Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why the B.C. Missing Women's Commission of Inquiry fails |

Why the B.C. Missing Women's Commission of Inquiry fails |

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Remembering Jack

Feels appropriate to re-post this.

Jack Layton will be remembered as a fighter. From his first political steps as a young man to the amazing surge of the federal NDP in this year’s spring election to his fight with cancer he always embraced the struggle.

It was this tenacity that endeared him to people all over Canada. To many he was simply known as Jack and in Vancouver on Monday night some five hundred people gathered at the Art Gallery in a vigil for him.

It was a beautiful event with NDP activists and supporters holding candles. I held a CUPE flag which drifted gently in the evening breeze. It was fitting that after the day’s heavy rains the clouds cleared. As candles glowed people talked of Jack and grieved. I chatted with an old friend - we knew each from our activism with the BC Health Coalition. Our interaction, just one of many such conversations taking place.

I got home at about 10pm and went online to Youtube where I found a video of Jack singing at the 2005 Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner. The event typically has a satirical edge to it and that year was no exception with Jack singing his own lyrics to the tunes of three popular songs.

‘King of the Road’ became ‘Party For Sale or Rent’ with Jack making fun of himself, his party and the general state of federal politics at that time. The medley continued with ‘Nobody knows you when you’re down and out’ again with different and comical lyrics. He ended with a variant of the Barenaked Ladies ‘If I had a million dollars’ becoming ‘If I Had Another $48.6 billion dollars’.

As Jack left the stage that night - the musician accompanying him sang Hit The Road Jack. That night Jack left the stage of the press gallery dinner but yesterday he departed this life. He will be greatly missed, but what a legacy!

Jack Layton’s letter to Canadians

obituary from The Toronto Star

Statement from Barry O’Neill, President CUPE BC

Statement from Paul Moist, National President CUPE

Red Bull prepares to cross Rocky Mountaineer picket lines

Red Bull's Mini Drome tour, a lapped bicycle ride comes to Vancouver and controversially the site of a Lock Out at the Rocky Mountaineer terminus, Cottrell Street on October 23.

The soft drink maker boasts that Mini Drome "brings skill, speed, balance, and bravado together on a steep and shrunken version, far from the traditional velodrome, to give competitors the most challenging and treacherous ride of their lives." At the same time competitors are having the time of their lives they will have to think on the fact that in taking part in this event they have crossed a picket line.

Rocky Mountaineer locked out its on-board attendants in June of this year and refuses to negotiate with the union Teamsters Local 31.

In addition spectators are also invited to cross the picket line. There is no admission charge.

The Super Champion Bike Shop at the foot of Main Street near Cordova is acting in partnership with Red Bull to organize the event. The store is taking registrants information.

The Vancouver International Film Festival also held an event at the Cottrell Street site. A large picket and mobilization by the B.C Federation of Labour persuaded film lovers to boycott the event.

Rocky Mountaineer Lock Out continues | Radio is Radio

The Lock Out at Rocky Mountaineer is far from over.

Here's an interview I did with Heather Donily, one of the on-board attendants for the Rocky Mountaineer. I spoke with her on The Rational on Vancouver Cooperative Radio, Monday 3 Oct.

The latest on Rocky Mountaineer is that Red Bull plan to hold a bicycle event at RM's train terminus Oct 23.

Rocky Mountaineer Lock Out continues | Radio is Radio

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Resistance to Cheney book bash

Today's newspapers and last night's web reports from CTV and CBC carried reports from the protest at the Vancouver Club where Dick Cheney appeared at a $500 a seat Bon Mot book club event.

Outside on the street the mood was jubilant almost celebratory as opponents to war and torture made their thoughts and feelings known. Protestors dressed in orange suits as a representation of Guantanamo Bay detainees sat at the front steps of the VC before the arrival of the first guests. Cheney arrived by other means as the venue became a fortress surrounded by the Vancouver Police and the RCMP.

A bevvy of media - TV, radio and photographers remained poised to get sights and sounds. Indie media also got their fix. Both indie and mainstream media were able to capture the image of people linking arms in an attempt to prevent Cheney guests from entering the club. The sidewalk was blocked with guests struggling to get through the rumbustious gathering.

Organizer of the Bon Mot event Leah Costello said it was not an endorsement of Cheney but an opportunity for debate and discussion. The former U.S Vice President continues to defend the interrogation techniques deployed during his tenure. It is a stand that has politicians at the highest level in Canada speaking out. Don Davies, the New Democratic Member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway voiced his opposition to allowing Cheney to enter Canada.

