fear & loathing in Lotusland

Month: May, 2013

Cash Money

by Zbigniew


In a recent interview, London Drugs President & CEO Wynne Powell noted that the half-block straddling, ponderously vanilla condo/megastore Alba project in Hastings Sunrise (also known as HASTINGS SUNRISE) is on hold.

“There’s no financial trouble with us,” Powell says.

Whew! That’s a relief! For a second there I thought a developer was going to lose some money.

Instead, the suspension is due to a “slowdown” in presales and the failure of the project to achieve its 60% threshold. This is an understatement in sharp contrast to the oversized placards that hang over the 2500 block of East Hastings. Something the article fails to note is that only 10% of the 110-odd units had “firm commitments.”

The community “will benefit at this point from a little bit of a rest to give the market a chance to mature a little bit.” There’s still some water in Mr. Powell’s glass -a little bit, anyways.

Personally, I think the community, the Hastings Sunrise community, would have benefited from the continued presence of the 10 storefronts that were demolished a year ago, when the speculative threshold had been breached.

Meanwhile, a massive cheque cashing franchise has moved into the andesite structure on the southwest corner of Hastings & Nanaimo –a former bank. It’s bright yellow awning shouts “CASH MONEY.” Hardly the stuff of re-branded neighbourhoods.

Or, maybe it is.

Seen in Passing: Various

by Zbigniew

DSCN0108 4th Avenue & Arbutus

DSCN0049Terminal & Carolina

DSCN0204Cordova & Heatley

DSCN021064th & Yukon

DSCN02172nd & Kaslo

Toxic Gas

by Zbigniew


The record states that Chirsty was a Liberal of the national variety. In hindsight it makes altogether much sense that she would feel at home in that most mercurial of parties -the technical institute for bait left/govern right and its variant, short-term populism.

At SFU in the 1980s I figured her for a Bill Bennett supporter, given the close company she kept with a pair of proto-douche Young Socreds. They proved an inseparable troika, apparently bound by an oath of high volume ideological boorishness.

Their arrival to our mutual third year political science seminar was typically heralded by a loud exchange regarding, for example, the various merits of Friedmanite economic theory. These conversations were regularly punctuated by the phrase “Totally FJ”. As far as I could determine from my perch across the room in the company of a loose coalition of shaggy and nicotine-scented lefties, this sounded like a label of derision and/or dismissal along the lines of “Dave Barrett is Totally FJ”; or, “the Agricultural Land Reserve? Totally FJ”.


While it’s a perfectly acceptable strategy to give your opponent enough room to hit the ground, I’m extravagantly disappointed that somebody representing an East Vancouver riding would hesitate to employ a good solid kick to the solar plexus to keep said opponent horizontal.

It’s a depressing thought that in the absence of a judiciously applied “boot fuck” the Harper-associated, hardhat-wearing Premier Hockeymom will not face a well deserved exile back to that dark corner of the radio dial that is the natural habitat of reactionary cranks and the lumpen suburbantariat. Now we can look forward to the scam washing-up in thick globs on our nominally fair shores: rather than a good hard look at the books, more slop for the PavCo trough and dodgy casino deals; in place of a 21st century dream factory, it’ll be 19th century resource extraction and the nightmare of coal dust particulates and toxic gas events.

Totally FJ.

No Imagination

by Zbigniew

DSCN0134“Vancouver is a strange place that doesn’t want to imagine itself, doesn’t want to codify its signifiers, to write its history, its meaning, its sociology. The robber barons and developers, resource exploiters who thought that because they were white with might they couldn’t so much inscribe themselves on the land as ensure no one else could -that they could insist on Vancouver being a non-place.”

Loretta Sarah Todd, Pacific Cinematheque, May 16, 2013


by Zbigniew


The Georgia Straight was founded in 1967 by the troublemaker collective of Pierre Coupey, Milton Acorn, Dan McLeod, Stan Persky, and others. In its early days the paper was fined for publishing obscenities and was frequently banned for its criticism of The Man -usually personified in the form of lumpy reactionary and real estate industry point man Mayor Tom Campbell.

While counterculture soon gave way to conventional news and entertainment, it was of the decidedly progressive-with-a-heavy-dose-of-smarm variety. In the ‘80s and ‘90s that meant Filbrandt (Wombat, then Dry Shave), withering recaps of Pacific Coliseum-scale concerts, and –especially- the movie reviews.

Thursday evenings I would spend bathing in the Straight’s eviscerations of the latest Hollywood dreck, of which there was an endless supply. I can still recall the write-up for the Jean-Claude Van Damme schlock vehicle Sudden Death, wherein the reviewer opined that the Pittsburgh Fire Department must have waived its minimum height requirement for the Muscles from Brussels. Or the review for David Fincher’s Se7en, which would appeal to those that enjoyed being held down to have Hollywood producers urinate into their eyes. A modest, and entertaining, speaking truth to power.

But somewhere near the millennium, it ended. The weekly ritual sacrifice gave way for the modern school of film criticism –which is to say, no criticism at all. And so to today: what once was ripped open and laid bare is blandly endorsed as an undemanding means of killing a couple of hours.

What happened? A general increase in the public’s appetite for decadent cultural fare? A sudden and steep decline in literacy? The corporate pissing match of gate receipts might be closer to it; all those full-page movie ads must have served the distributors well as both carrot and stick, I reckoned.


Wading through all the full-page condo adverts has become something akin to sifting through shit to find whole peanuts.

With Volume 47 Number 2367 (May 2 – 9 / 2013) of the Georgia Straight, the peanut is no longer available.

There’s nothing to indicate that the page 21 article entitled “Chinatown sees a heritage-hip surge” is a paid advertisement. It looks like a Straight article, it’s written by Associate Editor Gail Johnson, and its referenced on the issue’s front page.

It is, however, pure real estate ad copy and lifestyle bumpf and it flogs a number of yet-to-be built Chinatown condo projects. There are no contrary points of view, just an endless stream of good news: developers have “a strong, shared desire to respect what’s come before”, one-bedrooms are “all priced under $400,000”, and neighbourhood entertainment options that include “dumpling cook-offs”.

And to top things off, the print edition facing page is a full-page ad for The Keefer.

Dear Georgia Straight: it’s over -The Man played the long game, and he won.

“Live, Live, Live”

by Zbigniew


Walking by yet another development promoting “Live, Work, Play” and I wonder if the mantra isn’t getting a little tired –and, let’s be honest, a little dishonest, as the adjacent “Work” and “Play” will be inevitably converted into “Live” and “Live”, respectively.

Perhaps its time for a catchphrase update; something fresh, yet bracing and cynical. To that end, a few thoughts:

Live, Work, Schtump

Live, Work, Struggle to Make Mortgage Payments

Reside, Produce, Engage in Sanctioned Recreational Activities

Work Eight Hours, Sleep Eight Hours, Play Eight Hours*

Drink a Coffee, Walk the Dog, Bag the Shit

Live in a Box, Work in a Box, Be the Box

Exist, Toil, Distract

Invest, Hold, Sell

Any more?

* Courtesy of They Live