From Paris, to London, Beijing, and Vancouver, a whole lot of hot air.
From Paris, to London, Beijing, and Vancouver, a whole lot of hot air.
Vancouver: A Pacific Celebration
Source: BC History Channel
probably the key
to appreciating Vancouver
that intangible element of change
in style of architecture
in people and
their pursuits and
work and seeking
Life is very full
in this city a unique
of outdoor freedom and
and crossroads of the Pacific Rim
a city with its own
distinct identify and its own
sense of being Vancouver
where you will enjoy
a Pacific Celebration
“Fantasy City is solipsistic; isolated from surrounding neighborhoods physically, economically and culturally. As such, it is the epitome of what Christine Boyer has termed the ‘city of illusion’ -a metropolis which ignores the reality of homelessness, unemployment, social justice and crime, while eagerly transforming sites and channels of public expression into ‘promotional spaces.'”
John Hannigan, Fantasy City: Pleasure and Profit in the Postmodern Metropolis
That’s Entertainment (January 20, 2014) considered Vancouver’s historic function as an entertainment venue, a betotemed urban playground of bars and parks, vaudeville and mountains.
Almost four years on, with the city’s economy firmly attached to global capital flows, this role is taking on mass. The ground is buckling, deforming, and adapting: space and view turn private, trees are uprooted but live on as decoration and marketing, homes mutate into hotels -all in the service of a growing wave of short- and long-stay tourists sharing a taste for corporate-circumscribed distraction.
The $600 million Parq Vancouver casino is scheduled to come online in the Fall of 2017. “An international destination,” with an “architecture inspired by mountains, escarpments, gorges and valleys” and its own private park six stories above grade.
Vancouver-based Reviver Sport proposes CitySurf, a wave pool to be located in False Creek. Quarantined by a giant membrane, surfers nose ride their boards in peace, secure from “Shit” Creek’s notoriously E. coli-rich tides.
Vancouver City Council removes Park Board oversight of the PNE -and any hope of achieving the expansion of green space in Hastings Park- then approves $1.5 million for detailed designs of a $120 million, 10 year, expansion of Playland and its transformation into a “world class theme park.” Led by Forrec, developers for Universal Studios, Legoland and Six Flags, design elements will include a “Main Street,” graffiti stations and a “narrow green strip called ‘The Park.'”
So, a city-themed theme park -a corporate fantasy built on a civic illusion.
Friends, citizens, lookie loos, welcome to the 4th annual Worst of Vancouver, where we collectively unburden our metaphoric bowels on the well-manicured lawn of Vancouver’s morally and spiritually bankrupt establishment. Will anyone notice the steaming pile? The attached palazzo, in the conspicuous Florentine Urinal style, is likely vacant -still, it feels good.
To those that completed the survey, my sincere thanks. Your urbane cynicism is the roughage that moves me.
As in previous iterations, ten questions were posed -the limit set by the cheapo version of Polldaddy. Subjective responses were carefully considered by a Snark Cabal, cajoled by into the task by free booze and salty snacks. (If you are interested in joining this rarefied company, please let me know your preferred choice of sub-$15 wine available in a full litre bottle or carton.)
While the questions posed did not lean towards any identifiable group of humans, sentient machines, or politicians, this year’s responses betray a clearly pessimistic disposition towards those hailing from a certain Republic, one noted for its long and colourful history, a thin-skinned and autocratic government, and rampant corruption. In our home we refer to this place as “Hungary.” Ie. “If it’s made in Hungary, don’t put it in your mouth.” Or, “The Hungarians are laundering their ill-gotten gains in Vancouver real estate!” What’s going on? As the fallout from the tax targeted at foreign buyers of local real estate suggests, in the prophetic words of the real estate play that was Expo ’86: something’s happening here. We ignore at our peril.
On to the survey results.
Cars barrel down my quiet residential street. Drivers in their heavy metal carapaces take dangerous liberties with dedicated bicycle lanes. Pedestrians look about furtively, as they step into an intersection. Friday afternoons are the worst, the spastic, frenetic energy almost palpable. What spurns such behaviour? What’s so urgent? Are they racing to the lab and a cure for zika? Are they off to YVR to greet arriving refugees? Perhaps they’re late for a volunteer stint at their neighbourhood house?
Not so fast.
Some asshole blows off a red light, bowls over a pedestrian, and flees the scene. Clearly, they are in a hurry. Where are they going?
The co-winners, by modest pluralities:
Vision #25KLunch or BC Liberal fundraiser
“Close their real estate purchase before the 15% tax kicks in”
“A developer on their way to city hall to file for a spot-rezoning request”
“Returning the ‘pearl green’ Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 to the Scenic Rush headquarters because their 20 minute ‘Sea to Sky’ experience has expired”
“First day of new model year. Trading in last year’s Maserati”
“To the next bus stop on their bus route?”
Diner en blanc
“Ball waxing and massage with happy ending”
Rest easy, folks, a solution is at hand:
The ersatz political leadership claims it is making a (cough) “enormous effort” (cough) to increase the stock of rental housing -which seems to consist mostly of media scrums and stern expressions. Meanwhile, in the increasingly dystopian real world, short-term holiday rentals platforms (Airbnb and their nefarious ilk) proliferate unchecked and have embedded themselves to such an extent that even the defacto homeless are selling their spaces for upwards of $60 a night –pee jar included.
