Billable Hours On the Books, Under the Table and Downright Criminal: Anonymous Rock Me, Amadeus: An Interview with Kristopher Fulton Excerpts from “Rogue Cells”: Garry T. Morse Service: Cecily Nicholson
Memewar Magazine Editorial Collective Missy Clarkson AJ Ivings Elliott Lummin Carmen Papalia Thor Polukoshko Aubyn Rader
Website Maintenance Mike Hubbard Thor Polukoshko
Advertising Manager Amelia Pitt-Brooke
ISSN: 1912-3310 Copyright 2008. All rights revert to the authors and artists upon publication.
This magazine was printed on recycled paper.
Cover Images by Aubyn Rader
Memewar gratefully acknowledges the financial support of: Those attending the release party and our fundraisers, the donations from Janet Goodmurphy and Connie Norman, and the continued support of Arcprint and Imaging Inc.
June 21, 2008
To Whom It May Concern: With six issues and two years of experience, Memewar is now poised to be the perfect choice for your literary sensibilities. With a new degree of professionalism evident from our exciting new format, we at Memewar will continue to deliver the timely, friendly, and proactive service that you have come to expect. We are bigger, better, and still true to the values that brought our company* to where it is today. Memewar continues to be community-minded, tirelessly striving to preserve the arts and culture in Vancouver. The Short Line Reading Series, a series of conferences that act as a platform for introducing young entrepreneurs to qualified and well-honed visionaries who have years of experience in building cultural capital, has achieved local acclaim and enriched Vancouver’s cultural arena. Memewar also persists in being mindful of environmental concerns and holds its commitment to printing only on 100% recycled paper. Our current team within this issue includes some of the finest business professionals in the field—a handpicked group of real artists that can tackle a topic as vast as “the workplace” and can make wonderful sense of it. I hope that the following pages convince you that this team not only has what it takes to shine in this industry, but is capable of raising the bar of excellence! For your consideration:
• Cecily Nicholson’s “Service” offers a stark portrait of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and documents the process of the area, its industry and displacement. • Garry T. Morse imagines the future of the corporation, and prophesizes the “Ergonomicon”—a tool that will revolutionize office work forever! • Kim Minkus shares her “Factory Report,” an assembly line poem that pieces together mass production, industry standards, and gender. • Kristopher Fulton, a local composer (and go-getter) tells Memewar about his path towards success and the changing landscape of choral singing in Canada.
We, the editors of Memewar, thank you for your continued support of our project. Sincerely yours, Upper Management * not yet incorporated. 3
On the Books, Under-the-Table and Downright Criminal Anonymous
One contributor (who wishes to remain unnamed) recounts their career as a drug dealer in Ontario and BC. Complete with sales projections and market research, this first-hand account sheds some light on the business end of the drug trade.
Rock Me, Amadeus:
Jobs and Careers:
A powerful longpoem that explores the process that is Vancouverâ€™s Downtown Eastside. Photos courtesy of Cecily Nicholson.
An Interview with Kristopher Fulton Missy Clarkson
Memewar sits down with rising Vancouver composer Kristopher Fulton to discuss topics ranging from the changing landscape of Canadian choral singing to video game soundtracks and purple cows. Featuring Photos by Dave Wilkinson.
Untitled (Visual Poems) derek beaulieu
Calgary poet derek beaulieu experiments with typography, space and printed text in this beautiful selection of visual poetry.
Letter from the Editor
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Factory Report Kim Minkus Bossanova Christine Leclerc Hotel Interview Mona Struthers I AM Mona Struthers Casualties Ashley Dunne
excerpt from â€œRogue Cellsâ€? Garry T. Morse
Hope in Shadows: A Review Travis Dudfield Q&A with the Empress: An Interview with Erin M. Edwards of the Clack Clack Empire Aubyn Rader
17 18 72 74
Unweave Privilege Azin Seraj Barbarians Azin Seraj Obituaries Cereal Junkies: The Trouble With Tigers #7 & #8
Jobs and Careers
On the Books, Under-the-Table and Downright Criminal
Featuring Artwork by Thor Polukoshko
I think we all understand the difference between a “job” and a “career,” but a lot of people fail to recognize just how much mainstream and underground occupations differ. Although both include job and career opportunities, mainstream occupations are “on the books,” include paying taxes, and have legal standards regulating both employer and employee. The underground in general not only omits all of these, but at the far end of this spectrum, includes crime. In spite of the fact that I had been delivering newspapers for five years, my occupation remained merely a “job.” However, when I saved up my newspaper money for a few weeks and invested it, I had no idea I was embarking on the first “career” of my working life. I was thirteen years old. It was the sixties.
The ‘60s: Groovy, Cats!
At that time a quarter-ounce of marijuana (7 g), could be purchased for about $25, an ounce for $80. So, fancying myself a young entrepreneur, I decided to try my hand at this market. After purchasing an ounce of “Columbian Gold” for $80, selling three-quarters of it for $25 each, and then selling another five individually rolled joints for a buck apiece, I found that I had the better part of a quarter ounce remaining for my own use, as well as the original $80 invested. This series of events launched my first career, and my only permanent one. I have never looked back. The first phase of this career continued through high school and a few years beyond. I still remember how elated I felt that cold Saturday night in September when I bought my first pound. The following Monday was the first
day of grade twelve. Friends, classmates, peers, and customers alike were impressed. It earned me considerable statusâ€“so important to the teenage ego. I would call it one of the high points of my career. Now, this occupation has its lows as well. For instance, one sunny summer day as I was walking down the street on my way to meet my girl, carefree with all sorts of romantic notions swirling about my youthful head, an OPP squad car screeched to a halt in front of me, and before I could run or even fully realize what the hell was happening, I found myself arrested. This led to an unfortunate series of events. Out of high school less than a year, eighteen, I was sentenced to four months in prison. Right after court, my mother talked her way into the holding cells, normally a restricted area. As I was looking at her through the bars and trying to reassure her that it would not be so bad, she started to cry. It was the worst moment of my life.
The ‘70s: Cool, Brother!
Well, I swore that day that nothing like that would ever happen again, and it never has. Nevertheless, I didn’t shut down the business, quite the opposite. You see, there is one thing incarceration almost universally does: as the person is assigned the legal status of ‘convicted criminal’, s/he also assumes the self-identity of Criminal and acts accordingly. Thus, our corrections system actually increases criminal activity, which is really not that surprising as it follows the corporate model, with the prisoner being the “customer” and payment guaranteed by the state. Repeat customers are good business. Well, after being released having served less than two-thirds of my sentence, and waiting out the standard “cooling off” period, I restarted the business with a vengeance. Phase two: the seventies/my roaring twenties had begun. Things were a little bit different not having the social framework of school with which to operate the business around. I discovered a new social institution: the “party house.” Several young folk living together sharing rent and bread as well as sharing ideas and lives naturally became a gathering place, and for the business, it was a goldmine. After becoming familiar with some of the other party houses in the neighborhood, I found I could pretty much make a living by “making the rounds.” Nevertheless, I usually held some above-board job as well. This was a handy thing to fall back 8
on if the supply went “dry” or the atmosphere became too “hot” (i.e. the cops were onto us). This juxtaposition of above-board job and underground trade led to some unique circumstances. Once, when the supply went really dry for an extended period of time, and unemployment was really low (good jobs were scarce), I landed myself a job dishwashing. It was hard work, hot, dirty, greasy, sweaty, and underpaid. I hated it but it paid the rent. Finally one beautiful fall evening I got the call from my contact; he had hash! I hustled over to his place and laid down the rent, which was due in a couple of days, and purchased an ounce of potent “Black Afghani’” and another ounce of pungent “Red Lebanese.” Now I had to make a decision. It was Friday night, prime time for both the job and the business. I thought about the hot, steamy dish pit. I looked over my customer list and I knew they were all hungry. I phoned my boss and told him not only was I not coming into work that night, I was not coming into work ever. I can still hear his effeminate voice with the French accent saying “but who is going to wash the dishes?” and he actually started to cry. I felt bad but relieved to be finished with that horrible job. After making the rounds, which started right at home and included a couple of parties already in progress, I found I had sold out. Not only had I made the rent back, I also had cash to buy another ounce, a half a bottle of Jack Daniel’s under one arm, a girl on the other, a nice chunk of the Red
Leb leftover for myself as well as a pretty good buzz going. I thought about the job I had left, did the math, and realized that I would have had to wash dishes all weekend to show the same financial gain that I had made in a few hours. I think it is pretty easy to figure out which course of action was more enjoyable. The seventies were also an exploratory/ expansionist period: I increased the product line to include a lot of other substances, but in the end I dropped them all in favour of pot and its byproducts, hash and oil. Selling things like cocaine is a whole different world, and a nastier one, a cutthroat world of guns and greed. Also, I noticed a few instances where selling hard drugs to certain people led them to experience pain and suffering. In the end, weed was something I felt I could move within reasonably safe parameters and with a clean conscience. During this period I also tried working with a couple of different partners; some of them were okay but generally I found that I worked better solo. Alone, I never had to pay for someone elseâ€™s mistakes, or vice versa. When I take a nostalgic look back on the seventies, what stands out above all else was how idealistic, innocent, and carefree we all were back then. Those were good times. Good friendships were made, ones that have lasted a lifetime. I could have pursued a more conventional career or started a family, but given the chance, I wouldnâ€™t change a thing. 9
The ‘80s: Right On, Dude!