The disastrous invasion of Iraq and the ongoing war in Afghanistan remain front and centre in the minds of those opposed to these wars. Given Cheney's connection to this history it's of no surprise that the protest outside the West Hastings venue was as militant as it was.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yeah yeah - Vancouver touching down

I'm about to embark on a road trip of sorts. Tomorrow night I will be leaving Vancouver and taking the Greyhound to Calgary, and then on Sunday I take a flight to Manchester, England.

I am close to completing my first pack of the backpack. My attempt at trying to travel lighter is looking good but at present nothing is in the backpack - ha ha! So I can not really boast about achieving anything at this stage.

I think the only thing I've not got right now is a Maple Leaf! I'm thinking of getting one just in case I run into difficulties in the north of England and end up hitch hiking - it will add some novelty to my appearance. I've also cut the hair and it's looking a touch hip(pyish)as the blade set #4 did not do a uniform cut. Yeah it was deliberate.

I've cut up the last of the fruit and put into freezer. Only the milk and some lemons left in the fridge. Oh yeah the lemons.

Going to use some of those right now.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Travel Mode

A week from now I will be at the airport in Calgary awaiting my flight to Manchester, England.

It's under a year since I was last in England but it feels a lot longer than that. I think it's just down to the fact that I've been busy. Yet at the same time I really don't feel like I've done that much. Who am I? Well yes this blog And Out Left is a blog by Gary Jarvis. I'm from north west London if you want to know but have been living in Vancouver for nearly seven years and most of that in the Downtown Eastside. Every time I take a trip back to England I get the feeling that I am closer to leaving Vancouver.

In fact I have more days than not when I think to myself why I am still in Vancouver. There's an answer to that question that I just haven't worked out.
It's a glorious sunny day in Vancouver and I'm readying myself for a trip to England, finding British money I forgot I had - no great fortunes but along with hostel cards and an Oyster (London Underground) card it feels like I'm ready.

I am readying myself for the travel mode. I got a cheap flight out of Calgary, and in typical style, well for me at least, I will be doing the Greyhound there. That's 18 hours on a bus! I've already decided that I am going to be traveling light. I hope to stay at a hostel in Calgary that has great reviews in the Rough Guide to Canada but that's not confirmed.

So I'm thinking of packing the emergency sheet, sleeping back and maybe even a tarp. It was last used for a night camping in Osoyoos. I will not be packing a tent though. It's tempting but it can stay here on this side of The Atlantic.

From Calgary it's a flight to Manchester, and then a quick hop to Carnforth.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Jack Layton

Jack Layton will be remembered as a fighter. From his first political steps as a young man to the amazing surge of the federal NDP in this year's spring election to his fight with cancer he always embraced the struggle.

It was this tenacity that endeared him to people all over Canada. To many he was simply known as Jack and in Vancouver on Monday night some five hundred people gathered at the Art Gallery in a vigil for him.

It was a beautiful event with NDP activists and supporters holding candles. I held a CUPE flag which drifted gently in the evening breeze. It was fitting that after the day's heavy rains the clouds cleared. As candles glowed people talked of Jack and grieved. I chatted with an old friend - we knew each from our activism with the BC Health Coalition. Our interaction, just one of many such conversations taking place.

I got home at about 10pm and went online to Youtube where I found a video of Jack singing at the 2005 Parliamentary Press Gallery Dinner. The event typically has a satirical edge to it and that year was no exception with Jack singing his own lyrics to the tunes of three popular songs.
'King of the Road' became 'Party For Sale or Rent' with Jack making fun of himself, his party and the general state of federal politics at that time. The medley continued with 'Nobody knows you when you're down and out' again with different and comical lyrics. He ended with a variant of the Barenaked Ladies 'If I had a million dollars' becoming 'If I Had Another $48.6 billion dollars'.

As Jack left the stage that night - the musician accompanying him sang Hit The Road Jack. That night Jack left the stage of the press gallery dinner but yesterday he departed this life. He will be greatly missed, but what a legacy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Support needed to end the lock out of 100 Vancouver workers

There's a lock out going on right now in Vancouver. It's a lock out that could be ended with your help. Yes you're reading right you can help bring an end to this lock out.

The action or actions that will end this lock out needs a big ask. That big ask is that hundreds possibly thousands mobilize in the coming weeks on Cottrell Street in Vancouver to support the locked out on-board workers of Rocky Mountaineer.

