Friday, January 01, 2010


It's been a bit of a year of loss, for both me and for the scene I've participated in in Vancouver.

I lost my father, and my mother lost her husband. Due to her stroke, she also lost her ability to speak, though she's gotten some of that back since. I didn't exactly lose my apartment while all this was going on - I moved out voluntarily, despite a concomitant decision of my landlord (AKA "the lying cocksucker") to end my lease - but I still have not made my new apartment into the comfortable home my old one was (it just feels like somewhere I'm living temporarily while I sort out my life - like a hotel you move into while your home is being repaired, except there is no other home, this is it). In the process of moving, I lost a friend of 15 years, who chose a singularly unforgivable time to decide to not be there for me. Plus I lost my bed and half my furniture, to lessen the risk of bringing West End bedbugs to my new locale. And while it wasn't an unproblematic identity for me - too much it allowed me to paper over and/or distract me from in my rather lame personal life - with the move, I lost my role as Vancouver scene chronicler and the ability to easily go to gigs or movies in the city.
That's a lot of loss for one year.

As for Vancouver, the music scene lost The Cobalt and Fake Jazz Wednesdays, Richards On Richards, and Slickety Jim's Chat'n'Chew, and (unless Dale has found a new locale that I don't know about) Noize To Go, which may not have been my favourite place to shop for records (it was kinda cramped!), but definitely was my favourite place to bullshit with a record store clerk. Various arts institutions lost their grants and any security in their futures in BC, and there's other budget-cut losses to our city's cultural institutions in the works as I write. Granville Street lost its lovely trees, and Vancouverites lost any connection to the Granville Street we used to know and like - now increasingly a wild-west barzone for obnoxious suburbanites and tourists, so different from what it was like ten years ago (remember the benches dotting the street? The Granville Book Company? The Capitol 6?). I know other losses have happened - I'm not trying to be comprehensive, here; there have been other musicians who died, other venues that closed up (and restaurants and coffee shops and other places of local colour and character that we will not see again), but these are the ones that *I* felt. Ultimately, in fact, I feel like *I lost Vancouver,* because when I go there now - not only does it no longer feel like home, it's like I'm visiting a different city, some place I don't really know. The mood is more Darwinistic, more aggressive - and several of my most significant points of reference on the city's map have been erased.
Possibly some readers of The Skinny might also include me on the list of the city's losses; it would be reasonable to do so, though a bit vain for me to mention it... what can I say, I'm not there anymore, and even if I do get the odd piece of writing done in the New Year - because I do have some old projects to put to rest - it will never be the same again.
It's been a pretty rough year, all told. I'm glad I won't be there for the February festivities; I think I'll just stay in Maple Ridge through that time, at this point not so much because of a feeling of angry boycott but because I'm feeling a bit bruised and don't need more punishment. Besides, there's a lot of rebuilding to be done.
At 11:58 tonight, still at my Mom's apartment, I shut off the TV (where every New Year's celebration had blaring bad music and loud crowds of beautiful people) and opened up her blinds and window so we could look out over Maple Ridge and see the fireworks - mostly coming from the Langley side of the Fraser River, it looked like, but visible through the trees and fog - and hear the people shouting and cheering. We said "Happy New Year" to each other and hugged and watched and listened for a few minutes. It was nice.
I might take a bit of a break from writing here for awhile (tho' usually when I say that, I put up three posts in the subsequent week, so don't hold me to it). If I'm absent, don't worry - I'm doing okay. Check out the Punishment Park links, the Phil Minton interview below. Hope your 2010 is better than my 2009. Happy New Year.

1 comment:

Judith Beeman said...

Hi Al,

Happy New Year! Please give your Mom my fondest regards.

December was a good news/bad news month:

GOOD: The On the 7th I started a new job with Black Top cabs in the admin office. I'm there full-time replacing someone who is on vacation and if all works out they'll keep me around part-time (which I'd prefer.) I'm also going to get trained to be a dispatcher as well (which I've always wanted to know how to do.) So I'm here until the end of the month-ish at least. I'm really enjoying the job and hope I'll get to stay.

BAD: For the first time ever I got shingles. On my effin' forehead and eye area. OMFG! The crazy thing is I knew something was wrong and had seen my eye Dr and got drops for an inflamed eye, which were working, but then within three days I knew things were drastically getting worse (itchy oddball sores tend to be a good indicator -- ha ha) so I went to Carepoint and the Doc was, "ah, shingles." and gave me eye drops (my eye got quite puffy) and pills to stop the process. I literally got these pills one day before I began my new job (!) they were good sports at Black Top and the Doc assured I'd be okay I just took it a bit easy and wore my clip on sunglasses as my eyes were sensitive. I'm pretty much 98% okay now. Shingles is a craptastic thing to have, a very Middle Ages, weeping sore-esque; but viva the pills cos they really nipped things in the bud and my ahem, wounds, just had to scab and heal. Bleagh The job was a great distraction while the healing was going on (and thank goodness for bandages.)

I guess I got the shingles because in October I had a raging flu and then felt a lot of pressure regarding finding work.

This weekend I've been doing my New Years ritual of cleaning the hell out of my bedroom. It's a lot of work dude! I'm paring down and have decided the HUGE stack of mostly music mags that I've collected without covers and some with (many free from Zulu, etc) has got to go. Would you like a box of such? Some good stuff like Wire, real old issues of CMJ, etc. I'd say a lot of this stuff is from the mid 90's.

Let me know if you would like some of these. You can take'em in batches. I could take to work and meet you there? I get a one hour lunch from 1 to 2 every day.

take care, Jude (604) 879 8190