Sex On Fire

February 28, 2021

Changes On The Drive #115

February 27, 2021

I did the walk on Saturday, the last of the sunny Spring days for a while I suspect. I am glad to say the Drive was really busy, with most of the patios full for lunch. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make up for no new openings and two new large closures.

The biggest new closure of the month (by size at least) is the closing of the BCC Ethical Financing company in the storefront at 1848 Commercial. It seems that the upstairs offices of Terra Housing are also closed.

The Bench Bakehouse at 1641 Commercial (inside the mall) has been advertizing for an experienced operations manager.

The former Libra Room at 1608 Commercial is still but a distant memory, but I understand the double-front is being renovated for a new place; perhaps a Greek restaurant? During the work, the new owners uncovered a sign for the Windows Bakery that closed at that site in 1950. I hope they find some way to use that sign in their new display.

The Ugly Dumpling at 1590 Commercial is featured in a spread about take out foods. They recommend the omakase.

Image: Scout magazine

The storefront at 1507 Commercial is still vacant but the new canopy suggests it is going to be yet another cell phone shop.

Livia at 1399 Commercial is good at drawing crowds and attracting media. The bread baker there is Sabine Thorson, and she gets a good feature in Scout magazine this month.

The other big upcoming closure is of the Arcane Tattoo and Piercing shop at 1115 Commercial. They have been on the Drive for about eight years but their sign says they are moving to Gastown.

I still haven’t called Penelope’s at 1009 vacant, but it has been closed now for a very long time.

Vacancies on the Drive this month: 

2283 Commercial (3 months vacant), 2277 (20 months), 2223 (24 months), 2111 (10 months), 2057 (3 months), 1848 (1 month), 1816 (10 months), 1752 (13 months), 1748 (7 months), 1740 (19 months), 1733 (5 months), 1728 (11 months), 1678 (6 months), 1608 (14 months), 1503 (3 months), 1305 (11 months), 1303 (5 months), 1301 (4 months), 1206 (5 months), 1003 (12 months), 935 (13 months), 931 (8 months), 902 (5 months).

Previous Changes On The Drive editions.

Image: Snowtree

February 27, 2021

Night Music: Learning To Fly

February 26, 2021

Image: Curved Bench

February 25, 2021

Night Music: Jungle

February 24, 2021


February 23, 2021

The Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) is holding its 53rd Annual General Meeting on Monday 1st March at 7:00pm. In our covid-infected world it is, of course, a ZOOM affair and everyone is invited.

Meeting ID: 886 7746 9965 Passcode: 442205

You’re all invited to come, bring your friends and please encourage anyone you think would be a good fit, to run for the Council. GWAC welcomes new Directors and the role need not be daunting – make it yours.

Don’t be put off by the fact I have been invited to make a short speech about the experience of the last Grandview Community Plan and how it could be improved in the future. I will make it as brief as possible and try not to get in the way of the fun!

Hope to see you all there.

Image: Stone Wall

February 23, 2021

Night Music: Dock of the Bay

February 22, 2021

Poem: Forward

February 22, 2021


The forked tongue of the future lies ahead

Beckoning us forward.  Advance!  Progress!

Regardless of the perils and our dread


Of failure, ever onward must we tread.

And no matter how much we feel the stress,

The forked tongue of the future lies ahead.


And whether we fly the black flag or red,

The same indignations we must address

Regardless of the perils and our dread:


The starving masses, children barely fed;

And even for those who have even less

The forked tongue of the future lies ahead.


So throw away your doubts; let us instead

Rejoice in future’s coming, and impress —

Regardless of the perils and our dread —


Our generation’s mark.  Let it be said

We lived, loved, built, and understood that, yes,

The forked tongue of the future lies ahead

Regardless of the perils and our dread.

Image: Water Lily #2

February 21, 2021

A Day of Joy and Sorrow 2021

February 21, 2021

Today would have been Nina Simone’s 87th 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, fifty-six years ago today, the revered Malcolm X was murdered by adherents of the Nation of Islam (NOI). At his funeral, Ossie Davis called him “our shining black prince”.