Relative to the business, two significant things happened in the eighties. The first was the rise of punk rock and the punker scene, and it came at just the right time. By then the coppers were becoming quite adept at infiltrating biker bar, rock ‘n’ roll, and heavymetal social circles with undercover agents. It was becoming more and more dangerous to run the business. The punk scene, however, was just too weird for them on every level, just as the hippies had been in the sixties. From the bizarre fashions and the youthful raw energy to the diverse and often unfocused social perspectives, it was simply too weird for the police (one of the more mainstream, conservative career choices) to wrap their collective head around and thus infiltrate. Furthermore, those punks had a voracious appetite for Product. The second major event of the eighties, for me, was my relocation from Ontario to B.C. I had heard about the rising number of grow operations (grow-ops) springing up in the West and had noticed more and more product was local and not imported, so I decided it was time to observe the phenomenon firsthand. Nothing I had heard, however, prepared me for Vancouver, particularly the Downtown East Side. Coming from a semi-rural background, I 10
was stunned at how liberal the drug scene was from the perspectives of both the cops and the robbers. I had lived in Toronto and Montreal, but I had never seen anything like the street scene on East Hastings. There, right out in the open, people were selling the hardest of drugs, heroin, whereas in most of the country one couldn’t even openly consume the softest of street drugs, weed. The abundance and availability of hard drugs like heroin, coke, crack and crystal meth presents an increased danger to people who migrate here from other parts of the country, as opposed to locals. These migrants seem to be much more likely to succumb to addiction, abuse and the destructive properties of these drugs. Local Vancouverites and other BC natives are usually more resistant to these temptations; perhaps being born and raised around them gives them a greater awareness of the dangers of these hard drugs. I also include alcohol in the class of “hard” drugs. In my estimation, it is potentially as addictive and destructive as heroin or coke. My personal testimonial is that alcohol has unquestionably done me more harm than all the other drugs I have ever done, which is essentially all of them, combined.
The ‘90s: Radical, Man!
The nineties saw a remarkable proliferation of the BC marijuana industry. Grow-ops were springing up everywhere. Product was being distributed across the country and across the border to the States. Grow-ops not only exploded in number across the lower mainland, they also sprang up on the Island, in the Kootenays and, to a lesser degree, in other parts of the province, both rural and urban. As growers refined their techniques, there was a significant increase in quality of product as well as quantity. THC (the psychoactive chemical component) content has at least doubled from the old imported products of the sixties and seventies. Year after year, High Times magazine has rated Canadian weed as the best in the world; other sources concur. The horticultural techniques have become quite sophisticated, and many growers are very passionate about their work. Thus, it is not surprising that during this
decade I learned a lot about the production end of this business. This was fortunate, as the glut of product in the lower mainland essentially eliminated any opportunity to sell retail. I used to tell folks back home, “They’re giving it away on the streets!” and toward the end of the decade I revised that to, “there is so much weed out here they’re throwing it away.” Indeed, dumpster divers (or “binners”) are pulling garbage bags of ‘shake’, or lower grade clippings - not a part of the marketable crop but still quite smokable - out of the dumpsters. I was able to carve out a small market niche buying shake from street people, then refining it into ‘pot oil’ and selling it myself. Eventually, however, my involvement in the industry grew less and less as I began to work my way into an above-board straight job, and I stuck with it long enough that it has become a career. As generated income from this profession grew, I simply found I no longer needed to run the business.
The Zeroes: Waddup, Dog?
The marijuana industry in BC has continued to grow both quantitatively and qualitatively through the “zeroes” and up to the present day. Mainstream economists usually declare that tourism and forestry are the biggest industries in BC, but I would like to re-examine that evaluation from a more holistic economic perspective. The underground, hidden nature of the industry presents a few difficulties in this investigation. Statistics offered by the authorities are often skewed to suit their own agendas; the media then puts their own ‘spin’ on these numbers. Information coming from the underground ranges from essentially accurate to urban myth to complete fabrication. I will draw from both authoritative and underground sources as well as from my own experience and will estimate conservatively. Now, let’s do the math. In the city of Surrey there are about a thousand grow-ops in operation at any given time. A small, personal, single-light operation may produce a pound or less per crop, but a larger commercial one may yield a hundred kilograms or more. Let us estimate, conservatively, the average crop yield of a grow-op to be 10 kg, or 20-25 lbs. Surrey has one of the highest concentrations
of grow-ops in BC, probably the highest. We will use it to represent an “area.” Other areas in the lower mainland of comparable size are: Vancouver Burnaby Abbotsford Chilliwack Langley (Note that these areas include neighboring regions, e.g. Burnaby includes New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, etc.) Other parts of the province must also be considered: Vancouver Island (3 areas) Nelson (5) Kelowna Kamloops All others (5) In total, there are at least 20 000 active growops in the province at any one time. Normal crop production time is about three months, more sophisticated techniques are now capable of reducing it to about ten weeks. Again, we will take the lower number and calculate each
grow-op to produce four crops/year. It is somewhat difficult to estimate how much product is distributed in Canada and how much is exported to America. Population demographics, demand, and comparative dollar value would suggest the majority of the product is smuggled South, but the difficulty of crossing the 49th is not to be underestimated and institutions such as the DEA are fanatically enthusiastic about their work. I have never been involved in the export end of this industry, and I never would. It is a line I dare not cross. I think it reasonable to estimate that perhaps half of all product is exported south. The dollar value of a kilogram, in Canada, is about $4000 (wholesale) or $12 000 (retail). Exported, there is a dramatic increase, at least double. Thus, the average retail value of a kilogram is about $18 000. (Note that the mainstream press would double or triple these figures to add shock value to the story.)
Let us summarize. 20 000 BC grow-ops 10 kg/grow-op 4 crops/annum $18 000/kg Thus we find/calculate at least 800 tonnes of product with a retail dollar value of 14.4 billion dollars per annum. Considering that we have estimated conservatively throughout, and that grow-ops are slowly but surely appearing in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and other areas of Canada, there can be no doubt that this is nationally a multibilliondollar industry. Canada is famous (or infamous) throughout the international underground and law enforcement agencies alike for its “green industry.” And yet, mainstream economists acknowledge it not at all, or deny the economic significance of the industry; also ignored are the social and cultural implications. And that is the difference between mainstream and underground economies. There are, however, instances in which the two economies dramatically overlap and affect each other, and no example illustrates this as well as the Nelson crackdown of the early nineties. Nelson and some surrounding areas in the Kootenays have, for the last twenty years or more, seen a dramatic growth in the marijuana production industry. In the early nineties this small, rural community experienced social growth pains as the older, settled residents of the area noticed the increasing number of youthful, hippy types (growers) flooding into the area. As the numbers of these migrants grew
more and more, the economy boomed primarily from marijuana money flooding into the area. However, social tension increased. Eventually, the older citizens appealed to the local RCMP and demanded that they take action, which they did. They called in a large number of support staff, as the task at hand was already far too large for the small, local detachment. Then, they systematically raided and shut down all the grow-ops that they knew about, which was almost all of them. The local underground economy was crushed almost overnight. Then, over the course of the following year, a ripple spread through the mainstream economy. Over half of the local, above-board businesses - from Kootenay Souvenirs to Nelson Hardware to Mom’s Diner - shut down, and the entire local economy went into recession. As the growers started to return, the police adopted a “hands-off” policy and the economy began to recover. Now, grower culture is essentially integrated into local society, and everyone has learned, more or less, to get along. There is no longer any doubt regarding just what industry is the primary fuel for the local economy. Thus, although the two economies may appear to be separate, especially to mainstream economists and the popular media, they are separate in theory only. In actual practice they are part of an integrated whole, and the economic impact of the marijuana industry in Canada, for better or worse, cannot realistically be denied. Furthermore, unless (or until) the U.S. actually invades/annexes this country and brings their fanatical right-wing antidrug policies with them, it looks like the industry is here to stay.
Unweave privelage and Barbarians
Photographs of Iran:
The sign in the background advertises â€œFly Beauty Salon,â€? and the various beauty services available.