Some 100 Rocky staff have been locked out since the middle of June when the company decided to abandon bargaining and lock out their workers. The lock out came at a critical time in bargaining negotiations and rather than bargain in good faith management decided to lock out its on-board employees and run the tourist train without those workers.

The Rocky Mountaineer is operating with inexperienced staff hired at short notice to replace the locked out workers. Yes that is indeed scab labour - a further torment to the locked out workers. However the company has been able to get around this by using a combination of managers and scabs, the latter being legally acceptable as there is no such thing as scab labour under Canadian federal legislation. Of course just because scab labour is legal in Canada doesn't make it right.

The push to get the management of Rocky Mountaineer back to the bargaining table can be achieved and one of the quickest ways to make it happen is to mobilize hundreds of trade unionists. A weekly picket is being organized by the Vancouver & District Labour Council. We need to join that picket line this Friday, and every Friday until the objective - of getting back to the bargaining table - is achieved.

See you on Cottrell Street in Vancouver this Friday at 5pm.

Cottrell Street is the right turn off Terminal - one turning before the Home Depot store.

Alternatively meet at the Main Street skytrain station on the east side of the street at Thornton Park.
We're going to meet at 4.30pm and at 5pm march to the Cottrell Street site.

Monday, July 4, 2011

a more diverse set on African Vibes you are likely never to hear…. | Radio is Radio

a more diverse set on African Vibes you are likely never to hear…. | Radio is Radio

Gary Jarvis hosts African Vibes at Coop Radio from time to time. You can find the set list from the 3 July show at the blog and listen to the set at

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rocky Mountaineer lockout update

Workers continue to picket the company's headquarters on Terminal and will also picket, later tomorrow afternoon, the western terminus of the Rocky Mountaineer tourist train.

The on-board attendants who are members of Teamsters Local 31 have been locked out by their employer. Currently some of the culinary staff, members of the Canadian Auto Workers union, local 4001 continue to work.

Injunctions have been served against Teamsters members for actions connected to the picketing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A bittersweet Canada Day - Opinion

Postal workers are back at work after being legislated back to work by the Conservative Government. As that Lock Out comes to an end the Lock Out by Rocky Mountaineer on its on board staff continues.

Yesterday there was a picket line at both Rocky Mountaineer's head office on Terminal in Vancouver and then later a picket at the scenic train's western terminus just a few streets away.

At that picket line on board staff held Teamsters Local 31 picket signs as well as their own homemade signs. Workers cried as they saw bus loads of tourists leave the site. It really hit home at the sheer pointlessness of management's aggressive stance against what really is a great community of workers - family almost.

So yet again Canada Day is almost here and the expectation is to show patriotism for this great country of ours. My patriotism for the magnificent beauty of the mountains and the lakes continues. My despair with the brutality of the capitalist society continues also.

Despair never lasts long here. It turns to anger and shortly after that action. The fight for a democratic and just Canada continues.

Rocky Mountaineer workers locked out

The Rocky Mountaineer caters for tourists on a scenic train ride from Vancouver to Calgary, Alberta via the Rockies.

The employees and their union Teamsters Local 31 are being shunned by the company.

It's really sad to see such obviously loyal staff - many have worked for the company for 15 years - being treated so appallingly.

To make matters worse the company has hired scab labour - which is illegal in British Columbia. Some of the "replacement workers" are management but there are also new hires.

YouTube - Rocky Mountaineer locks out its employees

YouTube - Rocky Mountaineer locks out its employees

Monday, June 27, 2011

Back to work for the Postal Workers

It's a sad day for Canadian postal workers and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. It's a frightening day for all Canadians.

Our Conservative Government it reads in the mainstream media has legislated postal workers back to work. Legislated is correct but it feels more like sledgehammered back to work.

For the record and to say it again - it was Canada Post that brought our post office to a halt with the lock out. Yes the employer locked out the workers preventing them from working. True the post office employees had been engaging in rotating strikes prior to the lock out.

Rotating strikes or temporary work stoppages to put it another way are not a strike. Legislation back to work normally follows a strike, at least it does in Canada. The crippling fines for ignoring back to work legislation can kill a union and it would undoubtedly kill the CUPW.

The really upsetting thing in all of this is that the Tories legislated the post workers back to work following a lock out by Canada Post and not a strike. The management of Canada Post, a federal workforce means that the Government is the boss. So let's get it right for what it is - Canada Post locked out the workers and then the Government forced them back to work, and enforced back to work terms and conditions worse than Canada Post's final offer in negotiations with CUPW.

The new collective agreement would last three years should the CUPW sign up to it.

