Art — Again

February 28, 2017

Over the years, I have presented a number of posts on the fall and rise of the super-rich art market: the  market continues during the crash;  after the economic crash in 2008;  a new peak in 2009; the Chinese were leading the recovery in 2010. There have been others but I have been busy elsewhere for the last few years and haven’t been writing too much about art and sales. But I have been keeping an eye open.

I watched the market fall flat through most of last year. The oligarchs seemed to have put their money more in additional real estate than art or football clubs for the last year or two, distorting property markets across the globe, and flattening the top end of the art market. This spring’s auctions are supposed to give us a clue as to whether that disappointment will continue this year or whether the current stock exchange record highs will help propel a new burst.


In what might have been a special case or may indeed be a harbinger of the year to come, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev sold a Gauguin last night for US$33.5 million. It was a picture he had purchased in 2008 for US$85 million, leaving him with a 74% loss.

But it is early days yet. This series of 20th century auctions at Christies is hoped to fetch a total of about US$450 million by the time it is complete in the middle of March. What they actually achieve will give us a better idea of where the market is heading.

Night Music: Au Fond Du Temple Saint

February 28, 2017

GW Area Council AGM

February 28, 2017

The Annual General Meeting of the Grandview Woodland Area Council is coming up this weekend:


Sunday 5th March, 2:00pm

Canucks Family Place, 1655 William


There will be the important matter of the election of a Board of Directors for the 2017-18 year. And the keynote speaker will be Caroline Adderson, author of the important Vancouver Vanishes.  More info at

If enough interested residents join and make their voices heard, GWAC really can be the community’s voice as strongly as it has been in the past.  There are important developments afoot in Grandview over the next year or two and the residents need to ensure there is an organization that speaks for them.

See you there, I hope!




Open House at Britannia

February 27, 2017

This coming Saturday, March 4th, between noon and 4:00pm, the folks who are working on the Britannia Renewal project are holding an Open House and Ideas Fest.  They want you to see the groundwork they have laid for the project and to actively solicit your ideas and feedback.

The updating of the Britannia site is almost certainly the most important project our neighbourhood will undertake this generation. The site contains two schools, gyms, a swimming pool, a library, facilities for seniors and childcare, playing fields, offices, and community spaces; it is the very heart of Grandview and changes there will affect us all in one way or another.

I hope many of you attend and make sure your voice, your opinion, is heard. This really is important.

First Thoughts On The Provincial Election

February 27, 2017

It is only about 8 or 9 weeks until the next Provincial election. We’ve had the pre-election giveaway budget (not very exciting, to be frank) and we’ve had the opposition statements on the pre-election budget (which were even less exciting). We have the government spending our tax dollars pimping their policies in TV and newspaper ads; and we have Horgan replying to these in an unexciting and generally boring way.


Clearly I am not going to vote for the Socreds hiding (not very well) in BC Liberals clothing. Not only are their policies anti-personnel and pro-business, but they also can’t keep their hands out of the cookie jar whenever that honey pot is stuck in front of their face by developers, foreign drillers, LNG merchants etc.

Chances are I won’t vote for the NDP either. Social democratic parties are the enablers of a brutal capitalism. They support the underlying system and just try to make it seem better by ameliorating the worst effects. So far as they are concerned, capitalism is fine and dandy so long as we can take some of the pain away so most people don’t recognise the banal evil of the system itself.

Besides, this is a provincial election: I don’t kid myself that I understand the problems and issues of folks living in Nakusp or Prince Rupert or the Peace. But I do kid myself that I have a reasonable understanding of the issues facing Vancouverites and I base my choices on those. From what I have said earlier, it should be clear that I am not about to endorse one or other party in this election. Instead, I will lay out provincial policies that I want to see — and I will hold my breath as an anarchist and add my vote to any party that goes along with these.

  1. Changes to the Vancouver Charter that bring back wards and prohibit political parties from operating at the municipal level, and returns us to a two- or three-year election cycle;
  2. Changes to electoral financing regulations that prohibit corporate and union donations, that strictly limit all spending on elections, that make all donations — in every year — public knowledge within 6 months of payment (no more hidden money in years outside the election cycle);
  3. Introduce creative provincial taxation to eliminate pipelines by cost (land taxes, cleanup taxes, business taxes, etc); do you think Kinder Morgan will continue to build if it costs another, say, million or two million dollars per mile?
  4. Reduce or eliminate all business subsidies and grants, putting all the funds into truly affordable housing, based on a percentage of median income in each region).