Factory Report Kim Minkus
Featuring Artwork by AJ Ivings Her: syrupy factory girl full production cut costs gloved and goggled ready to meet her fantasy girl Her: prowls for danger Her: inspects creation of girl Her: stacks forms sharpens pens Her: knit mixie kissy kissy toy front opening parts fractured silicone rubber fondle and clutch pink hair bud lips stretch hips Her: hands or fingers caught in vinyl casting machines stir molten plastic funnel feed the monster factory Her: second and third-degree burns hum as centrifugal whirl carries plastic to far reaches each force increases the girlâ€™s numbers pressure melts material eases clamps
Her: toy girl is not recommended is not real thin parts glued polished smoothed mustered re worked re assembled re fined Her: little thing posing probable entrapment Her: purple plastic stamped into retrofit kit as delirious numbers cycle out Her: kicks are limited edition pretty Her: exclusive plastic eyeball confines fire liquid candy chemical hazard TRY ME!
Her: production overrun comes loose coloured counting beads slide off allows art where not common Her: in danger of collapse mixes with zone zombies toys work her fingers Her: putting them in her mouth without metal action Her: holes allow for different shapes attached screwed copper coil on rubber causes pain
Her: firm receives two reports launched by hand and WOW girl explodes near consumerâ€™s head with temporary risk of trauma to face, handsâ€Śdick Her Incidents Her Injuries: five reports minor burns to hands two reports chest impact two reports eye injuries one report lacerations Girlâ€™s Description: numberless model with unnoted wingspan measures five-and-a-quarter feet tall brown or white soft plastic body attached warning sticker
Her: fabrication is incident and tragedy she swings the hand-held lets contest controllers fly Her: excessive force accidentally lets go wrist snaps strikes bystanders not objects Her: terror occurs when playing Her: remote controller is TV shaped Her: awed with buyer hand movement Her: fingers and thumbs tangle cord on wrist bendable and banned â€œbabyâ€? printed on girlâ€™s activity centre
Her: parts can be swallowed or aspirated Her: parts can attract each other Her / girl can be fatal Her: resulting in involvements overheating catching fire Her: black and blue transmitter Her: mythical consummations and unheard words Her: all-black charger is hidden encased in foam cavities she is radio controlled she is rechargeable box and instructions entice Girl: sold backdoor at stores nationwide
Her: problem Her: report writes Her: plastic arms caught Her: multi-colored activity center bendable but banned Her: scratches and bruises slip-slide on the left side Girl: in the shape of a free giveaway Her: ragged edges on the rope breakage Her: hard laceration hazard Her: linked sterling-silver bells tinkle and twirl Her: behaviour conduct precaution
Her: lodged between seatback Her: receiving welt on neck Her: features can be found on the underside Her: holds are displayed strangulation hazard Her: making her unstable Her: can cause her to completely fall apart Her: collapsing unexpectedly bumps, bruises, welts, red marks, cuts, chipped teeth
Her: recalled Her: dangerous accessories embedded in hands and feet in plastic clothing and hairpieces Girl further defined: sold singly blond, black or brunette doll-size chair, rocking horse and bathtub sold in combination Her: potential choking hazard do not become attached to girl or to girlâ€™s house
Her: enough to lodge in throat Her: obstructs airway Her: involved in choking incidents Her: involved in death. Her: charged with protecting public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products Her: stops girl production Her report notes: bodily damage Her: committed to protecting consumers from products that pose hazards Her: contributed significantly to 30 percent decline in rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over past 30 years Her: keeps one girl for her
â€œRogue Cellsâ€? Garry T. Morse Featuring Artwork by Jason Oomah
FRESH MEAT Oober Mann crouched in the ergonomicon and interfaced with Controlling Interest System (CIS) Hasta. The slippery tentacles extended themselves and tapped their suckers against his temples. A jellied web was cast over his eyes and it took a few nanos for his retinae to adjust to jacking in. Then the clunky rows of file drawers began to materialize and he wiggled his body to activate his favourite search engine, a unicycle named OneTrack 10.2. It took him a few minutes to balance before he could even begin to think about the next direction to head in. Being new, many of the data regions were double restricted to him and his mode of transport ran into many dead-ends. Along the way, he recognized other avatards from the local pool, the characters of his co-workers being in each case more distinct than themselves. And yet, the animated dragons and sprites and sponges were no more affable than the other employees in the flesh. A curt nod of greeting and that was that.
However, down one of the soldered pathways, he ran into an information bank under construction. A lone worker, handled Goatsinger, was jackhammering a section of zillabytes directly in front of him. Noticing Oober’s own skin of a character who gave public service admonitions about using prophylactic devices, Goatsinger stopped hammering and grinned sociably. “Morning, Rubbers.” “Morning, Goatsinger.” “And a nice one at that.” “They say it’s gonna be a scorcher.” Goatsinger looked down at the demolished nodes, scratching his goat thoughtfully. “Just trying to deglitch the railing for this data region. For some visiting poobahs, I guess.” “Wow.” “I could sure use some help. You’re the chosen one, aren’t you? I was told to wait for a doppelganger handled Rubbers at these exact coordinates.” “Huh...” “It’s all a dream in your head, Rubbers. You are the one. All hail Rubbers the Slippery!” “_?” Goatsinger grinned. “Sorry, just messin’ with ya. Ever scarfed any of those Matrissa Mao tubes? They always sound like that.” “Oh, I get ya.” Then a shadow of streaming data occluded the smile of Goatsinger. “Sorry, Rubbers, this area is restricted to fresh meat.” “See ya.” But his words were lost to resumed hammering. THE PARTY STARTS HERE Oober Mann received a mild shock to his nervous system. He was being asked to join everyone in the boardroom. He fiddled with the zipper on his svelte jumpsuit, covered with bangles and baubles, each offering a different message to passing eyes. A great speech was being made about the future of the company. Nanobytes were passed out to keep or to share. Then the official document was passed out. He felt a friendly hand on his shoulder.
“Now, it’s not our place to enforce these stipulations. However, they are for your safety and for that reason should be observed, understood, and appreciated.” Oober understood that the emblazoned letters CASUAL DRESS did not include his orange neon jumpsuit. He had probably tried too hard to appear iconoclastic and not blow his cover. “And no harrassment. Harassment is only harassment when someone makes a fuss. Remember that. And come to me if you have any problems.” Oober stared at his dead-eyed companions. Montefeltro, the new guy hired at the same time as him, had nodded off in a chair. Spittle was dangling over his new slacks. Everyone was silent. Harassment and impropriety, in this place? Where no one ever tells a joke...? “And you’ve already signed the confidentiality forms. You are not to disclose anything that happens here. Ever. Never never no not ever!” Oober stared at the floor. Everyone was staring at him. Then at the guy to the far left with the trouser bottoms that read The Party Starts Here. HOW ONE MAN STOPPED THE PIPES OF THE WORLD August Santos crouched over the laughing crapper and clung to the shaking partition that divided him from the men of this age. And yet, he had his faith to keep him strong. This calamity, combined with a thermos of coffee, had been brought about to test him. And before the day was done, he would make ammends. For the moment, it was necessary to confess his transgressions and enable the flow of wicked material out of his body and into what remained of the ocean. “Forgive me. I should not have eaten the entire cheesecake, and yet, lo, there it was, and then in a flash - gone!” “Hey buddy, keep it down in there!” “Who’s that?” “Probably that weirdo from Sector G6.” “Silence, heathens! Omygodprotectthismiracleofrelease...” “Hey prophet, how about a courtesy flush?” 31
“Forgive me...I have had illicit musings. And she’s just a girl, naive and ignorant of the dirty dirty condition of this world...” He gathered ample paper and wiped himself and then pressed the handle. Nothing happened. There was a short sputter, then silence. “Holy shit.” When the coast was clear, August ignored the hand washing warning and crept away, leaving only the flushed sound of his conscience. DIA DE CASUALIDAD At the end of the week, Oober came to work and found himself surrounded by dayglo jumpsuits covered with blinding decals. He adjusted his tight pants and pointed shoes and sighed. The chief began to ring a little bell and everyone unzipped their jumpsuits and leapt out in jazzy shorts and muscle shirts. Then they began to salivate. An immaculate man with an icy expression clasped his
hands together and inspected each worker. Oober started sweating. Montefeltro’s head began to fall forward, his eyes heavy. He was asleep again. But at least he was asleep in a jumpsuit. “What’s this?” He pointed at Oober’s crumpled shirt and pants. “This is Mr. Yanjing, a very important client of ours.” “Hi.” “No jumpsuit?” He lit up a cigarette and blew the smoke into Oober’s smoke-resistant shirt. “Hmm...nice. But what day is it today?” Everyone in the world screamed at once. “Día de Casualidad!” “And check out those ugly ass pants!” Oober turned red. Even Montefeltro woke up and started smirking. After that, all the men began to ogle and leer at him. In the cramped kitchen, they patted his bottom and commented on his pants. Finally, he decided to file a complaint. He stormed into the office of the new human resources manager and pointed at the sheet of rules he had just been given. “Sit down, Mr. Mann.” “I want to file a complaint.” “Are you aware, Mr. Mann, that it is Casual Day?” “Am I aware?” She got up and shut the door, sliding a massive bolt into place. “It’s procedure. Now before we can begin processing your complaint, I’m going to need you to slip out of those pesky pants.” PODS The long awaited system swap had taken place. Over the weekend, the gaudy ziggurats of particle brite had been demobilized. They had been replaced with the new three-headed beasts, stations with three pods to store precisely three workers. Oober lowered himself into the pod, wondering if it was the same one he had been interfacing with during his salad days (over a month ago) with this company. The tendrils curled about his thighs
and tickled his centre, before fastening to his netherparts with a titanium grip. It felt the same as ever. His eyes became bloodshot streams of data, rapidly turning geysers of churning company intel. In the pod to Oober’s left, before jacking in, August Santos gave everything a good sniff before producing a dripping cloth and beginning to wipe down his entire console, examining every inch of it for ominous or wriggling specks. “Morning.” “Morning.” To his right, it was the handle Oober had met as Goatsinger. “Morning.” “Morning.” “Well, seethe off, don’t that give my tongue to the cat!” “Pardon?” “Meet and greet your new friends for eternity!” August Santos had not ceased wiping and all three pods shook in unison. Goatsinger activated his pod and established a void function before parameterizing himself into its stack. Oober watched him blip off with a hint of envy. August Santos, on the other hand, activated a modicum of symbolic language, thus exercising his guaranteed hour of religious freedom. Oober frowned at the booming echo of droning recitations from his left. It was going to be another long day.
