On the VPD’s Mandate to ‘Serve and Infect’ and Bidding Farewell to the English Bay Barge (and the City’s Soul)

Tea & Two Slices is a long-running local news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown, deeply aware of his privilege.

Let’s face it, B.C. headlines are sad. How can we be happy during such dark times? Which is in and of itself, a sad headline. We don’t need to be coddled, we need you to speak truth to power. Things are sad because our institutions are increasingly unable to cope with crisis after crisis. How an article about mental health doesn’t mention the climate, inadequate housing, the drug poisoning epidemic, systemic racism, and runaway inequality is beyond me. Remember, the system isn’t broken, it’s working as intended. We aren’t supposed to be happy and that’s the most depressing thing of all.

That being said, self care in a world where systems of power seek disunity and despair is a radical act, and the best way to fight those systems is to organize! Oh and the occasional crystal sound bath doesn’t hurt.

The sadness you feel is structural! We could have free transit, mental health programs, meaningful reconciliation, non-market housing, affordable rentals, a Green New Deal, safe supply, decriminalization, a living wage, universal accessibility, and healthy social assistance rates. In short, we could be like Denmark, Norway, and Finland, the happiest countries in the world.

But no. Not Vancouver, where property values reign supreme and the booster class have convinced us we are living in some sort of crime-ridden cesspool in which the mighty VPD are our only saviours and those pesky climate activists are the “culprits“.

Of course these same pearl clutching propertied elites simping for the highest per-capita funded police force in North America are also, to nobody’s surprise, against a hike in property taxes: Vancouver’s approved 2022 budget includes a 6.35% property tax hike. It’s still the lowest rate in North America. But never forget that Kennedy Stewart voted with the NPA, ex-NPA and Green city councillors to support increases to the VPD budget while ruling an amendment by Swanson to redirect that funding to the community “out of order“.

These are the same police who routinely baby-sit openly racist anti-maskers who are a real threat to public safety. Turns out, to Serve and Infect is their unofficial motto: Vancouver police will not be implementing COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Tell me you’re an unaccountable publicly funded gang without telling me you’re an unaccountable publicly funded gang.

Speaking of anti-vaxxers, I completely missed this: COVID-19 denier and conspiracy theorist Mak Parhar dead at 48. What a shame.

Meanwhile, the barge is leaving and it didn’t even pen a long winded op-ed in the Daily Hive announcing the myriad reasons why: English Bay barge to be assessed, repaired in coming days to prepare for removal. When are we getting a miniature, gold-plated, Douglas Coupland version at the front of some condo that displaced 200 seniors in the West End?

Upzone along arterials they said. It would be fun they said: Mount Pleasant site rezoned by City of Vancouver for six-storey project on sale for $22.4 million. According to Patrick Condon, that works out to about $100 million an acre. Community Land Trust now!

This is right across the street from Red Gate version 3.0 and just down the hill from the ill-fated Little Mountain Gallery: Replacing Little Mountain Gallery is really complicated, according to executive director Brent Constantine. Check this out:

“The Straight asked him if a developer might want to create space for a new Little Mountain Gallery as a community-amenity contribution to the city in return for higher density. Constantine replied that it takes at least five years from the time a proposal is made until the rezoning is approved and the building is completed.”

Mike Usinger understood the assignment: As condo-obsessed Vancouver continues to not really give a shit, Berlin rallies to save its vanishing music venues. As weird as the Straight has become, at least it can still print stuff like this.

Like, how many of these places are now soulless, cookie-cutter, glass boxes in the sky? A Look Back at Vancouver’s Most Popular Nightclubs from the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s. Oh and there’s so many more: The Cobalt, Pub340, SBC, The Sugar Refinery, Media Club, The Lamplighter, Electric Owl, Brickyard, Marine Club, Pic Pub, Marble Arch, Mesa Luna, New York Theatre,Honey, Lick, The Lotus, Red Lounge, The Niagara, The Columbia (303), Emergency Room, Sweatshop, 151, GLEN 360, Underwear Farm, Butchershop, , The Chair Factory, The Royal, Balmoral, Miss T’s, Selynn Hall, Zoo Zhop Church of Pointless Hysteria, Goody, Secret Location, Crosstown Traffic, the Glass Slipper, Club Carib, Nyala, The Shed, Goonies, Silvertone Tavern, The Candy Bar, The Savoy, The Gate, The Sidedoor, The Dodson, The Buffalo Club, The Pig and Whistle, Cruel Elephant, The Wick Cafe, Press Club, Maclolm Lowry Ballroom, Jolly Taxpayer, Pink Pussycat, Rohan’s Rockpile, Body Shop, The Rage/ 86 Street Music Hall, The Purple Crab, The Soft Rock Cafe, Hungry Eye, Nappy Dugout, Archimedes, Rock Cellar, Jack’s Hanging Tree, Alma Street Cafe, What Gallery, Outlaws, The Windmill, Luxury Bob’s, Rime, Lime, The Meatball, Castle In The Clouds, the Crying Room, Progression Gallery, The D.A.N. space, City Space, Channel 1, Stalag 13, Franks, La Quena, Broadway express, The Classical Joint, Pender Ballroom, Lunatic Fringe…

But hey it’s not all bad news! Vancouver’s City Centre Motel to be transformed into temporary artist studios.

In other good news, the Canucks have entered a new era, are 2-0 under Bruce Boudreau: “A new vision and a new leader”: Canucks hire Rutherford as president.

Bonus: Comedy, Free Speech and Navigating the Culture Wars.

There are 3 comments

  1. “The sadness you feel is structural!”: Yes, and adding insult to injury, ordinary people are continually told to “cultivate a positive attitude” and other such absurd drivel, as if the sadness were all or even appreciably their fault.

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