As for a general strike to support the CUPW - ain't going to happen. Summer is coming and all those music festivals, baseball, football to keep us Canadians busy. Yeah it's apathy again that allows Harper and the conservatives to do their worst. Greater organization and cooperation on the left is the only thing that is going to stop the Tories.

A general strike in the traditional sense is probably not something that can easily be done. The laws in this country as detailed above stifle that possibility. As it stands the postal workers have no option but to go back to work. A solution can only come from the workers in this country when they take a principled stand against the Tories. What will that look like?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Postal Workers under attack

Postal workers under attack
What do we do?
Stand up dance back. Yeah that's right. In addition to picketing, postal workers in Vancouver have held a few dance parties. Here's some pix from the streets.

The 6.57 to St John’s – it’s a radio show | Radio is Radio

The 6.57 to St John’s – it’s a radio show | Radio is Radio

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The 6.57 to St John's set list 25 june 2011

My best plaid - The City Streets
Generic - Keep Me Safe
Kings, queens & The wax machines - Pale Whale
Drunks & thieves - Falklands
Maintain your composure - Zombies
It's good to see you - Falklands
16 in April - Keep Me Safe
16 in April - Keep Me Safe (yes twice)
Golden platitudes - Manic Street Preachers
School pride - The Stance
Honestly speaking - Stuck On Planet Earth
Something new - Pale Whale
Are you mine - The Robots
This is the one - The Stone Roses
Irish rose - The City Streets
Miss the cold - The City Streets
Big love - The City Streets
Breathless - The City Streets
Dragons - It Kills
Ringerz - Islet
Your radio - Little Scream
Wild human child - Egyptian Hip Hop
Islands - The XX
Sole brother - Born Ruffians
Old song - It Kills

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The 6.57 to St John's set list 18 june 2011

Police & thieves - The Clash
My best plaid - The City Streets
Report from the trenches - Keep Me Safe
Oh man - Born Ruffians
Romania - Boxer The Horse
Pop song automaton - Zombies
Brown sabbath - Etaoin Shrdlu
Pobody's nerfect - Wolf Parade
Black star - Radiohead
She's lost control - Joy Division
Go deep - Snowblink
The fish of little thoughts - Snowblink
The appeal of the master dredger - Construction & Destruction
Hibernation - Pugs & Crows
Red crescent - Matthew Hornell & The Diamond Minds
The ghost of Carbisdale castle - Pat Lepoidevin
Grand aul dame Brittannia - Ron Kavana & The Alias Acoustic Band
The Portland cement factory at monolith California - John Fahey
Home fire - Ron Kavana & The Alias Acoustic Band
Song 2 - Blur
Wrong em boyo - The Clash
You lost my love - The Stance
Sole brother - Born Ruffians
Age 25-29 hairline - Shane Turner Overdrive
The signal - Construction & Destruction
A year on trial - The Paperbacks
Protocols - Then Radio
The words that maketh murder - PJ Harvey

Thursday, June 16, 2011

YouTube - ‪jarvisv6a's Channel‬‏

YouTube - ‪jarvisv6a's Channel‬‏

Riot Act being read in Vancouver, 15 June 2011

Vancouver Stanley Cup defeat riot

15 June
8.25pm west of Granville

8.50pm, Hamilton and Georgia

9.12pm, Hamilton, Canada Post

9.15pm, Hamilton and Georgia

9.45pm, Dunsmuir and Seymour

9.55pm, Hamilton parking lot

10.37pm, Granville Street

11.10pm, Richards near Red Room

11.20pm, Vancouver Art Gallery, Georgia

11.28pm, VAG, Georgia

11.37pm, VAG, Georgia

11.41pm, VAG, Georgia

11.45pm, VAG, Georgia

16 June
12.18am, Robson near Art Gallery

12.31am, somewhere near Granville

12.45am, Georgia outside Canada Post

Vancouver riots as Stanley Cup goes to Boston

Many many people said there would be a riot but a few of us, myself included, based on the experience of the Olympics and the policing there thought that the riotous scenes of 1994 wouldn't be repeated.

Wrong. The lid blew off the pressure cooker. Cycling round the turmoil of downtown Vancouver and witnessing the destruction, as well as the good cop bad cop routines of the Vancouver Police Department and the completely chaotic crowd control measures it really became apparent that this was always how it was going to be.

