Thursday, March 21, 2019

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Because we have been waiting for you for a decade

Time Travel: Vancouver 1980

Long before there were leaky condos, tiny dogs and “Yaletown”, the Vancouver of 1980 was a balls out working class city with one of best hardcore punk rock scenes in the world.

Just 18 28 years ago, aside from the rich fucks in Kerrisdale, Vancouver was both affordable and eccentric. With the hippies and their wonderful weed magic still mingling with the fishermen and loggers, neighbourhoods like the West End and Kitsilano had lots of cheap homes, the Dowtown Eastside didn’t have any crack, and East Van was like a scene from The Outsiders.

This odd combination made Vancouver a really friendly and accessible city. It was both political and unpretentious. You know how everyone in Vancouver now acts like a bunch of dicks who won’t invite you to their party until they’ve known you for two years? Well, the old Vancouver was like Newfoundland, but on weed.

It’s hard to imagine that a city now known for its bloated real estate, yuppie cokeheads and inability to buy a beer, gave birth to bands like D.O.A. and the Subhumans and made Dave “Tiger” Williams a hockey star. If the Vancouver of 1980 met the Vancouver of 2008, it would give it a curbie. Not only would I go back to that time, I would take the rest of this city with me.

  1. justin

    i was born in 83, and although my memory of life before the age of 7 is for shit, i can tell you that i’ve witnessed most of the decline you’re talking about and it makes me want to puke a little bit. not like one of those puke everywhere on everything scenarios, but one of those situations where you puke just a little in your mouth and then swallow it. y’know what i mean? you can taste the sick on the back of your teeth all day. the thing about this sort of puke is that you’d love to just brush your teeth and move on, but it’s 9:30am. you have to work two jobs to afford your stupid, tiny, piece of shit apartment on the east side and you didn’t think far enough ahead to bring your toothbrush to work, so you have to deal with that bitter taste all day, stinking up your breath and making it difficult for you to help the richies who would only talk to you so that they can buy their cafe lattes and chat about future vacations in bermuda.

    and the thing that really gets me about all of this, aside from the fact that so much of this city has sort of drifted into the gutter, is that i’m never going to be able to afford to live in the city that i grew up in. the fuck is that about?

    - Apr 15, 06:50 pm

  2. Allan

    TWENTY-EIGHT years, not eighteen.

    Eighteen years ago Kits was wack, as was Dunbar and Shaugnessy. What they now call South Granville, wasn’t called South Granville and all it was, was a place to get on the bus to go down- or uptown. Main and Broadway was trife, and Mt. Pleasant had a major prostitution and drug problem. No Soma, no gallery cafes, no $300 jeans stores – just whores and pawnshops.

    South Vancouver was the same, except Kingsway had less young, hip white people interspersed throughout.

    Commercial Drive was worse, because it was ONLY hippies and lesbians, instead of hippies, lesbians and yuppies (a much nicer combination).

    Rhymes with Orange and Spirit of the West were popular, and Cowichan sweaters were worn with ZERO irony.

    If you wanted to buy a house – the city was still unaffordable.

    I dunno about 28 years ago, but 1990 – I was there, man!

    - Apr 15, 08:55 pm

  3. justin

    i’m not pretending to know exactly what happened 28 years ago. i’m not even saying that what i remember was great. what i’m saying is that while things were shitty even as far back as i can remember, they have continued to get worse. 28 years, 18 years, 8 years. it doesn’t matter. it’s just a different series of pop culture references. it’s all going to shit. you don’t need to have been born prior to 1980 to see that.

    if it’s all the same, i’d like a space in that time machine because the vancouver of 1980 sounds way fucking better than the vancouver of 1990 and even better than the vancouver of 2008.

    - Apr 15, 11:13 pm

  4. vis a fizz

    the music scene in vancouver rules right now, no matter how much the old-timers dis it…

    - Apr 15, 11:51 pm

  5. narduwar

    fuck off then!

    - Apr 16, 04:41 pm

  6. Mr. Scene


    Can you please describe what it is that is so shitty about our city, and examples of shitty-free alternatives? Cuz I can guarantee that every place is “shitty” in one or more ways.

    Outside of being from here, one of the reasons I stay in Vancouver is the weather. I know its not cool to like a place for things outside of culture and nightlife, but damn, do I hate the cold and extreme heat that everywhere else seems to have.

    I’ll take renting for the rest of my life, ugly skyscraper condos, visible divide between rich and poor over Winnipeg’s mosquitoes, winters, summers, rampant racism and close-knit and supportive arts community any day.
    Ever been to Ontario? Ever tried to get a drink after 8 pm to take home or to a party? IMPOSSSIBLE! No off sales, and the beer store closes at 8. That seems pretty “shitty” to me. Now, BC and Vancouver, seem pretty shitty in that you can’t do the same after 11, because in Alberta and Quebec, it’s pretty much on demand, but at least I get get a 6 pack at 10.

