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.