two. I forget. Anything I should worry about?” “I’m not sure what you mean.” Oober shielded his eyes from the man’s blazing red and beige argyle sweater. “S’okay, between you and me. I know you just started and I wanted to let you know we all make mistakes. A few bodies in the air system won’t hurt anything.” “Whatever.” “Thing is, I’ve been tracking a rare form of the Tequila Worm Virus and funny enough, I have been getting residual traces from the vents and...well, to be frank, you.” “That sounds fascinating, Goatsinger, but I’ve got a lot of work to do. Sure wish I knew what in tarnation you were yammering about.” “Hmm...yeah, no problem. Just let me know if you notice anything...weird.” “Totally. The first thing.” He felt a mild sensory disorientation and realized the incessant beeping was coming from a remote channel. It was an invite from Greta Goldfarb.
THE FIRST THING Oober Mann, now marooned on his island of a console, dimmed his field of vision and gave a sidelong glance to Greta Goldfarb, who was making quite the effort this afternoon to draw attention. For her, it was never casual day. She smiled and toyed with her plunging top and recrossed her legs and he found himself staring at her bare thighs and wondering what would happen if he were to slide his hand under... “Hey Oober!” “Uhm...yeah?” August Santos was nowhere to be seen. It was Goatsinger. “This morning I noticed a body in one of the vents. Or 33
COMPUTER RELATIONSHIPS Flak Riesling urged on his limuck through lethargic air traffic and breathed huskily into the microscopic microfeed attached to his collar. “Patch me into our database consultant.” “Silvia Snooplov.” “Run a relationship crosstown search on the name Greta Goldfarb.” “Okay, this might take a minute.” “Fine.” “Oh, here’s something. Wow, she’s hot, Flak.” “What is it?” “She’s a former adult film industry flunkie, and her name cross-references a number of our usual suspects. And right now she’s listed as working for an organization called LeapPod Streams. And...there’s something else.” “Yeah?” “You’re not gonna like it, Flak.” “Silvia, what is it?” “One of the relationships that came up concerns our own facilitator and colleague, Hassan Armadill. They used to go out, and apparently it wasn’t even meaningful, just sex and lies and then more sex and more lies...” “Okay, thanks Silvia. Send all the snaps to my personal handhold.” “So now where are you going?” Flak grunted huskily. “To perform a corporate takeover...” A PROCESS OF DEDUCTIVE INDUCTION Blue Green stole into the elevator and hurriedly pressed the button beside the LeapPod logo. He was elevated up into the offices at once. He didn’t find anyone in reception, so he made his way down the corridor to the inner sanctum. “Sorry, Greta must be on a break. Can I help?” “You can help by letting me see those hands.” “Huh?” “Call it a hunch, but I know something screwy’s going 34
on here.” “Sir, I think you’re making a mistake.” But August Santos jumped up from his console and hightailed it out the fire exit and down the stairs, setting off the alarm. Blue Green ignored him, instead sniffing around. “Aren’t you going after that nut? Maybe he’s the guy you’re looking for.” “Nah. Too simple. There’s always a twist. Question is, what kind of a twist. Lemon, lime, or tangerine?” “Maybe you should just leave us alone, until you get your facts straight.” “And where were you about half an hour ago?” Ned Ferber piped up. “Hey man, I was having lunch with Liam, our tester.” “Looks good on paper, but we all know programmers and testers don’t get along, let alone sit down to chai tea together.” “You’re crazy, dude.” “The fingerprints we got, they’re all bloated with calluses. And I only know one thing that causes calluses in this day and age.” “What?” “Video games.” Blue reached for Liam’s fingers and held them up to the light. “Look at this! Hideous!” And indeed, Liam’s hands were covered with calluses. “I was doing some work around the house...” “Hey man, ever since virtual body stockings, we don’t use our hands anymore!” “Maybe Liam here is an old fashioned kinda guy, eh?” Ned Ferber inched closer. “Hey man, you just can’t come in here and harass our staff. We have rights, chico. Leave him alone.” Blue Green reached for his weapon and fired twice through the heart of Ned Ferber, who at twenty six with a sizeable nest egg had been within a week of retirement. “Now maybe I’ll get some cooperation.” Blue was leading Liam off in horror when he noticed two pairs of feet sticking out of a ventilation vent. “There still might be another twist, somehow...”
Bossanova Christine Leclerc
My direct supervisor is Bossanova. New lump, that’s right, you’ve heard of him. This is not a bossanova we’re listening to. No, this is a stripped-down-indy-rock-choral-ballad. When they invented the bossanova, everyone was rich and shy and sexy. Plus, everyone at least tried to have fun. I went to work today, and hesitated.
I got a raise.
i. Common techne plural, practical and flexible nurtured on sour ground work songs unit(ar)y hymnals of ascendant grinds, swash, salvaged lumber, wax, binder-twine [we] drift. Taking in water an awkward discipline gives in. Strays gathering to moult under bridges small dot passages to mouth service rids city misery. Swallow stone grit git round with risk. Rest â€œbod[ies] of waived matterâ€? we are home by powder and led we are home. Temperate bayou smelling of diesel harbouring less. Security worried less importâ€™s been offered up grist to the mill. This was the distillery smoking all the time like the boys on the rusted red and blue tankers. Anchored, comes no closer. Coal face was a victim of careless talk giving donations, attacking on all fronts, antiquity bought victory bonds. 36
“gringolandia mon amour” Income performing preferring corners. Live-in, work-in espalier apartments. Uniform purging state of starlight tours. Ruthless ministrations, sawtooth salt heritage worked, still working. Borderlines in motion: tin casings, greasy chambers. Eyes slide by eager to buy articles for use and contemplation every want winning associations. Economy comely crafting things of value. ruinating sumpweed ii. Blood bugs rival the roaches, pigeons rustle meeting after meeting bit percentages stitch in light industry residential ground level retail commercial activities sweet suites blank lank dominant filters drinking order rented privacy spent in clinics. “Hold her there.” …sake, let’s take you to sobriety, what a day pain in a thin tine. No weekend after the last banner 37
ture of a tree. Her cure so far out of proportion pose it was licensed to be used did nothing to make us safe on the porch step too soon nature being ex plained policy modules lasting on dotted line joints that are ditch. Sigh here and here. someday sell our roofs legacy of efficiencies Sally Ann and so on sprawl across sunny peaks playgrounds will melt where medicine grows, children are strong. iii. May the day break. Kind keeping six, witness vagrant years of enclosure external mechanical influences intensification of throughput indifference and who will work for bus tickets, travel-sized toiletries, socks and cigarettes. Enforceable order. Apothecarial fronts jib down (sick) crack spit ball (back) alleys indigent burials wardly heart wretch surge prospects orange cap pop blot land remaking survival. Hastings dance. Lists of the unnamed memorials, bruises fading, yellowed sage and blackberries aging behind the brewery. 38
Old railway tracks end in bramble. Broken faces living under the bridge kiss ham drippings, salt from an old manâ€™s rags. Waning gibbous lamp low hundred block sighing alder flats branches woven above mossy decay methadrone bushwhacked knotted leaves pale underside exposed certain rain. Interrogatory hospitality her lifted from the worst of it in a box with good handles. IV unwaking once told the welt rose freed her from school the convent east of the family lake chromium zinc sanitizes skins ...darling chlorintine. Opaque loose unsalved cell splinters. three by seven twenty by thirty fifteen hundred square feet people in boxes [we] will never be defeated.