Even if Vancouver had won the last game on home ice a riot might still have been the outcome. The mess downtown as a result of the riot is being viewed as a black eye for Vancouver. That's what you are going to read in the mainstream media and hear on the CBC for weeks, even years to come. What they won't mention is that Vancouver wears a black eye everyday, and has done for years - that became apparent to overseas media when they saw the poverty in this city during the Olympics.

Many of you might be thinking this opinion is an attempt to shift the blame from the rioters to the authorities. In part it is. Watching smart cars get overturned brings me to the conclusion that a lot of people just weren't thinking about their acts of vandalism. Then there were the overturned portapotties. Hey guys think about the salmon! Then there was the smashed windows of Canada Post. Canada Post who this week locked out postal workers across the country. Two acts of stupidity and one act of strategic direct action. It's difficult to know if that really is the case. But then this was a riot. The motivations of people were not clear.

The CBC, in particular Radio One, has been building up the event, and running with the Stanley Cup fever for weeks. Of course they were tapping into the buzz of the city but they also became part of that buzz and helped to keep it going. The crowds outside the CBC centre on Hamilton grew from a few hundred a few weeks back when Vancouver eliminated San Jose to tens and tens of thousands yesterday. The crowd may have been one hundred thousand strong at the start of the game. It certainly was impressive to look down from the Vancouver public library to see the crowds of hockey fans adorned in blue stretching back along Georgia past Homer to the next intersection. An impromptu singing of Oh Canada following both playings of the national anthems at Rogers Arena was impressive.

From that point on though it felt like the downtown core, the library included, was under siege. It was like a fireworks crowd with no beach to go to, no fireworks to view. One media report said that the destruction on Georgia at the Canada Post building started right as the game ended. The plume of thinly streaming smog-like looking smoke could been seen as far as Dunsmuir.

Three things contributed to the chaos; the anticipation created by the play-off nature of the Stanley Cup, the absence of a large downtown space for people to celebrate a win or loss and the response of the Vancouver Police. The art gallery was cleared of people dancing on the steps by riot police. There was no smashing windows there, no looting, just people dancing, smiling, waving Canucks flags and having a party. The riot police treated this crowd just the same as the people looting on Granville and the people rioting on Georgia. The police are completely out of touch with the average person in the city. It's not the fault of the rank and file police officer. The powers that be got it spectacularly wrong. Very early in the night police put on riot gear. Big mistake. They did this just west of Granville in full view of the then partying crowd. Children with parents watched eagerly. The police attempts to 'look' and 'sound' tough didn't and don't work. Could they not have donned their riot gear more discretely and then gave the vandals a real surprise. No, this is of course, not how Vancouver polices. You only have to think of the police car parked across the bike lanes when police make their presence known at Pigeon Park, or the bus lanes anywhere in the city as officers stand around a handcuffed individual sitting on the ground.

These are the things you won't hear about in the mainstream media. These are things that people know and see for themselves. We forget about it, we walk past it and try to get on with life despite the contradictions in thinking that this type of policing provokes.

A riot in Vancouver post Canucks defeat. Won't happen. But it did and when all is considered it's not surprising. It wasn't a political riot as some are bemoaning but you know in some ways it was. Big name stores were attacked and looted including Louis Vuitton while eateries kept their doors open and did a brisk trade. It was reminiscent of the large manifestations at a typical G8 or G20. The small store owners fed the people and the corporate commercial giants got ransacked.

There were more onlookers than looters and more people than police. The latter being the reason that people wouldn't go home and that the "Attention Attention - leave the area or risk arrest" announcements were completely ignored. This for the most part wasn't a crowd of rioters. The people causing the destruction of cars and looting stores were a small number. But the people wanting to party and celebrate the achievement of going to game 7 in the Stanley Cup Final were many. The demand of the Vancouver Police in telling people to go home - ridiculous.

Based on last night many will be hoping it's another 17 years before the Vancouver Canucks makes the Stanley Cup Final. Our media, the policing and our city will have changed dramatically again as it has done since 1994. Yet we'll probably still have a corporate media toying with Vancouverites love of hockey, we'll still have a police department that's insensitive to the people it's meant to serve, and we'll still have no real public squares - and those that we do have will be cleared by riot cops. We could of course try to sign Tim Thomas.

