Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Cranky in Vancouver

Had the Vancouver conversation again the other day. I did this huge weekend of work at Carson Books -- actually, excuse me while I digress, but here's some free advertising for Tim:

HUGE BOOK AND RECORD SALE THIS WEEK AT CARSON BOOKS! 20% off all softcovers, and 40% off all hardcovers and LPs! Plus we've restocked the LPs and as of this week we have on our shelves rare discs by Sun Ra (Sun Song) and Last Exit (you know, Peter Brotzmann, Bill Laswell, Ronald Shannon Jackson and Sonny Sharrock!)! Also old old Pink Floyd! Vintage Nina Simone! A cool Czechoslovakian pop band called the Rangers who cover "This Land is Your Land" and "Sloop John B" in Czech! A great LP on the wall called Negro Spirituals by the Golden Gate Quartet -- they even manage to make "Amazing Grace" sound fresh and interesting! Sale may last until the end of January, but don't wait! Buy 10 items and we pay the GST!

(Too bad no one reads this blog, I'd hit Tim up for money for that).

-- anyhow, I had the Vancouver conversation again the other night with a customer who came into the bookstore, about how it's difficult to meet people, about how everyone is kind of cliquey and defensive and holds you at a distance. How the arty people cling to their cliques and the non-arty all jockey for status by mountain biking and roller blading and aspiring to be as beautiful as possible, which they're all amazingly proud of and eager to tell you about, since it proves their worth or some damn thing... People also seem to get hung up on very little things -- if you fart too loudly, crack the wrong joke, don't recognize the name someone just dropped... It's like we're dogs who just can't get enough out of sniffing each other's assholes, but at the same time need to pretend we don't like the smell. It's amazing how often this ends up being what people will say, with minor variations, when you ask them about this city -- this time, these were the opinions (uh, creatively restated and expanded upon by yours truly) of a Russian emigre with an English lit background who has travelled extensively, choosing to settle here. She likes the scenery, likes the air, and apparently can make do with the cultural opportunities here, but she just doesn't understand why it seems to be so hard to connect with people. Being not REALLY a Vancouverite myself (I've only lived in the GVRD for the last three years -- otherwise I've been on the outskirts or in Japan), I know exactly what she's talking about. I remember being so relieved at the "quality of alienation" in Japan, where one at least knows one is not to blame for being cut off from the main; race, language, and culture are to blame, not the lack of interest in rollerblading, and it's like a weight gets lifted off your shoulders.

Anyhow, it was a good segue into giving said Russian my number. We may see one of the upcoming Bergman films together.

Another night in the city: an open bottle of wine and a pipe. I guess I'll smoke up and watch a movie, maybe some Guy Maddin. I was going to start a workout program this week, but money is running out again and I just want to take it easy tonight... Sigh.

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