After years in the NOI’s leadership, Malcolm renounced the inherent racism of that organization and the alleged financial, political, and moral corruption of Elijah Mohammed. Without ever caving to white power, and maintaining his belief in the ultimate weapon of armed struggle, he sought, through Sunni Muslim beliefs, to raise the self-esteem of blacks in America.

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: Bury Me

February 20, 2021

Is The Online City Hall the Future?

February 20, 2021

A couple of evenings ago, I ZOOMED into a meeting of the Vancouver City Planning Commission. They have a project in which they designate certain things that happen each year as worthy of being added to their Chronology of planning in the City. This particular event was to discuss the seven things that VCPC have tentatively determined were the most important planning events of 2020.

The seven events listed were:

  1. The Climate Emergency Plan
  2. Public space re-allocation
  3. Online City Hall
  4. The Downtown Spaces for People Strategy
  5. Black Lives Matter [in planning]
  6. Temporary shelters for sex workers; and
  7. The Slow Streets movement

There was a significant intervention by one of the panelists who gave a long speech describing the past and present evils of colonialism and displacement, and who felt that the entire Chronology project needed to be rewritten as all planning decisions in the City are made “without First Nations involvement.” That being said, the other panelists had their say on the seven items listed.

Most of the items were essentially dismissed with the exception of the passage of the Climate Emergency Plan by City Council. I have had my say on this Plan, considering it to be nothing but a greenwashing in advance of the 2022 election. However some panelists considered it to be a major achievement.

When asked if there was a landmark building from 2020, none could be named, although several noted the integration of social housing with other facilities such as the Fire Hall and the Strathcona Library.

Surprisingly though, to me at least, many panelists consider the move to online City Council meetings and public hearings as the one item that will prove to be sustainable over the next twenty years. Frances Bula, the moderator, said that it had been a “profound revelation” to her to hear so many different voices weighing in on Council matters, increasing engagement. Antonia Ozundele who works actively with youth said that this was clearly the wave of the future as youth live in a digital world. There was some discussion about the digital divide — in which certain groups are marginalized by their lack of access to technology — but there seemed to be agreement that this could be solved.

None of the panelists raised the issue that online meetings actually insulate Council members from mass protest, which is my main concern. I miss having a crowd to cheer on or boo statements being made. It is a bland experience without them.

Image: Sky Meld

February 19, 2021

Happy Birthday Toonie!

February 19, 2021

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the launch of the toonie coin.

I am old enough to remember when my wallet was stuffed with two-dollar bills. They looked vintage even then. Now, my pocket is weighed down with toonies instead.

Night Music: Take On Me

February 18, 2021

Happy 88th Yoko!

February 18, 2021

Happy birthday to one of the most creative and innovative multimedia artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Long may she continue!

First We Take Mars Then The Earth

February 18, 2021

I am a space cadet. I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s during the early days of space travel. I remember Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin, the first landing on the moon, and I have followed the travels of the Voyagers into the void. It has fascinated me for decades. Today I watched live as NASA landed their Perseverance rover on Mars, and saw the first pictures come through a few minutes later. As usual, I felt a strong emotionalism as I considered the brilliance of the human mind.

I am also well aware of the billions upon billions of dollars that have gone into the space program, billions that could have been spent to deal with the serious problems we have here on earth. Those billions of dollars have been expended on training and technology and software and building teams well beyond anything we could have imagined in the days of the Mercury or Gemini projects.

We cannot get that money back but I do believe that if we concentrated our efforts and built sophisticated teams in the same way that NASA has, we could solve many of the earth’s worst problems. I am not a technological determinist; in fact, I would choose to use as little technology as possible (though much would be inevitable). What I am thinking of here is developing teams rather than machines, problem solving brains trained and resourced to cope with the devastating effects of “civilization” on both planets and people.

If we can solve the trillions of problems that beset us on the way to Mars, it must be possible to solve the problems we have here on earth. It just takes the will to do it.

Battleground at the Library

February 18, 2021

My latest book, “Battleground: Grandview” is now available at the Vancouver Public Library. They have a number of copies at several branches.

Of course, you can still buy copies at People’s Co-op Bookstore on Commercial Drive, at SuperValu at First & Commercial, and directly from me at