v. It was a hard winter. “war again goofs everywhere” Blind alley brother in an unexpected hit. Farewell day prices can’t be beat claims body in a lobby entrance. Removals, holiday dismays. Flip sides: five turkey dinners, two block radius. Getting out she hopes to make it to Port Coquitlam. Milagros! The construction’s down. Congenital clamber music. She died, once revived, reached for her lunch. Again for four days on the floor. People step over bodies. Disappears er reoccurs talking to the light switch, in her head without her daughter “I will die so on” a concave web in the windshield of a yellow car. 135 driver reports: transit is secure. “ will is futile, the pull overwhelming” Police laughing force three men to sit on the ground and remove their clothing. Kicked her “you can’t sleep here” already pushing a man under arrest. Rest an embattled rendezvous. Battles are dense with echoes. 9/8s. Soft hand negotiations are quick. When baton and boot fails give us hard hand conducted energy tactics. We have a public Frank Paul. War everywhere, goof again purging chutes and scaffolds climbing inconstructions 40
written everywhere to the service. Layoffs forever. Riverview ward property: cells meds grills. Love for short lives late into the daily maintenance: get it done, get down to recovery wired plateaus. An end to harms. Kitchen scissor cuts cutting in the kitchen neatly, ugly, like skills. vi. Husband’s rent check Welfare says “it’s domestic, (prolly a crack thing).” Food bank’s moved down the block. A long commercial walk past Flowers and fresh meat for cardboard boxes and re-sealable bags. Downtown corral cows easy in the clover. Messages all teeth mine the factions. No quote photo-op chairs Federation collapsing roofs. Neighbourhood groups owned “nothing that couldn’t be stolen.” Stop the spread of disease. Doesn’t everyone want cleaner alleys and streets? A woman’s remains are found. Everyone seems relatively calm. Another blue bag side of the road common chicory in sixteen’s ditches. Hometown hands do what they can to make the phone ring. Last seen missing posters in every slap dash shitty shelter. Surveillance architecture knelt over remnants 41
held sway. The house is down by two am. Peers from the wreckage. Nothing in the eyes expects to see rushing home the cabbie speaks of falling trees, whales leaving sea. Successive bodies contingents of rioting hosts. In the mean volunteer streets we need to find cover, flicker of a thin discursive film. Unable to sit still positions multiply. Few do too much. Beneath hospital and holding cell windows parking lot vigils. Warrior song bodies hushed in headlines. vii. May it break again. Silken tethers pleasures and surety citizens let it, graffiti go unchecked. “2010 RIOT”s “you have my Ieye” “alaska to argentina” continental stretches. Sleeker things are ‘imbricated’ even these days are complicit wire runway razor-laced walls. Holes in reservoirs. Thirsty organized queues cross the threshold – children happen and dig holes in the sand. 42
Feet, blistering failures keep leaving the ground. Constant working back ashtrays and footrests. That last cigarette made me feel sick finished it anyway. Nervous part of the system â€œour troopsâ€? scraped flints renewed primings water, small shot sand. Dark politics whirling about the delicate sounding pinions. Frequent visits to the mouth upgrading. Irreducibly complex but a mousetrap. There is no underground for these sores stories high. Made for the night could be better could be worse. Harried passer-bys comb quiet appellate streets for fresh kills small scale tobacco. Ship chandlers, pubs, logger supplies written on walls mutters to mothers loves sharp in the distance. Trembling fingers digging for atoms, blurs of resistance plump and blackened.
Hotel Job Interview Mona Struthers
Grilled cheese with tomato and a bold Americano. I haven’t eaten yet today RENT I wanTIME MONEY this a great giant grandmother’s curtains and silk underwear cut and stitched onto floor wall sofas ceiling stuffed into the orifi kleenex up a long sleeve I wonder if I drop down to the carpet and crawl kneeshuffly will I be able to pull up a length drape it around myself and would that help If it did and they said We think you would fit in here… The desk is coffin wide and high as my shoulders I resist doing tiptoe Have a seat. Go ahead and grab a newspaper. Around me archipelagos of loveseats upholstered with grandmother’s best ass cover I cross my legs automatically spread Globe and Mail open to world news freezewait this is the wrong kind the wrong kind of comfortable when the bellman asks Can I assist you? I want to ask for help with baggage but manage to say I’ve got an interview then he’s Henry and you’ll be with Kim she’s a great manager I’ve been here three summers smile: smile I’m not excited I tell him and he’s unsure how to react laugh subject shift he’s an English undergrad Is this what we do after university too? not joking.
I Am Tell me how you handle conflict: .......................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... If the phone were ringing, there was a lineup and a staff member wanted to speak with you all at the same time, tell me what you would prioritize: dripping wet I’ve prioritized this interview red prioritized it right on top of lunch fit it onto my thin day during a spring storm green apple themed bar like mall like city all I can think of is how well the kitchen smells and how nice the salt on the rim of a caesar would taste dissolve on my tongue my teeth little corrosives Tell me about a time you had to struggle with a difficult customer: They’re laughing. Something I said about hairdressers. Did I answer good? Good girl yes I’ve got grandmothers’curtains around me pulled snug up to my chin crawling was a good call I am available today I am bright and funny bright and funny bright and funny bright and funny bright and funny bright and funny brught and finny.
Rock Me, Amadeus:
An Interview with Kristopher Fulton
Featuring Photos by Dave Wilkinson
While indie-rock bands seem to rise and fall with the changing of the tides, young composers sit in their undoubtedly romantic studio apartments, hunched over another decadent creation that will be heard only by a passionate few. We bring to the forefront Kristopher Fulton, a prolific young composer whose work has won international attention and national radio airtime, who has been commissioned by such names as Josh Beamish with MOVE: the company, Amber Funk Barton, the Vancouver Bach Choir, the Vancouver Cantata Singers and the Laudate Singers. And heâ€™s just getting started. As a classical student myself, I met Kristopher 8 years ago in the hallways of Capilano College, where we could be found yammering about the likes of Arvo PĂ¤rt and Frank Martin, and gesticulating explosively when attempting to articulate the power of some measure or another of aural bliss. In the Cap Singers I had the privilege of performing one of his first public works. He stood out then, and he stands out now. You want underground music, you got it. Kristopher talks with Memewar about the future of the CBC, modern compositions and purple cows.
