Post Of Christmas Present

Found one for my mother.

“The Jack Acid Society Black Book”, basically a whole bunch of Walt Kelly’s songs, little prose pieces, etc…”Old Dog Trey” is in there, I’m sure.

Completely forgot I scooped it up at the Bowen Island Book Sale this summer.  “What did you get?” she asked.  “NEVER YOU MIND!” I screeched back.  “Come on, can’t I see?”  “NO YOU MAY NOT!  I DO NOT GO INTO YOUR BOXES OF BOOKS AND…”

“Yes you do.”


It’s possible she may suspect something.


Glad I remembered it!

Snow outside, Bloggers, piled up by the ploughs, making little passageways running hither and yon throughout the streets of the really rather picturesque neighbourhood I live on the fringes of.  Over its hill and far away, on the south side of Vancouver as it begins to think about facing down toward the mighty Fraser River, the old parental domicile, which in turn is hard up against the old Interurban stop in Kerrisdale, my stomping grounds as a kid — cut by the old Ravine of Second Creek, wound about by a thread of what turned from passenger to freight rail, and then to dog-walking strip (I once walked sixteen blocks without falling off the western rail of that bed, admittedly the more level one but even so…even so!), and though much changed still itself, still the Bedford Falls of my city, or perhaps the Shadow Hill.  You can still see what Chesterton was on about in his Napoleon: it’s like its own little country.  You could imagine a war there, fought entirely by elementary-school children.

Blanketed in snow, now, in a way it hasn’t been since I was ten years old.  The plateau once you get up past where the streams all met — and still do, underground — the school, the skating rink, the dumb new condos, the Chinese groceries…there are still some of them left, even now.  Even now!  It’s a bit of a ridiculous place, really.  Somehow it pulls boundaries to itself.  And many people don’t like it, but I do.

I’ll be there tomorrow!

North of me, the zany deep-focussed strip of Granville Street, the old logging road, once filled with antique stores and greasy spoons and Hungarian restaurants, now over-cluttered with high-end shoe stores and young lawyers with laptops and ballcap-bozos pretending they know how they like their Scotch — the Chinese stores all gone! — but then the road plummets part the theatre to the bridge over False Creek, and past it Stanley Park, the water and the mountains and then the sky.  Freighters bobbing out there, the serrated edge of Texada Island in the distance, that the Natives say just rose out of the Inside Passage one day, just like that.  Like a big violet breadknife, in the evenings.  Little white Lego-pieces of apartment buildings downtown, and then the sodium-vapour fairy dust climbing the slopes of the mountains, atop them the white lights of the ski hills.  Howe Sound like a funnel, blowing the winter Squamish out into the Gulf.  No spring tides for a while, I guess:  the Strait of Georgia’s customary extra tidal charge is headed down into Puget Sound.

It’s midnight now, just about exactly, I think;  better post, before the moment passes.

Just wanted you all to know where I’m at.

Where are you?

Merry Christmas, Bloggers.  See you after the turkey bloat goes away.


4 responses to “Post Of Christmas Present

  1. Whoops! But you might do worse than take a look at the Fractal Hall over the next day or two — Madeley’s put up another of his holiday horror stories, which are pretty fun, and a post with an unbeatable title: “A Nerd’s Christmas In Wales”.

    Never gonna top that one!

    Go on; link’s right over on the sidebar. Hmm, probably should make this it’s own post, but there’s something I want to watch on TV…

    Maybe tomorrow!

  2. Getting weary of the snow yet?

    I really hate that stretch of “deep-focussed” Granville Street you describe (from 16th or so through to Broadway). I prefer my own Marpole Granville neighbourhood, from 64th down, with the pre-requisite Chinese grocery still intact. It’s hard to explain sometimes to out of town guests that “South” Granville is actually a few miles north of “just plain” Granville.

    And that’s where I am, and where I spent Christmas. My wife and I were supposed to go to a family dinner over in North Van, but we cancelled and grabbed a couple of turkey breasts and stovetop stuffing at Safeway, and bottles of Bushmills and Baileys at the liquor store next door, and it was good.

  3. A wise move, Formerly! We’re lucky we get such mild wake-up calls from Nature, reminders that our plans aren’t the paramount objects of universal existence, and so we should probably be prepared to slow the fuck down. It’s not so bad. I pity the folks in Seattle, we think we’ve been getting the short end of the climate-change stick, it seems whatever we get they get times ten. Gales, torrents, blizzards — they must be made of some tough stuff down there.

    I’m supremely irritated with the way this neighbourhood has become, strictly for real-estate rebranding purposes, “South Granville”. It’s absurd; when I was a kid, South Granville was from about 54th down to the Fraser, code for “Marpole”, and this was a nice historic neighbourhood starting from the Trojan Horse and proceeding down to the Aristocratic, and a place where mostly older folks lived, that had no name. And that’s why I moved here some thirteen years ago, when it was still “my” part of Vancouver…the part without a name! Granville still looks damn good from my balcony, but down on the ground it’s less than it once was. I think I mentioned it somewhere around here, but at the time I moved into this place I was also looking at a place on Main St. up by the Heritage Hall, but I chose this area ’cause it was very much “closer to home”. But a couple of years ago I was walking through Mt. Pleasant and thought: “Jeez, did this neighbourhood get a lot cooler all of a sudden?” No, it didn’t, really…but “South Granville” just went through such classless changes that it’s not the same anymore, it isn’t inviting, there have been few net positive changes around here. There have been some! ABC Books moved up to Broadway from downtown, and I quite like that Memphis Blues place. But the Normandy’s gone, the Press Club is gone, Szasz is gone, I miss having the Stanley as a movie theatre, I miss all kinds of things, something happened here and it hasn’t been for the best. Even Jackson’s Meats and MacKinnon’s Bakery are gone. Even the Chinese groceries are gone!

    (Okay, they were actually Korean, I know that…but you know the operative lingo…)

    I could list so many things that are gone, that were once great, or at least good. One day I will. And then I’ll list the new things that are still here, that keep this neighbourhood hanging on by its fingernails, that keep its sense of “continuity of place” alive. Meanwhile I’ll just say that if you’re living on the West Side you have to go at least to 49th and Arbutus (Magee Grocery) to find a real licorice/firecracker place…but down in Marpole, where you are (they tried to re-name this neighbourhood “Marpole” too, by the way!! Did you know that? Travesty! Can no place be what it is, anymore?) you have to go a bit farther, but once you’re there you’re in an actual neighbourhood of the old and hallowed variety. In fact it is what I call South Granville, and it’s a gorgeous spot. Old-time he-men husbands and the genius-intellect wives that marry them…or, you know, vice versa. Anyway not a place where you find complacent people, one way or the other.

    Formerly SW…you should employ that email address I have on the sidebar. Let’s all meet up and have a drink in the near future, perhaps January when all the mess has settled out? I promise (or warn) you that I am just about exactly in real life as I am on this blog: longwinded, ranty, with poorly-thought-out opinions.

    That would make a great Personals ad, wouldn’t it? “Longwinded, ranty, with poorly thought-out opinions…seeks same.” Good Lord, it’s like fully 80% of the people I went to university with. Oh! Only missing:

    “No weirdoes.”

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