Sunday, October 28, 2007

Blogging Vancouver: Vacation's Over

Counting down the hours to returning to work ... always a bit of a nightmare. At least I return to a madhouse of activity ... a huge deliverable with a hard deadline of Tuesday at 5.

A few miscellaneous notes:

During my stay, there was a nasty drug-related mass murder in Surrey, just outside Vancouver and easily a universe away. Two of the six were innocent bystanders. I was a little surprised not to see this all over the U.S. papers... Canadians like to laugh that the only Canadian news that drifts below the border is a good mass murder, and this one was ugly. For me, it points up another problem with the insane American war on drugs whereby lax enforcement of easy-going pot on one side of a border creates an osmotic nightmare that fuels gang crime. This is the same situation that has essentailly destabilized every country bordering the Caribbean. The madness of the American hang-'em-high attitude hurts universally.

I reverted to reading the paper newspaper, The Globe and Mail. It's actually getting better, frankly. Canada is a shocking wasteland where newspapers are concerned. The Ottawa Citizen should be a national bellwether, but is little more than a small collection of other people's articles with the odd local feature. And many of the newspapers appear to be linked to some web thang called ... which means you appear to have to pay to read almost anything. Ridiculous. Shooting themselve sin the foot. I thought I might subscribe to the online Globe now that the NY Times is finally free ... but they want $14.95 per month just to be able to read their columnists. They must think they are very special. Frobisher, by the way, recommends Walrus Magazine, and I think I will subscribe ... although they, like the New York Review of Books, appear not to have an electronic only subscription. I don't want paper. Why do I have to get paper.

Another journalistic note: Vancouver's Xtra! West, a local gay paper, had an article by Gerald Hannon about Roy McMurtry. Gerald Hannon was one of the main impresario's of the epochal Canadain 70s gay newspaper, the Body Politic, and Roy McMurtry was the Tory provincial attorney general who brought obscenity charges against Hannon and Ken Poppert and Ed Jackson, all from the Body Politic. It was a major turning point in the gay liberation movement in Canada. They beat the charges twice, but even then MCMurtry was prepared to appeal the aquittal (double jeopardy being less of a concern, as it were, at that point in Canada ... I am not sure if the subsequent constitution banned it). There is a timeline at the bottom of Hannon article.

Well, it turns out that McMurtry eventaully became a member of the Ontario Court of Appeal and was responsible for the ruling that led to legal gay marriage across Canada. Very strange turn of events ... one does, however, have to account for and accept evolution. Fascinating article ... well worth reading.

Thinking about Xtra! West makes me think about Davie Street. It is definitely still old Vancouver with barely any aspect of spaceship Vancouver touching it. It still feels very much like it did when I first arrived. My first apartment was a cheap place (I think I remember $60 a month) on Thurlow at Davie. I tried to get a job at a very cool cafe on Davie, but they turned me down because they said that they didn't like gay waiters because too many of their friends hung around. I was a gay libber, but I didn't want a hassle in my new life on the coast, so I shut up about it, and felt guilty for years. Never went into the place a second time. It's long gone. I used to show up every Sunday at an eatery called Bino's ... I think the allotted time was 11 a.m. ... and anyone who wanted to show up was welcome and we'd eat blueberry pancakes. If no one showed up, I'd read.

This time, I had a coffee at a Starbuck's, and on another occasion at a Canadian knock-off coffee place called Blenz Coffee. But the highlight of hanging on Davie Street was a light breakfast at Hamburger Mary's at Davie and Bute. I say highlight because I love greasy spoon breakfasts ... my favorite type of meal-out. I was reading a book about Kublai Khan, having finished with Genghis Khan a few days back, and the drag queenish woman/man who served me let me hang and read and suck down too much coffee as it drizzled outside. That is a part of me that has not changed in three decades ... I still love a greasy-spoon breakfast. That may be genetic ... my sainted father, whose mobility is not considerably circumscribed by a stroke, loved to get up before everyone, find a greasy-spoon breaskfast, and then head home before anyone else had stirred from slumber. Like father, like son.

So I leave my vacation with that memory ... wet, black coffee, ham and eggs, Kublai Khan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

starbucks brewed their first cups of famous coffee with grounds bought everyweek from a shop in gastown. Are you sure you know which is the knock off?