Sounds like a riot in Vancouver | Radio is Radio

Sounds like a riot in Vancouver | Radio is Radio

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The 6.57 to St John's set list 11 june 2011

Back in fine form after a week off. Thanks to Pam Carr for hosting last week's show

Pre-show warm up to 6.57
Beetlebum - Blur
Stir it up - Bob Marley
Song 2 - Blur

set list
My best plaid - The City Streets
Yours & mine - The Stance
16 in April - Keep Me Safe
Gimme me a ride - Entire Cities
Protocols - Then Radio
Beat and the pulse - Austra
Mattlers - Lovely Killbots
What's left us - Construction & Destruction
Wildwood - Code Pie
Age 25-29 hairline - Shane Turner Overdrive
Filthy love - We Are Enfant Terrible
OMG - Ohama
Reach out your hands - Friends Electric
Smokin - Boston
Transmission - Joy Division
It's good to see you - Falklands
Kiss me when I come - Keep Me Safe
Alive - Stuck On Planet Earth
Kings, Queens & The Wax Machines - Pale Whale
Jenny jitters - The Stance
Sweet tooth - The Stance
Myself the cop - Pete Tremblay & The Boozy Truth
Mary - Pat Lepoidevin
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear - Entire Cities

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Stanley Cup craziness

The excitement in Vancouver for the Canucks possibility of winning the Stanley Cup is completely understandable. The anticipation is palpable and no doubt the same is true on the streets of Boston.

The momentum has steadily grown with each game in the series final and with each home win for the Canucks, currently sitting at 3-2 to Vancouver. Just one more win will secure Vancouver glory and this town will go crazier than it is possible to imagine right now and that opinion is based on the celebrations in downtown Vancouver on Friday night.

It's not comparable to the euphoria for soccer teams in the UK. This is bigger. Vancouverites themselves are saying that people are acting as if Canucks has already won the Cup. The nearest comparison that comes to mind in UK soccer at club level is Arsenal's 1989 League Title win. That brought to an end an 18 year drought not only for the team but also for London.

You see, in London there are some 16 rival clubs. These include Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and West Ham United. Those are the best well known in the capital city. Add to that the newly promoted Queens Park Rangers with a history as proud as that of West Ham, and you are beginning to get close to the complexity of tribal patterns of UK soccer support. The soccer club scene in the UK is so competitive with so many teams in each others pockets that it is difficult to find a comparison to the Canucks. Even the great teams in the UK that have achieved so much in recent years both domestically and in Europe have rivals in their midst. For Manchester United see City, for Liverpool see Everton. You get the drift.

Really the only buzz that is truly comparable to this year's Stanley Cup run is the excitement surrounding England's World Cup run in 1990. They lost on penalties to West Germany. By the following world cup West Germany was Germany once more. Yes it that was long ago. Although in 1996 the excitement surrounding England's hosting of the Euro Championships was pretty incredible. Hitch-hiking from Scotland to London a day or two before the England Scotland clash clearly displayed the north south divide at the border. In Scotland the Saltire proudly waved while to the south it was the George Cross.

In Vancouver, 1994 was the last time city's hockey team did so well. Not having a rival hockey team closer than Edmonton or Calgary means that the loyalty is pretty much focused on the Canucks. Heck people are even traveling from Calgary to soak up the vibes.

There's been narrow wins for every Vancouver home game and big losses on the road. There has of course been a lot of rough play too at those away games. It was a little bit daunting last night at zero zero in the second period and listening to the commentary on the radio it seemed to me at least that Vancouver were on their way to defeat. Not so. A tight game had me thinking given Boston's last two wins would give them the motivation to get the all important third win. The win went to Vancouver.

The chatter has for so long leading up to the final been on the potential for riots in Vancouver should the Canucks lose. This won't happen. It would be pretty impressive should Boston win the next two and take the Cup but there won't be riots. Policing is just so different now in Vancouver compared to the mid-90s. The authorities really know how to manage crowds. That can be seen with the fan zones and the strict monitoring of people entering these areas. The city quickly realized that a fan zone centered on the CBC building was the best way to ensure that people could be controlled. Crushing is the only danger that could occur but even that seems unlikely due to the lack of alcohol being consumed.

The city flooded last night with people rushing towards Granville and Georgia Streets to celebrate the win. The celebratory mood looks set to continue and even two losses in Boston and in Vancouver next Wednesday can't dampen what has been a great cup run for the Canucks.
A win for the Canucks in Boston or on home ice midweek will again send people into the streets. Granville for some reason appears to be our city square. It is peculiar. The lawns of the art gallery were relatively quiet last night with most people preferring to congregate on the shopping and nightclub district.

What we can expect if Vancouver do clinch the Stanley Cup is one huge party, and a snap provincial election of course. Christy Clark wouldn't miss an opportunity like that. The postal workers of this city might have something to say on that though. Their solid strike vote is power indeed and could potentially thwart the Liberals.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Last Call final sounds

This is by no means a comprehensive list but these are the bands and singers that were defining Last Call in the final few months of the show.