Memewar: As far as I know, your humble beginnings were at Capilano College, but you didn’t start off in music studies officially, did you? Kristopher Fulton: I went into Sciences after high school, for some odd reason – it seemed like the way to go at the time, because it was a profession. I wanted to get into medicine or pharmacy, because you could make money at it, and everything would be fine. Well, it wasn’t all fine, because about two and a half years into my Biology degree with a Minor in Chemistry, I suffered a very near breakdown in that I was absolutely miserable. I remember one week vividly, being completely miserable every single day going to classes, looking around and wondering, “How could this be interesting to anyone?” Some people were really interested in it, but a lot of people were just doing it because they had to. Everyone has their reasons, but I, for the life of me, couldn’t think of one for myself. M: So off you went to Cap College. K: Off I went to Cap College. Got into the Jazz Studies program. I didn’t know they had a composition program at the time. So two years at Cap, got into choirs, but I’d never read a vocal score in my life. I was used to being an instrumentalist, where the black dot on the page equaled a certain amount of fingers on a certain amount of holes, and then the note came out. Sight-singing was a completely different ball game. I remember sitting in a room with the choir conductor, with him telling me what I was supposed to do, and him asking me, “How’s your Italian?” And me looking at him, absolutely scared to death, saying, “I don’t… speak Italian.” M: It seems you’ve come a long way since. K: I guess, from the Jazz Program at Cap, to the Composition program, and finishing up at UBC. M: I noticed a big change in your work when you moved on to UBC. K: Yeah, it was time to move on when I went to UBC, 48
because comparatively it’s just so big. They’ve got a symphony orchestra, they’ve got a wind ensemble, they have countless choirs, especially now, and just about every instrument you could imagine is played by however many students they have in the studio each year. So my work did change. I wasn’t just writing a lot of music anymore, I was trying to find a voice. My output was higher, too, so that helped. M: How has your writing evolved since then? K: First of all, I write a lot for choir, and that’s been kind of my vehicle for my “voice” or however you want to say it. I had honed my technique for writing for choirs in school enough that it allowed me to tap into that “higher self” to do the work. M: It’s more intuitive. K: Exactly, you can let the intuitive side take over. Mastering technique is really important. It really became about what kind of ideas I had in mind, what sort of emotions I was feeling at the time. What seems to stand out in Canadian choral music is emotion– music that goes for the gut, that’s visceral, and it’s strange, in some cases, but it’s provocative. Instead of this sort of nice neat little box of, “Wow, doesn’t that sound nice,” i.e. the four bars of piano intro, with four bars unison singing, with four bars two-part singing, and then eventually four-part singing. There was a lot of it for the longest time from Canadian writers, and I’m not saying all of it was bad, even, I’m just saying there was a lot of it. It’s like driving by, if I may quote Seth Godin, a beautiful countryside, and you see a couple of brown cows dotting the countryside, and you say, “Oh look, cows!” and then there are more brown cows, and before you know it you’ve driven past hundreds and thousands of brown cows. After a while, you’re not going to notice any brown cows. I mean, this is just human nature. And it happens in the Arts! Basically, there’s so much music written and we just seem to keep emulating it. So, what Godin is famous for saying is that we need a purple cow. I guess you could say that I’m looking to be the… purple cow…? (Laughs)
K: That’s a reaction I’ve had, because most of my music, especially in critical reviews has been, “Surprising!” or “Delightfully Surprising!” or “Surprisingly Delightful!” because it stands out. I want my music to stand out, as every artist does. There’s so much of that same sort of music out there that it can provoke a reaction, and I guess some of my music is fueled by that reaction, but most of it is fueled with the music that I want to hear. I’ve been lucky in that the environment is reinforcing it as the right thing to do. And I’ve been lucky in a really short period of time. M: You recently won an award, the Healey Willan Prize? K: That was the Vancouver Cantata Singers, which I’m a member of, in the CBC Radio Competition for Amateur Choirs. This year, we submitted a demo of four songs -- one of them was a piece I wrote called “Jesu, thou art our Saviour’” and we got awarded a spot in the finals for the Chamber Choir category. What we didn’t know was that we’d already won an award, and that was for Best Performance of a Canadian Work. That Canadian work was 49
my piece, so that was a huge deal for the choir. In the live sing-off we won first place in the Chamber Choir Category with another one of my pieces. Then we went to Laval, Quebec, which is basically the choral capital of eastern Canada, and did it all again to compete against all the other first-place winners for the Healey Willan Grand Prize. And we won that as well! So to be lumped in with all of that has bought me a lot of credibility.
Violins start playing and they zoom in on the violins, they zoom in on the conductor, and it makes it more exciting. Dance adds a visual element, that’s why I was excited to write for dance. You add another element from another part of music and it stands out even more… put an electric guitar with a string quartet and see what happens.
M: What got you into electronic manipulations of your work?
K: Absolutely, I mean, that’s something Stravinsky always said, that he had to limit himself or he would just stare at a blank sheet of paper. But it sure is cool to see what people are coming up with. There’s something coming up in October called Video Games Live, have you heard of this?
“You add another element from another part of music and it stands out even more… put an electric guitar with a string quartet and see what happens.”
K: This is again me trying to find something different, and though electronic music isn’t different, it’s been around for quite a while, electronic experimentation and things like that… M: Steve Reich, represent! K: Represent! (Laughs) But the combination with live music is a little bit less in the spotlight, so why not put it together with singing, why not put it with a string quartet? And that also was born out of necessity, because there were a couple of commissions I got from Josh Beamish, a Vancouver choreographer who directs MOVE: the company, and there’s another artist-in-residence at the Scotiabank Dance Centre named Amber Funk Barton who wanted some of my music, but being dancers they needed a beat and a recording to rehearse it. I just took advantage of the recording aspect to add cool environmental stuff, and also electronica beats. So, different types of music, together at the same time, with a visual aspect – I think that’s all very exciting. I think in some respects that’s what’s missing from the sort of “classic” performance theme of live shows, specifically in some symphonic orchestras or different choirs or ensembles – it’s boring to sit there and watch people. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra has done something interesting by adding a video component where you see close-ups of people. 50
M: If Carl Orff were around today, he’d go mental with all these options.
M: Yes, it sounds amazing! K: So I’ll be in the choir… we’re partnering up with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the VSO is partnering up with Video Games Live. They’ve taken scores from video game soundtracks and will be performing them live, with a humongous video game screen in the background showing the different footage of the video games alongside a synchronized light show. That is a purple cow. M: That is a purple cow. And it’s important to keep people interested, because even CBC Radio is going through almost a complete overhaul right now, they’re shutting down all these classical shows… K: Yeah, it’s so weird because they’re causing such a huge outrage with the audience. It’s almost like they’re using old-world marketing, where you have surveyed some groups, say groups A, B and C. Group A represents, you know, early music geeks and everyone listening to these shows. Group C is the group that feels stupid when they go to a classical music concert because, though they
like the music they don’t understand a thing about what’s going on. Then group B is the mass group that listens to radio, and because it’s the largest, loudest group they find out what B wants and give it to them. M: But then they alienate group A, who’s the most passionate. K: Exactly, they’ve eliminated their most passionate fan base, one that they’ve accumulated over the years, who’ve been loyal, who will go there every time... for what? They don’t know. They can’t answer that question. And group C won’t be able to get any further in their understanding of the music they’re curious about because the option is just not there. M: And they’ve pulled the CBC Radio Orchestra.
in Canada for some reason, and it’s wonderful. Almost everyone has been in a choir at one point in their lives.
“...you can take 40 high-school kids who haven’t sung a note, except for along to a radio, get them to sing a C-Major chord and watch their faces absolutely light up because they feel it. It rings true. ”
K: The CBC Radio Orchestra was the starting ground, the training ground, the unofficial recruiting ground for major orchestras -- not just in Canada, but around the world. And now the gap between über professional and amateur, and I’m using those terms pretty generally, is even wider. There’s no step-up. M: And it’s not coming back.
K: It’s gone. Just like the CBC Radio Competition for Young Composers is gone, and has been since 2003. There was a CBC Young Performers Competition, and that’s not around anymore. The Competition for Amateur Choirs is the last competition the CBC has got. M: I may be writing some letters if they shut that one down. K: But they won’t dare shut that down, at least not in the next ten years, because there are so many people in choirs
M: It’s a surprisingly huge culture here; there’s even the International Choral festival Kathaumixw, held bi-annually -- in Powell River, BC, of all places! The festival is a huge deal internationally, and choristers I’ve met abroad would give their firstborn to attend. K: It’s such a tight-knit community, and such a large one. The CBC would have a huge reckoning on their hands, and it wouldn’t be just young people or old people, it would just be everywhere. For a lot of people, choir was their first musical experience, ever. M: It’s creating something beautiful within a group, not like beating each other up in gym class…
K: Something beautiful from seemingly nothing! I mean, you can take 40 high-school kids who haven’t sung a note, except for along to a radio, get them to sing a C-Major chord and watch their faces absolutely light up because they feel it. It rings true. M: So then where do you see yourself going from here? K: More orchestral works, I’d love to score for film and TV -- that would be fun. But I’d really like to learn to score for choir and orchestra. Do the really big works. And I’d love to write more for kids, especially for youth choirs. I think young voices are really important, and although I think there’s a lot of music out there that helps young voices, it’s only to a certain point. Sometimes it’s just 51
really, really easy music. M: I still get “Perhaps Love” in my head, do you remember that one? K: I get “Dream a Dream.” [singing] Dream a dreeeeam… hmm hmm hmmmmmm… again, piano intro, and it’s all very nice. Now, Eric Whitacre, another purple cow, writes very challenging, exceptional music that’s been sung by professionals all over the world, and all of a sudden, teachers are saying, “Let’s see if my students can sing it.” And then everyone’s surprised that “youth” respond incredibly positively and passionately to that sort of music. M: It’s beautiful – he’s like an iridescent cow. K: Yeah! Iridescent cow, ha, I’m going to write Seth Godin about that. But yeah, it’s primal, people identify with it on a real personal, primal level. And it doesn’t have to be super academic-sounding. He’s written from a real honest place, and now he’s taking the choral music scene by storm.
M: And you’ve been compared to Eric Whitacre as well. K: That was Stephen Smith, he said, “Kristopher Fulton: Canada’s answer to Eric Whitacre.” I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that, but he really did mean it in a good way, and I was almost kind of embarrassed and thinking, “I’m not that good.” M: According to the stats so far, perhaps you are! Anything you want to say to the folks back home? K: Mom and Dad have been so supportive of everything I’ve done, and when I decided not to do all the science stuff and said, “Mom, Dad, I want to write music professionally and I want to go to music school, and I want to start in the fall,” they looked at me and said, “It’s about time you came around, we knew you would.” I think if parents can even get an inkling of what their kids want to do, let them do it, because ultimately people are going to be successful if they’re doing something they’re really passionate and happy about. See Kristopher Fulton’s work at these upcoming shows: August 10th, 2008 THE CHAN CENTRE FOR THE ARTS - FESTIVAL VANCOUVER - In concert with Grupo de Canto Coral, Argentina Oct. 17th & 18th, 2008 RYERSON UNITED CHURCH - FLESH & BONES - with Anne-Julie Caron, marimba
Submit Your Work Fiction. Poetry. Creative-Non Fiction. Essays. Art. Photography. Hybridity. Creative Combinations.
