz Laffin Pottery on Hornby Island. Heinz was there to make the sale. He was 85 years old then, and is, by all accounts, alive today. According to his daughter Christina's Twitter feed, he is long retired, but still visits the kiln.

This is the mug I have my morning coffee in, and the second cup I have around 3pm. Recently a friend who was walking down the alley stopped by to visit the garden and his daughter saw what all kids under 10 are prone to notice -- in this case, the lines inside my mug.

"Are these cracks from every time you drop your cup?" she asked, pointing a finger at the inside of my mug.

"Yes they are, Little One. Why, I might have dropped that cup a thousand times since I purchased it from the Mountain Witch fifty years ago."

"The Mountain Witch?"

"Yes, but you might know her by her vacation name."

"What's that?"

"Malibu Barbie."

Saturday, August 6, 2022

"A Political Stake in the Ground"

Back in April, while on an unfamiliar East Van walk, I ran into a journalist I knew from my days as an event promoter. He was digging out something rhizomatic on his front lawn and the conversation quickly turned to civic politics.

"As things stand," he began, "there'll be at least four serious contenders for mayor this fall, which means Stewart [our current mayor] will get re-elected with 30% of the vote, with another tenuous coalition council. So yeah, nothing will get done. But on the bright side, nothing will get un-done."

Yesterday I read that one of those contenders, NPA candidate John Coupar, has suddenly dropped out of the race, giving no indication as to why, apart from a short statement that ends with: "As I move on, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and friends." (Was he pushed?) Concurrent with that, the NPA issued a statement saying that it would be fielding a new candidate by next month's deadline. 

Could Coupar's sudden departure be related to recent revelations that local entrepreneur Chip Wilson is raising money to build a new "pro-business" organization to defeat Vancouver's current "socialist" city council in October, before taking on the current "socialist" pro-business NDP government in 2024? I think I know which way I'll be walking today. There are times when it really matters to me just where our city is headed.

image by Rowan Melling

Friday, August 5, 2022

The Virgin in the Garden (1988)

Novelist A.S. Byatt introduces secondary characters in a way that appears to take delight in the reader's tendency to want to know sooner than later the degree to which this new character is capable of making the main character's life a living hell. This she does almost sadistically, with the slow, hand-over-hand release of Alexander's boss at Blesford Ride School, one Bill Potter, to whom Alexander is about to inform ("not without misgiving') that his play has been acquired and is entering production. 

"Bill was in many ways a reincarnation of the original spirit of Blesford Ride. He proclaimed the weighty agnostic morals of Sidgwick, George Eliot and the first Matthew Crowe. He worked ferociously at his own version of Ruskin's and Morris's popular culture, with a dour respect for real workers and their lives and interests more akin to Tawney's work in the Potteries. The vigour behind what local cultural life existed in 1953 was in large part his. He gave University Extension lectures to which people travelled miles in all weathers, in vans and country buses, from moorland villages and seaside resorts, wool towns and steelworks. He ran a Settlement in Blesford Church Hall, and was a power behind the continuation of the Literary and Philosophical Society in Calverley. He could make people do things, themselves, that were durable and worth doing." (21)

Thursday, August 4, 2022

"... and the back of a Valkyrie"

Jutting from a new load of books outside AA Furniture & Appliance is a hard cover U.S. first edition of Sarah Harrison's Bloomsbury-era romance novel An Imperfect Lady (Warner, 1988). From the back jacket copy we are introduced to Adeline Gundry's dress, which is of "black satin velvet, patterned with enormous roses." Never mind the colour of these roses, Adeline's dress is "designed to show off the good points of a tall, dark-haired woman with a long neck, an imposing bust, a fine set of soldiers, and the back of a Valkyrie." If that isn't enough, consider Adeline's make-up: "her reddest lipstick, her most dramatic eye shadow, and her palest, most luminous powder." Shoes? "Her four inch heels took her to well over six feet, but she had towered over people for as long as she could remember, and like many a tall daughter of a tall mother, didn't care."

Not caring was never a luxury among young Edwardians, not if you were born well enough, as Adeline was. Indeed, not caring was an existential necessity, a family-issued armament designed to protect you from your friends, your lovers and your peers, who saw emotional displays as a sign of weakness, the proverbial tipping of the hand. Britain's early 20th century landed class was most brutal when it came to intra-class relations, which I believe was a consequence of boredom and an anxiety brought on by a declining empire, social reforms and boarding schools like Eton, Harrow, Charterhouse and Cheltenham. Oddly enough, variants of boredom and anxiety are equally common today, but instead of playing it cool like the Brits did, it's a screaming match food fight messy bedroom free-for-all rehearsed daily in the ebb and flow of the interweb, its algorithms and its bots. Those who think the world will end with the super rich holed up on some mountaintop should know that that battle is also in its planning stages, with their political dupes the last to go.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Aunt Leah's

Golds and ochres are colours I associate with autumn, while green is a spring colour. There is no winter colour, only its absences. Summer is every colour, and therefore no colour.

Aunt Leah's Thrift Store is now at 17th and Fraser. Prior to that, it might have been south of King Edward, on the west side of Fraser. The difference between then and now is space, which the new Leah's has a lot of, and which gives the store its aura of elegance, like you find at high end boutiques, where space is flaunted, not maximized, giving the impression of discrimination, because there is only so much quality to go around.

The better art galleries and museums take this approach too, allowing room for approaches, multiple and unfettered viewpoints, which I appreciate as a gallery and museum patron. Time is money. So is space.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

A Potted Plant

I rarely leave town anymore. Word gets around. You need someone to look after your pets, your plants -- and I hear from you.

A garden I was asked to water. Plants in the ground and plants in pots. The potted plant (top) is robust, with a powerful root structure. It will be a bush one day. And in getting there, it will shatter its container. A case of Nature over Culture. 

Must it be put so -- crudely? A Levi-Straussian binary. Cinema is more than a place where films are shown, just as a pottery is more than a place where pots are made. Both are social spaces, and with that comes discourse, exchange. We leave talking not only of the film or the pots but of other things not unrelated. 

The plant was potted in a pot that will make its transplantation difficult. Like I said, I rarely leave town anymore,

Monday, August 1, 2022

It's the Time of the Season

August came early last year, after the damage done from the June heat dome. This year, spring and summer were later than usual, though the past week or so of hotter days has once again put us ahead of schedule. Amazing what a week's hot weather can do. Far more than a few weeks of cooler, wetter weather when it comes to being "seasonal".