In reverse order
25, Austra
24, God Help The Girl
23, Snowblink
22, The Square Waves
21, Chapel Club
20, Islet
19, Dutch Uncles
18, The Maccabees
17, Seefeel
16, The Streets
15, Radiohead
14, The Winks
13, Broken Records
12, The Morning Benders
11, Glasser
10, Pete Doherty
9, Stornoway
8, Jamie T
7, Esben & The Witch
6, Belle & Sebastian
5, Ian Brown
4, PJ Harvey
3, The XX
2, James
1, Manic Street Preachers

the very last Last Call radio show

Here's the set list for the last show. It's been great. Last Call has been on the last two years at Coop Radio playing UK rock and pop, you can check out the archives of course at

But here's the final set - more analysis to follow in subsequent posts
Time - Supergrass
Dear Wack - The Beatles
You really got a hold on me - The Beatles
Common people - Pulp
Here's where the story ends - The Sundays
What difference does it make - The Smiths
Last of the English roses - Pete Doherty
England - PJ Harvey
Julie - The Levellers
If you tolerate this your children will be next - Manic Street Preachers
Happy shopper - 60ft Dolls
Beetlebum - Blur
Sproston Green - The Charlatans
Wonderwall - Oasis
Vanishing point - New Order
Middle class revolt - The Fall
Vaseline - Elastica
Song 2 - Blur
Garageland - The Clash
Porcupine - James
Morning Mr Magpie - Radiohead
Step down - Seefeel
Marching song - Esben & The Witch
Darken her horse - Austra
Confusion - New Order
Mary Jane - Sheep On Drugs
All we make is entertainment - Manic Street Preachers
I've changed my plea to guilty - Morrissey
Crystal days - Echo & The Bunnymen
Essence - Cocteau Twins
Wilderness - Joy Division

post set
High & Dry - Radiohead

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

last Last Call radio show

Tune in tonight for the last Last Call radio show on Vancouver Cooperative Radio, CFRO, 102.7FM streaming live at

Last Call retires tonight. The time is right to end the show. It started late summer 2009 and tonight's show at midnight heading into 8 June will be the last show.

Remember you can hear past shows at

So tonight is your last chance to hear the show dedicated entirely to UK rock and pop on Coop Radio.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Okanagan

Fresh back from a week long trip to the Okanagan. I was up in Naramata with fellow library workers on a union organizing course. The following pix are from the trip....outside of the classroom. A great experience.

After nearly seven years in Canada, I got to see my first black bear. I looked out the window of the bus on the trip from Vancouver to Penticton and there was a black bear. The pic above is actually of the third bear that I saw through the bus window. Traffic had slowed down enough for me to get this pic.

The following are other pics from Naramata...

Kettle Valley trail near Naramata

Sunset on Lake Okanagan at Naramata

As the sun set the vegetation glowed and I enhanced it with a trick of the SD1000

This is just one of those flukey shots, I just held up the camera at arms length and clicked

After 4 days in the Okanagan it finally got warm enough to take a swim. It was great but brief and getting out of the water was tricky but well worth it as you can see in the following post swim pics...

This was a great beer, Tree Brewing Company I think, it's an Amber Ale - really smooth just like it says on the label...

And then it was time for the beach fire and dogs

Mr Todd Wong - Accordion Master provided the music cheer. He did a great job, so much fun, I was still singing Bring Back My Bonnie To Me well into the next day....

Another trick shot

Waking at 5am on Friday I was rewarded with a chance meeting....

After the final wrap up event at Naramata - I was there for a union course on bargaining, it was time to hit the road west. I skipped a chance to visit a winery earlier in the week due to the course work load. That was a good decision. Todd, now tour guide! made sure that we got to see some good wineries, sample some goodies and lots of photo opps en route to our first stop in Penticton.

After dropping off some friends at Penticton bus depot Todd and I started a road trip from there to Vancouver via Osoyoos.

We discovered this unknown lake after following a winding road out of Penticton...

Continuing south to Osoyoos we stopped at Vaseux Lake and walked down to the bird blind. Great views across the bird waterscape.

Friday night ended at the provincial campsite Haynes Point, which a day later I discovered was the aboriginal place called Sw'iws. From here aboriginal peoples were able to make their way across the shallows to cross the lake. Todd and I camped here and drank Okanagan wine and looked up to the thousands of stars in the night sky.

