In 2008 when I was still travelling by bus to Richmond each day for work, I wrote a piece about how queuing seemed to be a lost art in North America:
“The queue is the physical embodiment of that civilized leveling principle — first come, first served. An orderly queue is not something one should mess with. In North America generally and Canada in particular, the orderly queue is a rare event, saved mainly for those lining up days in advance to buy concert tickets or an attractive condo. Even then, I suspect, orderliness and decorum is better at the front of the line than closer to the back.
But that seems to have changed completely with the pandemic. When I was on the Drive today, there were queues outside and inside several stores and restaurants, and they all seemed both orderly and good-natured. I stood in line outside the Post Office for maybe fifteen minutes and chatted with several others doing the same. No one seemed bothered by the wait or the “inconvenience”. And no one tried to push their way ahead of others.
If nothing else comes from this year of the plague, perhaps this sense of friendly courtesy will carry n and make all of our lives just a little better.
At lunchtime today I was walking down the Drive collecting material for tomorrow’s Changes on the Drive post. The wind was constant, viciously cold, and strong. So strong that one of the trees in Grandview Park fell over and completely blocked the Drive just a few minutes after I passed by.
As you may be able to see, it brought down power and transit lines but, so far as I could see, there was nothing underneath — which is a blessing.
“Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society. ”
— John Fire Lame Deer, a Mineconju-Lakota Sioux
“There was not a pauper in the Nation, and the Nation did not owe a dollar … Yet the defect in the system is apparent, because they own their land in common … there is no selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization.”
Since its establishment by the United Nations in 1977, this date has been “celebrated” (or, more often, sadly mourned) as the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
“Let us together resolve to renew our commitment to the Palestinian people in their quest to achieve their inalienable rights and build a future of peace, dignity, justice and security. ”- United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
Each year, as their territory and their rights are gradually eliminated, this resolution becomes ever more important.
One of the long term effects of the corona virus pandemic in Vancouver is a whittling away of good community reporting. We saw this with the closure of the Vancouver Courier and with significant reductions in local TV newsrooms. Luckily, we still have the Georgia Strait and its fine correspondent Carlito Pablo.
I was fortunate enough to be invited for an interview with Carlito at the end of last week and we discussed Vancouver politics in general and my book in particular. He has now published an article that captures many of the items we discussed.
The album of which this is the title track is one of the four or five that I would always want close to hand. For me, it is as near to perfection that you can get. In a recent article at Literary Hub, John Corbett agrees with me.
“Seen from the fairly conservative folk enclave that it crawled out of, Blueis a joyful, rambunctious, even shocking outing—take the lines from the title track: Acid, booze, and ass / Needles, guns, and grass / Lots of laughs, lots of laughs—even as it is also gut-wrenchingly melancholic and plainly romantic. I hear it as a full-force embrace of mobility and independence—the former domain of guys, now a right to be enjoyed and cherished and protected by women.”
The album is, he says:
“as eloquent a setting of poems to music as you’ll find, a call to live life where you find it, loving the one you’re with, departing from them eventually in an inevitable moving along, no matter how hard or sad.”
For any lover of music, this is an article well worth reading.