    It’s easy to hate on Vancouver, but let’s be specific about what we hate and how its unique to Vancouver. Living elsewhere helps. Not visiting, but living.

    I don’t mean any offense, I’m just looking to address what is wrong with Vancouver.

    I like it. I like Vancouver. There – I said it.

    - Apr 16, 04:46 pm

  7. justin

    mr. scene,
    i’m not hating on vancouver. i love this city! i’d never live anywhere else. but that doesn’t mean that things haven’t changed for the worse and even that things can’t get better.

    i’m hating on the state of things. i’m hating the fact that every historical building we have is torn down to make way for unaffordable housing. where is our architectural history? i’m hating that gentrification is kicking the homeless out of the city so that rich professionals can live 5 minutes away from the office. i hate that the focus of this city went from the working class to the upper class. i hate yaletown and everything that it stands for. i hate that 4th avenue turned into a strip of maternity shops, jogging stores and posh restaurants with 10 dollar yam fries. i hate the way the government treats the artists in this city. it seems like a new art space is shut down every few months. the fuck is that about? i hate the motherfucking po-lice who shoot or tazer first and ask questions later.

    but that doesn’t mean that i don’t still love this city. i could make a longer list of things that i love, but we’re not talking about what we love. we’re talking about the way that it used to be and the way that it is. i mean yes, it’s probably better here than anywhere else, but it’s not perfect. i’m not expecting it to be. it’s home. it will always be home and nothing can change that for me.

    now i have a question for you. you stay for the weather? really? are you crazy?

    - Apr 16, 06:29 pm

  8. ainsworth

    Vienna is way better.

    - Apr 16, 07:24 pm

  9. Fuck You Everybody.

    Hey Mr.Scene, beer and wine stores close at 11pm in Ontario and liquor stores close at 9pm.

    Oh, and you’re a fucking idiot.

    - Apr 17, 08:39 pm

  10. AP

    I read this quite a while back and kept it because Vancouver is going down the sewer and only telling more people might help stop or slow down it’s decline.

    “Death Of Vancouver — A friend and I were reminiscing last night about Taft’s Café and how much time we spent there back when the Granville Mall had some character, as opposed to the strip of carbon-copy bars and boringly predictable stores
    that now populate it. Sixteen years ago it would have been impossible to envision a massive video screen continuously replaying adverts above the
    intersection at Granville and Robson, let alone the Gucci-bag-totting socialites that congest the sidewalks at the weekend. Our conversation turned to the days when this town actually had a live music scene, when venues like the Town Pump were more popular destinations than the numerous lounges and nightclubs that have since replaced them. While Vancouver has grown, it has undeniably lost a stunning amount of its quality, and while
    many who now call it home have no clue as to what it once was, quite a few of us that have lived downtown for a considerable amount of time recognize that it has become something almost diametrically opposed to its former

    Despite the laid back atmosphere that Vancouver is now known for, there was a time when the downtown core had an edgy energy that, at times, bordered on
    the subversive. Some of Yaletown’s now trendy eateries, some of which are even embarrassingly fronted by bouncers, were once home to jam spaces that housed some of Vancouver’s most notorious and important bands. There was a time when Vancouver’s nightlife was populated by a diverse cross section of people, all of whom came together at live music venues and alternative clubs to bask in the strange and wonderful dichotomy that was this city’s scene.
    But that scene, that culture’s grit and diversity, are all but memories now,swallowed up by the boring unoriginality that has gripped this city.
    Vancouver has, in many ways, become one-dimensional, a playpen for the ever-expanding monotone of the nouveau rich and those who play at climbing ladders constructed of low self-esteem and opportunism. I am no stranger to
    the phenomenon, as my profession has occasionally brought me to its epicenter, West Hollywood.

    Holding the phone, I stood looking out my living room window, our
    conversation diverting to how boxing up my things was going. I stood there, prisoner to a moment of extreme sadness, one that can only be described as
    the recognition of something special forever lost. It is a terrible conclusion to come to about one’s home, and even more so to convey in words.
    But there it is.

    - Apr 19, 05:25 pm

  11. ...

    that quoted article above is lame.

    things change and fun moves to different neighborhoods all the time, but it never disappears. i think the author just assumes it did because he’s totally out of touch.

    vancouver has some of the best bands ever. the quality of music here can compare to any city in the world. so many good bands, all releasing great records, tons of people at the shows.

    people just love to complain. most of the bad aspects to vancouver exist in every city and are not exclusive to any era.

    - Apr 20, 09:38 am

  12. Metaldeath

    Ha ha – you seriously just quoted Matthew Good? Oh poor Matt Good, lamenting the good ole days of Vancouver. You know, the good old days when he had some semblance of a career?

    - Apr 21, 04:28 pm

  13. Scott M

    The OP is pretty much spot on. You had to be around Vancouver, circa 1980, to appreciate what the place was really like. It really was something to behold back then. Now it’s just a corporate, yuppy haven. It’s still a pretty good place, but devoid of the character it had back in the day.

    - Sep 30, 06:07 am

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