fear & loathing in Lotusland

Month: August, 2015

Worse Still: the 2015 Worst of Vancouver Survey

by Zbigniew

It’s that imprecise time of year, when your friends at Scamcouver offer you an opportunity to channel all that corporatist, post-democratic, corruption-induced angst and emotionally defecate on our Terminal City cum “Vegas-on-sea,” through a few simple loaded questions.

Special thanks to @IngeFinge, Ms. Demeanor and DJ Clueless for input, general wise assery, and smokes.

Please, have to, and don’t spare the snark.

Survey closes at 23:45, on Wednesday, September 23, 2015.

Employee of the Month

by Zbigniew


Dîner en Douche

by Zbigniew

It is a truly remarkable sight, the exceptional sophisticate and occasional socialite, standing stoically at the edge of their penthouse balcony / apartment window / town house fence / flat door, with a glass of champagne / scotch / wine / baileys / beer loosely in hand, gazing philosophically across the most beautiful city in the world, contemplating the disconnect from their peers. Vancouver, it has: culture, romance, flair, charm, and an essence of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. But as that elegant citizen, who, let’s face it, is you, scurries around the city, you always find time to lament that Vancouver is just too much amalgam of difference. For sure difference breeds splendid variety and unique fusion: however it prevents the manifestation of a clear Vancouver spirit – which you lament. With a population so diverse it is a challenge to unite the citizens of this glorious city for even a single occasion (Canada Day withstanding). Truth be told, there is nothing that brings the different people of Vancouver together particularly well …..

…. Or is there?

Dîner en Blanc Vancouver


It’s a late capitalist pseudo-event par excellence: the status hungry scramble to be invited to pay a fee to dress in uniform and adhere to a strict set of rules to feed themselves: picnic extrapolated into a consumerist public spectacle.

Of course, it’s possible for those of lesser means to demonstrate their innate elegance. Gentlemen can get by with an entry-level Indochino White Cotton suit, you say. But that’s the wrong attitude altogether -so demi-douche, really. Why stop on the ground floor when Premium, Essential and Tux versions offer so much more … blanc?

And because concepts themselves are so passé, Dîner en Douche has its own Dîner en Douche. The truly ambitious and/or socially insecure can opt for le douche-plein, the riff-raff-free Hawksworth-Restaurant catered option.

The “manifestation of a true Vancouver spirit”? It’s de rigeurmortis.

Douche en blanc


by Zbigniew

“In Toronto, researchers recently found that people living on tree-lined streets reported health benefits equivalent to being seven years younger or receiving a $10,000 salary rise. As well as studies revealing benefits from everything from improved mental health to reduced asthma, US scientists have even identified a correlation between an increase in tree-canopy cover and fewer low-weight births.”

Introducing ‘Treeconomics’: how street trees can save our lives,” Patrick Barkham, The Guardian, August 15, 2015


“Trees grow, die, are topped, pruned, clipped, limbed-up, moved, run into and over, and are replaced with other trees, or too often, with buildings or parking lots. Do not be surprised if certain ones referred to specifically in this book are no longer there when you look for them.”

Gerald B. Straley, Trees of Vancouver


Barbara Yaffe: Depletion of Vancouver’s tree-cover a ‘nightmare’ – In an ‘arboristic homicide,’ we have lost 50,000 trees since 1996 — with 96 per cent of the loss being trees on private property


Close to Home

by Zbigniew

Renfrew & 1stOur first home was a short walk around the corner.

I can just barely recall –from those alternate universe days before siblings- a toy store filled with baubles and an occasionally indulgent father.

My first encounter with an Italian deli –the heady odours of cheese, meats and gesticulating Mediterraneans- was at Adelina’s. Columbus goes back at least a generation and I knew the family from high school.

Bon Bon morphed into Dogwood and then a sandwiched shop of some quality, with a couple of iterations in between.

The coffee shop has been in almost constant metamorphosis. Its many incarnations included the ridiculously named “Fonzi’s.” It must hold the block record for “Shortest Tenure.”

Dentists and druggists, barbershops and beer makers.

The flower shops and convenience stores with their ready gifts and refreshments have moved back and forth and back.

In one fell swoop the entire block, the whole kaleidoscopic and idiosyncratic collection of unfashionable, unpretentious and highly serviceable quotidian service is to be obliterated and replaced. The low profile jumble is to make way for five stories, but no narrative.

Renfrew & 1st Development

Dull Routine

by Zbigniew

Today I took notice of this, affixed to a derelict building on the corner of Slocan & Hastings:

School or Prison


Seen in Passing: Broadway & Lakewood

by Zbigniew

Meth Lab For Sale

Landscaped, with Buildings

by Zbigniew

Everywhere I go, it’s the same sentiment: “You live in such a beautiful city.”

What to say? How to respond?


Knocked back and forth across time zones like a human ping-pong ball to a final final approach on YVR. The flight path takes me right over the new outlet mall, an aggregation so vile it resonates simultaneously in aesthetic, social and economic dimensions -an inauspicious return.

Stumbling into the streets, a mildly dissociative state induced by overlapping jet lags is suddenly intensified. I’ve been absent a matter of a few weeks, but the ground has shifted, buckled under a flood of capital. Disoriented, I stumble home.

The cranes are there, of course, but I perceive a shift in their distribution.

The area around the stadium is being “landscaped with buildings,” including the casino and three new residential/commercial towers, with another eight on the books. There are calls to remove the viaducts to “let in a little light,” while new shadows for Broadway & Main are imminent.

In Sunrise I find adjacent storefronts gone dark, multiple houses selling and sold, and orange mesh wrapping the trees of modest bungalows. After 50 years, a neighbour and family friend puts her unassuming home on the market. The new owners re-list two weeks after possession, the price tag augmented by $100,000.

I finally make it home. OPPOSE THE TOWER material awaits me: Keep the Drive Under Five!


At the 2011 PuSh Festival London-based Peter Reder presented City of Dreams, “a poetic map of the City of Vancouver made from hundreds of found objects that are assembled during the performance … a city recreated from shards of memory and myth, hopes and sufferings.”

As part of the festival, Reder also participated in a symposium, Cartographic Exploits: Marking Territory in the Contemporary City.

When asked whether Vancouver deserved its reputation for being one of the “most beautiful cities in the world,” Reder politely disagreed and offered instead that “Vancouver is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world.”


“You live in such a beautiful city.”

Well, it’s an evolving situation.