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Tony Rader 55
Untitled (Visual Poems) derek beaulieu
Casualties Ashley Dunne
Photos Courtesy of Ashley Dunne
A lot of dads are workaholics. Others are alcoholics. You happened to be both. Your trade took over our home like a carpenter’s shed swallows his house. Like slivers of wood littering a well-used workbench, traces of white powder lingered on our coffee table. I remember seeing the path your hand had carelessly taken to wipe them away one holiday morning. You liked to work through the holidays. I imagine your doorstep welcomed a great many customers during the Christmas season. I remember you, wrapping our gifts from Santa with sheets of cheap winter-themed paper you cut out with razor blades. Your tools of the trade were multi-purpose, like the variety of baggie sizes you packed our lunch sandwiches in. It made sense that you worked from home; you hated leaving a comfortable environment. You could have lived anywhere, but you never wanted to leave our small town. You were an intermediary— staying behind to charm locals into trading their futures for a handful of dust—providing your family with choices you never could have given us on your own. We all chose to leave.
The home becomes a lonely place when your living room is no more than an office. Iâ€™m convinced you expanded your operation solely to entice more visitors to your front door. But I guess when your storefront is the place you rest your head at mid-morning, itâ€™s pretty easy for dissatisfied customers to issue effective complaints. You transformed our home into the centre of an empire that deposed you. Iâ€™m thankful that your path ended before anyone got a chance to break down the door and slit your throat. I know I inherited a path of privilege, and I try not to think of the fools and fathers like you my future was supposed to belong to. The future you chose for yourself led you to your bedroom floor, where you sat slumped, trying to call for help as blood vessels burst in your brain. I can see you moments before, five dollar bill poised over a handheld mirror, savoring the last benefit of your job before surrendering to it completely. Sometimes I recognize traces of you in my reflection, and I am hesitant to wipe them away.
Q&A with the Empress:
An Interview with Erin M. Edwards of the Clack Clack Empire.
Photos Courtesy of Erin Edwards
When in a clothing store, I often find myself staring at crap. The clothes don’t fit right. They are too expensive. They are too cheaply made. I also have to fight off the sinking feeling that they were sewn by small hands in a foreign country for a low wage. Whenever in this situation, I end up frustrated. Then I decide to call for help. I call Erin M. Edwards, my fashionable, rockclimbing, bike-riding compatriot who is now the owner of the cute, little shop, The Clack Clack Empire. We decided to send a few questions to Erin about her new life in the business world and her own thoughts on the fashion industry. Memewar: What is The Clack Clack Empire? Erin M. Edwards: A little shoppe with a whole lot of heart. M: Where did the name come from? E: Well, there are actually two sources for the name. My friend Vincent Parker has an album called “Clack Clack” that I was obsessed with, and when I am typing on my favourite of all my possessions, my 1935 Corona journalist’s Travel Typewriter (made in Canada I might add), “clack clack” is sort of the noise it makes. Empire was chosen to be a coy term for community or collective. I may own CCE, but it has been with the help of friends, family, and my community that it is in existence today. And Clack Clack Empire just sounds cool too...right?! M: Heck’s yeah. business?
How long have you been in
E: Haha! Well, the name was approved August 28th 2007, but the door opened on a cool Saturday in the last week March, so to answer your question: not long! M: On your website, you don’t describe CCE as a shop, but as a movement. What do you mean by this? E: Well it is a shop, but we’re a shop actively participating in a movement to seek out independent
talent and a progression to more ethical and responsible clothing. M: Is there a guiding philosophy behind the Clack Clack Empire? E: Trying to be as genuine, open, and steadfast to our own principals? Quality, cut, culture, community. M: What surprised you the most about starting your own business? E: All the different hats you have to wear! When you start a business you become a manager, and an accountant, you learn to be a slick talker at the banks (it was super tough getting money with the banks all tightening up purse strings with loans, etc. Despite having an amazing business plan, I still feel I experienced some ageism at some banks: “Oh goodness, you’re so young...” each banker that said that also didn’t give me a loan. Funnily enough, the bank that was most helpful was one that started locally). Starting your own business also means you become a real estate agent, a contractor (we did our own renos), a debt manager, a promoter, an insomniac, heart-burn sufferer, and instantly responsible (Perhaps even ten years older!). I was fortunate that I could get the business going from concept to reality in about seven months, as it must have been some of the most stressful times of my little life! Though, despite all that, seeing a concept, a little tyke of an idea grow into a physical reality was an amazing experience! M: Any anecdotes? E: Clack Clack is the new Black. Not really. I have a scar from when drywall flew into my face when a friend and I were slightly inebriated and decided to do our own renos sans the appropriate gear. It’s kind of a cute scar, actually. Makes me chuckle. (The whole story told in detail is on the facebook group) M: There is a stigma that it is hard to run a successful business and be ethical. Do you agree that it poses additional challenges or is there a market for it? 65
E: I’m sure if you’re a volume sales-driven megacorporation whose margins are directly related to how cheaply you can acquire goods, operating fairly may be difficult. Finding ethical manufacturers that can produce in such quantities, etc, may be difficult if you have such a critical bottom-line. But we’re talking about two rather starkly contrasting retail businesses. I walk into some of these large stores and seriously hate to think where they got all this stuff for so little. But with my overhead and operating costs, I don’t have to push sales or buy large volumes of goods, so I can pick and choose exactly what I want and meet each of my criteria. So I (with a little help) hunt around for things that meet my needs and buy that. I think people do appreciate the different aesthetic that this sort of retail buying produces. There are some very good examples of other boutiques or shoppes in this city doing the same thing. But even our interior is environmentally conscious! And when you shop at places where you know the person behind the counter has looked into the background of an item you don’t feel that buyers guilt for purchasing something from a company that, oh I don’t know, forced 12 children to eat, sleep, and embroider your jeans in a 20sq/ft space. Ya know?! M: CCE hosts a lot of community events. Could you tell us about some of them? E: Oh gosh. CCE is essentially an alternative gallery space. I decided that because the art wasn’t really going to rely on art sales as a major source of income at the store, that it might as well be free for the artists to exhibit! It’s a way to give back to the community that has never stopped intriguing me. We’ve had a couple art shows at the shop –in fact we have one new artist in every month. And we hosted a fashion show with help from the folks whom organize “gossip” at 1181 Lounge that raised a little money for A Loving Spoonful. We’re hoping to host some sock-hops and movie nights in the park and other such things mostly because they’re fun; but also, it’s a good way of getting similarly minded people in one spot at the same time. Amazing things happen when that, um, happens.... 66
M: Why host these events? E: Because we can?! Ha! Some might say for marketing purposes, but like I said before, the gallery portion of the store exists because I have a lot of friends who are artists and do nothing but complain about commissions on art sales. Well, I know the struggle for some of these friends and a nearly commission free gallery is my way of giving back to these often-inspiring friends. M: Your store is stocked with “ethical-yetfashionable” attire. What kinds of things are the people in the fashion industry doing to be ethical? E: Gosh. All sorts of things! Some are choosing to manufacture things domestically, with the knowledge that the staff is being treated fairly. Other companies have strict policies and their own design staff re-located to where the factory might be overseas to ensure the process is done fairly. Some use exclusively organic materials, and most are now trying to incorporate recycled and/or organic textiles. Some companies I deal with have gone as far as sending me photos of their factories and workers. Who knows if they’re authentic, I have to trust that company is not trying to fool me, but the brands I deal with are small indies and there’s really no reason to lie about anything. The folks I’ve dealt with are good people. And I have had the pleasure of meeting most of the designers. M: What are some of these brands? Why did you choose to carry them? E: Good Society denim and Sling and Stones denim are two related companies. One has a standard priced organic/fairly traded denim, and Sling And Stones is sort of your premium organic denim with a styled yolk, slightly heavier thread etc., and other exciting embellishments. Both are great in that they were started by a bunch of kids (and by kid I mean someone like me: 24ish) who decided it was silly for them to go to all the effort of eating organic, drinking organic, lessening the impact on the earth and then wearing a pair of jeans that
was a representation of everything they hate about society. So they started Good Society. I think for me, it is especially important to try and seek out organic options for denim, as the textile manufacturing process can be one of the most environmentally taxing. Evan and Dean is a pretty exclusive local brand headed by super cute partners Raymond and Lyle. They live in Richmond, both have other full-time jobs, but have managed to pull together some amazing stuff in the short while they have been designing. The majority of their items are made here, and they source the textiles themselves. I like them. They always have good cheeses out for me to
eat when I go look at their collections. Paperbird Clothing is designed by local Merida Anderson. We ride bikes together. Sheâ€™s pretty awesome, makes all her stuff here. She once delivered an order by bicycle! How rad is that?! We often consume lots of beer together. Apolis Activism is a brand out of San Fran headed by three brothers whom, through their quality domestically produced, stylistically intriguing product, are raising monies for displaced North Ugandans. Cool. Theyâ€™re are also very nice (HANDSOME) gents.
are starting to purchase more certified yarns and textiles, and are even donating portions of their proceeds back to the community. So it’s changing. The whole green push we’ve seen is hitting some in the industry hard I think, unless they start to listen to consumers whom are becoming much more aware of the global impact of their dollar, they’ll be left behind. So perhaps for some companies this green/social assiduousness isn’t necessarily a genuine shift in thinking. But whatever the reasons, I’m glad to see so many companies changing their policies. M: With the price increases for products that are “home-grown”, can only the wealthy afford to be morally conscious?
