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.