Sitting in your home, estimate the distance to the nearest short-term holiday rental
[NB: While this survey leans somewhat closer to the “wise-ass” than “scientific” end of the spectrum, every effort was made to define results as accurately as possible. All distances reported were converted to metres. “City blocks” were based on a 138 metre average of the typical 161 metre and 115 metre Vancouver variants. For “upstairs,” “next door,” or “down the hall,” hypothetically reasonable distances were applied consistently. For the divine smart ass that reported in cubits, I used the “long” option of 52 cm per unit.]
Average distance reported: 177 metres.
Median distance: 50 metres.
(You can throw a good-sized rock 50 metres; so -please- throw it hard.)
“I am living IN the ‘holiday’ rental.”
“Twenty metres, if you don’t count the rough trade meth-boys our neighbor allows to sleep in our building’s laundry room.”
What name would you give to this architectural style?
The winner, by a modest stack of illegally laundered yuan:
Oh, so many contenders:
Particle Board Foreign Money Bait
Developer Creaming Spec McMansion
Neocolonial Bricks & Mortar Portfolio
Casa forte / Strongbox
Early Century Fuerdai (“the second generation of the rich”)
Tuhao (“wealthy but uncultured”)
Neo Vancouver Special
Super Happy Special
“I see not one pixel of style in this photo.”
The local media outlet or personality (sic) most likely to tow the “it’s supply and/or you’re a racist” line?
The Georgia Straight and/or Charlie Smith/Travis Lupick
“They’re all living mannequins”
“Any of the mainstream journalists who’s newspaper, magazine, website etc is paid for by real estate ads”
“Oh, god. I just stopped paying attention”
“Your question is racist”
Since the start of 2016, how many of your friends, family or neighbours have been evicted, renovicted, demovicted etc?
1 to 5 – 62.5%
0 – 15.6%
>10 – 12.5%
6 to 10 – 9.4%
In other words, more than 84% of respondents have had at least one friend, family member or neighbour displaced since the beginning of the year. The remainder need to meet more people.
Political hack Judy Tyabji’s ass-kissing softball biography of the Premier is entitled “Christy Clark: Behind the Smile.” Alternatively, “Christy Clark: ____________________”
The winner, by unanimous decision of the Cabal:
The short list:
Name Your Price
Hit Delete Three Times
Fuck You & Your Family
Everything Is Great at My Son’s Private School
Most Successful University Drop Out West of the Rockies
The Gaping Maw That Swallows Whole Futures
A Mile Wide & an Inch Thick
Where the Sun Don’t Shine
Why Won’t It End?
Bob Rennie, “Condo King” and BC Liberal Party fundraiser-in-chief: Knew? Or “knew”?
By an almost two-to-one margin (64%), clearly, Bob knew
To mark the release of The Worst of Vancouver -Christy, channeling Bob (September 11, 2016):
What (loosely defined) icon would you add to this tableau?
Satan with a boner
Paddle board yoga
New Coast Realty sign (featuring Ken Cui)
“LAND ASSEMBLY FOR SALE”
“Sold Above Asking!”
Fourteen construction cranes
Thousands of homeless people
A tent city with Doctors living in it
A car packed with children, towing a u-haul trailer, driving away. Maybe to Halifax
Gregor behind the wheel of a globally revered food truck
“A range rover and a massive dildo shaped, European designed luxury tower dripping with pretension and advertised exclusively in Asia, to eclipse all else. Maybe some ugly public art and a homeless person as well. A massive ‘for lease’ sign. Oh wait that’s more than one and I haven’t even added the stink lines yet.”
Randomly discarded dog poop bags
“Disneyland hair police”
“Naked Gregor should be riding that whale. Not sexy times riding, but SeaWorld riding”
In June of 2016, 15,592 properties were sold in British Columbia, representing $11 Billion in sales. The average sale price in British Columbia (NB: British Columbia) was $714,000. What do you believe tomorrow will bring?
I don’t care, as I have cashed out, or been evicted, and/or am leaving to take advantage of depressed property values in Alberta: 18%
The top Google search result for “Vancouver real estate” + “more” spat up a recent photo of Prime Minister Justin “trading-on-the-family-name” Trudeau drumming-up business/selling us down the river in the People’s Republic of Hungary. Unfortunately, more seems inevitable.
That’s it! You’re packing up and leaving Vancouver, but you must leave something behind. What is it?
My fee-for-service MSP card
Portable A/C and Versace Sunglasses
A lot of randomly discarded dog poop bags
My old six person Coleman tent so someone can put that shit on Airbnb, too
I bequeath my Pendleton coat to the unfortunate souls forced to sleep in the SFU quad
My retirement savings and my kid’s collage money
The unclean vibe of local poison between non-Chinese poor and Chinese poor
Any sort of faith that a politician will act in the best interest of their constituents
Sense of bittersweet entitlement
My career that went nowhere
My sense of moral outrage
My naïve faith in humanity
Sense of hopelessness
“I’ve already left YVR. It’s a shithole.”
Speaking of shit, to bookend the manure-laced introduction:
“A fresh steaming pile of shit. Because I gave a shit about this city but it didn’t give a shit about me.”
“Several weeks’ worth of saved-up self-generated turd on the steps of Vancouver City Hall.”
And the last word:
“For better or worse –and likely worse- I’m not leaving. For now, anyway.”