Wrath Arcane is a tiny company out of Cleveland, Ohio that is making clothing you’d expect to see 2 years from now in Europe. Made in the USA, their company mantra is essentially: “FUCK BIG LABELS”. heh heh. Teresa Smed of Dotted Loop jewellery is cute and talented and pretty much my neighbour. Missy Clarkson (whom yo MAY have heared mentioned in this publication before) makes m’soaps and pretilly and naturally scented items for le shoppe. I think that’s it... OH! House of Cassette is getting to be a pretty well known company whose origins are in the gritty artists’ district of LA. They have remained independent and fair in manufacturing processes. M: Have you seen any attempts to reduce the cotton industry’s toll on the environment? E: The industry as a whole? I suppose so. I’m starting to see a lot of mainstream companies embrace the concept of green processes and some companies (in fact there are a few here) that are striving to meet or exporting western social compliance laws to their overseas factories, many 68
E: I don’t think so, necessarily. I think that it wholly depends on how you spend. I don’t make a whole lot of money and, believe it or not, despite the fact I own a store, I have a particularly small wardrobe. From my experience in clothing, the pricier local or domestically manufactured items are of a better quality. Thus, you buy a one piece and it’ll last you a lot longer, than, say, buying three items of inferior quality and having to replace them in short order. I’ve found that once I started seeking out the better quality pieces that were domestically manufactured, I started to consume a lot less. Fancy that! They can be pricier, I’ll give you that, but in the long run I think you save money. But I would hazard to guess that with oil prices increasing, shipping prices following suit (don’t get me started about shipping costs). Locally produced items will become more abundant and hopefully less expensive! M: What’s next? What else are you excited about? E: I think I’m excited to see where things go with a home-grown little business such as this. I have a feeling it’ll morph over the next few years as I grow and experience new things. Communities and people are not stagnant, nor can a business be stagnant if it serves those people. So I’m excited to see how Vancouver will be changing in the next while and how the lil’ shoppe will too!
Clack Clack Empire is open Fridays from 3 – 8pm Saturdays and Sundays from 12 – 6(ish).
Erin M. Edwards, Boss Lady! Clack Clack Empire 778.866.6055 www.clackclackempire.com 524 Shanghai Alley, Vancouver
Hope In Shadows: A Review Travis Dudfield
Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008; 176pp.; $ 19.95
You are not going to enjoy this book. You are not supposed to. It is supposed to be hard to read. That is the point. If you put it down with a satisfied smile on your face you need to read it again. The reader will struggle with the rough language of the stories told by some of the most marginalized people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). You are confronted with their heart-wrenching stories of abuse, addiction, poverty and a whole host of other evils. But ultimately, the reader is exposed to the real emotions and images of the most controversial postal code in Canada. The point of Hope In Shadows, a beautifully constructed book published by Arsenal Pulp Press and Pivot Legal Society, is to educate the reader by shining a light in the darkness that seems to permeate the public perception of the DTES. The book is the fruit of a project launched by Pivot to empower the residents of the DTES by handing out hundreds of disposable cameras in the 70
hopes of capturing the true essence of the lives that are deeply entrenched in this trouble-ridden area. This project has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Pivot and has given a face to what lies beneath the façade of the drugs and violence in the DTES. That is, the DTES most of us are familiar with. The horror of Willie Pickton solidified the public perception of the DTES. Images of junkies shooting up in alleys behind run down hotels have graced the front pages of The Vancouver Sun and The Province and countless documentaries have been made about the challenges of the residents of the DTES. But that is not the whole story. The success of the photo contest and the calendars and exhibitions that feature these images is a testament to the fact that the DTES narrative has not reached its climax. This book gives a much needed voice to the residents of the DTES. A picture may say a thousand words, but that might not be enough. There are real people in and behind those images. The stories in this book thrust the reader deep into the heart of what the DTES really is: a community of strong, resilient people who have managed to survive against seemingly insurmountable odds. All of the contributors to Hope In Shadows, which was edited by Geist Magazine editors Brad Cran and Gillian Jerome, have their reasons for living in the DTES. Some ended up there
almost inevitably. Others went there because there was nowhere else to go. Others went there for a purpose. Jo, a manic-depressive who had spent her life in foster homes, prison and mental institutions came to the DTES for one reason: to die. Her story struck the deepest cord with me. Jo tells her story so coldly that it almost seemed like she was speaking for someone else. This is partly true. Jo tells that much of her memory was lost or distorted as a result of the countless prescriptions she had been forced to take during her life. She is so matter of fact about her situation that the reader may be stunned into disbelief. Laced within Jo’s, and every single story in Hope In Shadows, are tiny glimmers of humanity. Hopeful stories of people helping each other and themselves. People showing charity and compassion to others when they can barely take care of the basics. This is the true intent of this collection of work. The harsh reality of the DTES cannot take away the most essential aspects of life; these people laugh, love, create and commune. This is the true essence of this book. This is the “hope” that the public needs to focus on. No one is denying that there are serious challenges ahead for the DTES. The only way real change can happen is to listen to the people who continue to suffer, continue to go without, continue to live on the outskirts of the richest society in the world.
the trouble with tigers #7 + #8 Thor Polukoshko
For the complete adventures of the Sugar Bear, visit our website @ www.memewaronline.com
Contributors derek beaulieu is the author of 4 books, the most recent being “Flatland,” a conceptual novel which rewrites E. A. Abbott’s 1886 novel of the same name according to graphical precepts. His work has been widely published internationally, and he is the poetry editor of filling Station magazine. After realizing that his honours degree in philosophy and literature would inevitably leave him managing a Starbucks, Travis Dudfield went back to school and got a journalism certificate from Langara College. With a much more useful piece of paper in hand, he has found his place as the public relations manager at 1-800-GOTJUNK? Travis is a lover of letters. He is very excited to be a part of Memewar magazine and looks forward to writing about anything the editors throw at him. Ashley Dunne is an English nerd who often feels guilty for using her powers to write about the horrors of her childhood, since her dad was, in fact, the best one on Earth. Christine Leclerc is a Vancouver writer, web designer, and enviro blogger. Her work has been published in such magazines as FRONT, filling Station, 2River View, Terry, 42opus.com and subTerrain. Kim Minkus is a Vancouver poet and teacher at Capilano University. Her first book 9 Freight was published by LINEbooks in the fall of 2007. She has been published in West Coast Line, ottawater, Jacket and The Poetic Front.
Garry Thomas Morse is a local scribe, currently with two LINEbooks of poetry, “Transversals for Orpheus” and “Streams.” His collection of short stories/novella “Death in Vancouver” will be published by Talonbooks in 2009. This year, he received an emerging artist award for literature from our own shiny city and his manuscript “Go Medieval” was runner-up for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. During idle time, he waxes the online anti-blog “Lexican Radio” and lends his voice to the chorus of Opera Pro Cantanti (Opera for the Singers). Cecily Nicholson is a member of the No One is Illegal and Vancouver Status of Women collectives. She has worked for several years as a frontline worker, researcher and community organizer in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside – which is the impetus for much of her poetry. She is also a PhD candidate and instructor in Women’s Studies at UBC. Azin Seraj’s transition between Canada and Iran – perpetually re-establishing a sense of place – plays a role in her work and her perception. As an artist and resident of the world, Azin seeks opportunities to move through the world as she continues to assess the meaning of home, of self, and of difference.
Mona Struthers is an English and Creative Writing student at UBC Okanagan. Her poetry has previously been published in Misunderstandings Magazine, and a number of local Kelowna anthologies.
All Uncredited Photos and Art Contributed by Memewar Staff 76
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Our current team within this issue includes some of the finest business professionals in the field—a handpicked group of real artists that c...