The Last Book Review

In case you missed it this is the last book I reviewed for the Vancouver Sun newspaper.  The review also appeared in certain other papers owned by “Postmedia Network Incorporated”.

The “books” pages in the Sun are being shut down by executive decree of the paper’s owner effective this Saturday (April 22, 2017).  For a long time those pages have numbered two at the back of the “Weekend Review” section of the print paper and found as “Books” under “Entertainment” under “Arts & Life” in the main header of the online version of the paper.  So you always had to do some digging to find what you were looking for, and sometimes, especially if I had a review in there, it was almost worth it.

My review of Daniel Zomparelli’s excellent stories published by “Arsenal Pulp Press” here in Vancouver appeared March 31 so I was glad to get something in there at the end.  The Sun’s weekend review of newly published books, many of them local, has been around for a long time.  I’m not sure how long but certainly many decades.  Things change, but what does this cancellation mean?

Many people have very little or no interest in books, but there are also quite a few people who do including writers, publishers, editors, agents, designers, academics, librarians, readers, and, who knows, even people who make a living selling books.  Because, strange as it sounds, there are still people around who do that too.

Does the cancellation mean that in the eyes of the very small, select group that controls Postmedia Network none of these groups matter and any feeling of estrangement and alienation from Postmedia that might arise from this move can have no impact on Postmedia’s already absurdly frayed and tenuous bottom line?  Nah.

Just as Postmedia deems this or that section of their various papers irrelevant and it disappears, doesn’t that also ease Postmedia down the road of it’s own irrelevance?  You can keep hacking things off, Paul, but a corpse is a corpse.

This natural fact hasn’t stopped “Postmedia Network Inc.” from issuing a press release on its own website on March 31, 2017 heralding the launch of a “Powerful New Editorial Brand Campaign” called “Built on Trust”.

The strategy seems to be, yeah, a lot of our papers have been around a long time, some of them more than a hundred years, so while we’re going broke we gotta promise readers we’re gonna continue to publish the excellent content they’ve come to know and, ah, um, trust.”  For sure.

It was funny because before I wrote about “Everything Is Awful And You’re A Terrible Person” I’d already decided that I’d done enough book reviewing, with the thought ever in my mind that once upon a time I’d never had any intention of reviewing books at all.  Why would I want to do that?  Now I remember.  To “hype” my career.  Later it was discovered that it didn’t matter what I did, I had no career.  It was simple.

I wrote 17 reviews for this current version of the Vancouver Sun and about the same number in an earlier epoch when the exalted paper was owned by an entity called “Southam Newspaper Group”.  But those days are gone now.

Now I can get back to what I do best.  I remember that famous line from who was it?  Apollinaire?  Bukowski?  Somebody.  “I don’t know why, but sometimes I just want to look at the sky.”

Have a great evening.


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Vancouver Sun Cancels Literature

Vancouver (IP).  The Vancouver Sun newspaper has announced it will no longer be publishing local book reviews effective April 22.

The move was announced as a cost-cutting measure.  The paper will carry a one page “national page” of book coverage run from the “central office” of “Postmedia Network”, what’s left of it.

Paul Godfrey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Postmedia Network announced himself thrilled at the news that here’s one more reason to not bother with the Vancouver Sun at all.

Mr. Godfrey says he plans to buy himself a new tie.

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The Last Streetcar

Dodging about the archives again like a Saint Joseph’s monkey.  You notice a lot of trash in these Matthews street shots.  1942.   The first generation of street trash bins obviously hasn’t been born yet.

Not only is it a trashy city it’s all wires.  Forget “City of Glass”.  Wires.  It’s wired.  I wish I knew what I find so fascinating about these pictures.  It can’t just be because I lived in this neighbourhood many decades later.  So what is it with things that happened before I was born?  It’s okay.  It’s just something on the windshield.

Lillian Gish comes to town 1942.  Hollywood royalty.  I once rode in an elevator with Miss Gish.  I thought to ask her if her luggage had been found but I was an awful shy little boy.  The airline lost her luggage.  It was many decades after this picture was taken.  The mayor was with me that evening too.  And quite a few other people.  I believe Miss Gish was 88 at the time.  “Commandos Strike At Dawn” in which she starred with Paul Muni and Sir Cedric Hardwicke was released in 1942.

Barbara Stanwyck 1942.  Hollywood star.  War effort again.  “Back The Attack” war bonds drive.  It looks to have been a fine sunny day.  I can just hear that band.  Hit it!

1943 War Chest.jpg

1943 War Chest Combined Welfare Appeal

Save these bud-lipped children.  Don’t they deserve a chance?  They’re looking up to you for help.  They’re a bit worried about the future, and everybody knows what that’s like.  Can’t you spare a few centavos?

There were also a vast number of large billboards around to go with all the trash in the streets but there was a war on, fortunately very far away.

Then there was “Trotsky” the Siberian bear.  He lived in that really old bear prison with the steel bars painted green they had in the park at the time, before they dug the pit and put the bears in there.  Not Trotsky though.  But the past is discontinued.

But it’s still City of Wires.

Who will pray for the streetcars?  Because streetcars have an essential spirit that can’t be extinguished.  It’s obvious.  You can rip out the tracks and burn up all the old streetcars but you will never extinguish what’s in our hearts.

Pender Street 1920s

Here’s to a safe and pleasant journey.  Thanks very much.




















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