I’m guessing I won’t be voting again this year.

Image: Hanging Gardens

February 27, 2017

Hanging Gardens

Poem: House

February 27, 2017




She always kept olives in a glass jar

In the cabinet above the pantry,

Amid the fluff and dust of decades.  Tar

Paper lived elsewhere, with the iron gantry

For lifting meats, the turpentine and wax.

Everything else she threw in the dark cave

Of the understairs;  all things that would tax

Her strength she threw on the floor, and this gave

The house the appearance of a swallow’s

Nest built from found goods.  But always she had

Irises, quivering on a cold rad.



Night Music: Jimmy Cliff

February 26, 2017

Image: Flower Offering For Spring

February 26, 2017

Flower Offering_blog

Dinner Tonight #17

February 25, 2017


Beef, orange, and aniseed stew with mashed potatoes and asparagus.

Image: Fraser River Sunset

February 25, 2017


Night Music: The Killers

February 24, 2017

The Rot Is Deep in Vancouver

February 24, 2017

Allan Garr of the Courier has a very worthwhile piece this week concerning the ongoing clean up at City Hall of the mess Penny Ballem’s reign left behind.  In Garr’s opinion, Ballem deserves the blame — both directly and indirectly through her senior hires — for untold administrative errors, delays, and costs aplenty.

I cannot disagree with Garr on any point. However he doesn’t complete the story; nor does he even hint that a bigger story lies behind the one he told so well.

The fact that so many of the development, planning, and other decisions in the Ballem years happened to fall in favour of Vision Vancouver’s financiers and masters cannot be just a coincidence. We are the least affordable city in North America by design. Ballem faithfully executed the game plan she was brought in to manage — and we live with the consequences today.

But Penny Ballem didn’t appear out of thin air. If she has to accept responsibility for the failures of the Jacksons and Latifs, then the Billionaire Boy’s Club affiliate known as Vision Vancouver has to take the rap for Ballem’s disasters; they hired her. She was either following the script given her by Magee and Robertson and their cronies, or they were incompetent in continuing to allow her to move forward so disastrously for so long.

Ballem was very well paid for the job she was doing, and she was even better paid to go away. Now we need to excavate the deeper dirt beneath her policies and actions.

Image: Sun Tower

February 23, 2017

sun tower

Night Music: Sandie Shaw

February 22, 2017

Anti-Vaccination: An Old Story

February 22, 2017

I was doing my usual research this morning when I came upon the following ad:


This was published in the Vancouver Daily World on 15th February 1911. While I was aware there had been some objections ever since Jenner poked a little kid with cow-pox back in the 18th century, I didn’t know the opposition had been so organised until relatively recently.

While I am here, I might as well have my say on this topic. I have three points to make:

One, I personally think it is madness not to have vaccinations. It can easily be shown how many millions (billions?) of lives have been saved or improved because of them, and to compare that favourably with the infinitely tiny number of cases where vaccines may have caused some issues;

Two, as an anarchist I believe everyone has the right to refuse vaccinations for themselves and their non-adult children;

Three, any school or other public place should have the right to prohibit entry to anyone who has not been vaccinated for the safety of everyone else using the space.

That’s my opinion and it is worth at least two cents.


Image: Charleston WV

February 21, 2017

charleston WV

Days of Joy and Sorrow

February 21, 2017

Today would have been Nina Simone’s 84th birthday.  She gave us such joy and passion and most importantly a withering and uncompromising understanding of the black condition in America. This review of a Simone biography is well worth reading. She was fierce in her joy and I love her for it.


Also today, in sorrow, we remember the great Malcolm X who was cruelly assassinated on this day in 1965. I have written before, and I repeat, Malcolm X’s “Autobiography” stands with Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, and Nelson Mandela’s speech on his release from prison as the most influential statements of civil rights in the twentieth century.

Night Music: Goodbye To Love

February 20, 2017

A great arrangement and not to be missed — the incredible fuzz guitar solo by Tony Peluso.

Good Time For A Sanctuary City

February 20, 2017

Montreal City Council has just voted unanimously to make their municipality a Sanctuary City — a place where undocumented refugees can feel safe from official persecution and harassment.

I understand that the Trump Tower here in Vancouver is to be formally opened on February 28th and members of the Trump cult will be here for the event.  We should flood City Hall with demands that on that date we declare Vancouver to also be a place of safe refuge.

Can we make it unanimous?