Adjacent to the campsite, a ten minute walk back to the "mainland" off the point is the Haynes Point Wetland Project. It's small but very special and it makes me think how precious are those little bits of wetland and how much good we can do to protect the environment. Here's some pix from the wetland.

Back on the road Todd and I decided to make a flying visit to the USA. I guessed lucky on the middle gate at the Osoyoos border crossing. The laid back border guard at this gate was older and perhaps a bit wiser as opposed to the bad cop border guard who gave Todd and I some very dark stares. I didn't need to get a visa but was reminded that my UK passport and Canadian citizenship were insufficient for future travel.
I still get a buzz from my trips south. It's really interesting how much of a tourist I become as soon as I step into America as the following pictures illustrate. They're not amazing but they are kinda like postcards of our 90 mins in the USA, which has to be my shortest visit ever to another country. I did once cross Austria in under 3 hours.
I need that Canuck passport - I want more of America!

This is America

And there is Canada as viewed from America but still in the Okanagan/Okanogan

And as the flags protest this is very much America. We had coffee in a small and nothing special coffee place across the street from the Oroville public library. Outside the library was a small farmer's market. Really nothing to suggest that we were in America accept the flags and different street signs. Border country.

Back in Canada and en route to Anarchist Mountain we were able to get this wonderful view of the lake, the narrow strip of Sw'iws where we had camped the night before, and in the distance the snow covered mountains. A land of contrasts. I really enjoyed the experience of the micro climates and the ever changing landscapes.

Lest we forget

Visiting the Nk-Mip Desert Cultural Centre was a highlight of the trip to the Okanagan. I found out about Anthony Walsh - who as an immigrant to Canada took a very different approach to that of his contemporaries. He had a great respect for Aboriginal culture.
Here is a brief detail on his life

The Nk-Mip DCC has information on the life of Walsh - there is also a film on a young woman getting back to her roots and connecting with Sk'elep, see this Wiki link,

I found the film very moving and it really put me in the right zone for viewing the rest of the cultural centre. Here's some pix from the outside trails which distance some 2kms in length and like the Rough Guide to Canada says there are numerous signs warning of rattle snakes.

Leaving the cultural centre we started out on the road trip proper back to Vancouver. We first made a stop at Spotted Lake, which can be viewed at a distance from the road. You can't get lakeside due to its environmental sensitivity and also due to the fact that it is a culturally historic sight for aboriginal people in the Okanagan region.
Todd's observation of the lake was that the water was high. This is a fact right across the Okanagan right now. Everybody at the school in Naramata commented on how green everything appeared in the region. The cloud and cool temperatures remained all week long and the sun only really made an appearance on the last day. It certainly made for a different Okanagan experience.
I've spent time before in Kelowna when I have found the heat very difficult. Listening to the radio, today Tuesday June 7th, there are reports from the Okanagan of how the heavy rain fall is washing snow down river with increased levels in the Similkameen river.

Spring has arrived in the mountains - and did you know that Grouse Mtn in Vancouver is planning to close its season on Canada Day! Big White in the Okanagan is also still open.
With the arrival of spring mother bears and their cubs are making appearances everywhere. Prior to this trip I had never seen a black bear. The following pix are a sample of some of the best bear sightings from the return leg through Manning Park.

I also found the radio experience or trying to listen to the radio through the mountains a real novelty. Of course I'm a radio junkie - you must all know that by now. Todd's car CD player is knackered and I was quite pleased at that really cos I love listening to the radio while driving. I love how the stations change and so do the personalities and the banter.
Coming through the mountains the reception was poor and at one point there was no FM or AM signals. Awesome. In the town of Hedley I think we could only tune into CBC. It really is a demonstration of how crowded the FM band is in Vancouver and the lower mainland.
So of course it was Saturday on our return trip and we were listening to the hockey intermittently. When we first tuned in Vancouver were leading Boston 1-0. Then we lost the reception. When it came back Vancouver were down 2-1 and from that point the reception really struggled in and out. The next we heard was that it was going to overtime, "They must have tied it up" said Todd. The reception disappeared.
Then a voice on the radio said Vancouver win with eleven seconds played of overtime. We let out a great whoop whoop and hooted at motorists traveling in the opposite direction.

Oh yeah those bears,,,but a few deers first.

I was able to zoom in close enough to get this picture. The bear, who at first we thought a Grizzly was not that far away as this pic shows. But to give you a real perspective on the distance from us see the second picture. We were mindful though not to stray too far from the motor.

But this is my favourite shot. This was of a black bear road side. What a beauty.